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Monday, February 28, 2011

Mothering a toddler

Also letting you know there's an update on the "scientific findings" page.

Well it's official, my darling baby girl is now a whole year old. That helpless, innocent, defenseless pink blob that came from my very body and cuddled in so tight is now a strong, independent, cheeky toddler. She is still the most adorable creature I've ever seen. She still takes my breath away. She still stops time when she looks into my eyes. She still studies me like I'm an amazing toy. She still thinks I'm awesome. She still finds nourishment from my body. She still cuddles in tight. She still needs me to change her and cuddle her and love her. In many ways she needs me more now, she needs me to open the gate, open the fridge or pantry, take the plastic off/open the container and get things off high shelves. In all seriousness though, my little girl is growing up. Although sometimes it doesn't seem as obvious.

We had a party in our house for her birthday. She was overwhelmed by all the people there within 10 minutes of the first few guests arriving. She cried and cried and cried. I locked us away in her room for a nappy change and a quick cuddle and she even needed a feed to settle before going out and braving the party again. She would not get rid of the dummy either. Sometime after lunch she warmed up to everyone and was an unstoppable whirlwind. But then the whole "open my present, no open MY present" thing totally overwhelmed her again. She parties hard, but then she falls hard. She did very well though, all things considered. We dragged the poor girl to an engagement party that same night. We weren't sure how she'd handle two big parties on the same day. She handled it so well. She was social, inquisitive, cute, and even wandered off to taste examine some rocks. She was fine because the focus was not on her, although the focus of those immediately around us seemed to drift to her wherever we went. She was able to get time out though, and she was still being held by mummy, not being passed around like a hot potato. She didn't seem to mind the whole crowd singing happy birthday to her though!

We went to Dreamworld on Sunday (yeah I know we go to themeparks too often, but we went with family from NSW so it's justified :p). I took her out to play at the fun center. First she stood there in awe, just looking around. After a while she noticed the TV. Before long she was running around, climbing onto trikes, playing with toys, and mimicking the bigger kids. While there was a show on she even pushed a 2.5 year old off the chair to have it herself. I was shocked and embarrassed by her appalling behaviour but at the same time I couldn't help but be a little impressed that she was actually able to physically take a chair off a much bigger child. I still apologised profusely. Fortunately the child (and the child's mother) she picked on was a lovely girl who decided to go up the front to dance and let Alexis have the chair rather than cause a scene.

This afternoon held an other example of her growing independence. Alexis and I always check the mailbox together, it's tradition. I used to have her on my hip, then I used to let her stand but hold on to her. Recently I've been letting her play on the grass for a while. I watch her very closely in case a car comes but fortunately she has not dared go near the road yet. I know it's only a matter of time though so I don't ever get complacent. That said though, I let her have as much freedom as possible without being dangerous. This afternoon she walked rather briskly across our front yard to the neighbour's yard, towards their driveway where their pretty purple car was parked. I scooped her up. I knew trying to reason an imaginary property line with a one year old was useless, but I gave it a quick go. She wanted to look at that car though! She 'ran' from the mailbox to the car several times (with me picking her up and taking her back to the starting line each time).

She's incredibly independent when she wants to. If something shiny catches her eye, she's off. Trying to get her to lie still for a nappy change is impossible. Trying to get her to stand still for a nappy change is next to impossible too. We've resigned ourselves to changing the change table cover quite frequently, it's not really a big deal. There's still times though that she won't let me put her down without either whimpering, full-fledged screaming, or a combination of both. Then there's the days when she wants to be on the ground not in my arms but wants me in view all the time and follows me around constantly. She is seemingly unpredictable but there is a sort of pattern to it. I've come to associate her being clingy with her actually being tired but not wanting to admit it, so I usually try to be a little more patient with trying to pat her off to sleep. Sometimes though, it's the separation anxiety, which is a normal developmental phase almost all toddlers experience, and we just share a lovely day of cuddles and stories. It is nice to still feel needed. It's also equally as nice on the days where she plays well by herself and I get stuff done. It's so important to be flexible. Fortunately I don't have to work so I don't have the absolute need for a hard and fast schedule.

