Matilda is One

Matilda's first birthday

Matilda’s first birthday. She’s a little worried about that cake.

We are really starting to get to know our little Matilda now. Her personality is beginning to shine through. These are some of the things we know about her so far, and that she may like to know later in life…

She loves a ‘cuggle’ with Charlotte, Matt or me, and isn’t afraid to ask for one. Often this is combined with a BIG open mouthed kiss.

She loves making us laugh, she’ll blink, screw up her face or look at us from under her eyebrows with a serious look on her face.

She loves being a copy cat when we are at the table for dinner, and loves it more when we copy her.

She love crawling around the house with a texta or pencil in her hand making a tap, tap, tap noise on the floor boards as she goes.

She’s a pretty good sleeper. Mostly sleeping from 7.30pm through to about 5.45am when we sneak her into our bed for a drink and a cuddle. Charlotte later creeps in and joins us. It’s one of my favourite times of the day…but only if my night of sleep went to plan too!

Matilda’s is easily entertained, and can keep herself entertained too. Her favourite things to do are to read books, scribble with a pencil on paper, empty the contents of the tupperware drawer, crawl really fast (often into the wall because she’s not looking where she’s going), pull the socks off the clothes horse, rip up tissues, eat, throw food on the floor if it’s something she’s not mad keen on, loves pushing Charlotte so she pretends to fall over, climbing on us so she can sit up high on our chests or shoulders, bath time, loves splashing her feet and hands into the water  – her face just lights up, she loves singing and tries to sing along with the Justine Clark albums we play in the car, she loves waving and saying ‘bye’.

She has lots of words now too.

Cuggle – our favourite!
i-key (ice-cream)
puppy
baby
hi
G’day
Bye
Ta
Tanku (thank you)
Pup up (hop up)
Bottoo (bottle)
Tar (water)
T (toast)
Car car
cold
paycoo (Playschool)
all gone
tee-que (tissue)
mine
pretty
She makes sounds that resemble ‘there it is’
No
Toow-da (’tilda)
Sar-lee (Charlotte) is a recent addition used very sparingly.
Daddy
Mummy
Pa
Baa Baa
Peppa
Piggie
Moo
Meow
Birdoo
Home

Matilda is pretty chilled. She’ll quite happily snuggle into us to watch ABC4Kids, or sit in her highchair after a long day at childcare and wait for dinner. She’s also very determined, but she’s not a risk taker. I think she waits til she knows she can do something. She took what felt like ages to crawl. Showed very little interest in it, then one day just on 10 months we were talking to Aunty Milly and Abiba on the computer and Matilda decided she wanted a closer look and she crawled across the room.

Walking has been the same. Matilda has been standing from around 9 months, always holding on to something and always very carefully lowering herself back down onto the floor when her big sister comes barreling through. She’s cruised around the coffee tables, chairs and couches for months. She took 3 solo steps at 13.5 months, then nothing again until nearly 15 months when she she stood up by herself without holding onto anything then proceeded to walk down the hall. On her third walk (ever), she took 14 steps!

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Those sparkling eyes and cheeky grin are trademark Matilda. Here she is rugged up in her pram in Leura (while the floors were polished). She’s almost exactly 1 year old in this photo.

Matilda started childcare at around 10 months and seems to really like it. She’s never complained about being dropped off in the morning, has managed to maintain her day time sleeps (she still has two each day) and has loved the constant supply of food. There are more snacks at Childcare (we call it Kids) than at home. Charlotte, who has recently moved into the pre-school room from the toddler room, will often go and check on her during the day and once they combine all the kids (whose parents work late) around 5pm they often spend the last part of their childcare day playing together.

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Matilda (14 months) and Charlotte (3 years and 9 months) arrive at Kids and tuck into their third breakfast of the morning. A bowl of weetbix with fruit and yoghurt then toast at home, then a bowl of rice bubbles at Kids. Growing girls!

The other thing we know about Matilda is that while she is a few centimetres shorter than Charlotte at the same age and only a few grams lighter, she has a bigger head.

