Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting Underwater

Our dive trip to Nelson Bay was fantastic. It was great to get underwater again and the dive conditions at Broughton Island were almost as good as it gets - clear sky, not too hot, calm seas, little swell or surge underwater, reasonable viz esp. on the first day, and heaps to see. One of the great things about diving Nelson Bay is the boat journey out to the dive sites which takes about 50 minutes. We saw a pod of about twenty dolphins on the Saturday and they swam alongside the boat for a good while, much to our enjoyment. We dived The Looking Glass as our first dive on both days - it's a cutting that halves a huge rock bommie and you can swim through it and check out the fishlife who enjoy the surge and food. We saw countless Grey Nurse sharks cruising in and out of the cutting and we relaxed to the view of a massive school of yellowtail silhouetted by the sunlight above us. Gorgeous. I also had to chuckle when Luke, our first day divemaster, was signalling "shark" to me and I was looking around wondering where it was when it finally dawned on me that it was a wobbegong resting on the rock about half a metre away from me - another diver almost touched it with his hand.

Tom mentioned in his blog that he had a few probs on his first dive on Sunday at The Looking Glass. It was a really difficult dive to be doing first after five years of no diving. He coped really well and I was so pleased that he agreed to descend again and go along the wall with me and Cam, our dive master. Cam told us later on that a Grey Nurse shark came within about 30 cms of us when Tom and I had surfaced near the cutting with our legs and fins probably looking very much like seals. It was just curious but I'm glad it didn't decide to see if we tasted good! Our second dive at Cod Rock was just the thing to help Tom feel more comfortable underwater. We saw a couple of giant cuttlefish - need to be seen to be believed! And there were scores of wobbegong sharks, one of which scared the daylights out of Tom as it cruised past from behind him! By the end of the second day I felt elated and really comfortable underwater. I can't wait to do some diving at the Cook Islands at Easter. I'm hoping this will be the start of making diving a big part of our lives again as it was 15 years ago when I first got started. It's the most wonderful experience - like travelling to a foreign country every time you go under the ocean.

Good news

Friday was a good day. Our hopes that the doctors would be pleased with Barnaby's burn scar, and feel it was sufficiently healed to stop using the silicone and pressure suit, came true. Our son is free of that tightness around his torso after ten months of treatment. We are so thrilled. It's unusual for any person, baby or adult, to heal so quickly and be out of the pressure suit in under a year. So we are grateful that Barnaby's body has recovered so well. He's been particularly happy all week. I hadn't thought he could get any happier, but there it is. There's an outside chance the burn scar will worsen without the pressure suit so we need to keep an eye on it. Fingers crossed we can put the worst behind us. Neither tom or I will miss the suits and the rigmarole of getting Barney in and out of it. But I still get a bit teary at times when I speak about Barnaby's accident to others. I think that's part of my own journey and is to be expected. Sometimes it catches me off guard when I thought I could talk about it without getting emotional anymore. Perhaps I always will and that's ok. I'm just glad Barnaby is such a happy boy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The way it is this Thursday....

I need to write down the adorable things beth and barney are doing before I completely forget them all... So here's a few that my addled brain can grasp for the mo.

Barnaby has been quite taken with different surfaces, especially hard surfaces, and he likes to stamp his feet on the tiles in our kitchen. He's started doing a little dance on the tiles when he's happy about something. This morning, just the sight of me making his breakfast got him performing his jolly jig - perhaps the fact that he'd been up for half an hour and not been fed had something to do with that.

Barney's main interests (in no particular order) are balls, throwing things like balls, kicking balls, hitting balls with toy golf clubs/hockey sticks, board books, remote controls, the large vanity mirror in the main bathroom which he hits, smears and chuckles at, chocolate (my fault), spades, digging, birds, dogs as long as they don't come too close, peekaboo, and Beth.

Of course there's loads more but it's too late at night to remember! He's on the verge of saying more than a few words and Beth and I spend a lot of our day saying the same word over and over to him. Our word today was BOOK and B2 managed to say the BOO part correctly but couldn't quite get the hard K at the end. I think his frustration at not being understood when he cries and points is spurring his language skills on. I'm glad too but it feels like the last part of him being a baby - ie. just babbling - is soon to be gone. Bittersweet moments really.

Beth is gorgeous as ever. She made "undie" beds for all her soft toys one night in her bedroom. these were made by slipping a book into a pair of undies, sliding the soft toy under the front of the undies and putting a pair of socks under it's head as a pillow. When I came into her room later in the night she'd made about ten of these beds - although she carefully explained to me that one was a singlet bed as the book was too large to fit over her undies. Bless!

