Eloise – 18 months

I turned around and suddenly my little squirmy noodle hit another 6 month notch.

Since turning one, Eloise has developed into a real little kid. Running everywhere at top speed, dancing, play pretend with her dolls and her toy kitchen. She’s so physical, and is getting really agile. She loves walking on the balance beam at kids club and swinging on the parallel bars like a little gymnast. Put on music and she taps her feet, sways and shakes her head to the beat. The independent streak she’s shown since she was born is still at the forefront of her character – she’s so physically brave.

Cheese!

One of the best developments is the physical affection. We now get hugs and kisses and real interaction. It’s so magical. Eloise understands so much of what we say to her now, following directions and replying to questions we ask her. She also speaks! Lots of words where she says the first syllable, like cheese, water, milk, duck, more, cheddar bunnies, dog, ball. Some words she can say two syllables, like bubble and baby. She’s also started to string words together, like “hi dada”, and “bye becky” (becky is a butterfly).

Eloise has gotten really attached to a little toy mouse, who she’s called Mimi. If she can’t find Mimi she gets hysterical.

All of her baby teeth have come in, with the exception of the 2 year molars. We had a brutal few months while they came through – hopefully now we’ll get some sleep again. Eloise’s sleep in the past few months has been terrible – a big remission to waking multiple times a night again. Bad, bad news.

Eloise has started to love drawing with crayons, and particularly loves books. From when she wakes up in the morning to when she goes to bed, it’s all about “books, books, books!!!”. She likes to have them read to her, and also likes sitting in the armchair in her bedroom looking through the books herself, particularly books with animals in them. If we point to animals she can either make the noise they make, or says their name. It’s co cute! She also refers to herself as “Cheese”, which is a parenting fail, but incredibly adorable.

She’s also started to play pretend with her toys – feeding her dolls, making us tea in her kitchen. It’s so adorable, even if she’s making some dubious recipes like carrot-flavoured tea.

Tea, yum.

Advertisements

In Defence of Toddlers

I feel like toddlers get a pretty bad rap for being out of control maniacs. And there is definitely some truth to this – most days Eloise spins through my life like mad squirrel, leaving total destruction behind her. Even though some parts of this stage can be trying (mind-numbing exhaustion at the end of each day!), it’s actually my favourite stage yet. Here’s why:

1. Hugs and kisses. I get them ALL THE TIME. Open mouth French slobbers, little pecks on the mouth, and little hands that grab me from behind and nestle in for a snuggle. Ahhhhh this is the best thing of all.
2. Words! Finally, she is communicating! True, it’s still hard to understand what she’s saying a lot of the time, but hearing this little baby-child wrap her lips and tongue around words like bath, dog, duck, flower just fill me with awe at seeing tiny changes happening every minute of every day.
3. Pretend play. Eloise holds up any phone-sized object to her ear and conducts a deep conversation with it, complete with the correct intonations. Kill me now, I’m dying from the cuteness of it all.
4. Dance moves. The little girl has her own groove going on. Put on music and she’s swaying and tapping her feet out of natural instinct.
5. She can feed herself. Here’s the food, off you go, baby.
6. She’s not that screaming, refluxy infant anymore who made me doubt my ability to do this parenting job. Compared to the first ten months of her life, toddlerhood is a breeze so far.

January Blues

Gratuitous Cheese shot.

I won’t lie, January was hard. Bitterly cold, jet lagged baby, sick family over and over again, plus a case of the blues that just wouldn’t budge. I’ve been struggling to find room for myself again now that Eloise is getting older and doesn’t need me quite so much. I’ve been feeling time slipping by me in all directions. In Eloise’s little face as it slims and grows, in my friends’ careers as they get promoted and start their own businesses. I’ve been feeling torn in a way I never thought possible between choosing myself or choosing to spend my time with Eloise.

It’s a fine line to walk. I love hearing every word for the first time, seeing every new trick she throws out daily. I also feel like I’ve been living my life entirely for someone else, and that I’ve completely lost myself.

