Friday, August 29, 2014

2 years on... what have I learnt?

So... we hit the two year mark last Saturday, Chloe is two! Can you believe it? And what a wonderful little person she is, she is kind, sweet, friendly, polite, bright, well behaved (I could go on and on) but most of all, looking around the hall last Saturday, I realised she is deeply, deeply loved, by all that know her. It made me realise that a lot has happened this last year, and that Jarratt and I have become really good at this. Sure we still have our moments of weakness but on a whole, I'm giving us two big thumbs up for the job we are doing, and I'm not making any apologies for being vain about it! So I thought being one year on, a little older, a little wiser, I thought I'd revisit last years post and share with you the things I've learnt in this second year of parenting.... Here goes:

1. There is no learning curve.
I think last time I wrote, I mentioned a learning curve or something similar. Bullshit! There is no learning curve. Once you've mastered breastfeeding, bottle feeding whatever, they're onto solids, once you've mastered that, they're feeding themselves with a spoon, once you've mastered that, there's cutlery... and that's just feeding. And as a result you never really feel on top of things and that's ok. Once you realise you have no control, bam! You're in total control, and more importantly, you can relax! You can cope! Everything will be ok. I promise.

2. Pick your battles.
Look, it will sound like I'm bragging and I'm sure it won't always be the case, but in general Chloe is a great kid! She's well behaved and on the most part will listen to and follow instructions when given. But sometimes, she wants to do things herself; sometimes she wants Uncle John / mum / dad / Nanny to get her out of the car, not you. Sometimes she wants to get a toy out that I've just packed away, sometimes she wants to walk the whole way home from day care on the fences and sometimes she wants to have a big pile of cheese half an hour before dinner or peas for breakfast. And while my knee jerk reaction is to say no, in the grand scheme of things, what does it really matter? Are these make or break things? Not really. Is she hurting herself or anyone or thing if she does this? Absolutely not. So why say no? I've learnt to save 'no' when it really matters. As a result, Chloe very rarely shouts 'no' at us. I really believe children are great imitators, so its important to give them something great to imitate. I don't believe that's someone who shouts a lot, or says no a lot is that great a role model.

3. Everyone parents differently.
There's a lot of differing parenting styles out there. And I've become quite aware of it this second year. I think its because Chloe is more aware. Discipline and expectations vary from family to family so when there is a difference in opinion on what's acceptable, it makes it confusing to kids. For example I expect Chloe to eat at the table when we have dinner, its hard to uphold that when there is another child running about the place. As a result I've found the times when I've had the easiest play dates, its often with like minded parents who have similar expectations of their children. I try and hold onto those that make me feel sane. Very, very tightly! Parenting is hard enough, without the added strain of difficult situations that you need to explain to a toddler. 

4. Don't worry about what other people think
Inevitably, you are going to be judged. By your family, your friends, people on the street. Its inevitable. But don't worry about it. For a long time it ate me up, if Chloe cried or squealed for this reason or that whilst we were out, I could feel the eyes of everyone burning down on me. Judging me. I then became stressed and dealt with the situation completely differently to how I normally would. If someone made an offhanded comment about Chloe that was even slightly negative, I'd jump on them, defending her. I would feel the anxiety swell in my stomach. Now, that's all changed. Why? Because I don't care what others think. I know that sounds awful already, so get ready for this next bit.... but why do they matter? In the end, all that matters is Chloe. I just care about her - that's the way it should be!

5. Hugs heal everything!
Even though Chloe is a great kid, we still have our melt downs. We've adopted a strategy of first asking her if she'd like a hug. Sounds ridiculous right? But 9 times out of 10 it will work. The other 1 time we walk away from her. She's in a moment, we cant snap her out of it, she has to do that herself, and she has to do that in her own time. So we walk away and wait for her to come to us. More often than not she will continue to scream, you need to fight every urge to not run in there and console her, but how will she learn how to pick herself up if we're constantly doing it for her? After a minute or so she will slowly emerge, cheeks stained with tears and fall into your waiting arms. It breaks my heart every time! Every. Single. Time. But.... the tantrum is over.

6. It doesn't get easier. But teamwork helps.
I remember being constantly told, 'don't worry, it does get easier', crap! Absolute rubbish! It doesn't get easier, the problems just change. Whether it's sleeping, eating, walking, playing, social skills, toilet training, anything at all. There's always something that's going to be causing you difficulties. Being a parent is a hard slog, it can take you to the edge of your sanity, dignity, patience levels.... and back again, but what makes it all that much easier is teamwork. I don't know what I'd do without Jarratt. He is my rock. Sometimes, when I just cant do anymore, when I'm counting down the minutes, he appears and all is well in the world again, I can breathe. I can tag out. Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOOOOOOVE Chloe, more than tea time (hehehe), but parenting is a two person job. For me anyways. Sometimes I need that solo time, that time to breathe and reboot. To just be. That doesn't make me a bad person or a bad mum. Heavens no. That makes me a better mum. It's important to be able to recognise that to be the best mum I can be, I can't always be the only one carrying the parent banner. That it's ok to pass the baton every now and then and head to the bleachers to cheer from the sideline. And thank goodness for that.