Ok time for bed. We've got Barney's hospital appointment tomorrow and scuba diving up at Nelson Bay this weekend so I'm looking forward to posting again soon with news of both. x

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reasons why I love living in Australia

This should be titled "Reasons why I love living in Australia and reasons why Tom doesn't". One of my favourite things to do in this country, and something I missed dreadfully when I lived in England, is going to the beach. I can't explain why I love it so much. It is something that I have grown up doing and something that is important to me to share with my own children. I went through a stage in pre-adolescence when I hated sand and the beach was not my favourite thing for a year or so; luckily that passed. Then I was self-conscious as a teenager for a couple of years but I went to the beach anyway and spent far too long worrying what people were thinking of me. That period too has passed. Now when I go to the beach, and watch the waves rolling in, I feel a sense of happiness and peace within me that few other places or situations can provide. Somehow the ocean is restful and exhilarating at the same time. I don't mind playing on the sand with the kids, or watching the waves from a nice shady spot on the beach. But actually being in the sea, experiencing the rhythm of the incoming waves, watching the wave patterns and predicting when the next big set will come in so that you can be in the right place to just get over the wave before it crashes down, that has got to be one of my favourite things to do in life.

We just had a long weekend away with some friends up at Nelson Bay which is about two hours North of Sydney. Gorgeous area and heaps of beaches to choose from. We managed to coax Tom out once to the beach, but he sweltered in the sun, hated being on the sand, and didn't pack his swimmers so he couldn't get any relief from the heat by going in the surf. I shake my head in wonder at him. I find it hard to comprehend his dislike of the beach. I just don't get it. And I worry that his feelings about the beach will transfer to our kids and that I'll be outnumbered one day when it comes to family day trips and holiday destinations. At least on this trip, Beth and I thoroughly enjoyed being at the beach. On our last afternoon, we left the boys at home and went to One Mile Beach with our friend Pecky. Us girls sat in the sand at the shoreline so that the waves would lap around our legs and hands but not completely swamp us. The fading sun was still warm on our backs. It was perfect! I used to do this as a teenager with my best friend Sara at Avoca Beach. It was so nice to be doing it again 20 years later. I hope I still will be in 20 years time.

My only hope with Tom is to revive his love of scuba diving so that he can enjoy the ocean depths and, mainly, avoid the hazards of sand that he particularly hates. I went for a dive at Bare Island with my sister and brother-in-law last weekend. It was my first dive for probably 4 years - before we started trying to fall pregnant with Beth. Gearing up was fine, my wetsuit was a tad too tight, but once we were underwater it felt great to be back doing something that was a huge part of my early 20's. We saw a port jackson shark (v. cute, not dangerous), great fishlife, nice rock formations and sponges, and even a couple of nudibranchs (colourful little underwater slug-like things). The elation of the dive lasted long enough to get back to the car with our waterlogged gear weighing heavy on our backs. Tom arrived with the kids and we all went for a nice post-dive lunch, followed by putt-putt golf in the afternoon. A great day and hopefully Tom and I can get underwater together soon. He learnt to scuba dive in Australia after we'd met and I'd waxed lyrical about how fantastic it is. I know he loves it but it can be hassle at the same time. I'll have to ban both of us saying, "I'm getting too old for this". All being well, more posts about dive adventures to come....

Babbling Barnaby

So much has happened to dear Barney since my last post, I hope I can remember his changes.

Barnaby started walking (tottering) about a week before his birthday and I date his very first steps ie. two in a row, from 15th August at Playgroup. My mum witnessed the best of his walking the following weeks when he seemed to manage ten or more steps in a row under her gaze. Tom's main question was whether Barnaby was walking towards her or away from her! Two months on and Barnaby is quite speedy, very steady and even managing to negotiate slopes/ramps without falling over. He has also mastered climbing up and down stairs; starting from just before our trip to the uk in July and not needing any help to go up or down the stairs by his 1st birthday at the end of August.

Just like Beth, Barnaby's first recognisable interest in living things (other than humans) has been the birds in our backyard. We have a great view of them from our kitchen and he can become transfixed watching them during breakfast or free play. A bird was the first thing I noticed Barney point to and make an "ooh" sound about. But he's moved on and likes to point at most things and "ooh" about it now. He also likes to share his experiences and chuckles away happily when another person, but especially Beth, validates what he is doing or meaning by his grunts and babbling. Just this week he has started to offer things to me - food, spades, toys, scraps of stuff that he finds on the floor. Barney will toddle over to me, hand outstretched, place the item in my hand, coo happily, then take it back and toddle off again. It's lovely.

Our bubba is quite adventurous and he's got the bumps, cuts and bruises to show for it. He likes to climb up, down, over, under things, squeeze into tight spots that he can't get out of (then he cries for me to rescue him), he loves to rumble and loves being upside down. His worst accident that was self-inflicted happened last weekend when we were at Mum and Dad's. Barnaby was on the outside brick steps and over-balanced. He only went down one stair but he had an egg on his forehead and a graze down his face as a result. Bless. About an hour later he rolled off a couch inside the house. At least he had a soft landing on the carpet but my poor Mum was beside herself.

