Wednesday, August 25, 2010

those bloody candles

you may remember me writing about amelia's jandals (or as she refers to them) her 'candles' . . . i was a very unkind mother and allowed her to 'lose' them in a park when they were way too small and left blisters on her feet but she INSISTED on wearing them everywhere. seemed a very appropriate way of teaching her that she should REALLY LISTEN to me (even if i knew bloody well that she would not and was in fact banking on it so we would have a good reason to stop her wearing the jandals - previous attempts at throwing them out had resulted in tears, recriminations, and her hunting through the rubbish to get them back) . . . anyway, as a means of helping her forgive andrew for being in NZ all of the last week for the very very sad farewell to our dear mikayla, i suggested that he might like to take amelia to buy some NEW candles. ones that would fit her. and ones that would NOT hurt her little feet. she jumped at the idea, and off they went. she had a meltdown when he couldn't find the shop though - a frantic flurry of texts and phew - she had her new purple candles. she wore them all afternoon, all evening, and then to bed. yes yes, i know, we are indulgent - but we prefer her going willingly to bed so she can wear whatever she likes to bed, as long as that is where she ends up. she wore them, and duly fell asleep STILL wearing them, on the new miniature pink 'princess' foldout couch katie bought for her last week - wearing shorts and a summer top and a fully buttoned mauve cardigan. at around 2am, she arrived, freezing cold in our bed. she refused to get in her father's side, telling him - 'i am not your fwiend. i am mummy's fwiend. move over mummy, i need some space. . . . . do you like my candles mummy. they are booful, just like yours. . . . . where's my nother candle, can't find it . . . . give me some space please . . .. . . . i can take my candles off can't it? (rustle shuffle wriggle squirm) . . .. . . (wriggle puff pant squirm puff . . . Me: 'what you doing bubba? Her" 'just unbuttoning my cardigan puff pant) . . . . daddy - did you see my candles? (holding them up for him to see in the dark) they are vewwy pwetty aren't they? you did buy them for me . . .. . . . where's my candle gone now? . . . . . . . . .... ... .. . .. . . . . . . . . ' she woke a few times after that, looking for one of the damn things before crashing out properly. andrew woke and got up first, followed my me half an hour later, and we had about 40 minutes on our own before she made noises as well. we both turned to see the tousle-haired rosy cheeked creature open the bedroom door and wander out half asleep, ignoring andrew's outstretched arms and saying 'just have to find my candles' before going into her bedroom to search.

needless to say she wore them to daycare this morning, and will no doubt have to have them surgically removed once she has fully grown out of them. next time we shall buy a replacement pair BEFORE we get rid of these ones.

just a few unique phrases to share: she has taken to wearing her old baby one piece suits with the little snap fasteners under the butt. we call them onesies. she calls them her 'babysitters' (no idea why). she has also taken to getting one of her doll's dummies and likes nothing more than to be wrapped up in one of her baby blankets while she is wearing one of these outfits and sucking on the dummy, making baby noises. i would say it is her most favorite game right now.

marbles are 'meatballs'.

her body wash is her 'woddy bosh' - and she OFTEN spoonerises phrases - quite unaware i think.

the narrative about the going to hospital after being knocked off her bike is continuing, and being embellished richly with each telling.

she takes immense delight in making up stories and fitting us all into them. she very much likes being the mummy while i am either amelia, or katie . . . hellishly funny.

since andrew's return it has been very poignant to watch them together, singing and dancing and playacting (when she is not giving him the death stare for betraying her by going away). i am ever more conscious of how precious indeed it is to have children and how fleeting are these days of wonder and joy that we are now relishing.
we have not told her of mikayla's death. it was enough for her that daddy was going to help uncle tim and aunty frankie because they were very very sad. she is so comfortable with open expression of emotions that she never asks WHY anyone is feeling as they do, but accepts merely that they ARE feeling that way. a real gift.

on monday, while the funeral was on, i took her with me to Lone Pine koala sanctuary so we could wander around in the open air and have a peaceful time. she had been inside for the last few days as i was not up to going out much. it was a relief to wander around in the rain and chatter aimlessly about the animals. it was raining, so she held an umbrella up and i got a little soggy - happy to have the rain hiding my tears that came so readily each time i got a text from andrew telling me where the funeral process was up to. it was a joyful but tragic day, and she enjoyed it immensely - untouched by the tragedy unfolding across the tasman.

can't rotate the video sorry, you will have to watch it on its side (hints and instructions on how to rotate it very welcome though)

Monday, August 16, 2010

conversations with 'the little girl'

conversations with the kid are getting funnier by the day. she has a quirky turn of phrase, and a devastating turn of logic, so you need your smarts on when talking to her. some examples follow!

1. (sitting on the deck having lunch yesterday, looking at the house next door which belongs to bob and sue, our lovely neighbours):

A: 'daddy's gone to work. he's gone to HIS work. sue's gone to work too, but not daddy's; she's gone to LADIES work. i will wave to her like this (raises hand and demonstrates) and say "hi sue". and then i will have to kill her.'
Me: 'you will have to kill her? but why is that?'
A:"because otherwise she will turn into a great big ant" (and no, she has not been watching any movie where a lady turns into an ant.

2. (in bed this afternoon, going to sleep)

A: "don't take my arms off."
Me: 'why not?'
A: 'because then i won't be able to walk to the puppy park.'

3. (when leaving a playground, which A was reluctant to leave. Andrew picked her up because she refused to come)

Amelia: 'put the little girl down. put the little girl down. LEAVE THE LITTLE GIRL ALONE"

4. (on saturday morning, said to her father)

'its not a work day today daddy, its a day day.'

5. (same day while we were driving into the city and passed an intersection where we normally turn off to daycare)

A: 'i'm not going to daycare today.'
ME: 'why not?'
A: 'because its wednesday'

you get the idea . . .

we are also being treated to convoluted treatises on different topics, or narratives in which the protagonists have been replaced by Amelia herself.

e.g. while driving to daycare a few days ago we came across a young man who had been knocked off his bike lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance. amelia demanded an explanation ('what's happening, whos that man, why is he on the ground etc). over the next few days, the story got retold thus:

A: 'when i was a little girl, and i got knocked off my bike, i had blood on my face, and i went to hostipal in an amblience cos i had and axediddent wif a car.'

she is also reversing parental/child roles thus:

A: 'one day when i was a mummy, and daddy was a little girl, i told him off because he was very naughty.'

A:'one day i used to be the mummy, and you were the little girl, and i had to smack your bottom because you were jumping on the couch . . .'

or . . .

A: 'one day i will be that big daddy and i will drive the car and go to my office and you will be my little boy and i will buy you a babyccino and a cheese sandwhich.'

then there are the future plans:

A: 'i am only a little girl. but when i am three, daddy will teach me to drive.'

and on it goes.

the diet is marvelous still, although we now need to 'challenge' with foods that have been eliminated so far. we will probably start on the weekend, and with something like melted cheese on toast . . . not too draconian yet. that will take weeeeeeks to get through the entire list, because we are systematically making our way through food groups, then food types, then specific foods. will keep you posted. in fact, i have to keep a diary, so may make this the diary spot . . . that way we can figure out what she can and can't handle. i have just been reading a book called Not All in the Mind, about years old (as in over 100 years old) research on diet and allergy. very thought provoking indeed. the dietitian is a wealth of knowledge and has rubbed shoulders with most learned people in this field. i am loving the sheer knowledge gaining aspect of it almost as much as the results we are getting!

