Saturday, 14 February 2009

23 Months

Dear Lily

I can't believe that you are nearly two. That is so big. I really had better start preparing for your party in earnest soon - since I am likely to get carried away and getting started early will help to ease the stress and give me time to scale back any crazy ideas that I hatch along the way... (and then scale back again, no doubt). It's really all about the cake, isn't it?

This last month has been a tough one. After being on the waiting list for almost a year we finally got you a spot in a childcare centre. Although it made me feel sick in the stomach, it also seemed to be a godsend, because I have been struggling with trying to complete my PhD. So we took the spot and started the process of 'settling you in'.

Things went OK for your first four visits - for you at least (your papa and I shed more than a few tears). You enjoyed playing with new toys and meeting new people, and doing something novel. On the fifth visit though I left you by yourself for 40 minutes and you cried for the first 20 of them. Not so good. But I hoped that you would feel happier and more comfortable with time.

On the sixth visit your papa left you for 30 minutes and you were hysterical when he returned. You had actually settled quickly until a nappy change and change of staff completely threw you, and so we hoped to manage those things better the next time.


The following Wednesday evening you started to get very clingy and teary. You told me that you knew that you had school the next day... Then on Thursday morning you told me, "I don't want to go to school." We arrived and I stepped a metre away from you to put your lunch in the fridge and you burst into tears. "I want a mama cuddle. I want a mama cuddle," you cried. You cried on and off for the next two and a half hours, even though I never once left your side. You cried harder when the other childrens' parents had to go to work. My confident, happy, independent baby dissolved before my eyes and I realised that I was happy to struggle with my PhD, because unlike the other parents I really didn't have to go to work. And so we went home (never to return).

Childcare experiments aside, you have actually had a pretty good month.

Early in the month you discovered the ABC song and learned it off by heart within two days. Since then it has become your happy-place and you will sing it over and over again to yourself day and night. I finally picked up the video camera at the right time and recorded you singing it - along with Miss Polly Had a Dolly (complete with actions); Polly put the kettle on; Baa Baa Black Sheep; and Up Jumped the Scarecrow.


I find it amazing just how many nursery rhymes that you know. Every day you seem to come out with another one. Yesterday it was Sing a Song of Sixpence - with some minor modifications: the Queen was eating papa's honey and then the crow pecked off Papa's nose. Another of your favourite modifications has been to replace the last word of every line with Boompume (your favourite made-up word) - as in: 
"A, B, C, D, E, F, Boompume, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, Boompume..."
 Or 
"Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Boompume, the cow jumped over the Boompume..."
You crack me up.

You seem to be determined to stuff your brain full of new information every day. You are in the process of memorising all of your favourite books in order to recite them to us (and anyone else who will listen without interruption), and if you hear a new piece of information you will repeat it to yourself over and over in order to be sure to remember it. This seems to fill your little head to the point of overload and you will often wake up during the night or first thing in the morning and immediately start loudly reciting a raft of facts for our enjoyment. This morning your first words were:
"The crocodile lives in the river. The hippo likes to wallow. The sun is up in the sky. I like the sunshine."
I have no idea where any of those facts come from, but I will blame this brain overload for your apparent inability to sleep for any sustained length of time at night... because I just don't have the stomach to try night-weaning again.

Other than trying to become a human encyclopedia, you have also been very keen on make believe play this past month. You are close to obsessed with your dolls house - so obsessed that a request to play with it will often come simultaneously with a request for milk (which is a very common occurrence) and even compete for priority. You also regularly request that I "make a cave" (throw a range of textiles over the dining table) for you to play in, with various soft toys (and, sadly, poor cramped me).

Finally, you have really turned a corner on the whole tidying up thing. Previously you were really quite against the concept of helping us pack up your toys. "Mama/Papa do it," was a typical response to our requests for assistance. However, recently you have been cleaning up after yourself all by yourself and have even started to become quite effective at helping papa and I with our chores. Yesterday you helped me to hang washing on the clothes horse and you actually removed less items that you added to the line - a major breakthrough in my book.

Happy Valentine's Day baby girl. I love you so much that sometimes when I look at you I feel as though I am going to explode.

love
mama
xox

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Today:

  • Paul and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.
  • My grandparents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. (Makes ours look pretty short doesn't it?)
  • I took Lily in for her third proper day of childcare (6th visit) and she cried on and off for the whole 2 & 1/2 hours, even though I never actually left her side.
  • I called the childcare centre and let them know that we wouldn't be coming back - despite having waited for a year to get a spot at what is probably one of the best centres in town.
  • I felt much better after making the phone call and wondered why we ever accepted the place in the first place (apart from an obvious desire to actual complete my stupid PhD).
  • I made plans for how to best use the time that I have from P. and other family to complete my PhD without using childcare.
  • We are going out for a celebratory wedding anniversary dinner - as a family.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

What you can do

If you are feeling as horrified and helpless as I am in the face of such horrible events, then may I suggest that you donate some money to the Red Cross?

Many people already are, which is great, but I am sure that more is needed. My understanding is that cash rather than things are needed at the moment, because there simply aren't enough people available to sort through the mountains of donated stuff already received for the time being.

Another option would be to donate some art or craft to this fundraising auction - or to encourage another artist that you know to do so.

Finally, Coles are donating all of their profits on Friday 13 February to the bushfire relief. While this is clearly a PR exercise of sorts, it may also raise a considerable amount of money and so you could consider doing your shopping at Coles on Friday too (if you live in Australia).

UPDATE: More options for helping out include donating to help the wildlife affected by the fires; offering a bed to people made homeless by the fires; and bidding on some handmade goodness (with proceeds going to the Red Cross) or making something of your own to auction off for the cause.

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