Barney's dimples and smile are a real winner when we're out and about. I am sure he gets even more attention than gorgeous Beth did at the same age (and that's saying something). Supermarkets, when he's in the trolley with me, attract the most people saying hello to him. And Barney rewards all well-wishers with a huge grin, a bit of dribble, and a little "gah". Perhaps he's saying hello, but at best it comes out as "aho".

The only words we really know Barney is saying is "Maman" which can mean me or food (usually food) and just recently, Dada, which has pleased Tom no end. He sort of says "Uh-oh" when he drops something but often he only manages the "oh" part of it. But his pre-verbal sounds are really starting to take off and I am expecting over the next few months that his language skills will start to take-off. Today he was trying out a lot of "gggg" and "zzzz" sounds. 6 weeks ago he was great with "ffff". "Mmmm" has been around a while and "Dadada" comes up a lot now. So once he puts a few of these together, we may have more of an idea what is going on in his gorgeous little head.

Health wise, Barnaby is really well. We're getting over the winter ezcema that was quite bad a few months ago. His burn is healing really well. He doesn't have to wear a splint at night anymore. And in a few more months we may be able to stop using pressure suits to treat his burn scars and just use localised patches over the remaining scarred areas. He now has five teeth. And he's quite small, with a little head, compared to other boys his age. This, and his pre-verbal-talk, makes it easier for me to pretend that he's still my little baby and I intend to enjoy these final months before I have to adjust to Barnaby being a toddler. I'm sure I'll love every stage of his life, but Barney as a baby has been truly wonderful and I will be sad to leave this stage behind.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The age of innocence

Beth amazes and amuses me with her ever-increasing language skills. I want to share a few cute sayings she has. She has a tendency to mimic what I say but with a twist which produces interesting dialogue.
"I'm warning you Mummy!". Used by Beth when she wants me to do something or she's getting frustrated. This is based on me counting Beth out for time-out and telling her, "Beth, this is your last warning". "Barnaby, that's naughty. Go to your bedroom for five minutes!". As above.
"Hello Barney darling", "Hello sweetie", "Aw, what's the matter?", "I don't know what's wrong", "Well done Mummy", "Good job Barnaby!" etc. etc. All mimicked from me but just melt my heart when I hear it in her sweet voice.
"Thank you for a lovely day", "I have had a lovely time", "I had such a lovely time at swimming Mummy". Do you feel like you're reading an Enid Blyton novel?
And here are some peculiarities that at some stage probably started with me, Tom or daycare but which now it seems Beth has made her own:
"What on earth are we doing here?". Stated when she was building a tower with blocks today.
"I want to build a harbour bridge and make them dance". Stated today when she was decorating toilet rolls with stickers and coloured paper.

I'm also trying to teach Beth the alphabet. We have a book she loves where each letter has two pictures for it - one folds out to reveal the other picture. She was going very well with the early letters... Mummy: "A is for ...." Beth: "Apple", Mummy: "And A is for ...", Beth: (whilst folding the picture out), "Angel" etc. etc. But the pictures probably get more ambiguous and the letters harder toward the end. So by V we had, Mummy: "V is for ..." Beth: "Mmm, what's that?", Mummy: "It's a volcano, V is for volcano", Beth: "I don't like that", Mummy affirms she doesn't either, then Mummy: "and V is for ...", Beth: "Flowers!", Mummy: "No darling V is for vase". But there were flowers in the vase. Mummy: "Y is for ...", Beth: "Fried egg!", Beth still loves her fried egg, Mummy: "well the yellow bit is called yolk, Y is for yolk", Beth: "Fried egg!" she says pointing at the picture. Well, she's got a point. So we move on, Mummy: "And Y is for ...", Beth: "orange!", I guess the yellow paint does look a bit orange. I'm giggling by this point and just trying to finish up. Bless her. Queen of the spelling bee, perhaps not?

Finally, the time of the eternal "why" has now arrived. Today Beth has questioned everything. I get the usual, "Mummy, what are you doing?" at least 20 times a day. But she's adding more to her repertoire, "Mummy, why is Daddy at work?", "Why is it Saturday?", "Why are we going to grandma's?", "What is Maddison (our 2yo neighbour) doing?", "What's this?" and "Where are you going?". "What is that man doing?", she asks as we're driving to Galston. I haven't even seen the guy and tell her that. "But what is he doing?" she demands. !! At least she thinks I'm omniscient.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our Trip

I can't resist posting a few of the best photos of our wonderful trip to Blighty last month. The top three highlights for me (apart from seeing family of course) would be:

1) The Coast of Devon with John, Barbara, Amy and Phoebe -

2) Lovebox Music Festival -

3) Being in London sans kids -

More photos of the kids to come....