Friday, November 29, 2013

Didn't I just have her?

Since returning to work in October I've started feeling a little nostalgic - I've been reflecting a lot on my time with Chloe from the last year as well as soaking up as much of my time with her as possible. I think it's all because it is slowly dawning on me just how fast she is growing up. I mean, it feels like I gave birth to her just yesterday! I have been fighting off thoughts that she is 15 months, 15 months! and that time seemed to go in the blink of an eye. Before we know it she'll be 2, 3, at school, high school, driving, getting married and having children all of her own...... ok, ok, that's a fair while away.... but still, it all seems to be passing by far too quickly. It probably doesn't help that I recently packed away her 'baby' clothes - you see, she's now in 1s and that I get to shop in an entire different section of the store for her clothes now *sob*.

Its funny too, because ironically her first 2 months of life, ok maybe the first 3 months of life, time went by sooooo slowly; as I stumbled through unpredictable days, endless feedings, nappy changes, the constant 'I've been hit by a truck' feeling bought on by sleep deprivation. But then magically as I came out of the three month fog, I saw her changing before me, she lost that creepy newborn look, she was cute, smiley, adorable. I fell in love. Hard. And as much as I try, really try to recall those early weeks, when I look back (without the help of modern technology), I can barely remember it. And that makes me sad. Really sad. And I regret that I didn't pay more attention. I feel like Chloe has materialised into a little human so rapidly. Whilst I am so happy and psyched to have such a beautiful, sweet, smart, funny, happy, healthy (I could seriously list adjectives all day, but I'll stop) little girl, I cant help but think: "wow, where has the time gone?"

I think there's part of me (deep down) that feels like I'm missing out being back at work. That same part is also filled with guilt and worry because I am spending two days away from Chloe a week. And the truth is, as much as I love, and want to keep my career alive, it kills me to be away from her. Kills me. I argue this in my head ALL the time, these two conflicting emotions make it very hard to be rational some days....

But.... logic always wins.

I have to work to generate income to allow us to live the lifestyle we have decided is important to our family - to pay for trips interstate regularly, to afford an overseas trip, to buy that house in a years time, to have chicken and chips regularly on a Saturday, to have outfits for Chloe with matching headbands (hehehe), to have that second cup of caramel latte on a play date. But more so, I have to work to satisfy my own personal ambition. An ambition that fuelled the birth of my career well before the birth of Chloe. A career that required a university degree and years of hard slog, to be realise. And one that I need to nurture because one day, when Chloe is all grown, I want to be able to inspire her - for Chloe to challenge herself, be educated, find a career that is fulfilling and that she loves and to go after her dreams.... and how can I expect this of her when I don't model it myself?

But, enough of the reflective stuff.... let's get into the goooooood stuff, the Chloe stuff. The stuff that I know you are all SO desperate to hear about.

Weight: 9.5kg
Height: 74cm
Clothing size: 0-1.
Shoe size: 3-4

So dinners have continued at 5-530pm and have been a great way of introducing new foods to Chloe. She now eats much of what we do, including Tacos and octopus! There is the occasional meal she will find difficult to chew and there are times when we fed her earlier as we are having friends over or are out. But generally she's eating exactly as we are. And more recently drinking exactly as we are. Since starting day care where she drinks from a cup, Chloe has shown are real strength in her dexterity at lifting a glass to her mouth, drinking and then safely placing it back on the tray of her high chair. Often its followed by a very 'look at me, I'm so clever' smile. Sure, there are the occasional spills, but its all part of the process. But... if I'm honest, mummy still prefers she use a straw... for now. hehehe.
She has developed a real love of the finer things in life including baby cino's, sushi and cheese. We've affectionately dubbed her the 'cheese monster' as she often passionately stuffs it into her gob! 