Monday, July 26, 2010


to the lovely people who are leaving comments - would you PLEASE translate them into english for me? i would love to read them, but do not have any knowledge of your language = your english must be rather good though because you can understand MY writing. THANK YOU!!! :)

chicken itza

well, its getting on for two weeks and the good results are still being got. amelia is settled, calm, and very happy. who would have thought to just feed her some sugar and butter he he. well, its a little more than that, but effective nonetheless. we had one off day on saturday, after a too-late night the night before. (andrew and i were watching a movie with some 'suspense' built in . . . she heard the music - nothing more - and yelled out that there was A BIG BIG MAN on the TV - which, at that moment there was - a HUGE statue of paul bunyan . . . go figure. she is that sensitive i guess). THEN we had a bad night's sleep (andrew coughing and snoring intermittently with a heavy cold), and THEN she had ONE CHOCOLATE FRECKLE WITH COLOURED hundreds and thousands on it. i kid you not. one!!! (andrew ordered her a babyccino with white marshmallows and no chocolate sprinkled on top, but forgot that HIS coffee would come with its own freckle. it was flogged and eaten by amelia before he registered). well. WELL. hell let loose that afternoon. she wouldn't - couldn't - get to sleep. then until bedtime she was a screaming whining grizzling angry little person. quite a familiar sight BEFORE we started the diet. but this was its first outing since. she had a reasonable sleep, woke up kinda grumpy (first time since diet started), and came back into a good frame of mind and being by mid-morning. PHEW.

andrew and i were blown away by how tiring and difficult for EVERYONE that one blow-out had been. and how frequent that kind of day/afternoon has been of late. we are very very grateful that we discovered joan breakey. although still bemused at what amelia can and can't eat. joan's book is very clear on how severe a reaction can be for a little kid - but we are hoping that it was a multi -level reaction, not just one little artificially coloured, flavoured and sweetened chocolate freckle. although, she is NOT getting her nibblers on one of those things again for a VERY long time. we need our sleep!

she has been saying some super cute things lately: i shall share.

i told her that daddy and i are looking for a new little house closer to his work so that we can live there. she asked solemnly: 'can i come too?'

we drove andrew down to work yesterday, and came home in time for lunch and a sleep. she cried just before going to sleep because: 'my daddy is in his office all by himself, and i'm very sad.' (she is one of the main reasons we are moving closer, so she can see her daddy at work during the week.)

she will look us up and down before we leave the house and ask: 'are you wearing that out today?'

she also tells us that things are her 'fravorite', that we are her 'best fweinds', that 'one day when i was a big girl and you were little, i used to tell you off.' . . .

imagination is running riot. we have BABIES by the truckload being put to bed all over the house. my personal favorites are the neatly folded table napkin, tucked into bed between very meticulously laid out top and bottom sheets made from two teatowels; and the clear plastic salt grinder laid gently to rest beneath the arm cover on the couch after being breastfed. heaven help us if we step on, sit on, or move a baby without asking. seeing a folded teatowel on her chest, being 'burped' and patted is a lovely sight.

she has mad intricate phone conversations with people using anything as a phone.

she has a running dialogue with boys on our ceiling touching the blue and green sings (things). andrew and i are frequently asked to intervene when one of her imaginary people is playing up. we get to tell them to go into their room or to say sorry to amelia.

she has a totally imaginary language going as well, and chats to us and her 'friends' in this.

music is still a very very very big thing. she is now singing plenty of songs by memory, making up words and verses, or splicing different songs together. it is a regular thing before she goes off to sleep.

no pen is safe in her reach. she dismantles them, including removing the nib, and they are beyond repair. she has also learned how to unlock the toilet door from the outside. andrew won't allow her to come into the loo with him (how very dare he), so she endeavours to break in before he comes back out, using a spoon or butter kinfe blade very proficiently. she practises this skill, locking door, closing it with lock on inside, and then breaking in. handy.

her drawing is coming ahead in leaps and bounds. she makes lovely owls, corncobs, koalas, and daddy with his coffee (enormous long legs, big eyes, a frown and a teeeeeeeensy weeny cup at the end of an extraordinarily long arm). she has also drawn anatomically correct parents more than once . . . i include a sample for your amusement.

her drawings are intricate, detailed, meticulous, and involve much huffing and puffing to be properly explained. we are gobsmacked at her abilities. i will get andrew to scan some stuff so i can put it up here. there is always a story afoot, and much to learn from letting her tell it. the combination of music and drawing, for her, is a very powerful one. she gets on a very productive little path and hums and sings happily while churning out her art. she is also taking photos with a wee camera that is easy to use. andrew's rear end was one subject recently, and was photographed from afar, close up, very close up, and too close up to be socially acceptable, which had her in fits of giggles at his reaction.

in short, all is delightful, sweet, and very very calm. we are so grateful that this diet has allowed her to feel more at ease physically, and thus manage her reactions more rationally. it has allowed the whimsical nutcase to fully surface and to enjoy full days without going into the depths of despair unnecessarily. we think that had we known some of this stuff earlier, her ratty days as a baby may have been a thing of the past.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

update - looking good!

well, almost five days in, and things are looking good. amelia seems able to hold it together more easily - where she used to melt down and totally lose it, she is now getting a little cranky but pulling herself out of the tailspin before she crashes and burns! yay.

she is sleeping better: as in, no nightmares, no night terrors (were common, also with chelsea!), she is lying very still in her bead, not thrashing and tossing and generally migrating around the bed five times. she is going BACK to sleep easily when disturbed. this has NEVER HAPPENED before. normally, once her sleep is disturbed, she is up and at it - regardless of what anyone else might want. twice now during afternoon sleeps, she has been fully woken, and just decided to drift back off - the first time for an hour, the second for half an hour. she is also NOT CRANKY if woken in the morning - usually she takes quite some time to get over early morning grumps.

if i had to put these results on a graph, i would say way less highs, way less lows, and more of a balanced but flexible line around the middle of the page.

physical symptoms, as in asthma, we have to wait and see. we expect her to get worse before getting better, but she is on steroids, so once she comes off those we will hopefully see what is happening.

i now have a mean recipe for a french yoghurt cake, serve with cream, that is allowed, and also a rich rice custard pudding - and as mentioned, the home made icecream. andrew is in pig heaven, because i have never been much of a pudding or cake baker (was when the others were little though - how times change!) . . . add to that buttermilk pancakes with fresh maybe syrup, and you get the picture. he is also rejoicing that i am not trying to get him to eat fruit in any form (except with brown sugar on the yogurt cake, baked to caramelising). he would be happy if i never brought any fruit into the house again. humph. the kid is also drinking a mango juice cordial made with a heavy syrup (i make it myself mind you). i dole out the sugary liquid and wonder how the heck this can be ok - mind you, it is only for a month, and then we start challenging with salicylates and amines and the like. my money is on salicylates, given the family history, they are strongest when fruit is fresh - i.e. a crisp tart apple is chokka with them, whereas a sweet very ripe golden delicious has less. amines come when fruit is more ripe, and other foods too - i have an aversion to ripe bananas, so they are on the suspect list for now.

in the meantime - we will be baking caramel coconut slice this arvo, so amelia has some soggy sweet stuff to put in her lunchbox!!! a river ditchy!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

the elimination diet- warning, explicit food content follows

i have been making murmurs about putting amelia on a Food Sensitivity Elimination Diet for a while. just had to find someone to talk us through it - as in, i wanted a real pro to tell me what i could feed her and what i could NOT. the woman i eventually located and consulted is called Joan Breakey, and has been in the dietitian business for over 30 years, and is the leading person on kids and food sensitivities in australasia. she not only does research, but has had a practice over those years, and has a list of impressive results - as in truckloads of testimonials of people who saw amazing results in their kids, or in themselves.

