Micro blog: The copy cat

We quickly discovered that Aviana learns fast if she has someone to copy.  For example…we visited our local botanical gardens that has a giant sand play pit, the previous night it rained heavily so there was a lot of wet sand and big puddles.  Aviana freaked out about the texture of the wet sand (sticky, wet and dirty!), so she just stood there, not playing, just watching the world for quite sometime.  As soon as our friends joined us with their almost 2 year old daughter who has no such fears, Aviana immediately followed suit, she even sat in one of the sandy puddles, digging the dirt! It was quite an amazing transformation.

We had tried on many occasions to get Aviana to wear her helmet when she rode on the back of my bike, but we failed and she was miserable if we forced her to wear it.  But as soon as she saw her friend wearing the exact same helmet, that was all it took, and Aviana has been happy to wear hers from since then. In fact she asks for it.

This all good, really it is adorable to watch her learn in this way, but there is going to be the time when she copies others and we DON’T want her to follow suit!!!

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Sixth disease

You have probably heard of fifth disease? It causes a rash which is more well known for causing red cheeks? Did you know there is also the sixth disease? There are also the first, second, third and fourth diseases as well. Such catchy names. But apparently named so after they were studied as the 6 diseases a child would face that causes a rash to break out. 2 of them bacterial: second disease AKA scarlet fever and forth disease AKA Dukes disease, the other 4 of them are viral: first disease AKA measles, third disease AKA rubella or German measles, fifth disease, AKA fifth disease caused by the parovirus, and sixth disease AKA Roseola.

The sixth disease or Roseola is very common in children under age of two and Aviana got it at the prime age of 15 months. Except at the time we didn’t know it was Roseola.

It started when Aviana had a slight temperature 99.8F we thought was related to teething (those back top molars!!!) so we gave her some Tylenol and thought nothing more if it. But when I picked her up from daycare she was crying and apparently pretty much inconsolable since waking up from her nap that day. She was boiling hot to the touch I couldn’t believe the teachers hadn’t noticed! They apologized and tried to take her temp there and then, but the thermometer wasn’t working so I took her straight home – the poor love was burning up! She was 103F! Definitely not teething then. But what could it be? She had zero other symptoms, she had a slight runny nose, but nothing obvious. Considering her high temp, she seemed to be just fine. She ate her dinner and played some jokes! Weird.

With some Tylenol Aviana’s temp went down to 101F and she went to sleep with no problem – we prepared for a bad night but she slept very well!!! She woke up the next day with a temperature still so we couldn’t send her to daycare. We kept her home and she was in mixed sorts. One minute happy, the next freaking out over nothing.

That evening after her bath she turned blue grey at her hands feet and mouth. It was a bit scary, but turns out can happen when children have a fever. It’s the body’s normal reaction when they get cold and have a fever. Lesson learned there!!!

The next day we got her up after she had a mammoth sleep and she was boiling hot again! This time she was 103F again but lethargic. She wouldn’t eat. So Chris took her to the doctors as soon as it opened. She was a little lympet and just wouldn’t let go, so sorry for herself. They tested her for strep, came back negative and said it could have been flu, but was too late to treat with tamiflu. In typical fashion, Weirdly, Aviana’s fever broke later that day. It just suddenly dropped. Unfortunately her crankiness did not stop however.

And so we thought that was it…we sent her to daycare the next day, she was still a bit cranky, but nothing too unusual. Later that evening she broke out in a rash all over her back, chest, neck and arms…but not her legs or face. WTF???

Quick….google ‘rash in toddler’!

Oh. Roseola. fits everything. Apparently a rash appears after the fever breaks! It’s also called ‘Exanthem subitum’ – ‘sudden rash’. Not sure why the doctors didn’t think of it as a possibility. She even had the puffy eye thing going on, but at the time we didn’t think too much of it because she had been crying a lot regularly!

Her rash disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared.  It took her a few days to return to ‘normal’ Aviana after the rash appeared. In total it took about 8 days from start to finish.  It was tough on occasion because she was so fussy and needy, and times I questioned my ability to parent through it as my patience wore thin, even telling myself she is just ill and won’t be like this forever.  But then she was suddenly super cute and adorable as much as she was suddenly grumpy, fussy or clingy.  I also quietly admit that I did like the snuggles when she wasn’t crying.  A plus side of a toddler being ill! Snuggly cuddles.  I’ll treasure those and forget the rough moments!