I used to bust my chops trying to impress Corey and "earn my right" to stay home. This was mostly internal pressure, the perfectionist in my trying to prove myself, to avoid repeats of the early days when my hubby used to come home in a foul mood suggesting I might as well get a job as I was a useless housekeeper. These days Corey understands much better that babies are sometimes temperamental, as we all are. These days he is much more understanding that some days 'nothing' gets done (my words not his). He's getting great at replying to my "argh I did nothing" with "babe you did the washing so I have something to wear tomorrow, that's heaps, thanks", or "you did the dishes that were piling up", or "thanks for still cooking dinner" (even if it's chucking pies in the oven) or "you tidied up the lounge a little bit" or something like that. It makes such a difference when he's supportive and understanding, it really does. I feel like I can just enjoy being a mum and watching my toddler grow without feeling guilty. The housework always gets done, eventually, whether its by me or Corey, but it never ends. It will always be calling out to me, but it is OK to ignore it. Alexis, on the other hand, is always changing, and she won't be young for ever. My job, my privilege, is to give her the space and the closeness that she needs when she needs it.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fresh air, water, dirt, good for growth.

Today was full of adventures. There were a more than a few utterances of "should have stayed in bed today" but also some lovely moments as well.

Corey had to leave an hour earlier this morning, so we all got up an hour earlier. The extra bit of daylight was quite nice really, although I found myself completely warn out by 9:30, and now I'm in zombie-land, half-hearted drying my hair while I blog. It's too interesting a day not to document. Well, interesting by my standards anyway.

Getting up earlier and the fact that it was actually sunny today was a marvelous combination. Alexis and I had eaten breakfast, dressed and hung a load of washing on the line before it was overly hot. This is a small achievement. I have been thinking of taking her down to the park in the afternoon for many days but with the threat of summer storms (and teenagers) we haven't made it down. So this morning we made the most of the extra hour and headed down to the park. We had the whole place to ourselves. It was nice. It was meant to tire her out. I had taken the pram down, naively thinking she would fall asleep in the pram on the walk back.

The reality was a little different. I whisked Alexis away after about half an hour of trying to convince her to a) wear her hat and b) not actually eat the bark stuff or worse things she found amongst it. She was tired, but she was not ready to admit it. Picture me (overweight and unfit and slightly congested) pushing a pram up a steady hill. The pram has a sunshade on it. Little white sandals keep kicking out from under the sunshade. Protesting screams fill the air. The noise stops. The kicking stops. I thought my little princess had surrendered. We arrived home. I lifted the sunshade. Two little eyes peer brightly back at me. That's my girl. Very resilient.

I let her out for fear of the whinge-police coming to get us. We then checked the mail, and hung another load on the line. Well, I hung the washing on the line while Alexis walked around at my feet, played with the laundry trolley, picked "treasures" out of the garden (rocks, not turds, thankfully). Alexis screamed at me for trying to pick her up and take her inside. She arched her back, then taking another approach sat down and folded herself in half, headbutting the ground. This is her latest tactic. I hope this phase will pass soon! I noticed her shorts were wet. She had been sitting on her sippy cup and it had leaked onto her? Well that might have been why she didn't sleep. The sippy cup was not under her bottom when I left her, I'm not that mean, when I started pushing her home it was in her hands!

Seeing as her pants were wet and she was grotty I thought a swim in her clam shell might be nice but it was too hot near the taps and I didn't want to drag the full shell to the shade, so I decided to give her a "swim" in the bath. I filled the bath with cool water and let her loose. I didn't try to clean her I just let her play while I tidied the vanity. She thought she was in heaven. She played in there for so long. I plain forgot I had used cold water. By the time I got her out the poor little thing was nearly frozen. What a bad mummy I am! :p

Then the usual for a while, cuddles, feed, she had a sleep, then we had lunch. Then I left her in the highchair watching Sesame Street while I started the dishes. She watched the whole show! This is not normal for Alexis, who does not normally like to be contained or to sit in the one spot for long. We then played a very long game of "where's dolly?" Which is basically peekaboo, except with a doll. The gorgeous part was that it was Alexis who was "hiding" dolly from me and then bringing her back out with excitement. After that we went into the spare room where I've stashed the party-bag stuff for the big upcoming event. I attempted to assemble some party bags, thinking bub would play her daddy's drums happily beside me like she normally does, but Alexis thought it would be fun to climb into the tub where I was keeping everything. So I tipped everything out, took her (in the tub) out to the entry and filled the tub with 100 plastic balls. We then played a game of fetch, where Alexis through balls out and I retrieved them. I feel dirty and used, but it was fun. :)