now, in case anyone might wonder WHY we decided to go down this road; in a few years time, if we didn't find a way of damping her down, we believe that amelia would likely have been diagnosed with ADHD or similar. her irrepressible energy and determination, but also at times impossible to manage behaviour (of all sorts, from grumpy to whiney to resistant to manic high) is unpredictable and difficult to keep a lid on. we have managed pretty well so far, by devising all sorts of management techniques, and especially - andrew's favorite - of taking her to a park and swimming pool and running her completely ragged so she is too tired to do anything but eat and sleep. being with her can at times be completely exhausting, much as being with ME can be the same :( we don't want her to end up labeled as naughty, or as difficult. these are labels that can stick like the proverbial, and can hinder a kid from reaching their full potential, because they see themselves as the cause of most bad things that happen to or around them. and we definitely don't want to fall into the trap of punishing her for stuff she can't help. i am not talking about letting her run amok either. no, we still expect manners and kindness and consideration and obedience appropriate to her age. we think there is a middle road, where by tweaking her diet and environment we can help her be the delightful elf that she is, without the trappings of behaviour and responses that stem from her body being under assault by the food we give her.

add to that her tendency to hives, big fat enormous itchy hives, at the drop of a hat, skin rashes that appear from nowhere, eczema (although this is largely a past issue thanks to melaleuca - only contact eczema now), a persistent 'allergic' asthma styled cough, and the weird super high fevers that run for one to three days with no apparent cause. her hot body issue, as in her need to strip no matter what the weather, is also hard to manage. especially when she gets too hot in a supermarket aisle and drops her pants when my back is turned. she is FAST.

we have also eliminated all artificial colours and flavours from her diet, as well as preservatives, and seen a definite improvement across the board. especially with the hives . . . we had a spectacular 'proof' situation involving an icecream that had a number of identified colours and flavours in it that andrew bought without reading the label (he does now, believe you me). she got mobile hives. hives that chased themselves around her body face, chest, tummy, butt, legs etc. and scratchy moods with it. we did some detective work, found the icecream label and read it, took her off it for a few days til the hives were well gone. then andrew made her an icecream. within two hours - TA DAH - bloody great hives all over her wee body again. he ate all of that icecream himself from thereon out. a true sacrifice!

a compounding factor was the comprehensive family history the dietitian asked me to obtain, from both sides. grannIE's one was so well written the dietitian said she would like to publish it. that in combo with all the other stuff from my side added up to a fairly formidable body of forensic evidence.

in fact, when we went to the consultation, Joan looked at the document and then at me, shook her head and said, "the poor kid hasn't got a chance has she?" phew. amelia was all over the place at that appointment. climbing singing dancing fiddling talking telling me not to talk interrupting manically getting on and off her chair asking questions on a loud voice shouted over the top of ours. . . . which was excellent really, because it was a good example of her on a 'bad' day, as in when her body and energy seem to drive her to total distraction, and when she finds it hard to settle in with people and the situation around her. in the old days, you would have said it was naughty. i see it as her body and mind being so restless that she has to move and make noise to shake it off. typical ADHD etc stuff. Joan complimented me on my management, said i had some excellent techniques and then commented on how tiring it is to keep that kind of attention up. i almost cried then, because i do find it exhausting, but have never had someone who really 'knows' validate that. when i got home later that night and started to read the book Joan has written on becoming a diet detective, i DID cry. just in one paragraph that talks about people looking on at a kid like amelia and passing comments on how the parents just need to manage them better, without realising that the parents are 'managing' to the last nth of their ability, especially if the child is disruptive during the nights as well - oh, yes, that should have been in my list of 'why' - the nocturnal habits of the amelia chicken. hmmm. broken sleep for almost 3 years. torture. fine, subtle TORTURE. anyway, i digress.

so, the upshot is that amelia looks like the typical 'supersensitive' kid, as in irritated by naturally occurring elements in foods - usually foods we would define as 'healthy' (more about this later - wait til i attack organic food :0), such as amines, sulphites, salicylates, glutamates etc etc etc. they cause a multitude of symptoms in the child, starting with ears and nose, tummies, behaviour, skin issues, learning difficulties, sleep problems, behavioural issues (grizzly, whiny, angry, aggressive, oppositional defiance etc - a huge spectrum). in effect, the child has a low threshold of irritation, and once this is reached, will experience a raft of symptoms that the parents will generally seek help with - but ONLY with the symptoms, not the underlying cause. i.e. asthma will end up being treated with steroids and ventolin, which dampen down the reaction, but don't take away the cause. the irritants in the food affect the airways, and then when exposed to cold or viral/bacterial illness - the kid gets asthma. the theory is that if you reduce the initial irritants, then you don't get the reactive airways, so the child can get a cold or flu, or go out in cold night air WITHOUT getting asthma. the same applies to all of the other symptoms that are all just the body's way of manifesting its irritation.

the elimination diet starts out by not allowing ANY known or suspected irritants into the child's mouth (or environment as much as possible) for four weeks. this clears the body of all residuals. then, we do weekly 'challenges' of each group of irritants/substances and see how she reacts. the initial part of the elimination are meant to be pretty hairy, as withdrawal is experienced, and usually symptoms flare up before settling, but with a toddler it only takes one or two days to get them past this point. adults have been hospitalised with extreme migraines and asthma etc, so are advised to eliminate slowly.

it is already looking promising.

we have been going for 3 1/2 days now, had a nightmare day on the second, and an angelic day on the third, with near perfect behaviour, sleep and just general demeanour. (amelia was pretty good too). things that are normally a struggle, such as visiting a mall (takes her 20 minutes or so to meltdown on most occasions. we don't tarry!!!) were very very easy. we went to the first to meet up with a friend and her kids, and there amelia played in the playground for four hours WITHOUT any aggression, tearful meltdowns because someone did something or other to her, she also cane and sat with us to eat lunch. sitting at a table. on her bottom on a chair. eating. not interrupting. not wriggling and spazzing out all over the place. my friend veronica noticed a massive change in amelia. one that she was not being aggro to the other kids. another that she was actually sitting still. and also that she sat with us to eat, and held a pleasant conversation with her. now, this is not unusual with family, and in familiar situations. but in a mall, and public play space, it is NOT usual. i avoid taking her shopping, because she deteriorates so fast it is not funny, for anyone. this is likely her response to light and noise (other typical symptoms) especially the types of light in malls here in oz. i have been know to break into instant severe migraines in some shops and other family members have similar responses, so its not surprising. it was a real pleasure yesterday to take her to our local mall to return a library book and pick up a few more, and then to buy the ingredients for home-made ice cream (oh yummy) without her spinning out in ANY shape or form. she was compliant, giggly but manageable, companionable, and actually LISTENED to me when i outlined where we were going and what we would do there. seriously cooperative. a huge contrast to the resistant oblivious little maniac who loses all sense of perspective the minute we venture into that lighting. there was some craziness in the supermarket. lots of down-dog in the central aisles and running madly to the next thing, but no running away (which is usual), no tantrums (also quite usual) at the checkout, and her staying with me all the way. a first. is it a miracle cure? is it me projecting my hopefulness that this diet will help? or is it a combination of both? i think the latter. andrew noticed the wound-downness of the household when he came home, not having to scrape anyone off the wall at any time. and again. no meltdowns. that was the first day ever that the poor lil munchkin hasn't melted down at all. a few tears on leaving the park, but that's a kid thing. no distraught unmanageable meltdown of the usual epic proportion leaving me and her exhausted.

that's a day for the record books.

the diet is bizarre, and goes against my long held ideas of healthy food. looks more like (surprise!) a pre-war farm kids diet. as in mild fresh cheese, WHITE bread only, butter, peanut butter (not sure if that was a farm kid thing back then though), cream, eggs, white flour products only, meat - as long as it is fresh and not preserved in any way, limited veges of the more old fashioned variety (no tomatoes, capsicums, mushrooms etc), and very limited fruit - just ripe bananas, pears (no peel), mango, pawpaw, some lychees. she can drink water, some milk (it is limited), and mango nectar (made of fresh mangoes and sugar . . .). sugar is NOT NOT NOT a problem in any way. Joan's findings are that 2 families in a hundred have issues with sugar, where as about 40% of families show a reaction to home made tomato sauce.

