Michael is outside building our family pool, Emily has half her body quietly immersed in what used to be my beach bag, but is now her toy basket, and I am industriously writing this blog while I wait for the kettle to boil.
It will not be long until Missy Poppins requires some attention, so let us see how far we get.
This morning Michael and Emily took a quick trip to grandma’s house to deliver Emily’s first and yet to be seen but maybe only photo with Santa, which meant I got a quiet day to work on a guest blog post.
As it is, I have spent longer on it than I expected, but it has taken a while to find my words.
My hope is it is a little more polished and articulate than this raw and organic concoction of our week that was.
It was supposed to be done weeks ago, but I have been so overwhelmed and unorganised that it simply has not happened.
As I have barely been able to remember my name, let alone string a sentence together.
Upon reflection of the last nine months, I wish I had relaxed and enjoyed baby girl more, and not stressed over trying to build an empire at the same time. It could have waited. In fact, it can wait.
This is not to say I will not work on it, but rather I will ease up on myself.
I am sick of fretting about the money. Besides, worrying is not working.
However, let us go back to the beginning of the week where Emily got her party girl on.
Oh yes, my daughter knows how to have a good time.
Monday she went to her first birthday party ever at her friend Abbigail’s house – Otherwise known as Toy Heaven.
I cannot remember what I wanted to do instead, but daddy took her for me. I was expecting them back within an hour or maybe two at the most, but they rocked up after three hours.
All reports suggest one baby girl had a tremendous time.
At one point during the proceedings, my husband rang to inform me he was never coming home, as they had party pies, and we do not.
When the two social butterflies arrived home, Emily was in such a crazy chatty happy mood, I knew she would not be going down for a nap any time soon, as she had to tell me all the things about all the things.
Nevertheless, eventually, after several attempts of being in her cot, or on our bed next to me, she finally finally fell asleep in my arms.
She has not done that for such a long time, and it was such a delicious feeling to have her peaceful weighted body upon my own.
One second she was crying with exhaustion and the next she was sound asleep.
But in my wow I can’t believe this is happening I am so happy state, I forgot to go to the bathroom first, and it wasn’t long before I was wondering how to manoeuvre her safely into a better position without waking her so I could get up.
Yeah, ummm, no!
By the way, as I write this, madam is trying to escape out the back door to her daddy.
It is all about the daddy today.
I feel terrible having to hinder her progress by bringing her back to well inside the confines of the lounge room, as she is doing such a good job of crawling to him.
Yep! That is right; we have a commando crawling forward baby.
However, I will get to that.
Tuesday our friend Jo brought her boys Olie and Saxon over to play, which was fantastic.
Olie is a little younger than baby girl, but much bigger.
I do not think either baby has ever come across another which smiles just as much.
Olie had a great downward dog technique, which Emily has since adopted.
We had coffee, cake, and a big play in the park where the two littlens ate bark.
Thankfully, Olie is used to being harassed, as he has two older brothers, because he fascinated Emily. And his big fat bottle of irresistible milk.
Yep, she tried to steel it.
However, I know she had a good time playing, because she kept talking about it all day.
I hope we can do it again soon.
After Jo and the boys left, somehow we got her down for a nap before daddy went to supposedly help Uncle Randall out with some jobs.
However, rumour has it they just spent a languid lazy afternoon floating in the cool fresh waters of a certain local Dam.
Meanwhile Emma my orientation and mobility instructor arrived with a couple of new canes.
Because as baby girl grows, and I carry her in different ways, the length of my cane needs to change.
Before Emma entered our world midway through my pregnancy last year, I used to use a 105cm long cane as my casual every day, but at the moment with Little on my hip, it is a 127cm length of yet to be decked out in something totally fitting and funky navigation aid.
Oh yes, and by the way, stepping on my cane is the equivalent to stepping on my toe, so yes, if you do it, you’re going to get a snippy comment in return.
I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating; pretending it did not happen does not make it so.
So at least have the decency to apologise.
Because trust me, if you do not! I will call you out on it.