Cats and toddlers

We always agreed that we would never get rid of our cats for a baby. We would have to get rid of the baby first. (Just kidding!) Only if the baby had severe allergies would we consider getting rid of our cats.

Why do I bring this up? Well, Our cat, sushi, is a bit of a feisty one and occasionally grumpy one. Not too soon before Aviana arrived, sushi scratched our friend’s daughter quite badly. Admittedly, she had cornered sushi and was waving her hands and had been chasing her. Sushi swiped and scratched our friend’s daughter right on the eye. We felt awful. It actually happened again when one time we lost track of the toddler, you know doing toddler stuff…and it happened in a split second. Sushi sent a message loud and clear-I don’t like you, leave me alone- SWIPE! We wondered whether sushi would ever get on with a baby, or if she would turn into a grumpy cat for ever.

Diesel, our feral cat we rescued from near certain death, is a scaredy-cat. The complete opposite of sushi. We didn’t need to worry about diesel hurting a baby. In fact, the chances are a baby would be more likely to accidentally hurt him first.

Guess who is Aviana’s favourite cat? Yes, you guessed it, it’s diesel. Diesel has always fascinated Aviana, perhaps it’s because he is so elusive Or maybe it’s because he eats all the food she throws on the floor (he is a bit of a dog). Sushi on the other hand loves to hang around Aviana and sleeps in her room for her morning nap. She will happily flop down in front of Aviana with her ‘please stroke me’ face on. Now, Aviana has learned to be gentle with sushi, we have instilled it into her since day….but recently Aviana has been a little hard with the strokes with Sushi. One time in particular she grabbed sushi and fur went flying, sushi was very good and did not retaliate or defend herself. I am afraid though as Aviana gets bigger and stronger that she might hurt Sushi and Sushi will fall out of love with Aviana forever or worse, retaliate.

Now that Aviana is walking we have to watch her like a hawk around the cats. Hopefully it will get easier, but for now toddler + cats = potential danger!

Karma

It is clearly Karma.  I decided to take my day off in lieu for Martin Luther King Day when I was working in Paris tomorrow.  I had grand plans of doing some serious self teaching of my not so new sewing machine.  I was going to pick up Aviana early and get some mummy daughter time. But……here comes the but…..Aviana got ill again.  Well kind of.

Daycare called today at lunch time to say Aviana had a fever and needed to be picked up.  When I got there she had woken up from a nice 2 hour nap and seemed her normal self.  But hey.  She has been teething, got a runny nose and has a bit of a sore nappy rash.  I am not convinced she is seriously ill.  Her fever was 100 at daycare, when I got home it was hovering around 99.5 and with some tylenol/paracetamol it came down to 97.9. I am thinking a cold and teething and hoping not the start of something more serious.

Of course, she is not allowed back to daycare for 24hrs after a fever….so there goes my day off!  Well at least it is still a day off, and hopefully Aviana will actually be well enough that we can still have a bit of fun together.

This poor girl can’t catch a break! BUT at least if she is ill it is more likely she will be better just in time for our girl’s holiday in Orlando in a week’s time, I’m sure some sunshine is just what the doctor ordered 🙂

Textbook baby

Why is everything a competition when it comes to baby milestones??!!! Aviana is pretty much textbook in hitting all her milestones (except for crawling which she avoided, but that’s not a real milestone anyway), but today at Aviana’s gym class someone made out like Aviana was LATE in her development.

Whilst Aviana clambered over some low lying parallel bars, a mother of a little boy who was new to the class commented on how she is glad her son isn’t climbing yet, I laughed and agreed ‘I can’t take my eyes away for a minute’, then she asked ‘awww, how old is she?’, without much thought I said ’13 months-she just started walking really in the last week so she is off exploring everywhere’. The mother looked surprised, probably because Aviana looked pretty confident, so I added, ‘she has been almost walking for a few months but finally figured out it was more efficient than scooting’. And then the mother asked if Aviana was my first, I replied yes, and she said it….’ohhh first borns are always late at walking’.

Wait. What? Aviana isn’t a late walker!