I'm not sure of the order or exact events for the rest of the afternoon but I do know that stories (how many times can she ask me to read the one book before I crack?), TV, and raiding the plastics cupboard were all involved. She would not settle, so I thought "why not go to the bank and start an account for Alexis?" We were a few minutes away from the shops when Alexis fell asleep, so in a spontaneous moment of insanity I decided to detour to a fast-food drivethru for a cheeseburger. I pulled into the car park to eat my prize in piece then flicked through some junk mail I had in the car (I'd picked it up on the way out the driveway. Clever hey). I enjoyed my moments of piece and quiet so much and so long that I was unexpectedly overtaken by kiddy-o-clock, where 20 (no joke. well maybe 10 but it felt like a hundred) soccer mums in 4WDs arrived for the post-school pit stop. The drive-thru line backed up so long that I (right at the end of the car park) was parked in. I had tried to get out a few times but everytime the line would move a new bimbo crept up behind me. I didn't beep the horn because I didn't want to wake Alexis. I didn't want to appear rude but I revved the car quite forcefully and inched back slowly but surely until bimbo mcbimbto-ton backed up. Yes it was incredibly rude but a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do. I then thought seeing as Alexis had not woken through that ordeal I should take us home and attempt party bags again.

Two bright little eyes greeted me as soon as we pulled in the driveway. Two bright but still very tired little eyes. Two little eyes and one large mouth that would not surrender to going back to sleep. So we played some more. I think Alexis pulled all the shoes off the shoe-rack? Eventually she got so restless we went outside in the late afternoon shade and I let her loose. She explored the grass, the concrete, the hose (she even got water out of it with it turned off just by shaking it really hard), the dirt, (I squashed the exploration of ant hill and spider), practiced walking down the hill and back up, she was having a ball. I took her little trike out there and pushed her around a bit. She loves outside. She's an outdoorsy girl. I made a quick phonecall and in that time she tried to push over her clam shell pool that was wedged strategically between the pole and a chair, and TRIED TO PICK UP HER FATHER'S MOUNTAIN BIKE. Obviously she failed but she did get one tire off the ground. What am I feeding this kid!? They need to get the energy out of breastmilk and formulate some supplement for adults. I wish I had her energy, but no I'm not prepared to drink my own milk for it, that would be wrong on so many levels.

We played some more, played outside with daddy, talked to the little boy over the fence, then she wouldn't let me put her down so I made dinner with her on my hip (this has to stop!). Dinner in itself was adventurous. I found a great way to use leftover savoury mince by the way, one sheet of puff pastry and just spread the mince over it and top with cheese and bake at 200 degrees for 15 minutes. SOOOO easy. It turned out really well except in my haste I had accidentally used the cheap baking paper, the kind where the paper and bottom layer of pastry fuse and you have to throw it out coz you just can't tell what is pastry and what is paper. That was definitely a "shouldn't have bothered" moment, but it still tasted good. It was the final push we needed after many months of "I should just throw that out" I asked Corey to dispose of the cheap baking paper for me. Ah it feels good.

We played some more for a long time too and showered Alexis and she is now asleep. She has done her customary wake up and now I think it's time I can get some sleep too. I haven't mentioned, Alexis has been sleeping through lately! It's so good. I haven't mentioned it because I haven't wanted to jinx us. She still goes to sleep at the breast, but she wakes up after a half hour or hour or so and if we get to her quick enough we can usually put dummy in and stroke her/pat her/cuddle her back to sleep and she'll usually sleep the night then. It means Corey and I have been staying up later so we can respond to her quickly rather than groggily waking up and heading to her so slowly she's gotten herself all worked up by then. So I'm getting less sleep but I'm getting a longer chunk of sleep and I think that's better for me for now. Hopefully this works for a while, then the trying to get her to sleep without a feed will begin.

Actually, at dinner tonight she was crying and crying and not eating and she would accept a feed from me or anything so I tried her with a bottle and she gobbled it down then ate her dinner, so she's already begun the process of starting to think about weaning herself. It's a good thing, really, but it did smart a little at the time. For those of you who've gone before me, how did you wean your kids? Or did they wean themselves?

Now our epic day is over, time for sleep. "Night night world. Night night me. Night night you" (from one of the several books we read ad nauseum today).

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Modern technology, wonderful isn't it

Hi all, so I've been very quiet for a week. Yes I've been busy, I've also been unwell (stupid cold) but also I have been without the aide of my phone. I was never the sort of person who was glued to a mobile phone, until I got a good one. One with an internet browser, wifi, 3G, facebook, touch screen, notebook, calculator, a camera, a camcorder, and even the ability to make and receive phone calls and sms (on occasion). No it's not an iphone, I still tease my hubby for being attached to his iphone, but I wasn't much better ;). In my defence though I didn't use it for games (much), just for capturing photos and movies, writing my thoughts down, and keeping in touch with the world around me. It is on said phone that the vast majority of my blogging was done.

