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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 18 ~ August 26, 2003
~ Look who's talking!

KatelynThis month Missy Moo has continued to develop into quite the little handful! She is just gorgeous, so full of life, and up to such mischief! It is hard to believe that my "baby" is now 1 1/2 years old; it really does seem like yesterday that she was my tiny baby and now she is a fully fledged toddler.

We had a lovely day early in the month when I took Katelyn to an attachment parenting group. There was a guest speaker who just happened to be the midwife who was helping me at the hospital when Missy Moo was born. It was so great to see her and of course she just raved about how gorgeous Katelyn is. I really like this group of people and wish we could meet more often! It is so lovely to get together with such friendly families. The guest speaker at the next meeting will be our lovely paediatrician, so that is another one I won't want to miss.

Possibly the most exciting thing that has been happening this month has been witnessing Katelyn's growing ability to communicate, both in words and sign language. She is pretty proud of herself, and rightly so! She seems to be at the point now where she is able to add another word or two per day to her vocabulary, and has even used two words together on occasion ("nice ball"). I find it fascinating to be part of this process and am so thrilled to see her own enjoyment of her newfound abilities. Katelyn can now say with meaning: Dada, Mama, Oyis (Thomas), Nanna, ball, car, war (water), war (walk), bore (more), mole (she's fascinated with the two moles on my right breast and right shoulder), oll (doll), poo (LOL!), boo boo (nursing), um um (yum yum), awuss (pussy cat), ta (thank you), ice (nice), ha ha, boo (book), woo woo (dog), deese (please), gir (girl), cow (clown), Elmo, Dayie (Daddy). Her latest word is "Kaye" which is her best attempt at saying her own name.

By far the two words she says the most are "ball" and "car". The "car" is particularly amusing when we are in a car park, because she will announce quite loudly and clearly "CAR", pointing at such a vehicle. I will say, "Yes, Darling, that's a nice new red car". We will walk about two more steps and again we get "CAR"! "Yes, that's a blue car." "CAR"! "Yes, there are lots of cars, aren't there?" etc. This will go on and on until we reach our own car and she never seems to lose the excited tone of voice!

KatelynAs mentioned above, signing is also coming along. Some signs she uses are the "proper" ones we have taught her from a book, but many are ones she has adopted herself. It's actually very clever how she has formed some of them (such as the one for "hurt" I have written about before). She can now sign: milk, hello, bye bye, sore/hurt, yummy, yucky, more, please, thank you, I love you (I love that one!), hot, cold, all gone, yes, no, clever/good girl, pig, baby. The "yucky" sign always makes me want to laugh! I actually am to "blame" for this sign, because Katelyn has unfortunately developed a fascination with the fridge, and wanted to pull bottles of tomato sauce, wortershire sauce, milk etc out of the fridge door. To get her to stop wanting to do this I told her a white lie, that those things were all "yucky" (which they actually would be to her, so it's not all that untrue!), and I made a face when telling her. Now she will stand next to the open fridge and point at the items one by one and make her "yucky" face. It's hilarious!

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Katelyn's understanding is also quite amazing. She can point to many parts of her face and body when asked to, and pictures of various animals and objects in a book. She is so clever!! Often I use bath time to play the "where is your (body part)?" game with her, and she loves being able to show me her nose, eyes, legs, etc. One afternoon I thought I would make things a little harder and asked her where her elbow was. She stood up and started pointing to the other side of the bathroom. I thought, "What? Do you think your elbow is over there?" and then realised that she was pointing to Thomas's chicken dance Elmo (awful thing that he won in a competition, but Katelyn loves it). Somehow I think I'm going to have a hard time teaching her the word "elbow"!

Katelyn has continued to get up to various new activities and amusing antics. This month I got the "lift and lock swing" out of storage in the garage and set it up for her. She thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. We have had funny weather, with some days very cold by Brisbane standards and others very warm indeed (I've had to "break out" the summer clothes). No matter what the weather, little Missy Moo wants to be out in the back yard running around or playing on her swing! I would actually love to get a big sandpit for the two kids and maybe even a slide/cubby fort at some point, but for now she is happy just expending her seemingly boundless energy in more simple ways.

