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.