Last Thursday morning I found myself thinking "I use this thing too often, I should cut back". Last Thursday night my phone mysteriously stopped working. "The lights were on but no-one was home" so to speak, the little lights to say the phone was on flashed but the screen was dead. Now on a touch screen phone when the screen is dead you can not do anything. Not even make a phone call. So needless to say my phone is in for repairs. That was an adventure in itself.

The phone company couldn't send if off because my contract was started at a different store (a busier store a long long drive away) unless they could photocopy the receipt but their photocopier could not read it. So I trekked down to the newsagent and asked the 15-year-old clerk to photocopy it for me. I could have done it myself, I used to break the use the photocopier at work all the time, but as the sign says don't mess with this ask us for help, I did. The sweet, sweet boy did so without calling me old or technically inept or anything. He didn't even need to stick his tongue out the side of his mouth! Then I took it back to the phone shop, stomped around impatiently waited in line (again), only rolled my eyes three times and waited very patiently while they blatantly ignored me and talked to everyone elses baby making me miss mine who my father was kind enough to look after outside the store tried to fix the computer system. They had no loan phones to lend me, and so I laughed when they said "we'll call you to let you know when it's back". Gold star people. I asked roughly when I should start calling in to check seeing as they in fact had my phone, and they said "a few weeks".

I was in the process of looking for a cheap phone to buy for the interim when dad said "you can use my old phone with your SIM". Awesome! So I have a phone for phonecalls and sms but it's just not the same. I have to actually find the camera to take photos, and by the time I've done that and found new batteries, Alexis has stopped doing whatever cute thing it was she was doing. I have to actually turn a computer on to check facebook or blog or look up some piece of useless drivel information. It's less than convenient to try to venture into the study with a baby. Far too many things I don't want her wrecking dangerous things in this room. On the upside I can now use strikethrough script to annoy the willies out of you keep myself occupied.

My blog will probably be somewhat neglected for a while longer, as I can spend less time on the computer as I could quickly noting something while feeding Alexis or sitting in the car (with hubby driving) or whatever else I was doing. I will start again with a vengence eventually, probably when I get my phone back so I can open the notepad and find all those notes I wanted to turn into blog entries. I've got them saved on the computer (yay micro SD cards) but I think I need the app to open it.

Maybe the moral of this story is don't be a yuppy?

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This time last year

This time last year I was due to give birth to Alexis. I didn't know she was Alexis yet. We decid ed to not find out the sex of the baby ("Leechy" as we affectionately named it) until he or she was born. So I had many sleepless nights just lying there thinking about what was to come and what bub would look like and would it be a blue or a pink and would I cope ok and would it be love at first sight and what would we name him or her. I had so many questions and I was humongous and awkward and could not get comfortable. Add to that the fact I jumped at every little change since late January thinking I was going into labour. My little bundle of joy made us wait many sleepless nights before she finally graced us with her presence.

For security reasons I don't want her actual date of birth on the internet, so those of you who know it please don't put it on here. As we approach Alexis' first birthday and I look back it's amazing how much everything has changed in such a short time. I am no longer a paid professional scientist, but I have the best occupation in the world. My job is to protect, nurture, feed, clothe, amuse, intellectually stimulate, observe, love, adore, kiss, cuddle, read to, sing to and teach life skills to the most beautiful girl in the world. Well the most beautiful girl in my world. My 'client' is a toddler, my 'boss' is my husband (but don't tell him that :p), and higher management is our Lord Jesus (although sometimes I forget this :s). My client is adorable but she is demanding. I thought pathology on-calls were demanding, but now I'm on-call 24/7/365. There are limited sick days or holidays. Although job satisfaction is high there are days when I doubt my abilities to perform my duties.

There is a small bit of science still in my day-to-day life. For example "what is that smell, how do I make it stop?", "what is that noise? What does it mean? How can I convert sad noises into happy noises?". My measuring skills are still active, measuring water for the steriliser, the steamer, bottles for formula. I'm pretty anal trying to get the levels just perfect whereas Corey accepts the nearest 10 ml. There's observing and investigating techniques such as, "how long can she walk for without slipping and hitting the tiles?" and deciding when is the best time to try to get her to sleep. If she's not tired enough then when she wakes the first time she feels dibbed and decides it's party time but if she's too tired she's next to impossible to settle.