Here are the stats at one year:

Matilda:     height 78cm, weight 10.2cm, head 49.5cm
Charlotte:  height 82cm, weight 10.3kg, head 47cm
Me:           height 75cm, weight 11.43kg, head 49.1cm

Interesting.

Recently we were referred to a paediatrician because of Matilda’s head size. Her measurements were sitting above the 97th percentile on the growth chart, so the doctors at her regular ‘blue book’ check ups suggested we monitor it and sent us off to see a specialist. We worried about it momentarily. The specialist took great care in watching Matilda’s behaviour and quizzing us about milestones…all of which were perfectly fine. She explained to us that the greatest influence on head size was in fact genetics and that she teaches at one of the universities and fails students if they don’t first measure the heads of the parents in cases like this.

So she whipped out the measuring tape and measured me. On the 97th percentile. Then she whipped out her tape again (this time a much longer tape) and measured Rexy’s boof head. The result not only sat above the 97th percentile, but did not even fit on the graph paper! At that point we both laughed and had a huge sigh of relief. Later finding the measurements that Mum recorded about me at one year of age added to the sense or relief. I now know how important these notes can be further down the track.

We celebrated Matilda’s first birthday in our new house a few days early, and we were lucky enough to have Aunty Milly and Abiba join us for the day. Matilda’s cake was inspired by the little echidna on her drink bottle which she loved smiling and pointing at and talking to. We were in Mount Beauty for Matilda’s actual birthday so we had another little party with Grannie and Pa. More about that later.

Needless to say, we absolutely love our Matilda. She’s a gorgeous, smiley and cheeky little thing and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

New house and floor

IMG_3237 We’ve been in our new house for nearly six months now. We loved our old place at Breakfast Point but surprisingly we are not missing it one bit. Our new place is great and we are loving it, with the exception of that one occasion when we locked ourselves out…but then we loved that our locks were so secure that even the locksmith had trouble getting in. See I am feeling more positive already ;)

We love the extra large living spaces, love having a guest room, love having a back yard, love having some soil to grow some plants and herbs. We love how convenient it is to do odd jobs and tackle some projects with a big garage attached to house. Love the crepe myrtles in the back yard and the harbour breeze that comes through in the afternoon. Our house also appears to be on an exercise circuit of sorts, and there’s always a steady stream of people walking and riding past our house which is nice. Certainly beats noisy traffic. Here are a few unedited and random pictures taken over the past six months from the files.

The biggest job to date has been ripping up the rather awful brown tiles and purplish carpet throughout the ground floor living areas, and putting down some gorgeous blackbutt timber floors and stairs. The boards and crisp white skirtings have made the world of difference – they’ve lightened the whole house, taken the living spaces from being a bit daggy to contemporary, brought out the grey of the walls (they used to just look dirty!), and they’ve lifted the kitchen an incredible amount. Plus, I might be imagining it, but it’s less echo-ie than before. Hats off to Rexy who project managed the tile and skirting removal, batten and floor laying, sanding and polishing, and handled my, ahhh, let’s call them ‘suggestions’ from over the phone. Over the phone because the girls and I fled the dangerous, dusty and toxic construction site to Mount Beauty for two weeks and then to the Blue Mountains while the final work was done (we did let Rexy come on the second escape). Here’s a little photo essay of our first renovation job. This gallery is for you Rexy.

We also love that property prices have gone a little bit nuts in the area. A similar but smaller house with only 3 bedrooms (and daggy brown tiles!), sold around the corner a few months ago for $200,000 more than we paid for ours.  Not that we are planning to sell any time soon, in fact, the next time we sell we’ll hopefully be buying in the country, just down the road from a winery.

Coming up next, what you’ve all been waiting for, updates on Matilda and Charlotte. Stay tuned.  xx

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

It’s been so long since writing a post that I don’t know where to start.

Do I start with the move to our new house, returning to work? My little Matilda turning one a few months ago or more recently taking her first steps, or do I begin with a long list of Matilda’s words? I could kick off with details of all the things Charlotte can draw, the introductory lesson to the planets she gave me last week, or perhaps a run down of all her ‘awwww’ big sister moments that have brought a smile to my face?