So what’s the answer? I’m trying hard to get some freelance and part-time work going that I can do with some short babysitting stints for Eloise, and during her naps. So far it’s going well, but it’s also hard! Hard to focus, hard to spend all my free time working rather than resting up for the next tornado Eloise. It’s better than the alternative though, and I still get to spend most of the week with my crazy, wilful, adorable toddler.

Snow day!

Blizzard Nemo (ha!) hit New York yesterday. It was pretty crazy being out in it – like icicles prickling my face. Today the blizzard had passed and the city was covered in a glorious foot of snow. Yay! We head over to Fort Greene park to give Eloise her first real taste of snow. She really loved it – she couldn’t get enough of sitting on the ground and trying to grab it in her little mits.

Snow baby!

Go, baby, go!

Snow dog!

With Daddy.

Family!

Beautiful.

Snow baby.

Happy husband.

Loving the snow.

So pretty.

Love!

Stroller did NOT work well in snow.

Christmas in Hawaii

We decided to fly to Hawaii for Christmas and meet my family there instead of flying back to Australia. I booked us a three-bedroom suite at a resort in Ko Olina, right on the waterfront.

The flight was brutal – 10 hours straight. Eloise napped just once and then was awake for 12 hours straight.

It’s a miracle, she’s asleep!

The resort and beach were so beautiful. Ko Olina was a little piece of paradise. We spent most days walking around the beaches, swimming in the ocean and pools.

Checking out the beach for the first time since she was four months old in Sydney.

Pure joy.

Ocean!

Walking by the beach with Daddy.

Beach with my Cheese.

Decided she loves the beach.

Hey beach baby!

We also did the toddler dolphin experience at Dolphin Quest. It was wonderful to meet dolphins with Eloise. It totally blew her mind. She was fascinated by them, and has been saying “dolph!” and pointing to pictures of them since.

Dolphins!

View from the balcony.

Sunset.

One thing I really wanted to do was the Disney character breakfast at Aulani. It was so much fun! A decent buffet breakfast with a great omelet station, Minnie Mouse and Goofy wandering around to the tables for meet and greets and photo ops. Every so often, “Auntie” would strike up music and sing cute Hawaiian-y songs, handing out instruments and leading the kids in a parade around the restaurant. Eloise was in absolute heaven.

Disney breakfast at Aulani resort.

Alec and I had a few hours to ourselves one day so went for a drive to Mokule’ia Beach, where Lost was filmed. It was stunning – a pure white sand beach with almost no one in site for miles.

Mokule’ia Beach, Oahu

We also went on an easy hike one day with Tim and Michele up to Diamond Head. It had an amazing view of Honolulu.

View from Diamond Head.

I also got up super early one morning to see Pearl Harbour with Michele. It was a sobering experience to be there and see the sunken Arizona ship.

Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour.

Even though I get really sea sick pretty much just by looking at boats, I thought it would be a fun idea to get on a boat and go snorkelling and whale watching. True to form, I felt ill the entire time, but we did see about 10 Humpback whales.

Humpback whales spotting.

We went for a stroll through Waimea Valley. It was really beautiful – a little too manicured, but some amazing plants.

Crazy antics.

Waimea Valley.

We also went on the Ranch and Movie tour at Kualoa Ranch, where a lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed. I loved the tour – especially seeing where Jurassic Park was filmed for the famous scene with the log below.

Jurassic Park filming location, Kualoa Ranch.

It was really strange being somewhere other than in Warwick Farm for Christmas morning. It was really lovely, but also really strange! My first Christmas not in Warwick Farm in my life so far. We had breakfast at the neighbouring Marriott resort, followed by present opening and relaxing.

Christmas morning with my baby.

Christmas palm tree.

Family shot, Christmas Day.

What a wonderful trip! It was so great to see my family all together. Hawaii is paradise – can’t wait to go back again.