Being a stay at home mum is physically challenging too. At first she wanted to feed constantly, which was incredibly draining. Then she wanted to be carried around the house. Once she was crawling I was following her to try to stop her eating things off the floor. When she was learning to walk I was hovering around to catch her every few steps. Now she is almost running she is so fast and she can cover a lot of ground very quickly. She is a lot more independent but frequently comes back to me asking to be picked up and carried around for a while like old times. It is actually very tiring to get her to sleep in the afternoon because she doesn't like to stop playing but she gets very cranky and clumsy if she doesn't, so I have to pace or rock or tap her repeatedly trying to keep her still for long enough for her to admit that she's tired.

Surprisingly though I am still a terrible sleeper.I had hoped that our outings this morning and vacuuming the house with 10 kilos on my hip this arvo would have tired me out. I bombed out for a few hours til Alexis woke me at midnight, and then back to sleep for a few more hours but I woke when she usually wakes for a feed. She seems to have slept through it. I've been in pain with a nasty ulcer on the roof of my mouth, I think due to one of Alexis' finger nails exploring my mouth yesterday. Good thing the human mouth heals quickly. It heals best with sleep doesn't it?

Anyway, because I don't want Alexis' actual birthday on here I'll say this now.

Happy birthday princess, mummy loves you so so much. You are growing up so fast and so well. You are a very intelligent and very compassionate little person. When you are older mummy wants to print these blog entries for you to show you how amazing you are. Thank you for changing my life for the better. Mwah.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Date Night/My Big Girl's First Sleepover

Tonight is the first night I've spent away from my little angel since she was born. Alexis is staying at her nanna and grandad's house. She has stayed there plenty of times, but never without me. I'm sure she'll be fine. She's in very good hands there. Mum and dad would call me if she was being impossible to settle, right? I'm not nervous. I'm not worried about her. Really I'm not! I just hope she's not making a nuisance of herself and driving my parents nuts. Or, if I'm brutally honest, what if they do a better job than me and she's the perfect little angel who sleeps through all night and I've been "not worrying" for nothing?

I know my parents will take very good care of Alexis, they always do. I do however feel guilty for only sending her with one small bottle of "mummy's milk". We provided plenty of formula, but she's not used to that. She will tolerate formula, but its "mummy's milk" that really hits the spot. I am slightly concerned she will miss me so much and not have my milk to calm her down. I tried to express heaps over the last few weeks but there doesn't seem to be enough to express any spare these days. Part of the joys of her growing up. She'll wean herself soon enough or my milk will dry, that's a normal natural thing, nothing to be sad about. This will probably be a great step in that direction. I just hope mum and dad will call me if she needs me.

They won't want to bother Corey and I because it's our date night for Valentines Day. I'm still awake, as is Corey, and we could go pick her up if we needed to, but I don't want to call because I don't want them to think I don't trust them! I do! But she's my little girl! It's not that I'm bored on my date, we're having the best night, but it's a mum thing, and if you're a mum you understand what I mean. You never really stop thinking about your kids. (See being a mum is so constant.)

Tonight really has been a great night. We didn't want to go out for dinner or a movie or anything. We don't understand why people get their children babysat to go listen to other peoples' children playing up. We made a quick trip to the supermarket for provisions (chocolate, lollies, frozen pizza) then we just stayed home and did things we don't get a chance to do much anymore. Such things like watch TV shows we had recorded but never watched, and sit on the recliners WITH THEM FULLY RECLINED without worrying about Alexis disappearing inside them or banging her head. We also had fondue. I had been looking forward to fondue for so long. Candles are a very big danger around babies, especially once they're mobile. So are the skewers. I also have to bear in mind that anything I eat passes through breastmilk to Alexis, so I rarely eat much chocolate because it sends her hyper. She also gets very jealous and upset if we have food and don't offer her some. So fondue has been a big no-no. Tonight however I let loose because she wasn't here. Yummy! (I don't want to think about the calories, I'll just feed Alexis heaps tomorrow to make up for it? Wishful thinking?)

It was also nice to have one-on-one time with Corey and fully concentrate on what he was saying. We always try to make time for each other, as we both believe it's incredibly important in a relationship, but when Alexis is here I can't help but have the back of my mind worrying about waking Alexis up or listening for Alexis' cries, or if she's awake but quiet wondering what kind of mischief she's getting herself into! It's so nice to switch off parent-mode for a little while and relax. We also played a strategy game that has tiny little pieces that we can't play when Alexis is here lest she inhales one up a nostril or chokes on one (oh the things I didn't think about before I was a mother).