Emily loves Emma, so it was not long until we were swapping one wriggly baby between us as mummy strutted her stuff up and down the small path outside our front gate as we through ideas around, and generally caught up.
Working with Emma feels more like having a catch up with a friend than actually doing any proper official mobility type stuff.
Accept for that pesky why do we need it but I totally get it paper work.
One of the problems I have been having lately is people have been so ridiculously rude and inconsiderate, that my previously easy-going casual comfortable cane technique is out the window, and replaced with a tense defensive stance.
Particularly since that little old lady tried to touch my baby without permission a couple of weeks ago.
When working with Emma, it has been less about my technique, because that has always been pretty good, and much more about the details of how to get somewhere with a baby. Until Now.
It was difficult to explain to her I cannot relax, because I have to protect baby girl from the randoms who think they can take liberties, or who simply aren’t paying attention, or if they are insist on playing chicken with me and seeing if I will move, and if I do not, then take great pleasure in running me into a wall, side swiping me, cutting me off, or any number of other you’ve got to be kidding me type scenarios.
So yes, of course I am going to be tense.
In some ways, it is better when I have Little with me, because blind chick with a baby is not something people see every day, so in some ways they are a little more forgiving.
But when they are not, they are most definitely not.
When I have baby girl with me the steaks are so much higher, therefore in those situations, I am at my most primal, and feel at my most ill equipped to keep her safe.
I know Emma understands, but it was an interesting exercise, as up until that moment, I had not realised just how wound up I had become. Let alone what a crappy inefficient this is an injury waiting to happen handgrip I had developed.
So now, it is all about a conscious effort to find my centre, keep calm, and tap into that inner do not mess with me strength I possess. Especially when I am out with baby girl.
Because shouting profanities at the driver who accelerates across the zebra crossing just as I am stepping out is not a good example to set for Miss Emily.
Miss Emily who loves her mummy so much, that she wants to hold my cane for me while I walk.
Actually, it may be less about that and more about how delicious the rubber grip and bungy cord tastes.
Because on Tuesday when Emma was over, whoever had the longest cane, was the one her royal cuteness preferred.
And given I am usually the only one with a cane when we are out, then of course it is going to be me. Especially seeing as there is usually a rattle or a crinkly toy flower attached to the end of it.
Her job when we are on the train is to hold it for us.
This serves two purposes, not only does it keep her sitting relatively still on my lap, but it also discourages her from licking the support poles.
And let me tell you, anything, which distracts from that is a good thing.
It also helps to serve as a psychological barrier between us and all those people she likes to smile and coo at until they pay her some attention.
She is such a cutie cute cute cute.
Wednesday saw Michael not feeling 100%. So much so, that he had a nap at the same time Emily did in the afternoon.
Again, I cannot remember what we did in the morning, apart from our usual play on the floor with all the toys, hang the washing out, and read books on the lounge.
Nevertheless, Wednesday afternoon we made our way up the street to run some errands, where Emily sparked up and had an amazing time.
Her favourite part was yelling happily at all the passers-by in the local shopping centre as Michael and I checked out the bargain book table.
Little Miss flexible had both her feet up on the sidebars of her pram, and was periodically yelling in her excited voice, her BWAAA sound.
On the way home, we ducked into the local second hand shop.
I love those things, and have spent many an hour trawling for bargains in those places throughout my life. However, to entre it with Michael was an entirely different experience.
I felt a wave of shame wash over me as I pushed the door open.
It was both surprising and humbling at the same time.
I felt terribly guilty we were in there, and did not have a choice to be anywhere else.
However, it turns out he quite liked it.
Which I do not know why that surprises me, given what a tight ass he is, and how everything in his universe is based on a price point first before all else. However, it did.
I’m thinking the fact he found the entire collection of Beatrix Potter for the princely sum of $4.00 may have helped somehow soften the stark reality of our financially strapped but we need to feel we’re contributing to her wellbeing in ways other than the lowest of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs mission.
Thursdays are when mummy goes to work. Again, Michael was not feeling quite himself.
I felt guilty about leaving, but it had to be done.