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Wow, what a year. It started out much as 2011 ended – with a hard, fussy, non-sleeping baby dominating our lives. Thankfully, by the time summer rolled around, everything improved by about 100%. We had a baby who slept! We slept! We had a wonderful summer and really enjoyed ourselves and getting to know a new, happier Eloise. I felt like a new person, not just hanging in there for dear life every day, but finally enjoying life again. It was wonderful to finally be able to really enjoy our baby and our lives together. We went out a lot, had playdates, went to galleries. What an an amazing life!

2012 was definitely the year for working out how we and Eloise could co-exist successfully as a family. I’m excited about 2013 – hopefully the year where Alec and I can start to focus again on what we want to achieve career-wise. For Alec, this involves quitting his job at Twitter to start his own business. For me, this means hoping to launch a freelance writing career to make some extra money as well as focusing on getting my own site/blog Brunch With My Baby off the ground.

As Eloise leaves her babyhood behind and turns into a toddler, we are loving getting to see her adorable personality developing. The little girl who is a daredevil, climbing and tumbling and throwing herself off stairs. The tiny person who adores music and dancing, and who loves to play jokes with us and laugh at everything.

2013 is looking to be quite an adventure again – I can’t wait to see what happens.

Buffy is home!

We had some wonderful news as we flew into New York. Buffy was found! The little scamp had gone wolf in the bush for two weeks. She had made a den in some used car parts down the back of the pet sitter’s property. The son saw her and tried to catch her, but because she tried tried to bite him (!!!) he had to trap her. Unbelievable. She’s looking pretty good for two weeks in the wild. She’s lost 1.5kgs (from under 5kgs anyway!) but is otherwise fine. Miracle!!

Help Bring Buffy Home

I just found out the devastating news that while we were on holiday in Hawaii, my 8 yr old Havanese, Buffy, escaped from her pet sitter back home in Sydney. Please help me find her.

NAME: Buffy
LAST SEEN: Lot 10 Minerva Rd, Wedderburn, NSW, Sydney, Australia where she was staying with her pet sitter.
DATE MISSING: Dec 15th, 2012
COLOUR: Yellow/blonde
BREED: Havanese
AGE: 8 yrs
SEX: Female, desexed
SIZE: Small toy – weighs under 5 kgs.
TEMPERAMENT: Extremely friendly and good natured.

CONTACT: Owen and Kay Knight, 02 96020661. Address: 12 Hope St, Warwick Farm. Email either myself at clknight@gmail.com or my parents at okayknight@gmail.com.

Please keep an eye out for this tiny, very beloved dog. She has been missing for 12 days now and the situation does not look good.

Thanks for any tweets, shares etc.

Christine

20101017-img_5056

Most current photo: Buffy just had this haircut a few days before she went missing.

Most current photo: Buffy just had this haircut a few days before she went missing.

Buffy with her sister, Kahlua.

Buffy with her sister, Kahlua.

Such Is Life

I don’t blog as much as I should about the amazing things I get to do living in New York. Here are a few fun things I’ve been up to recently.

Seeing the world premiere of Les Miserables with Beck, followed by a Q&A with the cast, including Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried.

Cast from Les Miserables

Christmas decorations are up! Loving this beautiful tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Eloise also loved the museum – she has reached an age where she notices everything around her and is so curious about everything she sees.

Met Christmas Tree

Saw the NYC ballet perform the Nutcracker with my friend Alexis at the Lincoln Center.

Ballet poses!

Hanging out with a special visitor! It was wonderful to see Beverly after almost three years, and meet Hunter and Carter.

It’s us! With kids!

Eloise’s first time in snow!

It’s colddddddd!

Had a wonderful time at the So You Think You Can Dance live tour with Dan and Sue.

Yes, I think I can dance!

Watched the US Olympic gymnastics team perform live in a showcase at the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

The ladies on the rings.

Lived through Hurricane Sandy.

Damage near our home.

And managed to celebrate Halloween straight afterwards.

Ballet butterfly!

Had great adventures with Grandma!

Three generations of Knight ladies.