I have snuck my laptop on to quickly blog only because Corey is in the bathroom paying for his over-indulgence of chocolatey goodness. ;) I think it's important for childless-people to realise that when you have a child EVERYTHING DOES CHANGE, that's not just a cliche. Not everything changes all at once, but it does change. So make the most of little things while you can. It's also to encourage mums to give themselves and their hubbies a break every now and then and be a young person yourself. Go on, you can do it, it's good for you.

I caught myself actually having fun without my daughter here. Does that make me a bad person? No! Does it make me a bad mother? No! Does it make me a better mother because I realise the importance of recharging my batteries so when we pick her up tomorrow morning I'll be better able to look after her? Well that's debatable, but many experts would say there's a good case for that. Was it incredibly important to my hubby? Very much so. It's so important, ladies, to take time out for hubby-dearest. Men have feelings too, they are just better at hiding it. Does that mean I don't like my daughter and am reluctant to pick her up again? Of course not. It simply means I love my husband and I enjoy spending time with him without my daughter, like it used to be. I don't have to worry about my daughter because I know my parents are perfectly capable of looking after her, and if it got that bad they would call me. It is weird without her though, and I'm looking forward to a nice big cuddle and a nice long feed tomorrow morning.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Even noisy when she sleeps

this was written about 5 am Tuesday morning but it's the first chance I've had to post it.

Alexis and I had a sleep over at my parents house last night (Monday night). We were over late and she fell asleep and we decided it was easier to pop her in the cot and stay here. It's very nice to have that option, thanks to my parents having their very own nursery here for Alexis and my niece to use. My old single bed is there for me too. It's very convenient. Alexis loves it here. She has more toys here than at home and there is even a high chair for her to use. Mum and dad are so thoughtful, they have everything here: bibs, cups, bowls, spoons, wipes, nappy-rash cream, full-fat cheese. They even have bananas here for her even though they cost $6/kg at the moment. Now that's love!

Alexis' favourite things at nanna and grandads (other than nanna and grandad) are the cats. There's six shiny 3D cat magnets on the fridge (or on the floor or in bubba's hands), and two very real, very fun to chase, very spoiled balls of fur. The furry felines started meowing and headbutting the door at about 5 am, which vaguely translates to, "hey you with the opposable thumbs, I want my breakfast".

The cats have done well to last this long though, seeing as I heard them jingling around (bells on collar) at 3 am when I was up with Alexis. Alexis has been back to sleep but I don't think the cats or I have. Alexis kept me up and I probably kept the cats up. Then again the rooster down the street is crowing, and the kookaburra's are singing, so the animal kingdom probably thinks this is play time.

I've been trying to sleep but it's hard to share a room with Alexis. I've realised that she is very noisy even when she's asleep. She has been tossing and turning and whimpering on and off all night. Also because its a slightly smaller cot she has wacked into the side rails a few times. Sometimes this wakes her up, sometimes she just shakes it off and goes back to sleep. It was quite upsetting for me to see!

Now she's just had a coughing fit that's lasted for at least half an hour while she was asleep. I was worried she would wake my parents up, and I was unable to sleep through it myself, but the main reason I wanted it to stop was because I thought it must not be good for her little body. I tried to wake her up for a feed but she wouldn't. I tried holding her upright for awhile. I couldn't stop it and I couldn't wake her. So I searched her cot, pulled out a solitary cat hair, then put her back down. I got myself something to eat, was thinking about going back to bed but she was still coughing. I fed the noisy cats, decided I could sleep on the couch, then Alexis woke up.

So it seems like when she really wants to sleep, she'll sleep, but that doesn't mean she can't stop me sleeping.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Got sleep!

A very quick post as it's time to prepare breakfast etc but just wanted to share my excitement...

Alexis slept through last night!!! And even stranger so did I!!!

Possible 'scientific' reasoning to come, but for now, YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Touched by generosity

Today I was blessed by the generosity and kindness of two ladies and their families. I did not know either of these ladies until we all attended a play date at a mutual friend's place a month or two ago. We seemed to hit it off well because our babies are similar ages and at the same developmental stage. Babies are a very easy conversation starter, especially when they have no problems crawling all over each other regardless of whether that person is a stranger or not.

