Aviana at 10 months

How is it that Aviana is yet another month closer to being a year old?  Aviana has had an amazing month.  Aviana and I went back to the UK for a work trip whilst Aviana hung out with Granny and Grandpoo.  Aviana has been going through that phase where she doesn’t want to be left alone as well as great frustration at not being able to get where she wants to go.  She isn’t crawling still, but she can get somewhere if she really wants to by scooting around on her bum.  She can pull herself up, but is very awkward about it all.  She can stand on her own for a few seconds and is pretty confident now when I just hold onto one hand whilst she stands.  She can push herself along whilst holding onto her A frame walker, as well pushing herself on her ride along car that my parents bought her.  Having seen her have lots of fun on it, Chris immediately went out and bought her a little giraffe trike – her feet just touch the floor, it’s pretty cute watching her poot along.  But she still can’t get herself up from lying to a seated position which is very frustrating for all of us!

Aviana was a trooper on the flight back to the UK.  We ended up having an entire row of the whole plane to ourselves! She slept the whole way, thankfully.  I got very little sleep because I was paranoid about her dying in her sleep whilst in her car seat, so I kept checking her all the time.  The return flight I was dreading.  Firstly because we didn’t have seats next to each other because the plane was pretty much full, but when I checked in they had two bulk head seats available.  This was amazing because it meant that Aviana could sit on the floor and play at my feet without toys rolling under the seats and down the plane!  We walked up and down the aisle and she was the star of the plane.  She literally stopped to say hello to EVERYONE and everyone was obliging in talking to her.  Too cute.  My heart was melting.  It was a very friendly flight, I had so many offers of help!

I met a US Navy man on the flight who had a daughter who was one week younger than Aviana, and he was returning home after a short deployment.  Prepare for tears!!!  His daughter literally just cried when his wife gave her to him.  She didn’t recognise him!  Well, funnily enough Aviana did the same the next day with Chris when she woke up from her nap once we got home!  It had only been two weeks, but it was enough to make her cautious.  However, the next day, it was all about the daddy hugs.  She was probably just punishing him for him being missing for past two weeks.  I hope the sailor’s daughter forgave him soon after too!!

Aviana has started to refuse solids, she prefers feeding herself with finger food and doesn’t like mushy food.  So sweet potatoes and mash potato that she used to like? Nope.  Salmon? Nope.  But she will oblige to oat meal/porridge, risotto and yoghurt being spoon fed to her, but very little else!  The past week day care have not been able to get any food in her unless it is bread or rice cakes.  Fortunately she is still drinking her milk so I am not worried.  I’ve looked into it and it’s very normal at this age.  We just need to be relaxed about it, keep offering her a variety of foods, make dinner fun still, but not stress or force feed her.   We’ll also keep trying to get her to learn how to spoon feed herself when we have the chance to be messy, so hopefully that will help.  Luckily peas, cheese and blueberries are still a hit, as well as falafel!  So I’ll take that as a winner.  She’s great at drinking water and milk from her munchkin 360 cup by herself, so I think transitioning away from bottles will be easy.

I love how interactive she is now, so much fun. She has learned how to high five and wave hello and goodbye and my favourite is that she has learned how to squirt water from her squeezy toys, squirting herself and making farting noises on her tummy with the air!

Aviana still fits in some of her 3-6 month clothes where they were dresses she can still wear as shirts, and her trousers still fit her, but are more like shorts!  But length wise she is in 9-12 months, but they swamp her arms and body!   I also finally found some shoes for her to walk in that actually fit her long skinny feet…of course, I found them in the UK, size 3-6 months.

My heart is so full, this girl amazes me 🙂




Things I didn’t know I could do until I had a baby

Things I didn't know I could do until I had a baby….

…Undress myself with one hand whilst holding my baby to go pee…

…Redress myself with one hand whilst holding my baby after peeing. MUCH HARDER!