THIS though, is the KICKER. on no account are we to let her eat ORGANIC FRUIT OR VEGES during the elimination? she is to be allowed 'mild' carrots and pumpkin - mild, mild, what the HELL is a mild carrot????? well, apparently (and again, we are talking about a woman who REALLY knows her stuff), organic produce is STRONGER than commercially grown stuff. stronger, stronger. as in my carrots could kick your carrots' butts? well, sort of. it is more that the organic stuff has to have stronger defenses against pest and viruses, so they build higher and more potent levels of the active ingredients (naturally occurring mind you) that are the culprits in food sensitivities. so, a sensitive person will react more to an organic carrot than one bought from, beause the one has been grown using pesticide, which means that is doesn't have to develop its own defences.

Joan has had truckloads of people trying alternative diets, including supplementation and the like. but BUT, her findings (again, an archive of real-life cases) show that the most effective way of improving these types of issues is by identifying the naturally occurring substances in HEALTHY foods and eliminating or restricting those within ones diet.

once the elimination and challenge period is over, then there is a well-defined list of forbiddens, but also a huge list of possibles, and Joan helps people figure out - in her words - 'as much as they can possibly get away with'. she is all about pushing the envelope, not being rigid and fanatical - hee hee.

we have to wait and see. but in the meantime, amelia is very much enjoying home-made icecream (eggs, cream, evaporated milk and sugar), porridge and cream (cream is better than milk because it doesn't have the suspect substances in it), white bread sandwiches with cream cheese, butter (same as cream - no problems), tasteless savory mince (no stock allowed >_< ) and mango juice made into a cordial . . . . and mashed spuds with butter whenever she wants. homemade cakes and bikkies galore (i am baking up a storm), and again, butter and sugar are NOT an issue. crackers and cheese (mild), the odd banana, tinned pears (TINNED are recommended due to low allergy) and lychees. rice custards, rice puddings, the list is endless. and she is CONTENTED.

i will keep you posted as to how the next few days go!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

daddy's girl (aka -GET LOST MUM)

this little girl just happened to be walking back to her car with her family at the same time as we were leaving the playground. amelia asked her if she wanted to hold hands, and off they went. they had not even been formally introduced! the other parents were as bemused as us :P this towel is amelia's all time favorite. and it is worn this way whenever it is used. preparation for a burka? who knows. can't see her conforming anytime soon.
tom has his own brand of resistance, well, with one eye and ears that don't work - that's reasonable isn't it? he and the kid get along pretty well though, all considered. he is a marvelous pet for a first-time encounter, altho not as interactive as she sometimes hopes he will be.

we have a little power struggle going on in our house. one that involves amelia spending much energy on keeping her daddy to herself. methods and approaches include: me being told yesterday, as i stood on the threshold to mine and andrew's bedroom . . . 'don't come in our room mummy. you can't.' i asked, 'whose room is it?'. her reply (of course), 'mine and daddy's. not YOURS.' i am often asked to 'not talk to my daddy please, we are busy.' at times, she becomes so insistent on my backing (read buggering) off, that she ends up in her room to cool off a little . . . while andrew and i drink copious amounts of strong liquor and try not to imagine life 12 years down the track. we HAVE responded to her obvious desire to get more daddy time though, and are not being mean or draconian (we are happy drunks). she now has regular daddy/amelia dates where they solemnly plan what they will do for the day, sitting at the kitchen table and drinking their respective coffee and milk. these usually involve our local godsend cafe called Breathing Space, where kids get to go into proper childcare in a room off the main cafe, and dabble in playdough, trains, painting and the like, while parents drink coffee and eat breakfast while trying to hide the porridge stains on their clothes and keeping nervous tics under control as best they can. she will also often ask andrew, 'lets just hang out together hey, just you and me?' . . . i am usually told fairly firmly that 'you can't come mum, its just me and daddy', at some point. i gather my shredded soul together and think of drinking a nice cup of early grey on the balcony, in the sun, in complete and utter silence. *sob*

seriously, it is a beautiful thing that she has such a powerful bond with her dad. from the moment that she was born, his was the first face (apart from the bemasked faces of the surgical team) that she saw; his was the voice that calmed her while she lay naked and vulnerable under a superbright light while her vitals where checked - she stopped crying and REALLY listened to him - heartachey stuff; his was the hand that patted and soothed her while the paed's did all the bloody invasive things they do to babies of pre-eclamptic mothers, born by emergency caesar. andrew's name for her from that moment on was 'chicken' - because she looked like one being readied for the oven. naked, plucked, DREADFULLY scrawny, and very fragile. like a chicken, she bonded with the first face/person that she truly interacted with. so, it is RIGHT that she is a daddy's girl. (plus, i think i am being slightly 'paid back' for weaning her. she wasn't ready. altho, could i have managed to wait til she was 30? i think not!)

music is becoming a more dominant part of her life. she has had a little CD player since she was 8 months old. this was partly due to her fiddly fingers needing a challenge, and also because it was only $8 and i am the child of my parents. it has 4 mini cds, in super-robust plastic, and has a volume button, speed button, and is made in - did i mention this already - SUPER-ROBUST plastic. . . it has been thrown, sat on, stood on, without missing a beat. it has ALSO just had new batteries installed. not bad for so many hours of tortuous (in andrew's mind) listening . . . she is remarkably adept at changing the CDs and spends ages dancing madly (think grannIE and granny in their respective living rooms here) to songs like 'five little monkey', 'bingo', etc. she also shares a passion for indy rock with andrew, and they spend many happy hours surfing the net (her perched on andrew's knee. him saying, 'please stop pushing all the keys at once') looking for clips of their favorites. he sings these to her at bedtime, or just when he feels like it, and she has started singing many of these herself, including any no verbal vocals - you know - those 'twiddly bits: 'its like for . .getting . . ., the words, to your favorite song . . . eee eee eeeeee eee ee e eeeee eeeee eeee'. 'you are a radar detector do dodododddoo' well, of course, i laugh until i cry. it is priceless. we will try and capture it on video soon. i just added something else to the mix - in the form of a cheap little midi system that i bought for zumba classes, but that i can't use because the cds skip (think me, times 20, all 'dancing' on a wooden floor. well, if YOU were a CD with that going on, you would do more than skip - wouldn't you?) it is now on the floor on her room, and she has a selection of kids cds . . . and has been having a ball lying on her floor singing very loudly to equally loud music (volume HAS been an issue already, of course). andrew won't go in the room to 'listen' with her, which i see as being very unsporting, but does smile and nod even as his ears are being assaulted with the din. 'bingo' is a firm favorite, and boy can she sing THAT name loud or what?

add to that ZUMBA music, which she loves, and will dance to at any given instant. she also dances to anything vaguely latinate in supermarkets and stores - she recognises the rhythms. she has a few favorites from that repertoire, especially one whose chorus sounds like bum bum bum. it is the subject of many a request when driving through the city, and she dances and sings madly in her carseat as she goes . . .

she has just got out of bed - (ours, after coming in freezing cold at 4am - she wakes up in the middle of the night and takes clothes off, then gets cold, go figure!!!), carrying with her the CD case, (which she had managed to find at THAT hour of the morning in her dark dark room to carry into OUR bed . . . ). the CD case is being cuddled very closely. i suspect that music will be a large part of her life - if the previous years are anything to go by.

she is now sitting on the couch in her RED TROUSERS (more holes than fabric now), watching a musical segue on her favorite DVD du jour, Handy Manny - about an hispanic handyman with a case of talking tools, who all go around solving people's problems and 'fixing things' . . . the latin-based music played throughout this programme has her up and dancing instantly. and singing. madly. what a combo. tools, problem solving, latinish accents, and jiggly music. a winning combo!