I’ll get to all that.

Today for some reason, perhaps because I’m at home with tonsillitis and feeling sorry for myself I feel the need to start by off-loading and filing away a bit of a whinge blog. My theory is that my mind will then be cleared and I will happily move on to the cheery goodness of my gorgeous children again :)

(NOTE: For those reading my ‘diary’, don’t worry, I won’t leave you feeling flat or feeling sorry for me, I will leave you with an uplifting quote ;)

The past six months have been pretty big. Life in Sydney is fast and busy at the best of times. Add in two small kids, a couple of jobs, moving house and a few other things, and the past six months hasn’t always felt easy easy. In fact, quite often it’s left me down right exhausted.

We’ve packed up a house and moved into a new one. We’ve had two girls with whooping cough, two bouts of chuck bugs, coughs upon coughs and colds, tonsillitis, unidentified rashes mixed with possibly-identifiable rashes, fevers, worms (ewww!), viruses, too many visits to doctors and specialists to count, all washed down with a few too many anxious and sleepless nights. We’ve pulled up old floors and put new floors down….our first renovation project together, smashed fingers, sore backs. There’s been dust, dust and dust followed by cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Our baby girl started childcare, and I’ve returned to full time work. There’s a daily race to get out the door, a rush to get through the traffic and to get dinner on the table, then begins the wrangle to get girls into baths, jim jams and into bed. Masses of laundry and a hopeless dishwasher…it all adds up ok!

Whinge over.

But as they say, “life is not meant to be easy, my child, but take courage: it can be delightful, and new dishwashers can be bought at Bing Lee.”

And yes there have been delightful moments in the past six months, and there are many more to come. Sometimes we are just too busy to recognise them.

For me, writing this blog is quite therapeutic. Writing about my little family and what we’ve been up to (in amongst the chaos) offers me a moment to take stock of what we have achieved and recognise the good fun we’ve had along the way. My next couple of blogs will do exactly that, don’t worry.

Our best family portrait yet, taken on iphone in our empty Breakfast Point apartment moment before handing over the keys to the new owners.

Our best family portrait yet, taken on iphone in our empty Breakfast Point apartment after days of packing and cleaning, and moments before handing over the keys to the new owners.

Keep up the good work Curly, enjoy your new dishwasher and keep on blogging!

Me  xxx

 

A home with a sprinkler…PLUS before and afters!

We’ve found and bought a new house! It’s just down the road in Cabarita, it has a backyard with grass, a guest room, a room each for the girls, a bath in the main bathroom, and a double lock up garage attached to the house. Yippee! We are very excited.

Our new house on Strathroy Close, Cabarita. This is where I'll be putting my new sprinkler :)

Our new house on Strathroy Close, Cabarita. This is where I’ll be putting my new sprinkler :) (Real Estate agent’s photo complete with colour enhanced wood chips).

I’ve already been to buy a good old fashioned sprinkler (a classic orange pyramid shaped base with three chrome spinning arms) and pick up some paint colour swatches, and Matt now has a PHD in deck design following extensive research into the Building Code, Australian Standards and having read EVERYTHING there is to read on the internet about decks. The house itself is very liveable, has everything that we need (and more!), but we can’t help dreaming about all the projects we can take on to make it even more homely. Planting a herb garden is top of my list, and buying half of Bunnings is top of Matt’s list.

We found out on a Sunday night in late November that the house was going to be ours, so we made a quick call to our Real Estate agent and told her that with Christmas fast approaching, and with only a 10 week settlement on our new house, we’d need to sell our Breakfast Point apartment quick smart. Could she have photographers there Wednesday afternoon? Yes. It was at that point that my life turned into a home make-over reality show mash up of House Rules and The Block with a ticking clock.

On Monday morning, this is what our place looked like (possibly the worst it’s looked ever).