…Eat a plate of food in 2 minutes (actually I learned this skill in the military but it was only 5 minutes then!)

…Have the patience of a saint – whilst my baby slaps me in the mouth, pokes my eye out and scratches my chest whilst she nurses (no she doesn't do this on purpose, she's just a baby!)

…Have the balancing skills of a world champion gymnast…because my baby is precious cargo and I don't want to walk up the stairs for the umpteenth time.

And so the list begins!! Everyday is a school day as a new parent!!! What are your new found skills? What new skills do I have to look forward to as my baby turns into a toddler?

The guilty mother

The guilt is bad enough going back to work when your baby is only 5 months old, but to leave her for 8 nights and travel to a different continent for work?  The guilt just pours out of me.   Eughhhh.

It was a tough week leaving Aviana behind.  Especially as the first night I was away she decided to wake up three times in the night rather than sleep through (typically what she has been doing for the past few weeks).  Poor Chris has had to deal with that, and on top of that, she caught her first cold.

I feel guilty that I was not there to cuddle and soothe her when she wakes in the night, I feel guilty I was not there to share the load of care, I feel guilty that my husband doesn’t get a respite, I feel guilty that I get to sleep without being woken by a crying baby (although I did have several dreams where I woke up in a panic that I had lost Aviana somewhere in the hotel room!), I feel guilty that I couldn’t store enough breastmilk for Aviana to have the entire week (I was only able to freeze 70oz and I needed twice that), I feel guilty that I couldn’t nurse her.

It has been a strange first week back to work.  I saw people who last time saw me with a big bump, or people who have only ever known me pregnant!  I reunited with a few people who are obviously sensitive to these things, and gingerly asked if everything went alright with the birth. I was impressed at these people, I won’t forget their sensitivity and made me secretly wonder what sad stories have touched their lives in the past.

The great news is that I can shed some of my constant burden and guilt is that I finally graduated from my 9 month executive development programme!  Whoop whoop!  I presented my team’s project to some of the most senior staff in the organisation and it went down very well.  I’m sad that my team has disbanded, I got to work with some of the best my organisation has, we worked well through a tough problem, through conflict of opinions, and with time always against us, but we got it done, and it was actually fun at times. The past few months of my maternity leave I have always had the weight of our team project on my shoulders, in addition to undertaking all the distance learning modules.  There were times on my maternity leave that I was on a team conference call at 7AM (because they are all in Europe) whilst rocking my crying baby, or writing meeting minutes whilst breastfeeding my baby.  I always felt guilty that I was never giving my all – to both my daughter and to my project team.  But I needn’t have worried because my team never noticed or even had a hint that I was multi-tasking during these calls.  It’s over now and I can finally shed that weight off my shoulder.

I will have to travel for work some more, that is just the nature of my job.  It’s going to be tough on both Aviana and Chris.  I don’t know how Aviana misses me because she can’t exactly communicate it clearly how she feels, but I know it will get harder as she gets a bit older…or may be not, may be she will just be used to it as I travel from an early age.  I don’t know how these things work, we will just have to go with the flow.

So yes, feeling guilty here, I didn’t think I would miss Aviana quite as much as I did.  I missed her so much that when I think about her my tear well fills up to the point of almost over flowing.  I just wanted to run across the airport when I landed home to get back as quickly as possible to see her. Is it hormones?  Is it love?  I’d say probably both.

The greatest thing that happened is when I got home and saw Aviana for the first time in a week…she smiled, giggled coyly and reached her arms up for me. THE BEST feeling ever.  Just wish I didn’t have to feel so guilty when I leave her.

Daddy’s going back to work

Dani’s thoughts and feelings on Chris going back to work….

…it sucks.

The end.

That is all I wanted to write….but perhaps I should explain myself a bit more.  Although I reckon that many of you mums out there won’t need me to write an explanation because we probably feel the same way about our partners returning to work after parental leave.