One of the ladies "friended" me on facebook and we've been talking a bit on there but haven't actually seen each other since. The other lady I met again at an other play date and then "friended" me too. Facebook is good for things like that.

Anyway, this first lady was kind and generous enough to invite Alexis and I to her daughter's birthday party. I was unsure if we should attend or not, as we didn't know them very well and would not want to intrude on something so special. However we did go, because she seemed legitimately keen on us going, it wasn't just a courtesy invite. Besides, what better way is there to get to know other mums than going to a first birthday party? I am so glad we went. It was a wonderful day. The birthday girl is a beautiful princess, and her parents should be so proud of how well behaved she was. Alexis thoroughly enjoyed playing with the other babies and being adored by the other adults. We even received party bags and ate a lovely lunch and Alexis enjoyed watching the birthday girl opening all her presents. It was so lovely to feel welcome.

The second lady really blessed me as well at the start of the party today because even though I tried to be organised this morning, I totally forgot to take food for Alexis. Lunch was still a fair way off being ready when Alexis was quite hungry. This lady was kind and generous enough to give us a jar of baby food for Alexis to eat. It was a yummy one too, not one of those ones that everyone buys but the baby refuses to eat. Later on, I was hot and sweaty and a little bit out of it. I hadn't taken my own drinks other than water because that's all I usually drink, and Alexis had drunk most of my water and the rest I'd poured over her head because she was all hot and sweaty in the summer heat. This lady was kind and generous enough to give me one of her cans of drink. It might seem small, but let me assure you it was not. The ice cold can of (caffeinated!)soft drink really hit the spot. I was able to enjoy the rest of the party so much more after that.

So, a huge thank you to the two beautiful ladies for making us feel so welcome. I know at least one of you reads this blog. Honestly, thank you so much for your generosity. There was other people too, like the lady who blew bubbles to keep Alexis entertained while I was getting ready to feed her, and the gentleman who smiled at her to cheer her up when she was grouchy and tired, and the little boy who happily let her climb him and play with his toys. Thank you all, kind strangers. :)

I know that many people are very generous to me and my little family all the time, and I don't thank any of you anywhere near as much as I should: my parents, Corey's parents, my sister, actually my whole family, you are all wonderful people. I hope you know I really appreciate you, but it is so lovely and heart-warming when generosity comes unexpectedly from people you hardly know.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Cousins by chance, friends by choice

My sister Amanda and I took our babies to an indoor play centre on Monday. We had a lovely day, although to be honest it's not the venue that made the day special, it was the company. It was nice for us four to catch up without the men-folk. My hubby and my brother-in-law are great but it's nice to have a girls day occasionally. The good thing about being there was that it tired both babies out so they both had a sleep at the same time, allowing Amanda and I to grab a coffee AND drink it before we went our separate ways, which is a rare treat in deed. 

The play centre admission was fairly cheap, in fact bubs are free until their first birthday! Amanda and I paid to get in, but received a complimentary drink voucher. For adults with the right attitude, this place had lots to offer. We could watch the bubs play in the special toddler area all day if we wanted to, but we joined in, pushing them around on cars and bikes, reading stories, playing blocks, not too different to home really.

What was really fun was we got to accompany them into the ball pit, on the jumping castle, and down the slide which first requires climbing up a ramp and through the obstacle course of punching bags before your can get to the giant inflatable slide. I took Alexis down the slide twice, Isabella twice, then Alexis three more times while some random energetic little boy raced us. This kid followed us to the jumping castle where I collapsed down onto the soft cushions cuddling Isabella while he gently bounced around us while Amanda took Alexis to change her dirty nappy (thanks sis!). 

Admission was cheap but we spent lots on food and drink while we were there because you can't take anything in with you. The food is good quality and reasonably priced, but the four of us worked up quite an appetite and it all adds up. We could avoid the cost next time by going in the morning or afternoon instead of lunch time, but lunch time is best because that's when both girls are happy and active. Besides, it's a fair drive (with tolls, argh!) to get there so we wanted to make the most of it. Happy mummies plus happy babies plus yummy food = a very fun eating experience. It was also a very messy eating experience, which someone else cleaned up!

Even if all we did all day was have lunch it would have been fun, but it was nice to put them in the nice big toddler area and watch them interact quietly while lunch settled. The girls play so well together. They always do, provided neither is dirty or hungry or tired. I know some experts claim that babies aren't capable of having friends, that it's "all about me" until they're three years old or so. Rubbish. These babies are friends, without a doubt.

