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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 13 ~ March 26, 2003
~ A Real Little Girl

Katelyn is such a little half-pint and yet she now thinks she is a real little girl! I am astounded by some of the things she is interested in and likes to do! She looks like she is about 9 months old (due to her lack of much hair and being such a little shorty-fry) and yet behaves in many ways like a two-year-old: talk about being in a hurry to grow up. This month, Katelyn has continued to enjoy playing with her "dollies" but has got to the point where she likes to carry one around with her a lot of the time and even likes wearing them in her kid's Maya Wrap sling. It is SO cute! She also "cares" for them a lot the way I do with her, rocking them, patting them on the bottom, wanting to dress them and so on.

Missy Moo has also been a bit like a two-year-old in that she has been making her desires VERY clear and throwing tantrums when we don't act fast enough. Thankfully, she is relatively easily appeased and/or distracted so no tantrums go on and on. She has a pretty easy-going disposition compared with Thomas so after all my tantrum experience with him this seems a breeze (thanks Mister!). One day I had quite a laugh though. I had taken her out to the shops to get some material and ribbons to make a "taggie" for one of my sister-in-law's foster kids. Katelyn and I decided to have a little snack and as a treat I bought myself a small bottle of diet coke and some hot chips. She saw the chips and was determined that she had to have some! They were very hot, and also at this point in the month I was a little loathe about giving her more than just rice cakes or pears. I tried giving her a rice cake and a drink of water but no dice. She was making her point rather loudly! I decided that what the heck, a bit of cooked potato (yes, that had been fried. Eek!) would probably be okay so was trying to blow on one to cool it down. Eventually she got one and was very happy indeed. Afterwards an older man who had been sitting at a nearby table came up and asked me how old she was (at that stage, just two days past 12 months) and his words were, "Well, she certainly knows what she wants, doesn't she?". You'd better believe it!

Actually, we have been having more success with solids these days. We are still taking things pretty slowly as far as quantities are concerned, but often she is able to have a tiny taste of what I am eating. She has even had a bit of grated cheese, a taste of yoghurt, some wholemeal bread roll, some sweet potato, a bite into Daddy's apple to suck out some juice.. This is SUCH a relief to me! Katelyn even is off her Merbentyl now, which happened mainly because we were unable to get any and basically HAD to wean her off it. So now she is just on the Zantac and seems to be managing fairly well.

Missy Moo has been imitating so many things lately, as well as anticipating series of events. She seems to have an understanding of the way things work, and it is remarkable to see her developing! After the chip incident, Andrew found her one day blowing on some of her food! I hadn't taught her to do that, but obviously she had watched me doing so and it had made an impression. For her belated birthday gift, my brother and his girlfriend brought her over a "sing and giggle Winnie the Pooh" and she has started trying to sing the song! Of course she can't manage the words, but it is quite astounding how well Katelyn can mimic the tune by humming. I have never before heard such a young child do that before! My sister sent up some "touch and feel" board books from Melbourne, and Katelyn has greatly enjoyed these as well. One of them in particular takes her fancy, as it is all about dogs and puppies. One page lets her feel what the dog's coat would be like, another the drinking bowl, etc. There is also a page where the pictures of the dogs' noses has pieces of imitation leather there to feel. I caught Katelyn trying to feel the noses in another dog book she has! Pretty clever, huh?

Speech hasn't developed much further as yet, except that I THINK Katelyn might be about to start saying "mama" as she often makes the mmmmm sound. I thought a few months back that it was going to be amongst her common words, but unfortunately for me, she seems very keen on saying "dada" and not so enthusiastic about "mama". Thomas was the same! Even though her speech itself hasn't progressed a lot, I have noticed a big leap in her level of understanding. Katelyn never ceases to amaze me at just how much she does comprehend. One morning in early March this became especially obvious. She had been playing with one of her dolls, passing it to Andrew or me so we could cuddle it. Then we all moved into the kitchen. Just for interest, I said to her "Go and get Dolly and give her to Daddy for a cuddle." She went and found her doll in the toy box, brought it back into the kitchen and handed it to Andrew! WOW! Then I looked her in the face and said, "You really understand what we're saying, don't you?" and she NODDED HER HEAD! Now I am sure that every Mummy thinks her baby is the most clever creature alive, but forgive me for gushing about this!

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Katelyn has continued to experiment with movement. She has been walking competently for two months now so now to keep up the interest, she has progressed to doing all sorts of funny little exercises, and to climbing. I'm not sure what possesses her to do her exercises on the floor, but we call them her Pilates, as that is just what they resemble. Perhaps she is trying to tone those little thighs of hers? Hehe . . . On top of that, she does this hilarious thing where she bends at the waist, puts her head on the ground and peeks between her legs. She finds it almost as funny as we do! She has also started sometimes walking sideways! I have NO idea why she does this, but it seems to amuse her a lot, and often she ends up edging her way around in a little circle!