Yes some kids walk earlier, and some kids walk much later!!! In fact the average is 12 months. Aviana is pretty much text book and started walking solo aged 12 months 1 week.

So this conversation got me thinking how much pressure as parents we put ourselves under for our babies to hit their milestones at any given time. It is seemingly never ending! Of course it’s important to track them, but it also helps to know what the range for developmentally normal actually is. This mother’s perspective was clearly from a limited experience and luckily I knew better so as to not be offended or become worried!

This is one of the reasons why I hate the question ‘how old is she?’ from random strangers. I always feel like the only reason they are asking is to judge their kid against mine.

The sickiness

It just HAD to happen the two weeks I was away on work travels.  Before I left Chris got really ill with some kind of respiratory infection…and of course it had to happen when snowmageddon happened.  Chris was due to travel, but he was too ill and then we had 9” of snow!  This meant I had to look after Aviana whilst daycare was shut and Chris was a poorly bunny tucked up in bed.  We have some wonderful friends who came to our rescue who walked through the snow to our house and helped clear our driveway so I could get out and drive Chris to Urgent Care.  The day after Chris’s trip to urgent care I was due to fly to California.  With all the snow I was mostly expecting for my flight to be cancelled/delayed.  But in the end my flights went smoothly, despite the snow, and so off I went to California leaving sick Chris to look after Aviana.  Chris had some extra help from our sitter on a couple of evenings.  They survived, but Chris was exhausted, still recovering from his respiratory infection.

I came home for 24 hours at the weekend and then I was off again,  but this time to Paris.  After I made it to my hotel I received a sitrep that Aviana was not acting her usual self.  Either she was acting strange because I had left or she was getting ill.  It turned out she was getting ill.  Chris was sending me pictures and videos of Aviana looking incredibly sorry for herself.  She couldn’t sleep lying down or on her own and just cried and cried.  Poor Chris stayed up most of the night with her sleeping upright on him.  Worried about her labored breathing he took her to urgent care.  She had Bronchiolitis and sores in her mouth, it was viral so there was very little that could be done to help her recover quicker except for rest, cuddles and fluids.  The sores in her mouth meant she wouldn’t eat any food except for yoghurt, blueberries and chocolate ice cream.  Haha, yes we resorted to the ice cream (my idea ice cream, chocolate was Chris’s idea!!!).   Poor love, she was in so much pain.

Chris was due to travel for a couple of days for work, but the doctor said Aviana couldn’t come in contact with other children until 48hrs after her fever had gone….which wouldn’t have been a problem except our sitter works with other children so that meant she couldn’t have Aviana.  I offered to come home, but that would have been too late for Chris to travel, so he cancelled his work trip and stayed home with her for the rest of the week.  Of course, it was impossible for him to work at home with a sick baby and he doesn’t get much leave as it is.  It was just so typical – I have 8 days of leave I carried over from last year…I’m the one with all the leave and I wasn’t there to help!

By the time I got back from Paris Aviana was feeling better and almost back to her normal self; she still has a bit of a chesty wheeze and a runny nose, but she’s a million times better than she was.  Then of course I woke up with some weird chesty cough, I haven’t had a cold so it came out of nowhere.

I think we are done with January and the sickiness.  Can we just start the new year again please?!

1 + 35

Aviana turned the grand old age of 1 in December and I turned 35.  Two big celebrations for us! Our birthdays are separated by 7 days with Christmas in the middle, and then new years eve to wrap it all up.  It’s basically INSANE.  Christmas and my Birthday will never be the same again with Aviana in our lives!

Having a birthday near Christmas has it’s pros and cons, but mostly cons.  No one comes to your birthday parties (or you have a birthday party no where actually near your birthday), people buy you last minute random presents because Christmas is at the forefront of their mind or they buy whatever they found in the sales…so I get either twice as much for what they would ordinarily spend (winner!), or I get whatever random crap is left in the sales after Christmas.  Then to add insult to injury people will wrap my birthday presents in ‘christmas’ wrapping paper…trying to make it look like birthday paper. Ha!  Aviana’s birthday is before Christmas so she will likely face similar issues with birthday celebrations to what I have had all my life. At least I can empathise with her!

