My ability to write coherently has escaped me these last few months, so I'm just going to rattle off some randomness in point form and hope that you can follow along.
:: I weaned Lalie early in the new year. She was down to only one morning feed so the process was rather painless. After feeding her for the last time, I told her that I would not be making any more 'bop-bop'. She replied with "Bop-bop finish? We put it in da bin?". Looking down at my worse-for-wear breasts, I couldn't help but think that after two years of feeding, I may as bloody well.
:: Lalie started kindy two days a week. It was also painless. Before we got out of the car on her second day, she looked at me very seriously and requested that "Mummy stay in car and me go in tindy by myself." (I'm anticipating by late primary school this will morph into "Muuuum, drop me off around the corner and I'll walk. And whatever you do, don't kiss me!"). Needless to say, I had to bribe her with ice cream for the first two weeks to come home with me. I also felt the need to reassure the carers that, despite appearances, she has a very good home life. Meanwile, my sister in law assures me that I should be proud that she feels confident and secure, and not take the slightest bit of offense. Hmmm...
:: It seemed only natural that Lalie progress from sleeping in my cot to sleeping in my childhood bed. We pulled it out of storage and dusted it off. A good sand and a lick of paint later it was in her room ready for the first big-girl sleep. She loves it. The transition has been seamless, and I wish I had done it months ago. I really enjoy cuddling up together at story time, and that bed-time resistance is all but a fading memory. She will happily lay in bed for 45 minutes reading to herself before I finally insist on lights out.
:: As you are already aware to some degree, Paddy spends a lot of time away at work. His strict roster means that he is away for a two week stint, and then home for 6 days. This brutal cycle repeats itself - for how long we're not really sure. At this rate, we spend less than one third of the year together. There are other families out there who spend a lot less time together and I have utmost respect for them. In the last few weeks I have gone from barely coping to simply not coping. We definitely need a new plan of attack.
:: I recently flew to Sydney to photograph my first wedding (actually, it was a beautiful vow renewal and reception for a lovely couple who had previously eloped). Paddy was away at the time and after weeks of agonising over what to do with Lalie, I finally decided to leave her here in Townsville with my Mum. It was the first time that I'd spent a night away from her, and three nights felt like a really big deal. Lalie was a trooper, as everyone knew she would be. I held it together until I got on the plane, when it suddenly became very clear that the blonde woman sitting in aisle 16C had some serious emotional issues. Once I got to Sydney, I was fine... actually, it was great. I think it was something I really needed to do.
:: My brother and sister-in-law have moved to Townsville with their two-month-old baby boy. It's surreal having them here, as my brother moved interstate when I was only five and hasn't been back since, apart from occasional Christmases and other short visits. I thought they were the eternal big-city types... but having babies does funny things to us, doesn't it? It's very sweet to see Lalie interact with her baby cousin... it's just a real treat having them here, and the new dose of family has been distracting me from the little void that my sister left when she moved to London.
:: The developmental changes in Lalie have been enormous these last couple of months.
- Her language has exploded and she natters away in rather sophisticated sentences all day long. People comment often on her language and the clarity of her speech.
-She's suddenly become much more determined in asserting her own will; tantrums and meltdowns are ferocious and frequent. For both of us.
- Her desire to be completely independent is admirable yet often frustrating. She won't let me do anything; she attempts to dress herself, puts her shoes on and off, pours her own drinks, puts on her own sunscreen, goes to the toilet (I'm not allowed in there with her), climbs into her car seat... simple daily tasks now take quadruple time, but who am I to take that desire for independence away from her?
Recently I've been wondering whether or not to continue our story here on this blog. Is it just something else to add to the list? Do I need the added pressure? Is it in Lalie's best interest? Or mine or Paddy's for that matter?
Last night I spent half an hour flicking through my own archives. Sad, I know... but it made me smile. I was reminded of the simple and beautiful everyday moments that, unless documented and celebrated, can so easily get caught up and lost in the messiness of life.
I'm not ready to let go of that reminder just yet.