Chris technically doesn’t get parental leave.  In the US, you are lucky to get any parental leave.  Chris saved up his annual leave to allow him to take 3 weeks off for both the birth and learning to become a dad.  Fortunately some of the days include public holidays – Christmas, New Years and Martin Luther King Day.  So that was lucky to get an extra few days without eating into his leave.

Chris’s company does give him a ‘transition week’, which when you add up the time off equals 2.5 days of parental leave.  What is a transition week? Well, he gets to work half days from home…allowing him to support his new family but ease both him and us into working life again.  Makes a lot of sense.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

So Chris’s last day of leave was last Friday.  It has been amazing to have him around.  He has been amazing.  I don’t know how mums do it when their partners go back to work within a few days…or worse, they are simply not around because they are deployed or for some other work related reason.  Why has he been amazing?

  • He has given me confidence that I can do this.
  • He supports my breastfeeding, by making sure I have everything I need – water, food, pillows, blankets, burp cloths, entertainment, timing the feeds.
  • He changes Aviana’s diapers/nappies.
  • He gets up at night to wake up Aviana, give Aviana to me whilst I am in bed so I can nurse her, then put her back down to sleep.
  • We share the burden of dealing with Aviana fussing at night.  But sometimes he takes on more of that share.
  • He has done the cleaning, washing, cooking, tidying, driving etc.  All the things I haven’t been allowed to do for the two weeks of my post partum recovery.
  • He is an expert in all things bath related for Aviana.
  • We take turns in dressing Aviana and trying to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate to wear!
  • He has dashed out to shops to get things we hadn’t thought of or ran out of sooner than expected.
  • He looks after Aviana, even when she is fussing, so that I can take a shower in the morning, and a bath at night (helps with my postpartum recovery).
  • Read the books, googled advice and hacks on looking after a newborn.  Sharing his newfound knowledge with me.
  • Tells me he loves me and how he loves seeing me being a mum.  He also makes me feel like I am more than just a mum to him, I am still his wife.
  • Encourages me to achieve one personal goal a day.
  • Cries with me when I randomly cry (which mostly has been at happy things or pure relief things have worked out well for us)

😦 Dani’s sad face.

It’s so nice to see the man doing his part…and other thoughts from strangers

It didn’t take long before strangers offered their thoughts on our newborn baby as we started to venture out of our cave and into the big wide world. So far, all of them have been positive ….

‘Ohhhhh she’s so tiny!!’ Or ‘she’s so precious!!’

One woman waiting at the pediatrician’s office even asked if she could take a photo of me and Aviana together because Aviana is so small she couldn’t believe it! Ok. So that was a bit weird!

The cashier lady said to us she would have told her daughter off for going outside with such a young-un so soon. So this comment was a bit judgemental, but I don’t care, because we believe some fresh air is good for a baby! It’s not like we were passing our baby round lots of people!m. Yes, the pediatrician said we have to be careful because she is so tiny and we are on the brink of a flu epidemic in the local area as the kids go back to school. It seems the vaccine this year might not be effective for this type of flu. So we are being very careful where we go, who we hang out with and who gets to cuddle her.

Finally, Chris carried Aviana around the shop on his chest as she was fussing a bit.  A lady came up to me and gave her compliments on our cute daughter, then said (to me) ‘it’s so nice to see the man doing his part!’ She looked like she was about to tear up at the prospect of a man being an actual parent. I was a little surprised and later asked Chris how he felt about what the lady had said. He said that this was in no way offensive to us, but just reminded us that not every family has a father who plays the role of carer equal to the mother. 

Chris – parenting (a purple blob)!!!!

In my other blog I wrote about the ‘Dad’s don’t babysit’ movement because I have strong feelings about this so I won’t repeat it here. But Chris is definitely a dad who doesn’t babysit- he parents. ❤️

I know this is just the beginning of random strangers commenting on our daughter or our parenting skills…but what else will I fill this blog up with if not with opinions of people we don’t know ??!!!!