7. Its an amazing ride, savour it!
It feels like I've blinked and she's a whole year older. That makes me incredibly proud, but also incredibly sad. It feels like this time has gone so quickly. I feel like I'll turn around before much longer and she'll be heading to school, high school, driving, dating, getting married, having kids all of her own. Honestly, it makes me panic. It makes me think. It makes me reflect. Are we making the most of this? Are we making our precious time together special? Are we doing a good job? Is she happy? And the answer to all of that is whole heartedly, yes! We ARE making the most of each and every day. Our time IS special, SHE is special. We are most definitely doing a good job.  You only need to look at that little face to know she is the happiest, most loved little girl in the whole wide world!

And so ends another spiel of what I've learnt, its been nice to share with you my ramblings and get that all off my chest. Whilst this second year of parenting hasn't been the rollercoaster of the first, it has still had its ups and downs. The crazy, the crying, the cuddles. The screaming, the sacred, the scared. The minutes, the magic, the mess. It's all been part of this second year. And it's all been worth it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick! Quick!

Hello you! How are you? Well I hope. Its been a busy month here at Casa de Wyatt. We've been busy hunting for houses, applying for loans, getting taxes done and eeeeeeeeck toilet training! Its all been hard, so very, very hard, but hey? Anything worth it is right? Well, lets not waste the child nap time diddle daddling around.... lets get stuck into it!

STATS (as of 1/8/2014)
Height: 84.5cm
Weight: 12kgs
Size: 1-2
Shoe: 6

In the last month, Chloe has slowly but surely spent more dinners at the table with us than at her own table. She will still use her table for lunch and brekkie, but she much prefers eating dinner in the chair next to Mummy. As a result when we are eating out we no longer request a high chair as she simply does not need it.

She's also very capable of using her own cutlery now, although has done for a while, so no longer needs any assistance with eating. She has taken a particular interest in her knife and loves to 'cut' her (and our) food up.

The other new thing that really developed out of her taking such a long time to finish dinner was having her after dinner fruit in the bath. Often she'll snack on some mandarin, or apple, whilst in her bath. She just loves it. Except when she drops a bit in the bath, and well, if that happens it's 'yucky'.

Chloe now no longer has milk in the morning or at night. Unless she asks for it. She can have it throughout the day, as a drink. We encourage water but she much prefers milk. But in the morning now we go straight to Breakfast instead of her morning milk and she has a drink with dinner and then that's it at night. Its been a relatively easier transition. She's never been a kid that's needed to nod off with her milk in her hand so it wasn't hard to just 'drop' it from the bedtime routine. So all that stress and worry I put myself through about two months ago about how it would work, turned out to be just another thing I was overthinking. hehe.

Chloe is a down right chatterbox. Which I imagine is no surprise to any of you, given she's my daughter. hehe. Her language has improved out of sight and we're amazed at just how much she can say and understand. And its not just us who are impressed, her teachers at Day Care often comment on how wonderfully she speaks considering she is not 2 yet. The only downfall is if she tries to tell you too much or talk too quickly her words get muddled and its difficult to understand her. But that's pretty standard for little kids. But its made living with Chloe a whole lot easier as other than being able to tell you what's bothering her or what she needs. she can easily answer routine questions such as 'What would you like for breakfast?' and 'What would you like to do?' Taking much of the guess work out of what use to be a very difficult task.

Since her communication has improved so much we decided to attack the *gasp* toilet training issue this month. She is very confident and clearly understands terms like 'wet', 'dry', 'knickers', 'pants' (aka pull ups) and 'yucky'. All the universal language we've adopted in training our little lady. The most important has been 'quick! quick!' when she announces wee, wee or poo poo - its the response we give to her to hustle to the toilet. Which has made for some very entertaining looks when we tell her whilst crossing the road to be 'quick quick', she shouts back 'wee, wee' hahahaha. But more about toilet training later.

As a result of her understanding and language, we've reached the age where we've started spelling words. Yup, we're there people! At the spelling stage! Sometimes when she's within ear shot we'll say things like "Should we go to the P-A-R-K this afternoon?" or "How much M-I-L-K has she had today?" and so on. Other words that are strictly for spelling are bike, bread (as in garlic bread), cheese and woof. Particularly if we've left him at home and don't have time to go back for him. There are words that come on and off the list depending on variables like the weather, such as painting. But generally we can still distract in the event that a spelling word is said. I'm dreading the day when distraction no longer works. eeeeeck!

So, there's an activity at swimming that Chloe had been struggling with... its called a Mat Run. Basically the kids climb out of the pool (which she can do), run to the end a foam platform (which she would do) and then JUMP into the waiting arms of their parents (which she WOULD NOT do). At the final step Chloe would cautiously sit down and slide into the pool. I didn't force the issue and figured she would do it in her own time. And she has. 2 weeks ago, Chloe jumped from the platform into my arms. She was so proud of herself and the proceeding week did not blink and got straight to work. So proud of her! We also had a make up lesson on a Sunday, as she'd missed the one when I had stitches in my hand, and daddy was able to take her for the lesson. It was lovely watching them in the water together. She really had a blast with him!