ONE

For Aviana’s birthday this year it fell on our usual day when our sitter picks up Aviana from daycare and looks after her for the evening, enabling us either to stay late at work or go on a date night.  We ummed and ahhhed about how bad parents we would be for keeping that plan and going out to finish off our festive season shopping on our daughter’s birthday.  I know, I can hear it now – the outrage of such a thing!  Well, next year clearly we wouldn’t do that, but for her first birthday?  Not so important.  We planned to have a winter ONE’derland Birthday party in first week of January when all our friends were around, so why not go out and make use of the sitter?

Before we went out for the evening I made Aviana a ‘Doo doo’ (Aviana speak for Doggie) cake.  She opened one or two of her presents, we cooked her favourite dinner – broccoli and cheese bites followed by cake.  You know all those cake smash pictures you see from baby’s first birthday?  Well Aviana doesn’t like sticky mess on her fingers or face so she ate the cake very delicately!  No cake smashing here.  She did thoroughly enjoy it though.

It then took us THREE days to finish opening all her birthday presents! We didn’t rush her, and just let her enjoy unwrapping.  By the time we had finished with Birthday it was Christmas!  More presents!

Christmas we just stayed at home and chilled out.  First of all Santa came to visit and we opened our stockings together.  Then we cooked a roast chicken dinner with all the British traditional Christmas trimmings, opened a few presents and Aviana loved her new trike.  So we took her out in it to the park for our Christmas day walk.  It was bloody freezing and even Aviana was a little grumpy about the temperature, so it was a very quick ride around the block in her new toy!  Having said that, it was very memorable and a lovely day.  We did not get round to opening all the presents that day.  (BTW – we only bought one small present for Aviana because she had received so many from friends and family!).

THIRTY-FIVE

And so the gift opening continued into Boxing day.  Then it was time for MY Birthday!  Daycare was open so Chris took a day off work (my office was shut for the holidays) and we went on a day date for my Birthday!  That was nice to hang out just the two of us with no goal other than to enjoy each other’s company.  But the real matter of the fact was that I am now 35.

I am 35.  The same age as the Duchess of Cambridge (briefly – she’s now 36).  This is the magical age where our fertility drops off a cliff.  But apparently it is also the age that women peak at becoming more confident and happier.  I can definitely attest to the confidence thing!  The one thing I thought I would have by the time I was 35 was less spotty skin.  But no, just spotty with small wrinkles in places!  I’m still hoping and dreaming that day will come!!! 😂

A Very Scary Moment

I kissed Chris goodbye as his eyes welled up with tears and I tried to hold back mine. Aviana completely unaware she wouldn’t see daddy for two weeks, she giggled. With a stroller loaded with bags and Aviana in the meh Dai wrap in my front…I rocked it through airport security like a pro. (It is much easier to hold a baby in a carrier when going through security, getting a baby in and out of a stroller, sorting out personal items through the X-ray scanner with baby in one hand).

Once through security we still had 1.5 hours to kill until boarding despite getting held up in traffic en route to the airport and taking a while to get all checked in (one of my bags was over weight 😳 ooops!). That doesn’t sounds so bad, but if you have ever flown from Norfolk International you would know that time would drag because there is absolutely nothing interesting in departures. So with baby on my front, I pushed the stroller around hoping Aviana would fall asleep before we got on the plane. I walked all around the quiet areas, rocking and swaying trying to get her to nap on me. Just as Aviana fell asleep, suddenly, the airport fire alarm went off making high pitched beeps every 2 seconds, there was all sorts of excitement and confusion as a fire engine headed towards the building – uhoh. So that killed some time and kept Aviana awake for a bit longer. Typical. False alarm. Finally, exhausted she passed out, so I headed to the gate and waited patiently to board.

And then it happened…I kissed Aviana’s head whilst she slept with her head tilted back up at me. It was cold. So cold I panicked. I almost screamed out loud there and then WAKE UP AVIANA, PLEASE NO, DONT DIE! I put my arms around her and I couldn’t feel the rise and fall of her chest. She didn’t squirm or move like. I freaked and shoved my hand down to her neck to feel for a pulse. She was alive, but I could barely feel her breath on me, had she stopped breathing by sleeping in that position? Her skin was so cold I quickly scrambled to untie the carrier and threw it off like it was made of fire. And then….she moved. Her eyes opened for a second, as if to say ‘What the hell are you doing waking me up!!’ And they closed again back to sleep. Thank god, I cried a bit in relief!