So imagine my delight when Michael discovered the rapture and beauty that is curling up with our amazing bundle of joy and having a nap.
He has never done that before.
I believe his words were to the effect; this is something I will be doing every day from now on.
Apparently, she snuggled down under his arm like a koala bear, with one hand on his chest, and one leg over his belly.
Like seriously, how does it get any better than that?
Thursday afternoon we had a quick play in the park, and I swear, Emily’s wriggle was different from the time I last picked her up earlier that morning, until the time I picked her up to play on the equipment.
I mean I almost dropped her as we played with the steering wheel.
It turns out; Thursday morning was the day she decided to commando crawl forward for the very first time.
I received a very animated phone call from my husband at about lunchtime, excitedly exclaiming that they had spent the last five minutes or so with baby girl making her way across the room to a guess who is beside himself with happiness daddy.
Well, that is his Christmas present taken care of.
The problem is now; she is never never ever wear we leave her.
Those anklet bells coming from Hong Kong cannot arrive soon enough.
With each day she gets a little stronger, and her technique a little better.
This is not to say she does not have her moments of utter frustration and confusion, but she is making progress.
I keep thinking of those mama birdies who sit vigilant in their nests while they watch their offspring struggle to learn to fly on the ground.
So this is how it feels, I think as I sit half a metre away from my little girl and encourage her to come to me.
I know if I pick her up too soon I will be ultimately setting her up for a pattern of failure and giving up.
It is difficult not to coddle her the moment she cries, but I stay as strong as I can. Knowing by leaving her on the floor, I am helping her brain development, her skill set, and her sense of self.
We try to be as consistant as possible in allowing her to discover things for herself, or being true to our word.
But talk about having to be disciplined.
Friday saw mummy leaving the house again while daddy and Emily prepared for an adventure to a different library.
Because it is Christmas time Emily had to wear her angel wings.
Ok well mummy decided Emily had to wear her angel wings.
They are way too cute. So of course, they had to be seen by the world.
As usual, she paid no attention to the library staff who mentioned something about listening ears. Apparently, she simply sat and babbled to her friends while undoing daddy’s shoelaces.
Then they all went for lunch in the park, before my two Santa hunters came home to swim in the shell pool.
On Saturday, Emily went to her first Christmas party ever!
What’s more, it was a Christmas party for her and her friends – Parents most welcome.
Each family took a plate, or in our case, three and we met in the park, which is not very good for daddies to climb on.
There was a shell pool full of water, which Emily made the most of by splashing her hands in wildly.
It was too cold for swimming.
However, what she could do, that she could not do at Katie’s the week before was pick a toy out of the water of her own accord.
All had a good time, but we had to leave early because Little was so so so so so tired.
Obviously, I do not spend enough time around other little kids, because it was disconcerting to hear the other babies making the same sounds in the same voices as my own.
However it was funny to listen to them talk to each other in their own language.
Later that evening we had a special visit from our friends Katie Lee and Rosey May.
This meant Emily got to stay up late late late so the girls could play.
By late I mean we did not get her into bed until 7:30PM, and in our universe that is considered way beyond a baby girl’s bedtime.
Thanks for the clothes and the rocker missy Katie.
See you soon.
And this brings us full circle.
In terms of games our favourite this week besides upside down world of course is the greeting game.
This is a new game we play where Emily says hi, and we say hi. She says hi, and we say hi. This goes on as long as she likes.
It is her first word apart from dada, and bubba, that she knows means something.
She also has hello, which is unmistakable, but she does not use it as often.
However, this week her focus has been more on the tone of words rather than words themselves.
By tone, I mean she has a really good whinge going on.
I do not mind so much, but only because I know it is a phase.
The one, which has surprised me, is her version of that. Which sounds a lot like dad, but if you listen carefully enough it is more of a dat.
She uses it a lot if she is scratching the wall.
We are not sure where she gets it, because it is not a word we use to describe things.
For example, we do not say would you like this or that. We tend to say would you like chicken.
Tonight while I was playing with her in the mirror, she said “there” as she pointed to the baby in the mirror.
