This has been another very busy month and one that has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Katelyn has continued to bring incredible joy to all those around her, even in times of difficulty and sorrow. I can hardly believe that my precious little girl is ONE year old today! This past year has been an amazing one: in some ways it has been very tough but mostly I am astounded by how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful, beautiful and special little girl in our family now. Andrew and I love our two children so incredibly much that it is hard to even describe.
On Missy Moo's eleven month birthday she was able to walk about three metres at a go. Within a matter of about three days she had progressed to walking up and down the entire length of the house, and in fact had almost completely given up crawling. From time to time, she will still decide to crawl a little bit, but she has been walking so well (actually, practically RUNNING!), that she actually looks a little awkward on all fours now and we just joke that she does it to relive her childhood. LOL! It is funny that both Thomas and Katelyn took almost exactly six weeks from their first solo steps to being competent walkers, even though there was a good 4 1/2 months difference in when that actually happened.
Katelyn loves walking so much that she wants to be on the move the whole time she is awake. She used to be content to ride along on my hip in the Maya Wrap when we were out at the shops, but from the end of January onwards, she has wanted to be down and exploring. Oh my!! I had actually forgotten how tricky it can be to get any shopping done with a little one wanting to dart here and there and grab stuff off the shelves. One day I was at the Myer toy section trying to get a beyblade for Thomas's birthday and Katelyn thought she was in the best place imaginable: she found a shelf full of teddy bears and decided to hug them one by one and then carried one around with her for a while; she found a "Wags the Dog" stuffed toy and lugged that around with her too; she "chatted" with everyone she found, and thought it was great fun to run into the next aisle and play peek-a-boo with me. I was EXHAUSTED from trying to keep up with her, but was glad she was enjoying herself so much!
Late January we also had some professional photos taken of her. I had several vouchers from when she was born, so in we went. The photographer just kept on raving about how beautiful she is, how happy and smiley, and how we were welcome back anytime. Katelyn is such a happy little girl and she is so generous with her smiles. I was so glad that we got such lovely photos of her. I actually got a call from the photographer today asking for permission to display Katelyn's photos in the foyer of the studio so am quite chuffed about that. My parents joked that I should get her an agent!
Thomas started "big school" (Grade 1) on 28th January. Even though he was at preschool last year for 2 1/2 days each week, I have really noticed a change. I have quite mixed feelings about it actually. On the one hand, it is nice to have some time to devote just to Katelyn. When Thomas was her age, there was just the two of us for many hours each day and having a little of that with Katelyn is certainly a breeze compared to caring for two kids and means I can give her more attention. However, I MISS my Little Mister! I love him so much that even if he is being a real challenge, I don't like to be apart from him. I can certainly say with all honesty that I look forward to 3pm when I can see him again. He has been a bit upset about some aspects of starting school so I think that also plays on my mind during the day. Seeing him with a smile on his face when I collect him is very reassuring. Missy Moo is very happy to throw her little arms around him too!
Talking about cuddles, Katelyn has started giving the most beautiful hugs to Andrew and me. Before this month, she would certainly like being held, and would lavish her love on Punky and Thomas, but Andrew and I seemed to miss out on actually being cuddled as such: now she will throw her chubby little arms around our neck when we pick her up, and she will also rub her cheek against ours and say "Ahhh. . . " It is so sweet that it always brings a tear or two to my eyes! I love it that she is so attached to Andrew. She ADORES her Daddy and I think the feelings are mutual there! Just today she decided to share her affection with my parents as well by giving both of them some beautiful hugs and I know it made their day.
Katelyn has continued to have a lot to say! It is actually quite funny to hear her try to hold up her end of conversations. These days she usually only says three "proper" words on a regular basis though: any adult, even me, is a "dada"; any baby, child or doll is a "bubba"; and any furry or hairy animal is a "pussy, pussy" (she always says it twice). By far the word she says the most is "pussy" as she is practically obsessed with animals of all types. Each Thursday my parents come over for a visit and we usually go to the local shops to do a few things and have lunch. It has become a bit of a ritual that while I am finishing my meal my Dad will take Katelyn to the pet shop nearby to see all the "pussies"! The whole way there she is saying the word with great excitement and she will happily look in the windows for ages watching the various baby animals playing and sleeping. One VERY funny incident occurred that highlighted her one-track mind! Andrew, Katelyn and I were at a parent information evening about starting grade 1 (Thomas was in the next room doing activities with the other kids.) The teacher was starting to explain how they use the Letterland system of teaching reading and writing and mentioned that the children had been learning all about "Clever Cat" (the letter C) that day. Katelyn, who was nursing at the time, pulled off the breast and with great excitement exclaimed "PUSSY, PUSSY!!" LOL!
In addition to Katelyn speaking a bit, she has continued to use the sign for milk that she had started to use last month. It is SO cute when she walks up to me doing the sign with a big smile on her face and I know to give her a nurse. Often she does the sign during nursing as well. I LOVE breastfeeding her and am looking forward to continuing throughout her toddler years. It is beautiful to see how good it is for her and how much she enjoys it. We are having some small success with solids now but I think that breast milk will have to be her staple diet for some time yet. Katelyn is managing some pears and rice cakes (made from brown rice and water), and even can manage some bread on the odd occasion! She is much littler than Thomas was at the same age (saw some photos of him on his first birthday and he looked like a little bruiser compared to her!), but she is well covered, in fact beautifully chubby and healthy so I am not at all worried about her size. She isn't skinny, just short and correspondingly light.