Monday, July 5, 2010

i'm vewwy disappointed at my mummy

that is the latest phrase in amelia's increasingly complicated repertoire. apparently, she is feeling 'vewwy disappointed' on a regular basis. we haven't managed to extract from her just WHY she is feeling that way tho - i am sure it will come in time. she just sighs, rolls her eyes and repeats that phrase.

she is into 'helping' in a big way at the moment. so, when i was sewing yesterday, as in with a machine, she 'helped' by putting her foot over mine on the pedal and stamping for all she was worth as i struggled to keep my own foot up. i switched the machine to slow, which helped a little. prior to that she had been pinning with me - a dangerous exploit. i made the mistake of showing her how sharp the pins were, by slightly pricking the back of her hand; which had the effect of inspiring her to prick ME, far less gently, and far more repetitively, in the back of MY hand. Ouch.

She is talking up a storm. People we visit, or hang out with for some reason, often look at us quizzically and ask 'does she ever stop?'. Well, we ALL know the answer to THAT don't we? She natters, chatters, opines, reasons, negotiates, argues (oh boy), negates, debates, relates, delegates, orders, asks, requests, demands, inquires, denies, agitates, protests, rebels, implores; all this, and she KEEPS going in her SLEEP. In fact, her sleep time is scattered with loud bursts of chatter (not unlike the sound of a gatling gun), and equally loud bursts of laughter - and seasoned with serious statements about people and things she has encountered during the day. It is perhaps ironic that I have been teaching in a course entitled "The Art of Communication" at the Uni - when I live with a veritable artiste of the same subject.

She is most firmly Daddy's girl at present. I have my uses (mainly cuddles when she is hurting over some real or perceived hurt, or for food requirements), but Daddy is 'da man.' She often hops into our bed during the night once she has kicked off her covers and got too cold to stay in her own bed. She snuggles between us and inserts icelike feet under or between the nearest and warmest arms, legs or belly, and murmurs that she loves us, misses us and she is cold. I wake before the other two in the morning and get up to make coffee . . . if I attempt to come back into bed, I am often told to "go away mummy, I am wif Daddy. This is MY side (patting MY SPECIAL pillow !!!) now.' Of course, I just shove her over anyway, laughing it off, but she is pretty serious. He is hers, and no-one else's!!!!

(she is currently sitting on a little pink stool, freshly woken up, eating peanut butter on french bread, while regularly leaning to one side, going red in the face, saying 'watch', while endeavouring to pass wind - and giggling hugely when she achieves her aim . . . does anyone in her extended family recognise THAT trait?)

In the attached movie, you will see Amelia colonising Thomas - in much the same manner she colonises her Dad, my shoe collection, and any rice crackers that are not tied down . . . ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

too meke

the kid had me in tears last night. howling blinding tears. of laughter that is, not the other! let me explain.

andrew and i were sitting on the couch having a rare wine (not seen often in our house - ahem), and amelia was wafting off to sleep on our bed - to be transferred later. a plaintive cry was heard, repeated at regular intervals: 'i need someone to come and hold me, i need someone to come and hold me.' i went and did the 'holding' as instructed, lying down and cuddling her. she wriggled around to face me, wrapped her arms around my neck, pulled back and stroked my face and said: 'i miss you mummy.' i replied 'but why, i am here with you.' she contemplated that for a moment, then asked: 'are you here with me?'. i said 'yes, you doofus', at which she giggled. 'i miss you mummy' she said again, ruffling my hair. i cuddled her a little more tightly and said 'when?' (getting the hang of it). she cogitated for another moment, and said, ever so mournfully, 'when you and daddy go to the movies'. for some reason this made ME giggle, something about the manner in which she said it and the facial expression that accompanied it. i said: 'really? what happens then?' 'katie holds me; katie has to hold me'. again, her expression kind of undid me, and i erupted into laughter, which she joined in with laughing at me rather than with me.

andrew came in to check, and she announced 'mummy's funny dad'.

he asked 'why is mummy funny?' (i was almost incapable by this moment - it had been a day of immense hilarity - THAT KID!)

'i said somefing to her dad, and now she's funny.'

'why is mummy laughing? he asked.

she looked at me, and gave me a little noogie on the top of the head, and said 'because she's a troll.'

well, that was it for andrew then as well, and we both ended up in tears as amelia looked on delightedly at the pair of us, kept rubbing my head, and repeating that i was a 'troll'. he then shamefully led her into investigating what KIND of troll i am, and the consensus was (stated firmly by amelia) that i am a 'stinky troll'. not long after that she was on the couch lying on me to go to sleep, something we both love happening. probably all sorts of discipline reasons for NOT allowing this, but hell - this stage is fleeting. a few years and we won't get a kiss goodbye out of her, so i am milking it for all i can get. plus, its going to come in handy for traveling - already has if we are out for dinner at someone's place and i can get her to sleep on my knee.

the photos are a tad fuzzy, but give you some idea of the gorgeous day we had last week at burleigh heads, our new home all going well. we have a hankering to be somewhere where we can walk to the beach . . . and this place is awesome. will keep you posted! while andrew and amelia were exploring the rock pools, we saw a pod of dolphins swimming lazily amongst some surfers only metres off shore - most awesome, altho i disgraced myself by looking up when i heard someone behind me say 'look, a whale', and seeing a large grey sleek shape curving itself back below a wave, and i too cried out 'look, a whale' while registering it that whales (orcas anyway) are not grey, don't have fins of that shape, and don't curve like dolphins . . . luckily andrew didn't hear me first time, so i was able to modify my cry to include 'dolphin' the next time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

mother's day 2010

well, almost!

what a year this is turning out to be. the midget is changing on a daily basis- as kids do, and we often find ourselves trying to embed her funny little sayings and doings deep into our memory banks, because they are so priceless, and often go unrepeated.

on a daily basis, we are getting HUGE hugs and soft sighs, accompanied by the words; 'i love you SO much.' sometimes these are followed by 'i miss my daddy and my katie and my chelsea'. then we have the conversation about work and other countries etc . . . and i get EVEN more hugs as a result. i once asked amelia if she missed me, and she said indignantly - 'NO!' i asked why not, and her reply was that 'you're still here with me!!!'

dragons are still de rigeur. andrew has been well slapped for laughing and encouraging her when amelia pretends to saddle my legs, announcing that 'mummy is my dwagon, and i am haircup. we going to fly fly FLY.' he tends to fall over sideways when she says this, leaving his flanks vulnerable to punishment of the matrimonial kind . . . she also declares that thomas is her dwagon, but knows not to actually sit on him, so she simply stands over him and drops into a crouch instead. he remains oblivious - his blindness and deafness is a definite advantage given some of her current schemes. one of these, now we are talking about them, was a new COLOUR scheme. thomas, it appears, was too boring being simply grey. so, two days ago while i was on the phone, amelia disappeared under the kitchen table and called out spots spots spots - i was talking to a mortgage broker at the time, so tried not to get distracted . . . when i got off the phone, i discovered that 'spots' referred to the fluoro orange blobs all over thomas's coat - made by a highlighter pen. amelia also had bright orange fingernails and toenails. on a daily basis i am grateful that we have such super effective cheap non-toxic cleaning and personal care products in the house, because otherwise, cleaning her up would be unbelievably costly both healthwise and financially. i love you SOLUMEL (removes permanent marker from almost anything!).