Alexis has been besotted with her little cousin since she was born, giving her kisses and patting her like a cat. Izy had bad colic as a young baby, and if Alexis heard her cry she would be quite concerned for her. She would know she was in pain, and try to fix it. I think Isabella understood she was trying to comfort her, although I can't say that for certain. Isabella loved to watch Alexis play, and she saved her first smile for her cousin! Even when she was in the womb Izy would move around with excitement when she heard Alexis.

The age gap seemed massive at first, but now it's almost negligible. The girls are the best of playmates. Izy is crawling and pulling herself up to standing, and watching Alexis walk with great interest. Isabella learns new skills very quickly (way too quickly!) to keep up with her big cousin. There is only problems when Isabella is jealous of the wonderful foods her bigger cousin gets to eat, but she's catching up there too. Of course there's the occasional "Alexis don't sit on/stand on/climb/scratch your cousin", but its all because she loves her so much!? Isabella is getting her own back now. :) It's all in good fun.

Alexis even has her own nickname for Isabella. She can't say Isabella, so one day (months ago) came out with "bubba Bella" and it has stuck. My brother in-law tried to convince Alexis that we we don't shorten Isabella's name to Bella, her nickname is "Izy". Alexis just looked at him like, "what would you know?" and repeated with great gusto "Bubba Bella, Bubba Bella, Bubba Bella!" It's catching on, my parents and husband and often I say it as well.

Alexis ensures we catch up with Amanda (who I think is "Da") and "Bubba Bella" regularly. If we haven't seen them for over a week Alexis starts pining for her. She goes up to her photo on display and points at it, and as if I was too dense to realise what she wants, whines "bubba Bella bubba Bella," until I call Amanda and the bubs "talk" on the phone! It is wise to then book a playdate for the next possible time, because this only buys me time for so long. After a day or so she starts up again. She is always excited to see her. You can't tell me that these two aren't friends.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TC "yahtzee"

It is a warm, still, dry night here in the great South-East. It is strange to know that the northern part of this state is being battered and bruised at this very moment by a category five cyclone, 'Yazi'. It's an other prime example of media giving us access to information we otherwise wouldn't have known. Yazi is all over the news, all over the radio, all over facebook, and chanel 7 ceased all normal programming to bring non-stop updates. The only way to not hear about it is to not watch TV, listen to the radio or go on the internet. The distressing thing is we can do nothing about it.

No-one can really do anything about it. In the north, Emergency service personnel are bunkered down like everyone else. No-one is to go outside until this is all over. It is just too big. All the people in the thick of it can do is pray, protect their heads, hold each other and wait it out. Here, in the peace and quiet of a city so far away all we can do is pray, and either try to ignore it, or try to not let it wear us down. It is tempting to watch the news footage with morbid curiosity but what good will that do? Life must go on here. People must work, drive, sleep, carry on normal living. Myself, I must shop for presents for upcoming birthdays, do the laundry, cook and clean and plan my daughter's birthday party. Life goes on, but all of us are affected in our own ways.

When I first heard about TCYazi I couldn't help but chuckle because Yazzi is the pet name for my husband's car. I felt slightly guilty laughing at even more guilty for laughing at a joke my uncle told tonight, "I liked it better when Yazi was a game played with dice".

Is it distasteful to make jokes about something so serious? I don't think the north Queenslanders would be too offended. Queenslanders are generally light-hearted people. We try to be optimistic, seeing the bright side of life. Sometimes it is so hard to see the bright side of dark situations. Sometimes humour is all that is left.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, 'Yahtzee' is a game of chance played with five dice. It's a good game. There is an element of skill in choosing what to collect and what to discard, but luck is a huge factor. When I play I usually try to "will" the dice into rolling what I want. Occasionally I get lucky.

Perhaps a name that resembles a game of chance is quite fitting for this cyclone. People have prepared the best they can but now it comes down to chance, or fate, or mother nature, or God, however you look at it. All there is to do, for the time being, is hope for a happy ending. To hope the houses withstand the wind, and pray that by some miracle that no one is lost.

I pray that God has mercy on the people in north Queensland. I pray that Yazi fizzles out quicker than expected. I pray that when faced with fear many will think about eternity and turn to God. I pray that God will comfort His people through the storm, regardless of whether they have believed in him for five decades, five years or five minutes. I pray that when Yazi has passed, the people will come together to rebuild and help each other out.

That is all I can do, as I sit here feeding my baby and cuddling her tight. I suspect that when this is over we will witness that Queensland fighting spirit yet again. Until then, we wait.

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