27 October 2012

in conversation

Today he is 15 months old. Sometimes I wish he'd stayed smaller longer. (And to those who say it goes too fast, try witnessing your baby put on s-i-x times his weight in the first year!). But gosh I love the older him, and he is visibly older every day. This morning he picked up a block and told me it was 'neen' (green). I asked him if he wanted to play with his beads and he told me 'bzzzz' (bees!). For lunch I asked if he wanted some chicken sandwich. He replied: "buk buk!"

Where did this little colour-recognising comedian come from? 

He makes me laugh and melt and gasp all at once. It astounds me how much he understands. And his mental leaps! He says 'nunny' (honey) when I pour sand! The sink is a 'ba' (bath), the toilet is a 'ba' and an empty bucket is a 'ba'. He parrots our conversations. His vocabulary has grown exponentially since my last post. He is always listening. Usually while he is busy doing something.

Yesterday he put countless hours of hand-held walking practice into motion and got going on his own. It's so lovely to see him finally have the confidence to do this! Though he was wailing worriedly as he went the first day. And then this afternoon, he didn't want my hand...

I didn't get a decent photo or video of his first steps. I wonder, if I could record our time properly, would it all slow down a bit? Or would I at least be more at ease with the quickening?

10 October 2012

wordy and walking

We had a follow-up appointment earlier this week with the Children's Hospital paediatrician, who asked me how many words Ellery says. I estimated 5-10, but on reflection, he says heaps more and has recently become very much a parrot. And it is nothing short of phenomenal how much simple conversation he understands. So, for posterity, here's the words he uses now, aged 14-and-a-half months (so 12-and-a-half developmentally)... funnily some words he used to say (guitar) have disappeared.

Mum (strange because it is not 'Mama' or even 'Mummy', which are the names we use)
Daddy (which he also uses to describe any person, regardless of gender or age, or alternatively a tractor, quad bike or car because he associates these things with K. Heads and shoulders his most-used word, apart from the universal 'nar-na' which we take to mean 'look at that - tell me what it is!')
windy ('dindy'... so cute!)
man (all people are 'man'!)
banana (all fruit is called banana, don't you know!)

bath ('ba')
boom-boom (this is in a few of his books and he loves it, and bizarrely also uses it for window!)

He also makes the following sounds when prompted:

tractor/car/truck (the boy is obsessed - anything with wheels goes 'brrm'!)
tiger (his roar is more a meek 'ra')
lion (same noise)
seal (claps hands)
dog (pants)
zebra (sipping a drink, like in Hello Baby!)
wind / ocean (much the same)

Oh, and he got gold stars all round at the paediatrician, which was no surprise to us, though it came with a caveat that learning difficulties can show up years down the track. At this point, I'd like to refer the doctor to the above list. And, oh yeah, he has taken his first very tentative steps too (his confidence is jittery, his legs and balance are great).


*Excuse me while I repeatedly bang my head against a wall at stupid hours experiment with the blog layout. Because, you know, I've got a thousand less important things to do with my time than amateurishly tweak the html...

02 October 2012

au pair

I have hovered here a few times lately and not known where to start. I have fallen off the blogging horse. Given in to tiredness, end-of-day-brain-fuzz and the never-ending night-time settling / early rising (which seems to suddenly lift and then... whack-tumble-splat, another wonder week).

I have wanted to write for ages about life with a live-in au pair. Which has worked out a lot better than I could have hoped. I dragged my heels completely on the whole issue, but in the end it was the only way I could have returned to work (and we needed me to for many reasons), which I am doing now part-time via a telecommute arrangement. *I've got a golden ticket!* Yes, I completely realise how lucky I am in the work stakes. I have a hugely supportive boss (and executive director) who I have worked with for several years, who trusts me implicitly and has herself telecommuted way back when her kiddo was younger. Returning to work has also been great for my head, to give me a bit of breathing space. I have also recently managed (for the time being anyway) to hang onto my job when vast sections of the permanently employed public service in this Neanderthal state are marching out the door. I'm just hoping my luck continues.

So the au pair. I had dreaded sharing our space, and all the stuff of family life that inhabits it, and having to be sociable when I want to just be in my cave. But overall it has been really positive, and is sort of like the old travelling/sailing days. We're onto our second au pair already, after our first finished her three-month stint. Though I still do a lot of domestic work and commandeer the boy when I'm not working, the extra hands around the house has been nothing short of bloody fantastic. I think I got lucky with a boy who demands a lot of attention and doesn't like to nap on his own (and some of my own stupid high moral ground about no TV), so every day was a battle to get even just the bare minimum housework done, manage to feed and caffeinate myself AND fully engage with him.

The help with chores is freeing me up a bit and I am mostly managing to get some other stuff done - though I find a lot of this other stuff is all about him! Like keeping him clothed and shod, reading up on kid-stuff (devouring this site), procuring toddler chairs and potties (!) and organising photo prints (we didn't have any beyond his humidicrib days (!!), prepping activities, war-planning our missions off the island and keeping our household administrivia at bay with a big stick. I still need to get back into yoga and walking - these have slid quite a bit since I returned to work in August.

As great as it's mostly been, I have also suffered a bit from the guilts at having help. About having someone else helping with the boy, even though we have tweaked our routine so he spends most of his time with one or both of us. (Though having someone new here has been brilliant for Ellery - he has LOVED both of them and will sometimes choose to go and hang out with them.) And also it is just plain weird (though indulgent and utterly lovely, why do I even have guilt about this?) to have someone else be the dish pig!

Despite the current super-clingy and unsettled wonder 'week' (and a kimchi that is going to take me at least three days, not including fermentation, to prepare - but that's another story) I can sense that things are slowly getting easier. There is still a ridiculously huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep us living the life remote - and so much stuff that doesn't get done. But, y'know, it's getting better.