Aviana – you freaked the HELL out of me. For a slight moment I felt like I had lost you, my heart suddenly felt like it would fall out on to the floor and my gut wrenched. It was awful. Please don’t do that again!!!

Tips for camping with an infant

Based on our camping trip last weekend, here are some tips for camping with an infant…..

  1. Don’t do it. Haha, just kidding…DO DO IT!!! Just bite the bullet. We had so many comments from fellow campers saying they wish they had done it with their kids sooner like we were.
  2. Try it out at a local camp site. It will be less stressful knowing that you can just pack up and be home within an hour if it is that terrible!
  3. Buy a pop-up tent to reduce putting up, take down time. We bought this one from Walmart for $120. We had it up and ready in 2 minutes. No fighting about which pole goes in what bit! https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-13-x-9-x-72-Instant-Cabin-Tent-Sleeps-8/55196307ip/Ozark-Trail-13-x-9-x-72-Instant-Cabin-Tent-Sleeps-8/55196307
  4. Take a pack n play. Now, I have heard ideas of taking an inflatable paddling pool, or a bassinet, but Aviana would have freaked if we lay her down to sleep in any of these!!
  5. Take your white noise machine to drown out the sounds of bugs and animals, as well as the drunken loud mouthed dad shouting at his son to behave otherwise he will get a beating (yeh he was LOUD).
  6. Practice taking your infant into a shower before you go on your trip because there won’t be any baths! Or take a crap load of baby wipes.
  7. Take a crap load of baby wipes!
  8. Pack clothes for baby for every season possible. The hardest thing was trying to figure out what to put her in at night time. She normally wears a wearable blanket with a sleep suit and onesie, but our house is warm. So it was a challenge to find the right number of layers for what would have been mid 60s. Turned out it was a lot warmer than that in the end so she was fine in a thin fleece wearable blanket! And don’t forget to pack long sleeves and trousers even if it is going to be hot because of those darned mosquitoes!!!
  9. Leave the pushchair/stroller at home, because you will look silly tying to push even the baby joggers through all that mud!! Baby wearing is a must!
  10. Get dirty, let them play with leaves and pine cones…it’s an amazing sensory experience! Of which be cautious not to over load their senses too much.

We had a great weekend at Kiptopeke state park, the mozzies attacked Chris a bit more than me, he’s like a mosquito magnet! We also got attacked by horse flies on the beach, that kind of ruined the beauty of its peace and serenity! But Aviana did dip her toes in the sea and didn’t completely freak out! She slept very well and even napped during the day. Bonus! We even had our first family holiday ice cream adventure (ok so she had a fruit ice Lilly – the outshine ones made with real fruit, but full of fruit sugars!!! ).

Will we do it again? Yes!! Next proper camping adventure will probably be when we go to the US west coast next year! Can’t wait! I know she will be older and there will be different challenges (crappy weather!) but hopefully we now have a bit of confidence that we can do it!

Dear Mum…

Dear Mum,

Thank you for helping us in every way that you do with Aviana.

Thank you for not being judgemental in how we choose to parent and supporting us in all our decisions. Even if they don't always align with what you would choose.

Thank you for your well considered advice on becoming new parents. We know you have lots of experience raising me and my brothers over the past 34 years, yet you recognise that it's been 18 years since you raised a newborn baby and things in the medical world have changed since then. But babies are still babies and the way you love them and show that love hasn't changed over those years. So your experience and advice matters still.

Thank you for loving Aviana, and spoiling her too. She's only been in this world for eight months or so yet she is so loved. And distance doesn't matter as much as you think because she now can show you that she appreciates that love with an excited smile and coo at you on FaceTime. It's quite clear!

I'm grateful that you are not a baby boomer grandparent like what is described in this article…Here about grandparent baby boomers …I don't think you are loathe to give help, but rather the complete opposite!

It's hard living thousands of miles away from you, so thank you for offering to do all that you can despite the fact. We miss you greatly and hope distance doesn't stop the love from ever growing.

I wanted you to know, granny, that you are appreciated by all of us and are grateful to have you, lots of love Xxx

Even if you are a crazy plane spotter!!!