2 years old

Last month Aviana turned two.  Wow.

At two years old she surprises me every day.  She is going through a language explosion right now.  She says new words completely out of the blue so we have to be careful now about swearing!  One day she just randomly started counting to 20. She knows her abcs and can read some of the letters.  Again, randomly she started pointing out letters.  Suddenly I felt underprepared for her learning to read.  She speaks in 4 or 5 word sentences and has memorized many nursery rhymes – her favourite being twinkle twinkle little star and incey wincey spider.  She also knows all her colours – she impressed the doctor at around 21 mths with all her colour knowledge!

One of Aviana’s favourite hobbies is reading.  Some nights we can end up reading her 5 or 6 books before bed or even more if she is allowed to.   She is not picky over her books and will read them over and over so that she can memorise the story and join in the reading. One day she started recanting the Christmas story! Some of her favourite books are all her Julia Donaldson books, including the Gruffalo, and some recent favourites are ‘The Pout Pout Fish’ and Sparkle the Unicorn.

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Aviana’s favourite toy is her kitchen (she calls it her kitchen disco – another good book BTW!) followed probably by duplo, play doh and stickers.  She is insanely good with stickers and is quite a perfectionist with them, they have to be just right.

Aviana likes to help us out in the kitchen – she has some steps so she can reach the surface, although she is still a little too short.  She rather enjoys making a cake and helping daddy with daddy pancakes.  She will also help load the dishwasher!

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Aviana LOVES going to the Little gym, swinging around, roly polys, dancing around on the mats, just learning new gymnastic skills in general.

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She also loves going to the zoo, playing in the park (particular the swings, she could swing easily for half an hour without stopping if she was allowed to).

Her favourite TV shows are pocoyo (narrated by Steven Fry and he is brilliant!) and baby bum….she can also be distracted with pretty much anything on the TV if she were allowed to be, which we discovered on our family trip back to the UK recently! (THANK YOU NETFLIX!!!!)

Things Aviana doesn’t like to do….in typical two year old fashion – get dressed, get undressed, have her hair dried with the hair dryer, going out in the cold, eat too many types of vegetables (she currently eats frozen peas, corn on the cob/sweetcorn/cucumber and raw carrots-kind of).  She is also quite shy and reserved until she knows a place and person.

Aviana sleeps from around 7.30 PM to around 6-7AM with the odd occasion beyond 7 (of course that’s the day we have to go to work), she naps for around 2 hours but can survive without a nap – bedtime is just ugly.  I would say overall she is a good sleeper and we are very lucky that she is easy going to get to sleep (thus far!)

She still has her last 4 molars to come through although I suspect she has been teething these for well over a month now, perhaps even longer than that.  She is not so great at brushing her teeth…it is the one thing that she has complete and utter control over.  Having said that, the dentist said her teeth are very good (particularly as she is thumb sucker).  I wish there was some easy way to get her teeth clean!!!!

Hmmmm what else can I say about this girl?  Her sense of humour is wicked, something definitely taught/inherited by Chris.  Sometimes it’s hard to not laugh when she does something she probably shouldn’t be doing because she does it in such a hilarious way!  This age is so much fun (minus the tantrums).

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Photo credits to Max Turner

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Changes in 2019

I don’t really make new years resolutions. I’m not a fan of them because I would almost certainly break them and get depressed at not keeping them.  Most of the time new years resolutions are all about things I think I should be doing ALL the time (like eating healthy, sleeping well, learn new things, do exercise, take care of myself…blah blah blah)  However, I do like to reflect on the past year and project to the next.  There are three things that I am both excited and nervous for in 2019.