In part I think the aforementioned success in the mat run is because of a real interest she has developed in jumping. Whilst she still cant get herself off the ground too well, she'll have a good crack at it when holding your hands. As well as on the walk home from Day Care, she'll walk along the brick fences and as we reach the end she'll jump off into your arms. She just loves it!

Trips to the our local park have been fairly limited since commencing toilet training as there is no toilet there. But when we do go, the swings and car wheel are a firm favourite. Whilst she still thinks their hers, she has gotten a lot better at sharing the park and crying a lot less 'mine' or 'bubbi's' when we're there.

So with Toilet Training came the issue of what do we dress Chloe in for bed now? again!!!! ........ grrrrrr, yet again, another bedtime issue surrounding clothing! We ended up keeping her PJs and just subbing out the underneath onesie to a singlet and tights. As it was easier if she needed to go to the toilet once changed for bed. And she seems to be better at keeping her blanket on herself now as well as staying on her pillow during sleeps - Yippeeeeee! And it all seems to be working - So far so good.  She also still wears a pull up to bed at night, but not during the day sleep. So far, in the 3 weeks of training we've had 1 day time nap accident - and I think that's because I wasn't quick enough off the mark when she woke from her sleep. However day care has not had one dry day sleep in 6 days! I've tried racking my brain to figure out what's the difference between home and school but I have no idea! I'm absolutely against giving them a pull up for her day sleep as I believe in consistency and if she can do it at home, consistently, she should be able to do it at school. So in the meantime we're pushing on!

Towards the end of last month we had a run of bad nights. With her waking multiple times. But then she sprouted all four of her eye teeth and we've gone back to the occasional waking. She has developed a bit of a habit of needing one of us to sit with her for a while in the evening til she falls asleep. Some nights we're ok and have the time and energy for it, others we don't, and its incredibly frustrating. We're hoping its just a phase and like most things will pass. Cross your fingers for us.

Since the arrival of Lily (Ayla's Sister) and Zoe (Ellie's sister), Chloe has been baby NUTS! Always asking for Zo-Zo and Lily! She's also developed a real sweetness in role playing with woof and more recently a doll baby Nanny bought her. She also loves listening to music, talking on the phone (mobile or landlind), sorting/matching activities and reading. Any academic pursuits really. Such a smart little cookie!


On the other side of the coin, she still hates washing her hair, but there sure is less blood curdling screams about it now. Wiping her nose has improved as has brushing her hair.

Toilet Training
As mentioned earlier, we began toilet training about 3 weeks ago. I read this whiz bang, all knowing 40 page PDF about how to toilet train in three days. Everyone, and I mean everyone (!), raved about it. And if I'm honest, it was ok. The principles were good, no negative comments, positive reinforcement, yadda yadda yadda. But you know what. Its rubbish. Its all common sense. And despite all the people I know raving about it...... no child is ever toilet trained that quickly. They may have 'learnt' the basics, but once that's done they need to master it. Well, that's my opinion anyways. But we followed the guide and for almost four excruciating days we knuckled down and stayed in for the marathon effort of toilet training Chloe complete with supplies!

By the end of the first day she was telling me and up and running to the toilet, second day same thing, third day I felt like we went backwards and I became so frustrated. I committed to another day to try and get it right! And then headed out to Renee's for a safe outing on the fourth day in the afternoon. Whilst at Renee's Chloe went to the toilet twice with prompting, it was great! Off we sent her to daycare and that's where it went a little pear shaped. She had a poo accident (which we still haven't had at home, in all three weeks) and multiple wee accidents. I felt completely defeated. All that hard work. For what? So I started again, both Thursday and Friday we had accidents (2 each day) but then by Saturday we were back on track! No accidents Saturday or Sunday, at all. Monday daddy had two accidents, but I had relaxed as one was when they were at our local park and theres no toilet. Then off she went to daycare. Picked her up.... 7 accidents! 7! I was shattered..... but I've accepted that this is how it's going to be until she really gets it. So we're now into the third week and Chloe has been accident free (at home) since Wednesday (6 days). Out tends to be hit and miss. Often with her telling us just as she's about to go, or (eeeeck!) already started. But we're so proud of her and her efforts. She's done so well considering she's not even two yet!

Chloe has sprung 4 eye teeth this last month (and a little into the previous month as well), we think that was the cause of some disruptions to her sleeping and eating last month. The last peak is all but cut through now. Which means she has just her second year molars to get then it's smooth sailing on the teething front until she's 7 or so. Have to say I'm a wee bit excited about that!!!!

Nothing to report as far as 'work' goes, she has got her headshots booked for the 21st of August, so I should have them to share with you by next months update. Just.

Until then, all our love, Team Wyatt, xxx