The climbing, I'm afraid, has been the bane of my existence lately! I should say that I am quite happy for her to challenge herself physically, but the way she has been on our couches has had me almost panic-stricken at times. I have had to be right there in order to prevent disaster. Things are improving a little bit, as I am teaching her "safely, safely", but sometimes she will still try to hurl herself head first off the side of the couch onto our tiled floors. It's enough to drive me batty! I have already moved the furniture so that as much of the couches is up against walls or other items of furniture. I even considered getting rid of the yucky old couches and just having cushions on the floor. Then I realised that she would just find something else to climb (and she has! Namely the coffee table in the lounge area and the couches in there!) so I am in extensive training mode right now so that hopefully soon I will be able to move more than a foot away from her in her waking hours. (Thomas will no doubt appreciate this, as sometimes it has been so bad that I have had trouble even fixing him a sandwich for fear she would break her neck in the interim. As our living area is really just one big open plan room, it would be near impossible to keep her out of any particular part, and unfortunately the huge playpen - like a Superyard - I have had on order for months now for use in emergencies just isn't coming fast enough!)

Katelyn had her 12 month vaccinations a little late just a few days ago. She had the MMR and the Hib, and breezed through them both like a champ. I again used the EMLA patches, putting them on about two hours beforehand, and gave her some Ibuprofen every four hours for the first 12 hours or so afterwards. Unfortunately, Thomas brought a cold home from school so she has caught that and has been very unsettled at night since coming down with it. I am SO tired that I am almost in tears, but I am sure things will settle down soon. I had Katelyn weighed and measured while I was at the doctor's and she is now 9.6kg in light clothing (approximately 21lbs) and 75cm long (about 29 1/2 inches). She is clearly thriving, but is such a munchkin compared with Thomas! At least we are getting lots of wear out of her size 0 clothing!

I am pretty much in a routine now that Thomas is settled in at school. (Well, the past few days he has been home sick, but usually things fall into a pattern.) Katelyn usually wakes up somewhere between 6 and 6:30am. We get up, get dressed, put a load of washing on, play a little, and have some breakfast (Katelyn has a tiny bit of my cereal and toast, plus a drink of water and several breastfeeds.) Andrew is usually still home for some of that and if he is, I sneak in a quick shower! Then Thomas wakes up, and I somehow convince him to get dressed for school, get some brekky into him, pack his lunch and we leave for school around 8:15. Missy Moo and I get back home around 9am, and she often nurses to sleep while I quickly check my email.

She naps quite well in her cot these days, usually for somewhere between an hour and 1 1/2 hours. During this time, I do some computing, paperwork, paying bills, folding washing, ironing, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floors.. Basically I do anything that is either tricky or dangerous to do with her awake. When she wakes up, we have another feed or two and then often head off to do some errands, the food shopping, prepare to greet my parents or just "hang out". Sometimes we have a "girls' lunch out" at the shops: other times we share some toast and water at home in front of Days of Our Lives. We leave to pick Thomas up from school around 2:40pm and are home by 3:15. If we are all lucky, Katelyn will save her afternoon nap for when we get home, otherwise it gets badly interrupted by all the getting in and out of the car and she is then tired and grumpy all afternoon. If she naps after Thomas is home then not only is she better rested, but I can give Thomas some undivided attention, while we work on some homework together, play some games, talk about his day. I find that if he gets that special time, he is also much less grumpy later in the day.

During the day of course Katelyn still enjoys her frequent nursing, in between being a very busy little girl! Either I will offer, she will walk up to me smacking her lips, she will start to lift up my shirt, or (my favourite, but not in public places for obvious reasons!) she will pull the top of my shirt out and try to stick her head down! She has even started putting her favourite toys down my top for safe keeping, I am guessing because that is where her other two favourite things are! LOL!

Car trips have been getting better lately, both because she is getting older, and because we now have a CD player so she can sit there and bop away. After Andrew's father died, his mother decided that as she doesn't drive, we might as well swap cars, so we now have her 2000 Ford Laser and she has our 94 Toyota Corolla. I think she got the raw end of the deal there but Katelyn certainly does enjoy the mod-cons!

Late afternoons can be a bit tricky for me because by then I am usually running on empty! I just have to keep going though, so I bathe Katelyn when she wakes up, and sometimes try to get some veggies ready for dinner. Once Andrew is home shortly after 6pm, I usually throw together some dinner and we all sit down together. Katelyn is happy to sit in her highchair while we eat as long as she has some water and a bit of finger food for herself. After dinner, Andrew usually clears up while I get myself and Katelyn ready for bed. Then Thomas and Andrew have a shower and go into the bedroom to read and maybe watch a video while I sit in the living area in the dark with Missy Moo, nursing her off to sleep. She usually nods off around 9pm, and I carry her into bed. The past few night have been just awful, but usually these days she will wake to nurse probably 4 times during the night (don't even know for sure!) and I can just help get her latched on and then go straight back to sleep myself. That is absolute bliss! I love it that I can both meet her needs for comfort and my own need for sleep and just LOVE having her precious little self next to me all night.

Weekends are obviously a bit different, but she still usually does have the two naps around the same time and if we are home for the afternoon one I will sometimes try to lie down with her. If we are out, she will happily snuggle in the sling, although she seems to sleep longer lying down.

This month has seemed to fly by! I must admit that I feel like I have dropped the ball a bit lately. Both kids have been so needy, and simply keeping them both safe, feeling loved, fed and dressed has kept me run off my feet. Sometimes the only few minutes I get to sit down for hours on end is when Katelyn is nursing on one side and Thomas is climbing over the other! I feel a bit down that things have been getting away from me, and yet this time is so special for so many ways. Both children are developing at such an exciting pace and are bringing me such joy along with all the challenges!

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