Check out our toddlers!
They’ve grown, all of a sudden! The days of wearing 3-6 months clothes are a distant memory: they’re in 6-12 month stuff now! They’ve each got six teeth, and the beginnings of a decent hairdo.
Here’s a very quick update of each little pickle…
My wee Hattie is turning into such a funny little girl! She’s just so merry, laughing all day and playing with Joe, or anybody else who happens to be around. She’s still a big fan of micro cuddles, and fires herself into my arms like she’s been shot out of a catapult. She’s also still obsessed with playing peek-a-boo in the curtains with Joe. And something that I forgot to tell you about Hattie last time: her habit of marching round and round the living room with a glove puppet in each hand:
That’s Puppet Daddy and Puppet Joe – we’ve also got Puppet Mummy and Puppet Hattie, but they seldom make it out of the toy box.
Hattie also has a strange fondness for putting things on her head, and when she was trying unsuccessfully to balance a onesie one day I helped her out a bit, which led to an impromptu fashion parade:
And all of the walking that she now does necessitated a new pair of shoes:
Like everybody else, she has her own preferences and chooses upon whom to bestow her affection. Nanna – currently helping me out with child care while visiting us for a couple of months – has made the cut and receives fleeting micro cuddles on occasion, but Hattie’s heart belongs to one person: her cousin Liam. Check out this reunion:
My darling boy has officially joined the ranks of toddler! Being around his sister and her endless route marches has prompted him to really go for it with his walking, so the few tottering steps that I reported in the 13 month update have become reasonably confident strides. Hattie tends to walk with her arms extended and behind her slightly (with a puppet in each one, as previously discussed), but Joe is hilarious and keeps his hands up and waves them around a bit, like he’s doing jazz hands the entire time.
He is also a right little monkey! Here’s one shot of him, caught red-handed after clambering on top of a chair while my back was turned (the chair is now turned, to prevent access, but it’s only a matter of time before he figures out that the sofas and side tables can also be mountaineering targets):
Joe still spends a lot of his time surrounded by toys, and looking a bit like he’s not really sure how the living room arrived at such a state:
He’s started initiating more cuddles, which is lovely, but he and I have also developed our own little sign of affection – the hongi:
When I cuddle him now he’ll stay very still and then push forward towards me with his nose, seeking out the hongi – it’s so sweet. And this early appreciation of Maori customs should serve him well when he begins his career as a professional rugby player. He’s already chosen his Super Rugby side, and I wholeheartedly approve of his decision:
The funniest thing about Joe is his incredibly low tolerance for boredom, which manifests itself as grizzling (which isn’t very cute), but which can be dealt with if you figure out what is irritating him or failing to capture his interest. For example, when he and Hattie watch Elmo music videos during their meals, he will refuse to eat if he doesn’t care for the song that is playing at the time (and past favourites have now crossed onto Joe’s blacklist, which is a shame for Hattie and me). And for ages he was super grizzly in the car, and I dealt with it by passing back a steady stream of rice crackers, but recently I’ve discovered that a couple of board books will keep him entertained for hours. His particular favourite is ‘Stay Safe with Dora’ (the Explorer) – he’s OBSESSED with this one, and makes Nanna read it to him several times a day. And he’s never even seen Dora on TV: I fear that he might spontaneously combust with excitement when discovers the happy news that Dora exists beyond the pages of his book.
There has been one big change in Hattie and Joe’s life during the past month: as of two weeks ago, I’m a part time student at the University of Auckland, working towards a BA(Hons) in Urban Planning. It’s a four year degree, but I’ll complete it over five years – I’m tackling the eight first year papers over 2014 and 2015, so I’ll still have plenty of time with the kids while they’re so little.
We’re tackling the child care challenge in the very short term by leaving our gorgeous duo in the tender care of Pat, Tristan’s mum, who is visiting for ten weeks. This is a brilliant result all round: she adores Hattie and Joe; they’re totally besotted with her; and I trust Pat implicitly and can rely on her 100% to keep the domestic ship afloat. And Hattie and Joe are learning so much with her around! She’s realised that they’re like two little person-shaped sponges at the moment, itching to be taught new things, so each day when I come home it seems like they’ve mastered a new skill: giving a high five; posting toy letters into their toy letterbox; and putting their hands in the air and waving them like they just don’t care if somebody encourages them with celebratory noises. At this rate I fully expect her to teach them both how to drive, make omelettes, and speak French by the end of her trip.
After Pat leaves we’re all going to be plunged into a decline that I really don’t want to contemplate right now, but child care requirements force me to plan ahead, so we’re sorting out an au pair. It really is the most affordable form of in-home child care available, and we think it will work well for us, since we like people, have lived abroad, and have enough room in the house for a long term visitor. Fingers crossed we can find somebody lovely! Who wouldn’t want to come and live with this shiny nuclear family, eh?!