Chloe continues to be a beautiful little chatter and her nonverbal communication is out of sight! Her oral language skills are also improving - she is starting to clearly say some words. The most common being 'no'. When we ask her if she would like something her stock standard reply is 'no'. Even if she takes the biscuit, sits down to hear the story or leads us the door to go outside after we've asked, she will still say 'no'. I'm not entirely sure where it has come from?! As I'm much more inclined to say 'uh ah' to her, over no. It is however a very firm clear 'no' - the kind I use when I taught Kinder, so I think it may be day care. But I'm not sure?!
She also threw out the other day when I was leaving for work 'Shoes Dada' and picked up her shoes from by the door and walked to Jarratt. We both stood in shock. She hasn't done it since. *sigh* So at the moment its all just a little inconsistent. But we're not anywhere concerned. Her verbal communication is still great for her age. She babbles and clearly has good intonation and inflection when 'talking'. The cutest thing she does when she talks is tilts her head so her face is right in yours and then babbles. When she does this to another child its normally when that little kid seems upset and its almost like she's saying 'Are you ok? Come on, its alright!' She's such a sweet little thing.
She also clearly understands routine instructions. When I ask her to tidy up, she does it, when I ask her to put her nappy in the bin, she does it, can you start the dishwasher? Sure thing. She's such a helpful little girl, hehe.
Chloe has now been walking for about 6 months. She is super confident and has even started 'running' on occasions. She loves playing chasies with mum and dad - and now that her friends are walking they play chasies together too. It's the cutest!

She has started climbing - stairs she was already apt at and she is better at going up stairs (solo) but needs help coming down. However she is now able to climb out of the pool at swimming and onto equipment at the park. Sometimes when she's a little short for a particular piece or she needs a boost she'll do calf raises and slap the surface with her hand to indicate "hey! I need some help here". Like I said... non-verbal communication. Out. Of. Sight!
So sleeping.... We fell into a beautiful little routine last month of having some lunch, in bed by 12, sleep for almost 3 hours, play around and go to bed at 7. Beautiful! But in the last week or so bedtime at 7 has been a bit hit and miss. We think its a combination of factors effecting the ease of bedtime for us. 1. Sleeping past 2pm is never helpful and 2. 2 hours or more during the day seems to make her too 'rested' for a 7pm bedtime. At the moment these are just hunches.... I'm going to try and keep a journal type thing to see what seems to be the issue. But at the moment we're just playing around with things to see what works. Thankfully Chloe is much more flexible with sleep stuff... she can last til 1pm if need be before having a day sleep, but will go to bed at 1030am if we need her up for a lunch time thing too. Its great! Especially with our trip to Hobart next weekend where we're just going to roll with it in regards to sleep. A BIG deal for a routine loving control freak like me!

Chloe has developed a real love for the following things  bath time with mummy (particularly when she sings salt n pepper), reading to herself, sand, of any variety (!), painting, and train rides at Cousin Ben's birthday with Nanny!

She also continues to love seeing her friends and regular Thursday play dates with bestie Ellie. The two are the sweetest little things together, they take turns and share and encourage each other in ways I think is so beautiful. They are obviously two kindred spirits both enjoying smoothies together, playing in the sand and sharing numerous morning tea foods. I feel so blessed to have such a gorgeous pair of girls to spend each and every Thursday with. And whilst there has been stiff competition for Chloe's love between Ellie's parental units, I think Auntie Nic has finally edged Greg out as a firm favourite..... hehe

Meanwhile she's fallen out of love with brushing her teeth which we originally thought was because she had teeth coming through. But two weeks on, she still refuses to play the game. She has also started turning her face to give a cheek when we ask for kisses - bizarrely!? I think the last one to score a good peck from Chloe was Thomas on their last trip to Sydney. But she happily gives high fives no worries, which I can live with for the time being. But her real hates at the moment are having something taken from her and sharing mummy with other babies. But this (I know) is a developmental thing and thankfully a phase she will grow out of.