1. The travel trailer adventures.

    EXCITING! Late last year we bought a 32’ travel trailer and a 4×4 truck to pull it. The idea is that we can go visit state and national parks and enjoy seeing America without taking the need to take a tent.  I am excited for all the cool places we are going to see.  We are hoping once we have de-winterized it that we will get out and visit somewhere new one weekend a month with a few longer trips anticipated for 2019.
    NERVOUS! We are going to have to learn how to drive the truck and travel trailer. YIKES. In the US you don’t need a license to pull a trailer, let alone a 32’ one. The only reason we would need a license is if we were using it for commercial purposes.  There aren’t really driving schools that will teach you how to drive it.  That terrifies me.  We haven’t moved it anywhere from the campsite yet.  People say the best idea is to just get out there and do it!
  • 2. Organisational changes at Work.
    • EXCITING! Traveling for work has its ups and downs because it often involves transatlantic travel over the weekends. The good news is however I do get to visit new and exciting places.  I need to embrace this as an exciting point!  My team is also doubling in size and I have applied for a new position (a promotion) within it so who knows what will happen there, but I want to think positively about it.
      NERVOUS. Organisational change brings on a lot of unknowns, but as well as organizationally changing my job description has changed a little bit which will bring new challenges.  I hope I quickly learn the new skills I need for this new job description.  I have a few courses already under my belt and I have a few more this year to take.  I also suspect there will be confusion and stress through this change not just for me, but others so we need to tough it out together – I am nervous that colleagues won’t and work will become less fun.  I really hope not.
  • 3. Toddler Development.
    • EXCITING! I am looking forward to Aviana becoming more independent and enjoying more quality time together, learning about her personality, hearing her talk endlessly (she talks A LOT to us!!) and potty training (bye bye nappies/diapers!).
      NERVOUS. Potty training. Haha yes, I am also nervous about that.  We did actually try potty training several months ago but Aviana fell ill on the second day, she just wasn’t rising to the challenge as we think she can.  She has proven that she knows exactly what to do on the potty by peeing and pooping on it on her own terms.  She also spent a few days at daycare successfully using the potty and staying dry just before we moved her to the new Montessori school.  So potty training will come soon hopefully.  I am also more nervous about dealing with toddler temper tantrums.  Admittedly I think she started these several months earlier than 2 and I feel a little more prepared on how to cope with them (How to talk to your child is a great book for helping in this area)…but I am nervous that there will be bigger ones on the way!

    What are you looking forward to in 2019?  What is making you feel nervous about 2019?

    The hunt for a new daycare

    Aviana has been in the toddlers class pretty much since she mastered how to walk, not long after her first Birthday.  At first we weren’t sure if she would thrive in the class, she seemed to be crying constantly in all the videos we were being sent.  But after a few months she turned a corner and she seemed to be doing very well there.  She was clearly advancing quickly and was meeting all of the milestones for the next class up – “twos”, except for one – actually turning two!  Due to state regulations on teacher-child ratios she couldn’t move up sooner.  So she often visited the twos class for short periods of time and seemed to be excited to be in the big kids class.

    All was good except for one problem became apparent – we felt that one of the teachers in the next class up didn’t meet the standards.  She made a great infant teacher when she was Aviana’s carer in infant class, so loving and caring with the babies, but not so much of a twos teacher.  At this age toddlers need a lot of direction and boundaries.  Strangely she then left (for some unknown reason) and another teacher replaced her who was simply worse.  I often noticed she would yell at the kids in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, so much so we complained about her.  She didn’t seem to have much patience and Aviana really didn’t care for her at all – Aviana loved all the other teachers, literally all of them but her.

    The twos classroom was also uninspiring to me. It always looked a bit depressive.  The ‘library’ had about 4-6 books in it that were mostly ripped and were very random.  I picked one up that wasn’t so badly trashed and it was all about Ants…fine but the pictures were pretty much the same throughout the book and had a lot of text.  Not good for kids to pick up and be excited about.  I know the kids were read stories by the teachers all the time, but these decent books were all hidden away in a locked cupboard.  I just didn’t get the same warm fuzzy feeling about this class as I did in the toddler room.

    Meanwhile in Aviana’s toddler classroom her usual teachers were being shifted around the classes a lot as the school suffered a shortage of manpower from a high teacher turnover.  The director also suddenly decided to quit and not come back after a long weekend holiday.  As an indicator of how bad the turnover was, when it came to Christmas gifts we couldn’t keep up with who was or wasn’t Aviana’s teacher that we didn’t know who we should give gifts to, so we put two boxes of goodies together and said it’s for everyone.  It seemed the school was in turmoil and it was time to leave the sinking ship to give Aviana some stability and kick start her pre-school education.

    It made me think a lot about pre-school education.  I had read a book called ‘The Importance of Being Little’ and how America doesn’t do enough play based learning or teaching practical or problem solving skills that are important in early childhood development.  Instead kids as young as 5 were being given ‘worksheet style homework’ and forced to do activities that lacked enablement of child centered creativity.  It was an eye opening read and got me thinking about Aviana’s education at this young age.  I never thought it would be important, but as she is with someone who is not us for so long in the week it was clear we needed to think carefully about where, what, how and who she was with.

