Month 22 ~ December 29, 2004
This has been another busy month, so much so that I am a few days late writing this update. Katelyn has been well and truly in Santa mode, and many times each day she has asked me to go to the shops to see "Danta". When I got the kids' photo taken with Santa early in December she wouldn't sit on his lap and I had to be in the photo holding her: by Christmas Eve, she was happily sitting on Santa's knee whenever she got the chance as well as giving lovely cuddles. One store let me take a quick digital photo of the event. She isn't smiling in the shot (she actually looks a bit upset!) but you should have seen her talking about the experience afterwards, especially the fact that she was given a lollipop. She was so Santa-mad that she would ask to see him when she woke in the middle of the night, and the few days since Christmas have brought many tears as we have been out to the shops and there has of course been no Santa!
Another relatively new obsession has been the Wiggles. One day I decided to put on the Yule Be Wiggling video as I thought she might like some Christmas songs. Well, I have lost count of the number of times we have watched it now! Oh my! We actually took some video one day of her grooving along in front of it "au naturel": I'm guessing she won't want us to show that at her 21st birthday party!! Katelyn is so "Wiggles crazy" now that she will ask for "more Gwiggles" when she stirs in the middle of the night, will cry during a video if the Wiggles seem to disappear briefly (such as when there is an animated song), and she will scream if anyone in the household has the nerve to want to watch anything else (even if she was happily playing beforehand, if she sees the TV go on, apparently in her mind it is for HER amusement! LOL!)
Early in December was the third anniversary of losing baby Nicholas. It seems unreal that it has been three years already. In some ways, I guess it seems like a lifetime away, but in others the pain is still raw and the memories of the days and weeks after his loss are still particularly vivid. I have come to a point where I am "okay" with things, in as much as anyone can accept the unacceptable, but I still think of him every single day and wonder what things would have been like if he had survived. Unfortunately though I feel guilty when I think about that because I know that if we had had Nicholas, Katelyn wouldn't be here, and she is so much a part of our life that I couldn't even imagine things without her. Talk about mixed feelings! Thomas has been talking a lot lately too about how much he would have liked a little brother, and how he wished Nicholas were here. Poor little guy has had a hard time with the whole situation.
Even though there has been the sadness of the anniversary, most of this month has been very busy and quite happy. One HUGE reason to celebrate has been the submission (after almost eleven years!) of Andrew's PhD on December 19th. Woo hoo!! I can't express enough in words what a relief that has been for the entire family, and to ice the cake even further, he has been on holidays from work since then. We have been enjoying some long-overdue family time together, as well as finally tackling some of those tidying-up tasks that we had been putting off for years. Our house now looks less like a bomb site and the kids can find (and put away!) their toys easily.
It is SO wonderful to have the PhD over with and now our evenings can be spent as a family. One activity we did for the first time this year was to go out and see some Christmas lights. A local radio station runs a competition for residents, churches, even whole streets, to enter, and we greatly enjoyed taking a few evening drives and walks to see the winners. Katelyn LOVED it, and kept asking for "more ights". One night we went on quite a long walk up and down a beautifully lit street and she sat happily in the sling on my hip, something she hadn't done for many months. Now she will go in the sling for outings to the shops again, at least for a little while, which makes things easier for me I can tell you!
We had two nights away just before Christmas, when we got a fantastic deal at a hotel in the city. There was a lovely indoor/outdoor pool there which we all enjoyed, and we took full advantage of being so close to South Bank (the fireworks were AMAZING!) and the river, taking several trips in a CityCat. One slight downer was that just before we went away, Thomas, Katelyn and I had all been sick with a stomach virus (yes, yet another trip to the ER, yet another IV for me), so we weren't one hundred percent. On the last morning, Andrew came down with terrible nausea so we made a hasty retreat home and he slept it off all day and was ready and raring by Christmas morning thankfully.
Christmas day was lovely! Thomas was SO excited and managed to open all his presents in record speed. Katelyn spread hers over several hours! My parents went a little nuts again in the amount of gifts, but the kids love what they got and will get heaps of use so who's complaining? Katelyn was given a big box of Lego Duplo by Andrew's Mum (who stayed with us over Christmas), a Little People Doll House, toy shopping trolley, drawing stuff, some clothes and probably a few more things from my parents, and we gave her some doll clothes and a rocking doll cradle. She loves playing with all her new things, but probably the gift she likes the best (apart from the cute doll jeans!) is the 97 cent pencil case my Mum bought her!! Just goes to show that the simple, inexpensive things can often be the best!
We had lunch at a restaurant with my parents, my brother and his partner (we usually only see her once or twice a year so that was particularly nice), and Katelyn had a blast walking around, chatting with the other guests, eating some ice cream (she calls it "gorgorn"), and generally enjoying the day. I had wanted her to wear the special Christmas dress I had bought her but she was determined to wear her "dean" (denim skirt) and I didn't think it was worth the tantrum that would have inevitably ensued had I tried to insist. At least she did get some wear out of her dress at the celebration on the other side of the family a week earlier, and for several visits to Santa.
I have been so incredibly tired, probably partly due to the virus I had, but also because my iron is a little low (working on that!), and sleep has been a bit of an issue still. One of the nights we were at the hotel was particularly bad. For the first few hours, when Katelyn was asleep, I was feeling so incredibly nauseous that I couldn't sleep. Then, just as I nodded off, she woke up wanting a feed, which is fine, except that she ended up being awake for THREE HOURS after a coughing fit, and she wanted me to walk her around the hotel lobby in the sling. I can tell you that I had a few choice words to say at about 4am!
Generally though I think the sleep thing is settling down. One big change is that Missy Moo now nurses off to sleep in bed, rather than me needing to be in the dark in another room with her. That took some adjusting to, but now I quite like it. Some nights she just won't settle though and I end up taking her for a little drive then carry her into bed (with much relief!). At least I have several things I can draw on to get her off to sleep, so I try not to let myself get too frustrated if one isn't working.
Missy Moo is looking more and more like a little girl now, especially since I started putting her hair in pig tails. She looks so darned cute that I can hardly believe it! She still refers to other children her age and even bigger as babies, but if you ask her if she is a baby, she will say, "NOOOOO!! Big girl!" LOL! She is getting interested in more and more activities now, such as cutting and pasting (with assistance), drawing, building with lego, becoming more adventurous and skilled at playgrounds. In some ways it is sad that her babyhood is slipping away but in many ways I am able to rejoice in her development and I am actually looking forward to even more things she will be able to do as the months and years pass.