Chloe's second Big W catalogue came out on the 7th of November. She looks so sweet in it! I'm sure they will sell a lot of the Christmas outfit as a result. hehe. I originally thought the outfit was *cough* very *cough* unflattering but in the catalogue amongst the other kids it looks gorgeous, but maybe I'm just a little bias.
We also attended the casting for Bambini Studio Magazine where she was required to wear smart casual, the shoots next Thursday and we have yet to hear anything, so its not looking good. I'm going to book her new head shots in the next month or so, as I had a look at her old ones and she looks much different now.
Trip to Japan booked
For Jarratt's 30th we went to India and Singapore, so its only fair with my 30th coming up we go somewhere overseas as well. So we discussed nice practical, easy options as we now have Chloe... New Zealand, Hawaii.... but neither made me excited. We then looked at flights to Japan, as ideally, that was the next place we wanted to visit.... and when I found flights for 1000 return pp (Chloe 10% of the flight price being under 2) my heart leapt out of my throat. After a few calculations we worked out it was possible and within 24 hours booked the flights. We are both super doper excited and I'm slowly nutting out an itinerary for the trip. We are thinking Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Osaka - Tokyo..... OR Tokyo - Odawara - Takayama - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Toyko...... with the former being a more leisurely trip and the latter being a bit more jam-packed! Ahhh what a dilemma.... but there are worse problems to have, obviously. hehe.

And that's this month done and dusted.... I can't believe that next time we chat, Christmas will most likely have been and gone.... YIKES. Where does the time go!? Are you sure I didn't just have her?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho. It's back to work I go.

Hi All,

How are you? We're well, although kind of freaking out at how fast this year has gone! Its November people! November! And before you know it, it'll be Christmas. Yikes! Time really is flying by. And it seems to be going even faster now that I've gone back to work part time. Yes, you read right, mumma B has returned to the workforce. Well, the paying workforce. So I'm now Full Time Mummy, Part Time Teacher and boy is it a tricky mix. So far I'm coping, actually - I'm loving it. I feel like now I am appreciating the time I do have with Chloe more. You see, as bad as it sounds, I was starting to feel pretty resentful and missing my job and school. So now I get the best of both worlds. Jarratt is also getting to play stay at home parent one day a week, he and Chloe have a 'daddy-daughter' day every Tuesday whilst I work and both just love it! Its beautiful that they have this special time together, it has really fostered their relationship and I can see the happiness it brings J to be spending that quality alone time with her. Its just so sweet.

On the Monday I work she is *gulp* in day care. This has been a REALLY hard emotional step for both J and I. Its difficult to hand your most precious thing, your child, over to someone else and trust they will do the best for them. But..... it is part of the process. Jarratt and I had always felt me staying at home indefinitely with her would not work for her, I or our family. I oscillate constantly back and forth between the arguments though, confused by my feelings of guilt and anxiety that something will happen and I wont be there to protect her... and all the sensible arguments that completely contradict those feelings. As difficult as 'letting go' is we wanted her to be exposed to different situations and people; to build her confidence; to develop her social, emotional and academic skills and most of all be happy! And whilst we were very concerned about how she would cope in this new environment, despite knowing exactly what happens in it, as we have been overlooking the centre from our balcony the ENTIRE time we've lived in our unit.... she absolutely breezed through it!

And while she has only been to day care one day so far she did really well and obviously had a blast! When we picked her up she showed us around the centre, pointing out things and activities - clearly 'showing off' what she had participated in that day. She smiled, laughed and high fived all the staff and a few kids when we left and was in a wonderful mood the whole afternoon/evening. The staff were very complimentary and very happy with how she did. A few even seemed upset to hear she was only going to be there 1 day a week. hehe. They commented on how happy, friendly and outgoing she was and my heart did swell with pride when one teacher told us she really was a credit to both of us as she didn't cry or have a tantrum once, which is unheard of on the first day. The same teacher informed us that when she was playing play dough with a group of children, she backed up and gave her a hug. A hug! Our Chloe, giving hugs! I couldn't believe it! We were informed about how she'd slept, eaten, everything! We were even given a sheet of paper that outlined what she'd eater, how long she'd slept for and the time of each nappy change. As each bit of information and happy comment hit me, I could feel a little bit of anxiety melt away. Chloe was ok. No one had hurt her. She hadn't need me to protect her. She was ok. No, she was happy! I felt extremely relieved!