Which reminds me, we’ve been working really hard on learning to clap lately, and today Michael tells me when they were at grandma’s it was the first time she almost got it by herself.
Little cheeky bottom has her giggle on a lot this week.
Especially for her daddy.
She likes to roll over when we are trying to change her nappy and wiggle away if possible, and then giggle because she knows she is causing more work.
We have almost mastered the upside down nappy.
If daddy tickles her tummy, she laughs. However, mummy only gets a smile.
But by God, it is the best sound I have ever heard.
On the toy front, puzzles are still a big hit. She has mastered the first half of the game that of taking the peace’s out. Lucky daddy is good at putting them back.
In addition, today she opened her book and started reading it allowed to mummy.
She loves White Lion, and jingle bells.
In addition, even naughty dolly is back on the scene.
Hello naughty dolly, we have missed you. However, no, you are not getting your own Facebook page.
Thankfully, her toys have become interesting again.
She is especially enjoying the activity table daddy found for her a week or so ago.
This week she has learned to reach over the top of it to other buttons, nobs, and twirly things. As well, as lift herself up. However she has to be careful because using the table as a lever, is only going to work for a short time, as she is getting heavier day by day.
I keep a close eye on her, but she is getting better at standing and playing at said table by herself. She is very wobbly though.
We are encouraging her to stay on her hands and knees as often as possible. Not only from a safety perspective, but also because we know we have a climber, but we want her neural patterns to develop in a specific way.
Earlier in the week, we had begun leaving her in her room with some toys on the floor in the early mornings, so she could play happily. Now with her new crawling skills, it is not safe on her own because her room is at the top of the stairs.
However, it is not all happy babies and familial bliss.
Emily is still on her breast-feeding strike, and this makes me sad.
On the one hand, I am coming to terms with the idea of her not taking my milk. I mean who knows if I have any left anyway.
On the other hand, I miss the connection.
Not only is it messing with my body, but also it is messing with my mind.
I feel a little hormonal crazy at the moment.
Which translates, as I feel sloppy, frumpy, grumpy, and grizzly.
Not a good combination.
I keep offering her my milk, and sometimes she teases me by almost latching, and I get excited, but then she clamps down, and drags my entire nipple through her teeth as she pulls off.
I would not mind if she actually drank, but she does not.
I know it was difficult for her when she had that horrible teething cold a couple of weeks ago, but she is better now.
I rang the Australian Breast Feeding Association, but they were not much help.
Everything I read on the subject makes me feel more and more like a failure.
Apparently, all I need is patience and support, and she will come back.
The literature says babies are not meant to self-ween before the first year.
So obviously, I must be doing something wrong.
The whole situation is stressing me out.
I am trying to relax with her, and I keep offering her my milk, just as I am supposed to, I keep her in a quiet environment… blab la bla, but nothing.
So here we are.
I am trying to trust she knows her body, and she knows what it needs.
After all, she gets plenty of nutrition from buffet breakfast, long lunch, high/low tea, and plenty of formula.
Speaking of food, daddy’s chicken pasta recipe is her favourite. Closely followed by yummy lamb.
This week she ate an apple with the skin on just like mummy. Actually, it was mummy’s apple, but whose counting.
We have been so busy doing other things, that we have not really had a chance to introduce her to anything new.
Yesterday morning while we were waiting for daddy to get up, we made some orange and cinnamon infused shortbread buttons.
Whenever we cook with her, we always explain what we are doing. And where possible we give her a smell or a taste.
Therefore, Saturday morning she intensely watched how we zest an orange, and then she ate the flesh.
She tried butter, shook sugar, and sniffed cinnamon, nutmeg, and finally licked the all spice jar.
Mama was not quick enough on that last one.
Her favourite part is when I crack eggs, and they plop into the bowl.
I have been trying to teach her how to sip her water from a straw, but we have not had any success yet.
Week by week our tiny baby is becoming more of a toddler.
I looked at her body as she lay kicking on the change mat last night, and could not believe how big she is grown.
Her legs are long and strong.
When did this happen?
Good Lord I cannot keep up.