Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow Day!

My first true winter snow in New York. It was really beautiful and not too cold at all. Uh-mazing!

View from our apartment

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eloise - Month 4 - 5

Week 18 - Dec 20 - Dec 23 

We had a baby nurse visit us to give us help with Eloise's terrible sleep habits. Amazingly, we were able to get her to sleep in the crib for two naps during the day - something she had been unable to do up until now. So fantastic. I was also told that I was feeding her too frequently, so have to cut back to during the day, no oftener than every 3 hours, and at night, no oftener than every 4 hours. This means some pain for us as we will have to settle her back to sleep at night when she wakes instead of the easy path of me feeding her back to sleep ...

The rest of the week we tried to keep up with the advice, but it was hard when we were going out so much and couldn't keep on a schedule.

Development-wise, this week Eloise spent a lot of time on her back on the floor happily watching us or amusing herself. Her grip improved dramatically. She now reaches for objects and examines them, usually shoving them in her mouth.

Christmas in Sydney Hyde Park.

Hyde Park 17 wks.

 Week 19 - Dec 24 - Dec 31 

Eloise's first Christmas! She was spoiled by her family. It was so lovely to celebrate with her - looking forward to the next Christmases as she gets older and can open presents and understand what it all means.

 Santa! 18 wks.

Christmas Day.

Developmental changes this week: Trying to roll from front to back. She lifts her legs and can roll to her side, but can't quite get over. First finger and thumb constantly in the mouth.

Eloise has also started to develop a pincer grip with these fingers, using them to grab her ear, her nappy, and more. She reaches for us all the time now, particularly our faces. She has also started blowing raspberries! She blows them non stop :)

First swim in a pool this week. Eloise really loved the water and was in for over an hour. We also took her to Balmoral Beach and put her feet in the sand and in the water. She didn't know what to think of it all!

First swim! 18 wks.

At Balmoral Beach.

Week 20 - Jan 1 - Jan 7 2012

Our last week in Sydney. After doing way too much and going out too much, Eloise was finding it hard to sleep, frequently waking up after we put her down to sleep.

The big event for this week was Eloise's naming day. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the people, but was really good natured and managed to put her toes in her mouth for the first time. It was such a fantastic day, with our friends and relatives coming down from Newcastle, over from Perth and all over Sydney.

Cutting the Eloise cake at Eloise's naming day.

Developmentally, Eloise is changing so much. She rolled over for the first time from front to back (3/1/12). She is really interested in everything we are doing, especially when we are eating or drinking. She also loves touching our faces and following out voices. She is chatting a lot now - even during the night when I feed her, she happily chats away.

Eloise is suddenly so interested in everything. She reaches for our faces frequently, as well as anything we are eating or drinking.

Last big event for the week was the trip back to New York. A huge 24 hours - 12.5 hour flight from Sydney to LA, a four hour layover, then a 4.5 hour flight from LA to New York. Eloise was pretty fussy and didn't sleep much on the first flight, but was in a fabulous mood and slept for most of the second flight.

On the Virgin flight from LA to NY.

Week 21 - Jan 8 - 13
JETLAG. This week is all about jetlag. Eloise was hit really badly by it on the return leg and hardly slept for nights.

Eloise is really enjoying putting her feet in her mouth. She is also loving our water bottles and reaches for them frequently. She is constantly reaching for things now, so curious about everything in the world. Her co-ordination is improving as well. She really loves Sophie the giraffe now. The toy is the perfect size for her to grab and put in her mouth.

Eloise and Sophie.

Eloise is trying to roll from back to front. She's slowly getting there ... a great improvement is that we can now put her down on the floor and she happily plays there for a while on her own.

Trying to roll.

Week 22 - Jan 14 - 20
First solid! Organic whole grain rice cereal, mixed with formula. I think she enjoyed it - at least, she was very curious about it, and didn't spit it back out. (16/1/12).

Towards the end of the week, the jetlag seemed to finally wear off, and her sleeping returned to normal - waking at around 9:39, then 12:30-1am, 4:40, then 6am. Blergh. So tired.

A great first this week was Eloise falling asleep in her stroller, not once, but twice! Uh-mazing.

She is really loving exploring our faces and mouths, particularly our teeth. She is so fascinated with everything we are wearing and doing.

Loving my teeth.

This week was our first outing in the cold.