But, I'm a realist, it was the first day and everything was new and exciting. The true test will be when it occurs to her that this is a regular thing. It wont be a problem if she likes it, but if she decides its not for her - it will be a very difficult process. Jarratt and I have spoken about pulling her out if we really feel it is too traumatic for her, but at this stage.... honestly.... I don't think that will be a problem. *knock wood*

And so brings us to the mundane, boring, monthly stuff.... I had her weighed the other day at the chemist, but have yet to measure her. So.... stats-wise she's 9.2kgs

I reached a point, not too long ago where I had had enough. I felt like I was working and cooking all afternoon.... Chloe would eat at 5, we would bath, milk, brush teeth, read a book, put her to bed, then we would eat. I would be shattered during dinner, Jarratt and I would sit side by side on the couch and quietly eat our meals, exhausted from the busy afternoon/evening. So one night, I made spaghetti bolognaise and we all ate together and it was lovely. Since then we have had to make slight adjustments to what we eat. Unfortunately, she hasn't quite mastered Tacos yet. hahaha. But if we do feel like Tacos we just feed her earlier that night and have tacos once she's in bed. And as she's got better at feeding herself... she now uses cutlery proficiently, including stabbing food with a fork and spoon feeding herself with some assistance, I am finding Jarratt and I have more conversation together, which is nice. The final issue around eating together is I am generally a little hungry around 8 .... but this is often sorted out with tea time, or dessert. hehehe. So clearly its not all bad. ;-)
Chloe has continued happily drinking milk from her straw sippy cup for her morning and bedtime feed. But its a bit hit and miss with volume, not that we're worried. Some nights she'll drink half or there abouts of her cup, other nights she'll smash it and we'll need to refill it. She has also taken a real shine to smoothies, often when we're out I'll now order a smoothie (made with real fruit) and ask for the excess in a small espresso cup with lid and straw. She. Just. LOVES. It! It is beyond adorable the way her face lights up when she sees it and sucks back the goodness like a little lamb. Too cute!

Chloe's communication skills are out of sight! She is a chatty little thing. She's not afraid to talk and ask for things. We can see the frustration beginning to form in her with our lack of understanding but its not a major issue, yet. As her chats are often combined with hand signals, which is very helpful!

Oh my word! This book has the most amazing pop ups!!!
(Chloe's WOOOO face)

This months she has really mastered the conversation and language development from last month. Unfortunately though 'ba (ta)' has become a bit more of a 'give it to me' rather than 'please'. But we're working on that. In addition to those skills she now understands a lot of cues such as when daddy leaves for work we say bye then go to the balcony to wave. Most days, Jarratt hasn't even left the front door and she starts eagerly pointing to the balcony. She is also applying this practice to my farewells too.

She has developed quite a cute "WOOOOO" face and noise, kinda like she's taking a deep breathe, for when things are REALLY exciting. It is simply gorgeous!

Chloe is now a VERY capable walker. She can climb over obstacles, move objects whilst she walks and even climb stairs! Although coming down is a little bit tricky and needs mummy or daddy's help. Last month I remember I was ecstatic about the fact that she was mobile, but now ... Its. All. She. Wants. To. Do! The pram has now lost a fair bit of charm and 'walking' to the shops has taken on a whole new meaning ... and timeframe, lol. Thankfully though the more experienced and confident she has become the LESS likely she is to fall down. However, on the flip side, the more experienced and confident she has become the MORE likely she is to walk off. We're employing a 'don't chase' approach. So far so good. But sometimes she gets to that point where I'm like, ok, that's getting dangerous, I'm going to go get her. But hold out that minute longer and sure enough she turns and comes back.... I'm sure some people think I'm crazy but I've seen kids turn this walking away thing into a game and I am not buying into it.... yet! hehe.
Dancing continues to be a favourite past time of Chloe. Often when we're out shopping she'll bust out some moves to the music that's played throughout the store. Its HILARIOUS! She sometimes rides in the shopping trolley (the main part) in an effort to avoid the pram battle and will sway from side to side to the music. Its very sweet. She loves all music, but still prefers the music styling's of nursery rhyme jazz, icona pop and macklemore. Although, she also seems to be developing a taste for daft punk recently too!
She also seems to be attempting to jump. She'll squat down and then cry 'BA' and stand upright quickly. At first I thought it was a new dance move, but she has done it on occasions when no music is playing. I started saying 'up' and 'down' to her as she does it and she correctly moves to each word. Also when we read (or she reads to herself) her 'wheels on the bus' book, she will move the book up and down when we get to that point in the story/song.  