By Wednesday I’d lost at least a kilo cleaning, running around visiting nurseries and florists and buying outdoor chairs, the obligatory ‘fancy’ bathroom products and fresh towels, cleaning some more, piling up clutter for Matt to take to the garage (in between him putting coats of oil on our weathered deck), and cleaning some more.

Our Breakfast Point apartment wasn’t really designed for a young family of four, but by Wednesday at 1pm when the photographers knocked on my door, our place was looking slick again and ready for the Professionals and Empty Nester buyers. This is how our place scrubbed up. Ta daaaa!

 

I’m guessing that the 2.5 days of make-over madness was worth the effort because within four days the eventual buyers had made an offer (..if only they’d continued at that cracking pace!) and after three weekends of Open Houses and four private viewings, our apartment was officially sold and we could relax.

Settlement is 6th of February and we can’t wait.

A special shout out to my very clever fella for navigating the way though the complexities of mortgages, solicitors, contracts, tricky Real Estate agents, slow poke buyers, and all the while keeping his cool.

Click here to see the new place in Cabarita. More of our Breakfast Point place can be found here, and if you still want more (including some pictures of the girls room) you can click here and you’ll be taken to my sisters rather lovely blog.

Six months old already

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Matilda is six months old now. Far out, time flies. She’s a giggly little thing and this week she said her first word…. “Mum, Mum, Mum”. I’m putting a capital M on that and claiming it!

She’s enjoying eating food and sitting up in the high chair. On the menu is pumpkin, apple, pear, banana, yoghurt, carrot, and rusks. She’s rolling over and doing 360’s, she’s responding to her name and is loving spending time with Charlotte. They giggle over lions roars, dropping bean bags on the floor, and bouncing balloons on their heads.

Still no teeth, and still no tantrums ;)

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Help Taming Little Miss Three…

My three year old is driving me up the wall with her wobblies. I won’t mention her name in order to protect her privacy, but I need your help, I need your advice…and I need a bottle of wine.

Little Miss Three is chucking some pretty major tantrums over the most ridiculous things. Here are some scenarios…

1. “Mummy I’m hungry”. Would you like a banana? “Yes please.” Happily watches me peel the banana and offer it to her. Major tantrum ensues…”Waaa, waaaa (stamps feet, wildly swings arms, whacks me) I wanted to do it, I wanted to take the peel off!” Continues like this for 15 minutes. I put the peeled banana back in the bowl.

2. I pick up Little Miss Three from Child care. She’s playing in the sandpit barefoot. Happily greets me and wants to show everyone Matilda, then races off to get bag and shoes. Won’t put shoes on. Wants daddy to do it. Wants teachers to do it. Throws even bigger wobbily if I try to do it. After ten minutes of this, with noone coming to my rescue, I march her out to the car barefoot, screaming, yelling (my screams and yells are on the inside). Won’t get in car. All of Concord must think I torture my child.

3. Can I help you with the washing Mummy? Yes. We begin to fold the washing like we do every time. “That’s not how you do it Mummy”. Grabs all of the washing and throws it on the floor. Screaming. Throws herself on top of the washing putting screaming snot all over freshly washed towels. She screams “Go away Mummy, I don’t love you, You are not my best friend”. Continues like this for 15 minutes.

4. No food at home. So following her sports class we walk to the Breakfast Point shops for a quick lunch. It’s 34 degrees hot. I pick a table in the shade. She wants the one in the sun. I explain that we need to be in the shade. She storms off down the road. Yes screaming. I pick up my things and head after her (she’s now about 100 mts away). I march her home and we eat one wholemeal crust.

This is just a small selection of tantrums over the past 24 hours. She also throws tantrums over who puts her in the bath, choosing socks, who unbuckles her from her car seat etc. etc.

Other points of note:

–  Isn’t consistently having her afternoon sleeps any more

–  Is well behaved for everyone else (although Daddy does cop it too)

–  When she calms down says I was very naughty for Mummy. I won’t do it again. I love you Daddy, etc. Then throws another wobbly 10 minutes later.

– Could happen anywhere between one and four or five times a day. Today, we are up to four, and it’s only just gone 2pm.

