Friday, April 18, 2014

Us

Paul, S and L cooking damper over an open fire.
This post is dedicated to my friend, Liz, who pointed out that I haven't done an update on the family recently.

Family life is good right now.

Baby J
J just turned seven months' old and is still as delightful as ever. I'm quite smitten with this wee boy of mine. He's very active, in a quietly sweet way. He recently learned how to pull himself up on the coffee table and is super proud of himself.
J standing at 7 months.

J is still drinking about 800mls of donor breast milk a day. Every time I think we are going to run out of breast milk and will have to introduce formula, another person contacts me with an offer.

It has been quite incredible.

An example from just the other day was down to the hour. We had fed J the very last bottle of breastmilk in the morning and he was down having a nap when one of my lovely donors texted to say she had some more and I could pick it up right then if I wanted. Yes please! I fairly dove into the car to pick it up before J woke up. Amazing timing!

I feel like I'm living on faith with this situation, and God keeps providing.

Incredibly, I'm still breastfeeding J as well.This is the longest I've breastfed any of my babies for, and it has been made possible by the fact I breastfeed J to sleep for all his sleeps, and keep him in the bed with me overnight so he can feed on demand.

I think the fact we co-sleep also contributes to his happy, trusting nature. He seems very confident in the knowledge he is well loved.

We've recently embarked on solids with J and are taking a baby led weaning approach. Mostly because it's easier and seems to be what J prefers. He likes holding chunks of food and feeding them to himself. If I try and spoon purees into his mouth, he shudders and cries.

S
S is almost three, and finally at the age where she can play alongside L (4.5) in imaginary play. It is so cute listening to their dialogue. I'm tempted to record them and make a video like these clever dads did.
S and me chilling on the couch.

S took gymnastics this term and loved it so much that L wants to go too now. I've enrolled both girls for next term. I think gymnastics is great for teaching kids to follow instructions, as well as helping them to develop physical strength, balance, agility and coordination.

Over the past year, S has been delightful and difficult in equal measures. Happily the balance is now tipping in favour of her delightfulness.

Over the Christmas holidays I was counting down the days till pre-school would start up again and I could get a break from her tantrums. She has calmed down a lot in the past few months though, and I genuinely love spending my days with her.

L

The current plan is to unschool L until she is 6. We've just pulled her out of her third day at preschool because she was feeling sad about being away from the family so much. Now she's doing two days there instead of three, which really makes me wonder how she would cope with five days at school if we did start her when she turns five.

Once L turns five, I will be able to enrol her in swimming lessons on a weekday, where the class numbers will be small since most kids are at school then. L LOVES swimming, and will happily swim under the water for as long as she can hold her breath for. She fancies herself quite the mermaid.

Because L is four and a half, she just had her B4 School Check (their spelling, not mine). She was excited to go to the doctor's office to play lots of games that tested her school readiness and general well-being.

L took the testing very seriously and tried her best with everything. The nurse got her to: hop and balance on one foot; throw and catch a ball; put shapes in a shapo; write her name; copy some letters the nurse wrote down and then read them out to her; draw a picture of a person, count to 10; and count how many fingers she was holding up.

The nurse also weighed and measured L and checked her teeth for any sign of decay. Apparently L is very tall and her teeth look great. She also aced all the tests, and the nurse said L is the first kid to count backwards from 10 for her - L's favourite new trick.

L also recently had an hour-long interview for Growing Up in New Zealand, which is a longitudinal study she has been part of since I was pregnant with her. I love these interviews, as they offer me insight into all the different things L has learned. Because she is my eldest child, I don't have anyone to compare her development to, so it's interesting to see the kinds of things they are looking for in her age group.

Again, L took the testing very seriously, and I was impressed with how much she knew.

After L finished her part of the interview, I was also interviewed about Lily for an hour.

I found the health questions of the interview particularly interesting because the interviewer asked what vaccinations L has had (none), plus which of a whole host of common childhood illnesses such as eczema, asthma, ear infections, allergies, etc, L had suffered (none), and how many times in the past year she has been to the doctor (none).

The interviewer commented that she'd never had 'never' as an answer on the doctor question before, and all I could think was that I hope this longitudinal study shows that children who are not vaccinated enjoy better health than vaccinated children. I know other smaller studies have shown that, but this is a massive, longitudinal study so the findings could be quite profound.

I also found the food questions interesting, mostly because they focused on the healthy food pyramid idea of a healthy diet, rather than one that looks at the way food is prepared to increase nutrition. For example, we were asked if L eats white bread or wholegrain, but not whether her wholegrain bread is sprouted or sourdough, which I think are the healthiest ways to eat bread. Also, there were no questions about whether the milk she drinks is pasteurised or unpasteurised. (It's actually pasteurised at the moment because I haven't got myself organised to collect raw milk.)

From these two tests L has done, I've realised she is doing really well academically and I'm sure will continue to do well if I unschool her.

Paul
Paul is doing a job he loves and that makes him really happy, which makes me happy.

He's also really busy in his job and working about 15 hours a day plus weekends at the moment. I'm not really sure how he's still functioning, other than on coffee and adrenaline. He took today off though, for Good Friday, and had a big sleep in, then took the girls to see the Lego Batman movie, which he loved.

Emma (me)
I've spent the past couple of days in the kitchen, preserving and cooking a whole lot of produce my mother-in-law brought me from her garden, plus some produce I got from the vege store. I've still got two buckets of feijoas I need to do something with before the fruit flies hone in on them.

This week I have also been reading lots, as I've discovered how fabulous the Auckland Libraries are and have requested a whole lot of books that I've wanted to read for ages. I just finished two books by Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com, plus Carry on Warrier by Glennon Doyle Melton.

Crystal has inspired me to get more organised with my daily and weekly goals, so I've hung a tall 4-photo frame in the kitchen, on which I write my to-do-list, weekly goals, menu plan and what's on today lists. I cross off items as I check them off, and anything I don't get done stays on the frame until the next day. It's quite motivating and good for keeping me focused on my most important tasks.

Crystal's books have also inspired me to de-clutter, so I've been pulling stuff out of my bedroom to donate, and will move around the rest of the house looking at what can be donated, sold or chucked out.

Glennon's book, Carry on Warrier, is beautiful. She has such a way with words.

Gosh, but she's so insightful.

I soaked her book in and have come away thinking more about what I can do to bring hope and light into this world. Lately, I've been feeling keenly how short this life is and how easy it is to get so caught up in the day-to-days that we forget about all the hurting people out there who need a hand.

On my night-stand I've also got a few gardening books that I'm about to start: One Magic Square, which is all about square-foot gardening, plus a couple of books by Janet Luke of Green Urban Living. I'm hoping to get ideas for gardening in pots, since that's my only option at the moment.

I'm loving all this reading. It's my favourite thing to do, but I'm a bit all-or-nothing with it so have to be careful not to lose myself in books and forget about my other responsibilities. I've been reading while settling J to sleep, the perfect way to multi-task.

My weekends have been busy with World Organic parties, which have been a lovely way to catch up with friends while talking about skincare products I adore.

~ ~ ~

And that's all our news. Happy Easter everyone, especially Liz. :)

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