daycare has become a real adventure for her since a new male carer started work in her room. while ramasharan - the female carer - takes the kids in Thai language lessons, and yoga, and relaxation, Sean likes nothing more than getting out in the field and booting soccer and rugby balls around - which amelia ADORES. (definitely more like her mother than her father here - if she ever starts making sandsaucer gardens, then that assessment may change) she even took her own rugby ball (maroon for the state team) yesterday, and before i had signed her in, she was out in the field with Sean and two of the boys kicking and hurling and running - with her ball in play. she didn't notice as i left - to busy sprinting to retrieve a long kick. she delights in playing catch with andrew, maroon ball again, and is very good at throwing also - she may have gridiron career ahead. she certainly has the physicality and build for it . . . before we leave daycare, we have to spend at least 15 minutes running madly around the play area assigned to the bigger kids' rooms. this involves many pieces of climbing apparatus, and suspense bridges and the like. once we have helped her put her clothes back on (she invariably strips to her underwear - so homer simpson-like), she races to the adventure course and blitzes it over and over again until she is hauled off screaming to go home. of course, once we get in the car, and the fight about putting seat belts on is over (almost evvvvery time), she then happily demolishes the few remaining crumbs from her lunch box and starts planning what we will all be doing when we arrive home!

night times are fun, on many levels. there is the big catch up on what happened today, and book reading and playing with dad, random passionate cuddles to be demanded, and question after question about what is going on at any given time. this is punctuated with regular trips outside to see 'our' ringtailed possums (protected species) come home to 'bed' (every night at around the same time, they turn up - climbing up the cable TV cables to the corner of the roof above amelia's room, and then disappearing into the adjacent tree . . . this is a handy cue to remind us that it is also her bedtime, and she goes quite happily to bed, although she has an elaborate and physically demanding process of winding down. she reminds us of a puppy scratching a bed for itself by turning around and around in one spot while rucking the blankets with its feet. she doesnt quite do that, but does do headstands, rolypolys, one-legged dog yoga stands, down dog yoga stands and the like, usually turning herself to face up and down the bed at least 20 times . . . then there is the ritual of putting to bed the baby of the day - which goes on her pillow with a carefully selected blankie, and is then patted and read to. dad reads her a story or two, or she is allowed to 'read' the dragon book on kts Iphone. finally, she is left to fall asleep reading - the favorite book at the moment is 'the lion king' given to her by chelsea last time we were home for a visit. sleep happens within 10 or 20 minutes, and is punctuated by dreams and sleep talking - and some sleep walking, because she gets out of bed and into her wardrobe sometimes - altho usually is just to be found fast asleep standing at the door trying to open it. her nights are also quite active. she often wakes up and changes her clothes in the middle of the night, especially undies - looking for quite specific ones - ie 'the ones with the butterflies' at 2am! she is not waking us much tho - we just wake up in the morning finding her bedroom light on, and amelia wearing her togs in place of the clothes she wore to bed.

speaking of sleep . . . we currently have 'jeff' the wiggles figurine, and one of her koala pals (bath toy) 'sleeping' on the bottom of our shower at present. they are lying on their backs, with flannels over them as blankets. we are reminded 'shhhh, don't wake the babies' every time we get in the shower, although amelia spends much time rearranging them of a day when she has her daily ablution session. babies can be real or imaginary, with many invisible creatures being put to bed around the house - a minefield when selecting a chair or couch.

current phrases much in use are: 'you're welcome' - when anyone says thank you. she also says this to herself, once she has said thank you! 'of course you can' is her usual response to any requests we make, and again - this is also said to herself when she asks what we now realise are rhetorical questions - i.e 'can i please have some milk?' because she is getting super independent and making her own sandwhiches and pouring her own milk (supervised, and still has to ask and be told yes before proceeding - the kid needs reins!)'come on buddy' is used to encourage thomas to cooperate with her plans for him, as is 'lets GO guys' when we are going out and she considers us to be tarrying overly much. 'akshelly' and 'weally' are used as qualifiers, and the dreaded 'why' has arrived . . . altho used in conjunction with specific questions, such as 'mummy, why did you using daddy's pen?' etc. 'yeah, dat be cool' is the usual answer if we propose to read her a book or play a game, and she is very solicitous of our wellbeing - fetching blankets if we are cold, and patting anything we identify as being sore - i.e. tummies and heads and knees.

last night, andrew was standing at the kitchen table when his phone rang. he picked it up to look at the screen, checking to see the caller's identity. he made a funny face and answered: 'hello?' i was sitting on the couch watching him, so didn't notice that amelia had picked MY phone up and called him until i heard her voice saying 'oh, hullo dadda' and saw katie fall over laughing.

zumba is being promoted on a daily basis to the kids and teachers at daycare, with a good result - 4 of the carers are now regular attendees . . . excellent. the carers take photos most days, and have captured her asking other kids to dance . . . and to come to zumba with her.

we are off to see a movie at the local observatory today called 'secrets of the dragon' - it is an animated story about two kids who ride on the back of a dragon to discover the secrets of the milky way . . . its held in the actual dome, and is supposed to be very good. as i write she is standing in front of andrew saying, 'we all going to see da dwagons, all a us (all of us is too much a mouthful), holding up her fingers counting '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, ALL A US' . . . we think she may be keen.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

this is the way we tidy our room . . .

the red box in these pictures is one of two that sit in amelia's wardrobe and hold her shorts/trousers/yoga pants etc.

after she decided (as is her common practice) to tip every single item in both boxes onto the floor, looking for something 'diffwent' to wear, she was asked to put everything back in the boxes and then put the boxes back in the wardrobe.

it didn't go well. a few minutes after the request was made, i went in to check and found her sitting completely still with one of the (still empty) boxes on her head as in the top photo. the second and third photos record two of the various permutations and writhing yet silent protests she then undertook in order to avoid the task.

it was on; the challenge was made and there was no backing down (on EITHER side). our stance is that she is free to tip her clothes out if it is the only way to find a specific item, but that she must then replace the items spilled. her stance was (is) quite the opposite.

so, after a few well placed smacks on a muscly little rear end later (and the usual 'death looks' that resulted), the boxes were back in order, and all were smiling once again. full torrid sunshine after a brief but stormy interlude.

as is always the case, the discipline was interrupted by bouts of uncontrollable laughter from both parents, expressed well out of the kid's sight and hearing, accompanied by both of us exchanging looks of what the heck is next . . .

special 'tweats'

if you happen to be in amelia's vicinity when she is in possession of a pen, crayon, or other writing/drawing object, then you are in line for a 'special tweat.'

let me explain: 'special tweats' are artworks created on parts of YOUR body, by amelia and whatever she has in her hand at the moment.

some tweats are invisible; these, generally speaking, are my favorite; if given a choice, i would take one of these over the other options. if we are in a cafe, she will colonise a water-glass, move in close to her intended target - schmoozing unashamedly - and say sweetly - 'what you wanna be, fweetheart? a boodiful butterfie? aw a DWAGON, aw a TIGER?' that is your cue to choose, and having chosen, to then submit gracefully to what is to follow. she will then dip two fingers, pope-fashion, into the water, and begin work on your face. 'close eyes fweetheart, close eyes - stay vewwy VEWWY still pwease' are the usual exhortations, as little fingers stroke masterfully across brow, eyelid and cheek. WARNING: if there is no glass of water available, she will use her own saliva . . . i kid you not. i put this warning out there because she will sometimes start 'painting' before you know what she is up to. if you are chatting to someone else, odds are that you may not realise until you have been well covered in spit.

special tweats also take the form of individual artworks on hands or feet. permission is usually asked, and often granted, with the lucky recipient needing a good scrub within seconds of the first sign of their own acquiescence . . . andrew's tweat seen above is a spider (only 7 legs though - we think she is a bit SLOW), katie's is a very respectable jellyfish on the calf, and mine a barbed-wire design anklet. seeing her sit astride the couch arm this morning, hunched in total concentration while she scrawled on my ankle, we thought it likely she will end her days as an artist, but most likely a TATTOO artist if her current form is any indication.

