We Finally Made It To The Beach!

When we first decided to build our house, one of the things that drew me to this location was the fact that there is a coastline and beach just 5 minutes drive from the house site.  And yet, we moved in and somehow just never made it to the beach!  At first we didn’t have a car, and it really is just that little bit too far to walk.  Then we got a car… but it was winter… and life settled into a routine… and we just never got around to it.

A few weeks ago I decided I really needed to check out this local beach!  So Scarlett and I popped down for a quick little visit.  It’s gorgeous!!  Fairly secluded and quiet but totally stunning, it felt like being on holiday and it was less than 5 minutes drive from our house!

As soon as we got over the sand dune, Scarlett started pointing at the ocean and emiting her little interested noises “ah!  ah!”  I put her on the sand and she started racing off towards the water!  I didn’t let her go in this time because I wanted to go to the shops afterwards, but we definitely have to head back there soon with togs and towel and let her go for it in the wet sand.

IMG_2901-1

IMG_2899-1

IMG_2904-1

IMG_2914-1

IMG_2905-1

IMG_2922-1

IMG_2931-1

IMG_2937-1

Seagull!

IMG_2926-1

IMG_2945-1

IMG_2934-1

IMG_2949-1

IMG_2956-1

IMG_2958-1

IMG_2960-1

IMG_2965-1

IMG_2967-1

IMG_2973-1

IMG_2989-1

IMG_2908-1

Advertisements

13 Months: The Growth of Comprehension and Independent Thought

I gotta tell ya, 13 months has been pretty challenging for me.  She has been constantly grizzly and clingy, which I find very difficult to deal with.  I have done my best to remember the lesson I learned the other day, to just let go of stressing about getting anything done and just be present to her – which helps and I think I have largely been the mother I want for her (with the help of a few deep breaths from time to time!).  Sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even know what she wants herself – she’ll grizzle to be picked up, so I pick her up only to have her twist out of my arms, and then immediately whinge to be picked up again!

IMG_3803-1

I know it’s just because of her growing little brain though, and I really do feel like she has turned some kind of corner developmentally lately.  Just little things, but somehow they always excite and surprise me and make me look at her differently.

She’s starting to play little games and use her budding little imagination.  For example, the other day I turned around and she was pretending to write on a piece of paper with a pen.

IMG_3715-1

IMG_3711-1

Later the same day, she started playing a peekaboo game with me – she crawled into our bedroom and shut the door then started peeking around the door and giggling and then shutting it again.

IMG_3868-1

IMG_3872-1

IMG_3873-1

And perhaps the cutest of all, while Daddy C was away for a few days recently, she kept picking up her toy phone and going “Dad!  Hi Dad!”

IMG_3851-1

IMG_3856-1

Her language and comprehension is really growing too.  The other day I said to her “Shall we go for a drive?” and she lifted her arms up to me and said “Car!”  Her latest word is “nana” (meaning “banana”).  I made the mistake of showing off her new word to Daddy C the other night, and then she refused to eat anything for dinner except the “nana!” she could see on the bench!

It’s hard to explain how it feels to have her suddenly start expressing herself and developing her own little sense of volition like this.  The best analogy I have is this – imagine you had a pet dog, and you woke up one morning and the dog just wandered in, opened its mouth and said “Good morning, sleep well?”  Wouldn’t you feel like your whole frame of reference for this dog and who this dog was had changed?  I don’t want to liken my child to a dog of course, but that’s the best way I can explain how it feels to me – this kind of taken aback, slightly excited feeling when this little being for whom I’ve had a certain frame of reference for so long (“baby”) suddenly starts to demonstrate understanding and expression that just yesterday she was incapable of.

This age is hard and it can be frustrating – but it is certainly also amazing to watch all these changes as she grows into a little person… a cheeky, funny little person!

IMG_3821-1-3

It’s Not Her, It’s Me

Last Thursday we had a nightmare day.

Scarlett was whinging and grizzling all day and wouldn’t go for a sleep, no matter how much I tried to put her to bed. By afternoon, she had progressed to screaming. So, I am ashamed to say, had I. Finally, at around 4:30 pm, after a desperate phone call to Daddy C and some deep breaths, I sat her on my lap with a muesli bar and she fell asleep almost instantly in my arms, exhausted.

My poor grumpy baby last Thursday

The next day I went away for the weekend and I work Monday to Wednesday, so today was my first full day with her since then. She had been difficult for Dad over the weekend also, so I was afraid I was in for another day of tearing my hair out.

Well, it’s currently 3 pm and she has been wonderful all day. But the thing I’m sitting here trying to figure out is – has she been a happier baby today… or have I just been a better mum?

You see, I changed my approach today. I read a lot about gentle parenting. I completely agree with the idea that grumpy toddlers need you to recognise their needs with compassion, not to be disciplined for having emotions. I know that me getting stressed out only adds to the problem and will never solve anything.

So today I decided I wasn’t going to worry about getting anything done. If she got grumpy, instead of getting annoyed with her, I would get down on the floor and give her the attention she was asking for. And that is pretty much what I’ve done. There are toys all over the lounge room. The kitchen bench is covered in dishes. Anytime she was grizzling, I picked her up and read her a book, or sat on the floor and played with some toys.

Funnily enough, she has also been happier to go off and play on her own for short periods. Is that just because she is feeling happier today? Or is it because, with her need for love and attention met, she is satisfied and more able to spend some time on her own?

I tried to put her down for a morning sleep and she wasn’t having a bar of it. So instead of getting annoyed and stressed out and trying over and over again (a la last Thursday), I just accepted that she wasn’t ready to have a sleep, and got her up and read her a book instead, and then she wiggled off for another play. Finally, half an hour ago at about 2:30 pm, she became quiet on my lap and with little effort from me, fell asleep.

My beatuiful happy girl today

Last Thursday, when I was trying so hard to get her down for a nap – was it really because she needed a sleep? Or was it because I needed that cup of tea and half hour of silence? Was I really thinking about her needs – or about my own?

Today, when she wouldn’t go for a morning sleep – I just had my cup of tea anyway (sans silence :-P). I checked my Facebook while I gave her lunch. I gave up on the idea of a quiet cup of tea alone and accepted that I could fill my own desires while still putting her first and being present to her.

So have we had a better day today because she woke up feeling happier? Or has she been happier because I let go of how I wanted the day to go and instead focused on going with her flow?

I think it’s a combination of the two, to be honest. She definitely had woken up on the wrong side of the cot last Thursday, from the moment she got up. But I also handled it badly, and went to bed ashamed of the mother I had been that day.

Hopefully I will be going to bed a little happier tonight 🙂 And a little wiser, for having seen in action what I had long believed – that so often, it is not her that needs to learn the lesson, but me.

I guess we’re in this together bubba, my little teacher