– The naughty (noise polluted) corner has been frequently visited lately, it’s behind our front door, and I’m certain property prices in our block have plummeted in recent weeks as a result.

Tiredness is definitely a factor, but I don’t think it’s the only one. She’s still happy at child care. She has plenty of lovely things to do at home. Loves mucking around with Matilda.

Don’t really want to give in to her and reinforce her thinking that tantrums work. But also don’t want to fight over everything. Exhausting!

Advice, tips welcome!

So there you go, a blog that shatters the rosy picture I’ve been painting on this blog of parenthood. I’d better post another happy blog to compensate ;)

 

 

 

Hello Snowman

First trip to the snow

First trip to the snow

One of the highlights from our latest trip to Mount Beauty, in August this year, was taking Charlotte to the snow for the very first time. She built a snowman (and wanted to take him home with us), she threw snowballs and managed to keep her gloves. Clearly she’s destined to be a snow bunny…and ski lessons with Matt next year!

It took quite some logistical planning. Thank you to Igor and Johanne for allowing Pa to drive your four wheel drive up Mount Emu, thank you to Amelie for the hand-me-down snow gear which Charlotte loved, thank you Grannie for minding Matilda while we made a quick trip up the hill, thank you Matt for the beautiful photos, thank you Pa for the exceptional Snowman styling tips (the hair was to die for!).

Charlotte’s holiday to the farm

By Charlotte, June 2014

(Yes, I’m still playing catch up!)

Charlotte went on a holiday to Grannie and Pa’s farm in Mount Beauty. She helped Pa feed the chooks and she put fresh hay in their nests. She collected the eggs every morning.

Charlotte and Pa walked to the creek. On the way, they saw where a wombat lives. They stood in the creek in their gumboots. It was fun.

Pa has seven black cows and one small brown calf called Roy. Charlotte picked carrots from Pa’s vegie garden to feed the cows.

 

There is a big old blue tractor at Grannie and Pa’s farm. I sat on the tractor. Grannie helped me to make some play dough. There is so much to do at the farm.

 

 

5 months on…

Matilda at nearly four months

Matilda at nearly four months

What do I know about Matilda now? Well she’s a smiley little one, she’s relaxed, sociable and she’s a chatterbox. She loves sitting up with everyone and looking around. She still looks a lot like Charlotte, same blue eyes and similar colouring. Her eyes are rounder and her cheeks are chubbier.

She spends a lot of her day kicking her legs, waving her arms around, whacking the toys hanging from the play gym and watching her big sister. She sucks on her hands, occasionally makes herself dry reach when her fingers go too far. She’s a happy chucker but is slowly growing out of that.

She’s a good sleeper, she was sleeping from 10.30pm-ish til 5am-ish once she got to about 8 or 10 weeks, but now she’s going to bed earlier she’s waking up for a top up feed around 3am. I prefer the latter because we don’t have to listen to newborn grizzles in the few hours before she settles in for her night sleep any more.

Charlotte absolutely loves her to pieces “Don’t worry little darling, Charlotte’s here”, “I’m coming little darling”. She loves giving her kisses and singing her Twinkle Twinkle when Matilda’s upset.

Before Matilda was born, we did wonder how Charlotte would go sharing the attention with her little sister when one day we noticed a page torn in one of her books. “How did that I happen?” I asked. “Baby sister did it” said Charlotte. Thankfully, so far we haven’t seen any signs of jealousy (only one “I’m prettier than Matilda” so far), but we have seen some protectiveness. The first day I picked Charlotte up from Child care the other kids came rushing over to see Charlotte’s new little sister. Charlotte put out her elbows to create a barrier and said “She’s mine”. I had to smile.

At four months the girls started sharing a room and that seems to be going ok. And at five months they are really starting to develop their own little connection. With Matilda grabbing at Charlotte and watching her every move and having giggles together. Lovely.

With two kids now I might not have had time to get my camera out, but my phone is never too far away so here’s a little collection of happy snaps taken with my phone along the way.

 

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