Raising a Little Aussie

Something I think about frequently is identity, specifically through nationality. The full identity issue is a much larger discussion and blog post than I’m tackling here. My national identity is pretty simple – I’m a Australian – at least fourth generation if not further. No matter how long we live abroad, I will always think of myself as an Australian. My parents are 100% Australian, as was my childhood home and education.

So where does that leave Eloise? Is she American or Australian? Will she feel American because she lives here? If we move back to Australian in a few years, then what will that make her? Technically she’s an Australian born in the US, with dual citizenship. I often wonder what she will feel like as she grows up. As she starts school she will pick up an American accent (nooooo!!!) and identify with her friends more than with us. Whereas Alec and I yearn for things like Cadbury chocolate and Gippsland yoghurt, will she prefer (god forbid) Hersheys and Chobani?.

How do we help Eloise embrace her Australian heritage and nationality so it forms part of her identity? Read her Playing Beatie Bow, serve her Vegemite, make her watch The Man From Snowy River? Will she even care?

The point is we do care, even if she won’t for what will probably be a long time. I hope that by constantly going back home to visit and by surrounding her with global experiences that she will embrace an identity of being more than just an American.

Sydney, December 2011

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Eloise – Month 4 – 5

Week 18 – Dec 20 – Dec 23 

We had a baby nurse visit us to give us help with Eloise’s terrible sleep habits. Amazingly, we were able to get her to sleep in the crib for two naps during the day – something she had been unable to do up until now. So fantastic. I was also told that I was feeding her too frequently, so have to cut back to during the day, no oftener than every 3 hours, and at night, no oftener than every 4 hours. This means some pain for us as we will have to settle her back to sleep at night when she wakes instead of the easy path of me feeding her back to sleep …

The rest of the week we tried to keep up with the advice, but it was hard when we were going out so much and couldn’t keep on a schedule.

Development-wise, this week Eloise spent a lot of time on her back on the floor happily watching us or amusing herself. Her grip improved dramatically. She now reaches for objects and examines them, usually shoving them in her mouth.

Christmas in Sydney Hyde Park.
Hyde Park 17 wks.

 Week 19 – Dec 24 – Dec 31 

Eloise’s first Christmas! She was spoiled by her family. It was so lovely to celebrate with her – looking forward to the next Christmases as she gets older and can open presents and understand what it all means.

 Santa! 18 wks.

Christmas Day.

Developmental changes this week: Trying to roll from front to back. She lifts her legs and can roll to her side, but can’t quite get over. First finger and thumb constantly in the mouth.

Eloise has also started to develop a pincer grip with these fingers, using them to grab her ear, her nappy, and more. She reaches for us all the time now, particularly our faces. She has also started blowing raspberries! She blows them non stop 🙂

First swim in a pool this week. Eloise really loved the water and was in for over an hour. We also took her to Balmoral Beach and put her feet in the sand and in the water. She didn’t know what to think of it all!

First swim! 18 wks.

At Balmoral Beach.

Week 20 – Jan 1 – Jan 7 2012

Our last week in Sydney. After doing way too much and going out too much, Eloise was finding it hard to sleep, frequently waking up after we put her down to sleep.

The big event for this week was Eloise’s naming day. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the people, but was really good natured and managed to put her toes in her mouth for the first time. It was such a fantastic day, with our friends and relatives coming down from Newcastle, over from Perth and all over Sydney.

Cutting the Eloise cake at Eloise’s naming day.

Developmentally, Eloise is changing so much. She rolled over for the first time from front to back (3/1/12). She is really interested in everything we are doing, especially when we are eating or drinking. She also loves touching our faces and following out voices. She is chatting a lot now – even during the night when I feed her, she happily chats away.

Eloise is suddenly so interested in everything. She reaches for our faces frequently, as well as anything we are eating or drinking.

Last big event for the week was the trip back to New York. A huge 24 hours – 12.5 hour flight from Sydney to LA, a four hour layover, then a 4.5 hour flight from LA to New York. Eloise was pretty fussy and didn’t sleep much on the first flight, but was in a fabulous mood and slept for most of the second flight.

On the Virgin flight from LA to NY.

Week 21 – Jan 8 – 13
JETLAG. This week is all about jetlag. Eloise was hit really badly by it on the return leg and hardly slept for nights.

Eloise is really enjoying putting her feet in her mouth. She is also loving our water bottles and reaches for them frequently. She is constantly reaching for things now, so curious about everything in the world. Her co-ordination is improving as well. She really loves Sophie the giraffe now. The toy is the perfect size for her to grab and put in her mouth.

Eloise and Sophie.

Eloise is trying to roll from back to front. She’s slowly getting there … a great improvement is that we can now put her down on the floor and she happily plays there for a while on her own.

Trying to roll.

Week 22 – Jan 14 – 20
First solid! Organic whole grain rice cereal, mixed with formula. I think she enjoyed it – at least, she was very curious about it, and didn’t spit it back out. (16/1/12).

Towards the end of the week, the jetlag seemed to finally wear off, and her sleeping returned to normal – waking at around 9:39, then 12:30-1am, 4:40, then 6am. Blergh. So tired.

A great first this week was Eloise falling asleep in her stroller, not once, but twice! Uh-mazing.

She is really loving exploring our faces and mouths, particularly our teeth. She is so fascinated with everything we are wearing and doing.

Loving my teeth.
This week was our first outing in the cold.

First outing with Daddy. Minus 2 degrees C.