this is but one face of the drawing stage. our house is covered in samples of her work - MOST of which are on legitimate surfaces - we have thus far escaped any truly dramatic wall/door/floor or furniture art . . . thus far. the little easel we got for her in Belgium is used every day - not quite for the purposes intended - the blackboard is covered in whiteboard marker marks, the magnetic letters are covered in whiteboard marker (she carefully colours them in and then brings them to us as gifts - yesterday it was the number eight, once bright yellow, now dark blue, placed on the bridge of my nose as amelia announced that these were my 'g'asses' . . .), and the legs, shelf and frame have been boldly redecorated on an ongoing basis. we just know what amelia's school desks are going to look like after a few days of her being in residence. i recall mine all too well *shudder* while andrew says he NEVER did such a thing. sadly, i believe him, so will man up and take full artistic responsibility for this phase of amelia's career in the world of design.

on the dragon note - katie downloaded the book of How To Train Your Dragon on her iphone, so now amelia happily sits up in bed next to andrew, while the book is read to her from the phone at the same time as andrew reads his real paper book . . .

a new take on a much loved family tradition!

Friday, April 30, 2010

once more into the breach and all that heroic stuff

well, here we are 15 days into weaning, and contrary to our worst expectations, the world has not, to this point, ended. amelia is also sleeping (DRUM ROLL PLEASE) all night, every night in her own bed, instead of arriving at 3am to share the love (her way of showing 'the love' is to kick, wriggle, talk madly in her sleep, and push both of us in the back with bony feet and elbows asking us to move over please . . .) i suspect that the breastfeeding, while making her smarter, funnier, taller, richer, healthier and faster-on-her-feet, also meant that she was not getting solid enough nutrition outside of my milk to make her sleep like her sisters and father (i won't include myself in this sample, because i am known to be a nocturnal wanderer unless slugged with a baseball bat. poppa leach too is a night-waker so i believe, so we are just going to pretend THOSE genes don't exist - then there is grandad lunn . . . BBC news, cup of tea and two pieces of home made bread toasted with granny's marmalade anyone?).

weaning went amazingly smoothly, with very very little upset overall, altho we had a daily 'bandaid check', and visual inspection of the broken items, with Dr Leach-the-younger intent of ensuring that they were still broken. we changed tack a little in the second week, because she was getting upset once a day at least, and told her all the milk was 'gone' - and that she had been very clever and had drinked it all up. this went across well, and had her announcing to perfect strangers that "mummy has no milk left because its all gone and her nings are broken and i drinked it all up because it was for ME" . . . it also lead to some very very sweet and solicitous moments where she would philosophise about a time 'when, one day, i buy some milk and pay the lady, and giff it to you mumma, and then there be milk, and your nings won't be broken cos they have lots of milk for 'melia cos its vewwy nice for my tummy. ok?' - almost made me cave in on a number of occasions. but, i stayed strong, and it has been for the best, because her behaviour has improved since weaning - as in her moments of kind of clingy dependency are over - she seemed to revert to real baby behaviour at times. the down side of that has been, as we are just discovering, that ning-time has been a rather convenient way of keeping a lid on her. she is a pneumatic beast at the best of times, but i could 'cap' it by feeding her in social settings where a full-on energy troll would make things difficult. now the endless fount of energy has been unleashed, and there is NO STOPPING HER. you have seen her 'sedated' on ning. next time most of you see her it will be sans sedatives!

(at this juncture it is fitting to apologise for both andrew and myself to our respective parents, because we know that amelia is - in broad physics speak - simply a collision of two energy-heavy materials, nuclear-fission like as a result. we were very tiring as children. we admit it humbly and hope you have a happy recovery. isn't it nice that we are less energetic now, especially me when it comes to talking?)

a recent example was an after wedding lunch, held at the mother of the bride's house the day after the wedding. we had been to the wedding, having left amelia with katie. the bride and groom were surprised, but we knew that she would not manage to sit still for three hours during speeches and meal like the other unnatural children who DID attend. this point was well proven the following day with amelia taking her dress and shoes off almost the minute we arrived at maudy's house (maudy was once a neighbour of ours from New Farm days, who very quickly became a very good friend, and is very relaxed with amelia - YAY), locating a couple of soft bladed swords in the toy area, and then spending the next three hours taking turns chasing two six-year old boys around the house. sometimes they chased her swords in hand, or she would chase them. much screaming, yelling, roaring and giggling ensued. no fighting or tears however. the contrast between amelia, sprinting around the verandah with her granny style undies pulled up almost to her armpits (she has VERY particular views on underwear - SURPRISE - more on that to follow), bellowing at the top of her very powerful lungs, and the bride and groom's daughter faith who kept her pretty pink dress on all day, and spent an inordinate time blowing bubbles, looking very sweet and feminine . . . well, what can i say?

on the subject of underwear, amelia - altho sleeping thru the night, will sometimes get up at 2 or 3am and turn her light on, announcing that she needs 'diffwent undies' - and then goes looking for the style de jour, or style de nuit in this case. then she goes back to bed, and sleeps . . . she has changed her underwear 3 times while i have been writing THIS . . . and i think is going back for a fourth. she is now wearing andrew's old singlet (yellow with an applique saying Buddy can you Spare Me a Dime on the front) which is almost long enough to be a mini-dress.

since last blog entry, amelia has been introduced to the marvelous world of cimmema and movies. having been taking now to the movie "how to train your dragon" - an animated story about - yes, how to train YOUR dragon (we were hoping for tips) THREE times. i found a picture still from a newspaper and cut it out, sticking it on the fridge in case amelia liked it. WELL. she now keeps taking it off the fridge, carrying it around, and showing us the picture (i think she thinks we all have dementia related memory loss [and whose fault would THAT be?] because she is kind of repetitive in the things she shows and tells us. (incidentally, the phrase 'kind of' is 'kind of' underplaying the little trolls OBSESSIVE tendencies. i won't go into all the possible familial sources of THOSE because there are simply too many!)

she will often take a particular stance in the middle of the kitchen floor, with her legs apart and slightly bent, and leaning forwards, saying 'look, i be Haircup, riding my dwagon. look, look, i show you' - and then she will lean her head way forward and place her arms around the dwagon's invisible neck and get a Haircup type look on her face (incidentally, the guy is named Hiccup, but her pronunciation is so hilarious we don't correct it - just repeat it so she keeps on saying it hee hee). or she will sit on the arm of the couch, riding the 'dwagon' Toothless; she has even been known to sit on my legs and assume the position. i have to keep slapping andrew for going on waaay too much about me being the 'dwagon' when this happens.

she even asked a doctor to come to the movies with us (she had fevers, and fevers, and fevers for three days, then spots - it was just a 'virus', and came to nothing in particular - if we kept the fever down she was good to go - strange. she didn't actually get sick?). the doc was checking chest and ears and throat etc (nothing, nothing and nothing) while amelia was excitedly telling her about the dwagons, and saying 'you wan to come cimmema wiff me? we can see da DWAGONS together'. she has also been asking thomas if he would like to come - and has been so insistent that we ALL go together, 'mummy, daddy, katie, amelia, and THOMAS' that we have decided to go to the Drive-In at a place called Yatala (pronounced yatla), where there is a famous pieshop, and of course a drive-in. she is delighted that mr T can come too, although he looks surprisingly underwhelmed.