First outing with Daddy. Minus 2 degrees C.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Eloise's Naming Day

We decided to hold a naming day for Eloise. The main reason for this was to give all of our family and friends the opportunity to meet Eloise and for us to catch up with them. We're also not religious, hence the naming day rather than a christening. The day was just lovely - so many wonderful family and friends coming to see us and the little lady.

Her amazing Eloise cake

The lady of the hour! Eloise, 19 wks.

I've included our speech below for posterity.

Welcome everyone and thank you for coming. It’s with great pleasure and pride that we introduce you all to our daughter, Eloise Elizabeth Thomas. We are so happy that you were all able to attend today to welcome her into our family and community. We’d like to especially thank our relatives who travelled to be here today - Noelene and Kay from Perth, and Allan and Lisa from the Hunter Valley, and Bob, and cousins Debbie, Glen, Karen, Darryl and Sara, from Muswellbrook and Maitland. 

 We chose the name Eloise after seeing some books about a little girl called Eloise set at the Plaza hotel in New York. The little girl in the books is charismatic, outgoing and a touch feisty - all qualities we hope our little girl may one day have. We chose Elizabeth as a middle name as it is a traditional name that many of the women in the Knight family have been given - it’s also the name of my favourite literary character, Elizabeth Bennet - another strong female role model we would like for Eloise to relate to. 

 As you all know, we made the hard decision to move to New York after we found out we were expecting Eloise. As neither of us had spent a great deal of time around babies previously, so we had no idea what to expect, or how truly hard it would be. Your messages of love, support and advice during the pregnancy, after the birth and through the first few tough months were so very appreciated. 

Anyone who has had kids know how much they change your world the minute they arrive. Our lives have never been so challenging, as interesting and as filled with love. Even through the haze of extreme sleep deprivation and what seemed like non-stop screaming fits, it was impossible not to look at Eloise and coo “awww she’s so goddam cute!”. Thankfully, our little lady has already developed into an alert, beautiful, happy person, even though she still doesn’t think it’s necessary to sleep. 

 Today we would also like to introduce Eloise’s god parents. Our good friends, Rosalie, Daniel and Shelley have kindly agreed to be her god parents. We know that they will be there for Eloise as she grows up - as aunts and uncle when she’s little, mentors as a teen, and as friends when she’s an adult. 

 Eloise may have been born in New York, but she is still a little Aussie through and through. We fly back to New York on Friday, but will be back to visit and eventually again to live. We hope that you will all play a part in her life in the years to come as she grows into the amazing little person she has already shown promise to become. 

 One final thank you to our parents for their constant love and support, and thank you all again for coming.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

2011 was a mammoth year. It really shook things up not just in the obvious ways - new country, new baby - but it also challenged me mentally and emotionally, shaking me to the core. I hope I've emerged a stronger person out of it. I'm not good at doing things outside of my comfort zone, so I'm surprised that I was able to push myself to do four things this year that terrified me.

Terrifying thing one: Moving to New York. While pregnant. On my own. It was so hard. Alec had moved over 6 weeks before me, so I was left to tidy up loose ends and fly over on my own, all during the first trimester. The flight was awful. For some reason, I didn't tell the crew I was pregnant and suffered in silence sitting next to the kitchen on the flight while the smell of food and coffee made me queasy. On the LA - NY leg I threw up. And again in the can from the airport. Everything from there on in was hard for the first few months. Finding a place to live. Finding doctors. Making new friends. All while pregnant. It was the hardest thing I had ever done up until that point.

Terrifying thing two: Quitting my job. After trying to transfer to the NY office for a few weeks, I was unable to find a suitable position and so quit my job. I was scared that without a job I would be bored and lonely and lack purpose. Thankfully this was not the case. I made new friends, took up yoga and attended a great photography course.

Terrifying thing three: Childbirth. The birth was horrific. No more needs to be said.

Terrifying thing four: What to do with a baby?! Having no experience with babies prior to having Eloise, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn't expect this tiny person who screamed non stop and wouldn't sleep. Ever, it seemed. Thankfully things slowly improved as the months went by, and now, even though Eloise still doesn't sleep well, she is a delight to have.

What will 2012 hold? The focus will be on Eloise - getting her to sleep better for a start, then helping her develop as she grows. We also hope to travel more, to the Caribbean and somewhere in Europe. I also hope to focus again on photography - taking more courses and improving my skills, as well as making more local friends in Brooklyn. I want to experience everything New York has to offer while we're living there.