    We decided to look around for a new school, but our standards were already set pretty high and specific.  It had to be full time, open til 6pm ideally, not too far away from our house as Chris works from home or from my commute and not religious.  We felt play based learning is important during pre-school, so focusing too much on tests, worksheets, homework etc was not attractive to us for pre-K classes. Suddenly we were down to just one alternative – a Montessori school which was within a stone’s throw of Aviana’s current daycare.

    We did some research into Montessori and what it is all about.  Admittedly we thought this style of teaching and learning would suit Aviana well. Generally a Montessori school follows these principles:

    • Mixed age classrooms; classrooms for children ages 2½ or 3 to 6 years old are by far the most common, but 0–3, 3–6, 6–9, 9–12, 12–15, and 15–18-year-old classrooms exist as well.
    • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options.
    • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours.
    • constructivistor “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction.
    • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood, rather than plastic.
    • A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organized by subject area, within reach of the child, and are appropriate in size.
    • Freedom of movement within the classroom.
    • A trained Montessori teacher who follows the child and is highly experienced in observing the individual child’s characteristics, tendencies, innate talents and abilities

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    We took a tour of the school and it was remarkably quiet and calm – even with a few toddlers who were crying.  It was clean, spacious, tidy, yet not ‘sterile’.  We watched a couple of classes and observed how the multi-age classes (3-6) were working on the activities they chose.  In the pre-school (2-3) class the kids were in a circle singing and dancing to some Spanish songs.  There was an indoor and outdoor garden for teaching botany, a kitchen for cooking classes, a ‘STEM’ class room with a couple of computers and science experiment equipment, various animals (bird, tortoise and fish) a gym and some awesome outdoor play equipment.  Overall our impressions of the school were good.

    But there was no room immediately in the toddler class – a class size of FOUR! They did have a space in the toddler class in their sister school which was another 20 minutes away, but that was too far out of the way to make it worth it.  So we signed up for the waiting list to register for September’s class.  If Aviana was accepted into that cohort then she would be eligible for their summer camp and could start in June/July.  That was sooooo far away – a lot can change in 9 months!  It was disappointing that we had to wait so long and the thought of Aviana with that awful teacher in her next class filled me with sadness.

    Thinking more about the Montessori method I began to worry whether it was truly right for Aviana.  I had read many articles about the pros and cons of Montessori, how it’s not for every child and family.  I had read from teacher testimonials that Montessori kids were coming to school with poor reading and writing skills.  Yet would be well mannered and behaved kids who found it hard to adjust to the state education system.  I read testimonials from parents whose kids were simply doing nothing all day because it’s child led rather than teacher led learning.  Was this right for Aviana?  Well the decision was a little away because it was February that we would have to register her.

    We returned to Aviana’s daycare after the winter break with Aviana turning 2 she was moving permanently into the Two’s class.  The first day back in her new class there was a new teacher – I felt sudden relief…wooohoooo the one we didn’t like had gone!  Perhaps we didn’t need to change schools after all?  As expected when changing classes and returning from a long period of time away Aviana had a tough time at drop-offs.  Aviana screamed and clung to me refusing to go to her new class.  From when she woke up she kept saying how much she didn’t want to go to her new class.  It was breaking my heart to hear her say this and very difficult to leave her when she was so upset, she’s always been a crier at drop-offs when with me, but this was a totally new level of crying.  It was breaking my heart.

    On Aviana’s fourth day in her new class I got a phone call from the Montessori offering Aviana a place in their pre-school class immediately because a military family had just left.  We jumped at the chance and accepted.  The timing was just right.  She could start the very next week.

    It was very hard to tell her current teachers who have been at the daycare since Aviana was 4.5 mths old because they have cared for her on and off as Aviana has been an infant and toddler.  I questioned whether it was the right decision.  But when I showed Aviana around her new school her eyes lit up – she was so excited for her new classroom and to take her own packed lunch box.  My worries started to dissolve away thinking this is the right thing to do.  Aviana’s new teacher has been there for 15 years so we are excited for Aviana to have a bit of stability.

    In fact Aviana starts her first day in her new Montessori school today!  I’m unfortunately out of the country for work right now so I am excited to hear how her first day goes.  I imagine there will be some crying and we need to get into new routines….packing lunches, new school times with before and after school care hours we are charged by the half hour so we will be getting used to all that.  As it is a school and not a daycare they follow the public school holidays so we will need to figure all that out too.  But I’m excited for her.  It’s nerve wracking making a big decision like this, I just hope we made the right one!

    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!!!

    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!!! 😂