I honestly think we have hit the golden period of sleeping. She's sleeping through the night. Yipppeee!!! Is having one long day nap (2hours+) yet can still function on a 45 minute sleep in the pram without too much fuss. Its a good time! But it took a while to get here... And I realise that before too long we'll be toilet training and the night time sleep issues will all up and change. So we're enjoying it whilst we can.

She is also much better at sleeping in different places. She has had a very noisy sleep at Auntie Nics and Uncle Naths for Uncle Naths Birthday, a weekend of sleeps in her portacot and one day time sleep at day care. And all were successful. Woop Woop! But let's not jinx it....... ;-)

She did go through a patch of standing up in her cot. For a few nights and days every time we'd put her down to sleep she'd stand back up and cry as she couldn't lay back down. We'd go in and she'd be resting her head on the bars, clearly tired. We tried everything! Laying her back down, rocking her, firmly telling her it was bedtime, we even let her cry a little, nothing worked. So we just kept going in, laying her down and walking out, eventually, she gave up. And since then *knock wood* we've returned to the zipped into her bag, kiss and cuddle, lay down, sleep. Not entirely sure what was going on there with the standing *shrugs*

Playing has been taken to a whole new level. Before Chloe would simply roam the house and move a toy from one place to another, occasionally she'd engage with a toy, and she was happy to play for an extended period of time if we helped her and showed her what it did. More recently she has started happily playing alone, for a really long time. Yesterday, I rang Jarratt to see how far away he was and whether Chloe and I would head to the park. He was an hour or so away. So I figured I'd take her. When I returned to the lounge room she was sitting, happily stacking the rings onto their pole. I figured, ok, when she has enough of that we'll head to the park for a bit. Almost 40 minutes later she stopped playing with them. 40 minutes! That's a lifetime to a 14 month old!
And its not just the stacking rings that she's become very capable with. She can fit the shapes correctly into the holes in her musical car. She can work on complex alphabet puzzles with some support. She has become interested in drawing and writing. She can happily fetch objects and throw balls and play games on her own. Just to name a few. But the thing that I'm really impressed with is how she never gives up. If a particular ring wont fit she will continue to try it until she gets it on. She's such a persistent little thing and I love it. I know how important that skill can be once you reach school and that she is already displaying such skill now makes me swell with pride! In addition to the sticking with it skill, she also is a pretty good tidier-upper! Definitely takes after daddy on that front. hehe.
Perhaps the best 'toy' though is the phone. She will often take the phone (after saying 'ba' of course) and hold it to her ear and talk. Its adorabubble. Unless you REALLY are talking on the phone and then its a bit of a battle of the wills.
Chloe also LOVES her play dates with friends. She has lots of lovely little people to catch up with in her week. Every Thursday we spend with Ellie and Auntie Nic, be it playing at the park or in the sand or just holding hands. We always have such fun with those two! Last Saturday Chloe had breakfast with Connor, whom she hadn't seen in forever! As his mummy now works Monday-Friday. Last week she caught up with Bella for a coffee and cruise, as well as Orvi and Vince at the VERY cool Annette Kellerman pool in Marrickville. She is very lucky to have such a wonderful circle of friends! I don't think she (or I) could live without them!
So the first of Chloe's Big W catalogues came out last week. The one with her as a Bonds kid. I've always desperately wanted Chloe to be a Bonds kid, so this particular modelling gig has a special something for yours truly. Next week (November 7th) her second Big W catalogue comes out and she's wearing a (not so flattering) Christmas outfit. So stay tuned, and hold on to your junk mail for that one.
She has also been pulled for an Elle Magazine Swimsuit thing, but I was asked how she was with strangers and at the time she was not good. So I said she was friendly, just not cuddly, but I think that put a nail in that gig. She also has a casting for Bambini Studio Magazine next Wednesday where she's required to wear smart casual..... which has me spinning a little!? What is smart casual for a 14 month old? haha
Chloe is just uncontrollably happy now at swimming! Her confidence and enjoyment from swimming has sky rocketed! She happily dives and (more importantly) goes to the teacher now! About two months ago we changed classes, the kids in the class are a little older, extremely confident and happy in the water which I (hands down) think is the reason for the change in attitude. So, as predicted last post, we have definitely turned a corner! Woop!