Zumba is a new passion also - i qualified as a Zumba instructor a few months ago and have been holding classes on a Thursday night. i don't talk about it much around here, but have spent some time watching choreography DVDs and listening to the music to familiarise myself with it - usually while she is asleep though. well, amelia has decided that it is her new best thing, and will drop into a Zumba stance and wriggle without any hesitation. she has been recruiting at daycare, so much so that 4 of the daycare teachers came to my class this week, and amelia was chatting to all and sundry yesterday, showing them her 'moves' and asking all the kids if they were going to do Zumba as well . . . i have been roped in to do a demo at the place now for almost 3 year olds. funny!

the loveliest thing about amelia at this age is the constant stream of natter and patter. and also her quaint and affectionate ways of addressing us. requests are often prefaced with a 'fweetheart (sweetheart) or 'darling,' and she will often fling her arms around the nearest leg or arm and declare passionately, 'i luff you SO much' . . . she will also take ones face tenderly into both hands and lean in asking 'are you my fwend?' or 'are you ok fweetheart? not a bit sad?' she is daddy's girl right now, asking him not to go to work some days, so that he lingers a little longer to spend extra time with her before leaving. she also plays out cute little scenarios about what she is going to do with dadda when he gets home, pretending to be both herself and andrew. she will go out on to the deck and pretend to greet him as he comes home, and then come inside delightedly telling me he is here! she is not anxious about it in any way, just takes immense pleasure in thinking about what they get up to together.

finally, she has started planning activities for us all. making up little itineraries of where to go and what to do . . . in detail, very specific detail - i.e. what we will wear, what shoes will be on our feet, and what we will eat, do, see when we get there.

every day is more delightful, and now the nocturnal adventures have ceased, every one has way more energy for daytime stuff. she is a little blessing, and brings us more joy than we could have ever imagined.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Te Pono Koteri Peeti

The latest cousin - not quite a yellow 'My Little Pony' - but way WAY better if you ask me . . . Aren't they BEAUTIFUL? Spot Great-Granny's hand in there too - what a glorious moment for Granny and Grandad to be there so soon after the little dude's arrival. Three generations captured in one marvelous moment.

Welcome to the beautiful world little guy: Nau mai, haere mai ki te Ao ataahua tama iti.

ning update

well, a week has gone and no more ning still stands. there have been some heartwrenching moments interspersed with hilarity as amelia tries out her (arguably) superb negotiation/coercion skills to get me to break. i am feeling much better, in that i am no longer being bombarded every two seconds when we are in some new environment - because amelia was relying on ning to ground her when encountering anything different. the bandaids are working, altho she keeps wanting to see them and check that i am telling the truth. apparently, if you have a bandaid on, you have something that genuinely hurts. a couple of days ago she asked me if they were still sore, did i still have bandaids on, and could she see. i replied no, i need NEW BANDAIDS because the other ones fell off. she went: 'oooh, i go get you some fesh ones. akshally, MY nings are sore. i need a bandaids too . . .'

this picture is the result . . .

the other picture we like to call 'great aunt roberta' - we reckon she is the spitting image of andrew's great aunt, and shows more than a hint of GAR's determination and attitude. we are stockpiling mood enhancing drugs, because we think they may be called for in the not too distant future when amelia gets to teenagerhood. :)

on another front, i am awaiting pictures of her newest cousin, Te Pono Kopera Peeti . . . born to Diana and Hone is Wanganui on Thursday this week. Amelia lay on the couch last night, and stuffed a yellow 'my little pony up her equally yellow singlet (one her father wore when he was 4 - her favorite), and announced, 'hey mum, look at me, i am DIANA' . . . then got us to pat the "baby" in her tummy . . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

piece de resistance . . .

this is kinda priceless, albeit a crappy 'from phone' photo. alexis (seen above with amelia) is one of those miracle babies from the Tauranga chapter of the Leach family. Cousins that under normal circumstances would never have existed, let alone have met. But here they are (the 3rd little girly cousin is the teeny weeny baby in the last post - aka mikayla).

alexis is a SUPER darling baby - walked amazingly early for a premmie baby, has a sunny pleasant and non-complaining nature, loves cuddles with random aunties and cousins, and didn't protest one bit when amelia took her by the hand to show her something, didn't notice that alexis had fallen over, so dragged the poor blighter down the hallway without once looking back to see why alexis was taking so darn long to follow her. alexis just smiled and gurgled, delighted to have her big cuz around!

mikayla is also super gorgeous - faced a hell of a lot of difficulties in the first few weeks of her short little life, and survived without showing the strain.

Frankie and Timmo - well done guys, the babies are amazing, and so very very precious. you are lucky sons of guns, and your girlies are GOLD :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Operation Wean 'em . . .

We decided before going to NZ (Andrew and I), that it was time to wean the midget. Mainly because she has got into some strange and not-particularly-socially-acceptable behaviours - like, fumbling her grubby little hands down my front in public and asking to feel/see/touch my nings . . . and giggling like a hyena as she does so. And then there were the hour long lolling sessions first thing in the morning, where we would stay in bed until she had had her fill . . . and the same at night time. Not to mention her predilection to assume the position (lying across my lap and looking hopefully at me with a beatific smile while her hands got busy freeing the milk suppliers) anytime we got into a cafe situation.

It was TIME.

We cooked up a scheme, not particularly bright, but the best we could do in the absence of anything better, and started telling her that 'when we came home to Australia (after our trip home to Enzed) she would be a BIG girl, and therefore no more ning . . .' We offered to buy her a 'special cup' to replace the ning - asked her what colour cup she wanted - her reply? 'ummmmm, a GWEY one' (we expected pink, or at least purple. grey? at her age?)

She seemed to love the idea, repeating it by rote to anyone who asked (we drilled her in it daily, sometimes four or five times a day), and kept looking for the gwey (then black, then bue, then WED) cup as we did so.

We travelled home today, and it was a ning fest on the plane, because ya di ya di yah dah, refer to the above was due to be implemented!

however, when we arrived home, ning was demanded, in the usual stentorian tones, and andrew manfully went in to bat, gently reminding amelia of the (admittedly and decidedly one sided) deal we had struck. she faced him down, hands on hips, and shouted 'i not a big girl, i a LITTLE girl' and followed up with some deep and meaningful spitting (you've seen it). she stalked outside to sit on her rocking horse, announcing to us both that 'i not TALKING now' (more spitting followed). more enraged and indignant shouting followed, mainly incoherent, as she gave us collectively the few remaining pieces of her tiny mind. she came inside to harass me a little more, and i remonstrated gently for quite a while, but to no avail. she was so adamant, standing shouting us both down, red-faced and frankly belligerent, that i lost it completely, and buried my face in my hands - crying with laughter, saying to andrew that: 'this is going to kill me.' amelia promptly turned to her father and announced, in a very calm voice, 'she's going to KILL me, she's going to kill me' (she knows what killing is, as she spent some very enjoyable moments killing flies and other winged things at granny's house yesterday, flourishing the blue fly swat most effectively). andrew, understandably, lost it in turn, suddenly completely unable to speak.

then (courtesy of grannIE) i had an epiphany, and told amelia that my nings were BROKEN, and that i needed to have some band aids put on them, and asked her if she would mind fetching me the bandaids.

WELL, that was a turnaround moment. she became very concerned, asked me if they were 'vewwy saw', and went and got two bandaids (elbowing andrew aside to do so), nad carefully placed them on the areas listed as 'bwoken'. she then announced that her nings were also broken, and that she likewise needed bandaids . . .

We then hopped into the parental bed, where she started to watch her favorite dvd on my laptop, before cuddling up to me, patting the sore bits very gingerly for a short while, and went promptly and deeply to sleep.

We are hoping that this strategy will work.

If not, I am following grannIE's advice to the letter, and will apply green food colouring to the territory in dispute, in an effort to convince amelia that they are REALLY broken. I am also laying in a stock of cabbage leaves (thanks aunty S) to help me on my way.