KatelynShe has continued to want to imitate us as well. When I feed the dog in the mornings, as I usually have both hands full, I use my foot to open the door. One morning when Katelyn was carrying the food dish, she put her own little foot up to the door: I'm sure she didn't know why she was doing it, but just somehow thought that when you open that door, you put your foot there first! She also likes it when I make Thomas's orange juice with the electric citrus juicer. She either wants to help hold the orange half (it's not dangerous - nothing sharp), or stands in the middle of the kitchen floor, spinning around just like the juicer. She also likes standing with her head on the floor, bottom in the air and peeking between her legs. Now I can tell you that this position is not amenable to easy nappy changes! She just cracks me up sometimes!

Katelyn at the computerAnother form of imitation, which I guess was inevitable with the other three family members all using it frequently, is using the computer. Thomas had some toddler programs that we have now "dusted off" for Katelyn and she LOVES them! She can even use a mouse reasonably well already, and loves seeing the pictures of herself and Thomas that I have imported into one of the games. Of course, she doesn't sit still for very long, so it is very easy to make sure she doesn't spend too much time in front of the screen! Sometimes I think she must have ants in her pants, as even when she is sitting there, she is wriggling around like crazy!

As expected, the "boo boos" still play a big part in Missy Moo's life. She still nurses often during the day and night, and clearly LOVES both the milk and the comfort they bring (especially when she is tired or has been tantruming). The only thing I don't like about it is when she twiddles on the other nipple - I swore I would never let another child even start that habit after Thomas got entrenched in it, but all my efforts have been in vain! Katelyn thinks the "boo boos" are so great that she wants me to give them to everyone and everything! LOL! She will point at a person (often a baby if we're out), point to my breasts, make very obvious sucky motions and then say loudly "Um um". I have to explain that my boo boos are not for other babies or people, for animals etc. Oh my!!

KatelynWe have had some trouble with asthma again this month. Thomas, Katelyn and I have all been battling a cold for most of the month, and I have found with all of us that any sort of respiratory virus tends to make asthma unstable. Unfortunately Katelyn almost ended up in hospital one night and she did need oral steroid medication to get things under control. At times she has been coughing until she vomits, poor little girl. At times instead of using the puffer and a spacer, we have needed to use a nebuliser with her, which can be tough on a little girl who doesn't like sitting still!

With the illness, all the coughing from the three of us, plus ongoing colic pains at night, sleep has been quite a problem this month. On the odd occasion we might have a good night, when she will just nurse and go straight back to sleep. Many nights, however, involve a LOT of fussing, climbing all over me, Ventolin for all of us. I am SO tired that sometimes I feel like I will fall asleep standing up.

Katelyn's climbing is unfortunately getting worse rather than better! Even when she isn't climbing she is on the move almost the whole time, and moves so fast that she keeps hurting herself. We were actually meant to get some professional photos done this past weekend (I had a voucher to be used before she turned 18 months) but her little face was covered with bruises so I had to cancel. She also continues to deliberately bash her head on the tiled floors during a tantrum. I hate it when she does that!! I try to stop her but usually she is do determined to do it that I can't. Katelyn is also now refusing to sit in her highchair, preferring to try and climb all over a chair and onto the table. Thankfully we had a booster seat with a waist strap that we had bought for outings to Andrew's parents' house, so she will sit on that ever so briefly. On the one hand, I love to see that she is so active and enjoying her world, but on the other I worry that she is even more active than Thomas was at the same age and this makes me fearful that she might end up having the same troubles.

With all the tiredness I have been finding myself feeling pretty run down, burnt out, and even depressed. I feel so guilty for feeling down because I look at my two children and can hardly believe how lucky I am to have such beautiful, mostly healthy, amazing kids. And yet I feel like I am tied to a treadmill that is going really fast; I want it to stop occasionally, or even just slow down a little, but it just doesn't! With the two very active kids, Andrew working full-time and trying to finish his PhD, various behaviour challenges with Thomas, Katelyn's constant climbing and so on, I feel stretched to my limit. Being sick myself just isn't helping either! This past week I have started back on a small dose of Zoloft to see if that helps to lift my mood. So far all it has done is to give me nausea and a major headache! LOL! I do suspect though that most of this would ease if I could just sit down and rest occasionally, and get some better sleep at night. I know that these things will come eventually but by then I will probably either be 50 years old or at least LOOK like I am. LOL!

I think that motherhood comes with so many challenges, so many joys, so many stresses and so many emotions. At times I can be pulling out my hair (literally - I'm getting a bald patch!) in frustration; other times I can be in tears from the tiredness; yet other times I can be in awe of my children and even simple pleasures such as kissing their soft cheeks can be so wonderful that they bring tears of joy to me eyes. Happy 1 1/2 birthday little Missy Moo!

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