We have also had a few play dates to the pools recently, including one with our lovely lads Orvi and Vince at the Annette Kellerman aquatic centre. That place is AMAZING! Chloe had an absolute blast playing in the spurts of water and impressive baby pool. I'm very excited about the impending summer. You'll be able to catch me and Chlo at the beach if you need us. ;-)

Reading independently
Just recently Chloe has started to read to herself. I'll often be pottering about and all of a sudden there is quiet in our house. Not normal for someone as loud as Chloe. And I'll come into the lounge and find her quietly reading her books. There has even been occasions when she has snuck away to beside my bed side (one of her favourite spots) and flicked through my book. I just don't know how appropriate fifty shades is for a little person. But Jarratt and I are thrilled in her love of literature. We have tried to instil in her from a very young age a love of reading and books by reading to her often, taking her to the library regularly and having quality literature available for her. Clearly, all our work, is paying off! YAY!

Bath Time
So Bath Time had been Jarratts field of expertise for a while, then Chloe started doing a bolt from him as soon as he ran the bath. Recently Jarratt worked late a few days to make up the time he'd taken off to look after Chloe whilst I went back to work. So, for a few nights I was forced to do the bedtime routine on my own. The first night I started running the bath and went to get all her things ready (sippy cup, PJs, etc) and turned around and she had sat herself down on the towel ready to be changed for the bath. So I went with it and thought it was a fluke. The second night with Jarratt working late again, I got everything organised and THEN ran the bath. And sure enough Chloe wandered down the hallway 'checking' each room and space as she went, I'm sure to see if daddy was home. Then plonked herself down on the towel and waited to be changed. The third night, with Jarratt home I showed him the drill..... sure enough, as I ran the bath she came and sat beside me. Jarratt looked at me baffled. Since then I have inherited bath time and daddy does milk. It's just one of those 'why fight it?' things that we've let her win on. And whilst I'm the current flavour of the month, it could just as easily be Jarratt next week. hehe.

Little miss is currently bucking the trend on what a little girl should be obsessed about. At the moment we can not walk past one of those kids roundabout car things in the shops without her wanting a turn. Her love of toy cars and things with wheels has also dramatically increased. She can be a funny little thing.

We have also started calling her FOMO (Fear of missing out) as she does not want to miss out on ANYTHING. Be it using the phone, the laptop, being in control of the remote; if we're eating something, she wants a bite.

She's also taken a real shine to a few stuffed toys. Snoll (monkey), gene (brown bear) and Mug (build a bear) are all big hits and are often dragged around and snuggled into on a regular basis. My heart just melts when she picks one up and pulls it to her face whilst dropping her head to lean on it. Just melts!

She also LOVES brushing her teeth, little weirdo! Since she started sprouting a lot more teeth, we have now incorporated teeth brushing in the morning and before bed. But sometimes (and often in the bath) when she can see her tooth brush she will point at it and say 'ba' continually until she has it.

The last obsession is mummy. Chloe recently has started pushing Jarratt away when he cuddles me. We had just been laughing it off and scooping her up to join us in our hugs. But yesterday when Bella and Tina came for an impromptu visit, Bella saddled up to me for a cuddle and Chloe was not impressed. She tried desperately to sit on my lap and push Bella out of the way. I explained to her that Bella was having a cuddle and it was not her turn with mummy, but this didn't do much as she just backed herself up and sat on my lap anyways. Thankfully Bella wasn't bothered and we just all crowded into a cuddle together. But thank god we've got a bit of time to work on Chloe's sharing of mummy before bub #2 arrives. And NO, we're not trying at the moment. Its still a while away.

And so ends another update. I'll speak to you all again in about 6 or so weeks, xxx