On February 12th, Andrew had his vasectomy. Beforehand, I was having quite a number of second thoughts and was feeling pretty emotional. It all seemed so FINAL! I knew logically that it was the right decision for us, but my heart was telling me I didn't want to definitely say "No" to more kids ever. Now that it is done though I am glad. The actual operation though was a bit of a worry. The urologist wanted to do a general anaesthetic, as do most doctors here these days unfortunately (even though I think that is a stupid idea). Andrew had an allergic reaction to the drugs and almost died on the operating table. Thank goodness he is okay, but it was very worrying there for a while, and it took him almost 48 hours to get over the grogginess from the anaesthetic, when it should have only taken an hour or two according to the doctor. Oh boy!
Thomas's sixth birthday arrived on February 15th, and we had a pretty good day. He enjoyed his presents and Katelyn enjoyed playing with the paper! In the morning we went to an attachment parenting group meeting at which our wonderful paediatrician was a guest speaker, and Thomas got to play with some other kids there. We also took him to Hungry Jacks (same as Burger King) for dinner so he could have a play there too. Not my choice for a meal mind you, but on his birthday it seemed like a good idea. In the afternoon we had visited my father-in-law, who was becoming increasingly ill in hospital. I took along the camera and in a moment when he was awake and lucid, managed to snap a picture of him, my mother-in-law and the two kids. It proved to be the last photo that would ever be taken of him..
David Ward died on the morning of the 16th of February, after a long battle with leukemia, pneumocystis pneumonia, blood clots on the lungs, aspergillosis infection, and finally stomach lymphoma. We are all so sad for his loss. One thing that does make me happy is that he got to see little Missy Moo. He enjoyed her so very much! He even got to see her walking. Even in his last weeks when he had lost so much weight, had had his head shaved, usually was wearing an oxygen mask, and generally looked so ill, Katelyn still recognised him by his voice and gave him the biggest smiles. He was a great Grandpa to our children and will be sadly missed.
It was bad timing that Thomas's birthday party had been planned for lunchtime that day. We went ahead with it, as Thomas and 19 other young kids were looking forward to it. They had a blast, but Katelyn was the life of the party! It was a "pony party" and she was enthralled with the ponies and loved patting them. Of course, she called them "pussy, pussy". LOL! One little boy had brought his little sister along and she had a doll in a stroller with her. Katelyn thought that was the BEST possible thing to play with, so walked around most of the party pushing the stroller, not at all phased by the fact that people's ankles were getting in the way. She was squealing with delight at being with so many children, and got right into the "pass the parcel" game with them.
As Thomas has a Baby Born doll and a stroller for it, I got that out the day after the party for Katelyn to play with at home. It all went fine, except when she got frustrated that the stroller wouldn't go where she wanted it to. I ended up putting the stroller away as the tantrums were getting a little too much for my nerves! Katelyn has been playing with "Dolly" a lot since and lugs it around, even though it is almost as big as she is.
Katelyn also loves playing with the concept of "in" and "out". She will put objects (or herself) in a box, container, or cupboard, then get them out, then back in, etc. It can go on for ages! She also loves giving people things for a brief moment, then taking them back, giving them again, and this can go on as well! I find it particularly funny when Missy Moo stuffs herself into a box or other small space. She even did this at the hospital the day I was waiting around while Andrew had his "snip"; she found a small box of toys, tipped them all out over the floor and then proceeded to get in. She was so squashed that I had to help her out but she had a great time! We also had Andrew's mother staying with us for a few days after his father died and she brought her little Maltese cross dog. If I had a dollar for every time Katelyn climbed in and out of that poor little dog's basket I would be wealthy!
Another great "toy" for Katelyn has been things to climb. I hardly ever go to my parents' house these days as Katelyn doesn't travel too well in the car still and my parents usually come over here. However, one day recently we were there and it was the first time since she has been very mobile. They have a two-storey house and it was the first time she had ever really been in contact with stairs. Well, she took one look and up she went! She crawled up the first flight, stood up and walked around to the next part and then she was up there was well. My heart was in my mouth as I kept right behind her in case she fell. Just as well I was there because when she hit the top she stood up, turned around and tried to walk right down! Oh my!
Katelyn has continued to be a very social and friendly little girl. This certainly helped on the day of her Grandpa's funeral. To see that precious little girl walking around with a grin from ear to ear gave joy to those who were there. She even let some people pick her up and give her a cuddle, which was a bit of a surprise because usually she is a bit happier to keep some distance with those she doesn't know well. We also took Andrew's mother out to dinner one night and after she had sat in the highchair for some time, she walked around the restaurant stopping at each table and "chatting" with the diners. She was so happy and so confident! (I was so tired!! LOL!)
On Katelyn's birthday we haven't done anything over-the-top. We gave her a Fisher-Price Little People Farm and she LOVES it. My parents came over during the day with more presents and we sang "Happy Birthday" to her. We went out to the shops and Katelyn showed that she can now get HERSELF over to the pet shop to see all the "pussies"! (Oh boy was she determined!) Tonight we went out to a pasta restaurant with Andrew's mother and brother and then they came back here for some cake. Katelyn can't eat cake yet unfortunately but she liked the excitement and the singing!
It has been an amazing year! I am so very thankful for all our many blessings and am also thankful that we have come through any challenges. It is a difficult time right now for the family after Andrew's father's death, but we will get through that too. I want to thank God for my wonderful husband and my two precious, sweet, beautiful children. Happy Birthday little Katelyn!