14 months: A room of one’s own OR how to make a girl

Isn’t it funny how today our women’s rights are the best they’ve ever been and yet there’s never been so much pink in the world. I’m not saying pink in and of itself is bad but it is seen as being representative of being a girl/girly…weak. Some of the mums I know that would call themselves feminists hate pink. They are also the same mums who get annoyed when people can’t tell if their child is a girl or a boy and will dress them up in pink in order to prove their point. Are we not affirming the same stereotypes? I for one don’t really mind if people think Lo-Lo’s a boy or a girl. It’s not her gender which defines who she is. And who she is is an energetic, noisy, rambunctious, loud, adventurous little person.

So, do we ‘create’ girls? Old Virginia talks early on in her book about a library and a church she was not allowed to enter because she was not accompanied by a man. By stopping girls from being able to do the same things as boys, I think we create girls. Aren’t boys just uninhibited versions of girls? She talks about how men and boys are free to do, explore, create. A girl’s and woman’s place is more restrained. If we all have the freedom to do and learn as we want, surely we’d all end up being more like men? Virginia makes several points but a big one for me is that men just crack on with their life and do the things they want to do. Society however has expectations of you if you are a girl which can stop you from doing certain things.

I decided I wanted to buy some new things for Lo-Lo to play with. I looked at the boys toys – ALL were blue, green, black. Either action figures, building, sport. We want our boys to be super hero like, good with their hands and sporty? The girls toys were pretty much all pink, soft, about looking good/dressing up, unicorns (I’m not knocking Despicable Me), fairies and, well, girly stuff. So from this I take it all girls are to be daydreamers, sedentary and if they’re not good looking they will never fit the social norm? I’m sure there are those of you rolling your eyes at this – they’re just children! This is true but this is nonetheless how we’re setting up our children’s core set of values and beliefs. What else informs them other than the world around them? In the end I bought her some plastic encased crayons (genius bit of design), a colouring in book, a see-through pencil case with butterflies (super gorgeous and you’re right I would not have bought it for a boy) – and volleyball for kicking, throwing and generally chasing around the house. It is light, orange and nothing to do with football. In as much as I want to keep all her options open – I also don’t want to make her into a boy. Does that make sense?

I came across the Always campaign ‘Like a girl’ which I thought was fascinating. If someone asks you to show them how to run like a girl for example, people demonstrate it as faffy, ‘girly’, weak etc. But girls aren’t really like that, that’s just what society thinks of us. And I think it all starts from the very start.

I was watching Lo-Lo the other day and she’s started to climb everything. Sure climbing a chair or the sofa is dangerous-ish. But isn’t it also a massive developmental leap? Rather than trying to stop her climbing everything, isn’t it more about teaching her how to come down safely? She fell off the dining room chair yesterday and cried a lot. But then after 30seconds wanted to climb it again. Kids are smart and they learn really well so I doubt she’d forgotten what had just happened. Do I say – no, didn’t you learn the first time? That’s dangerous, you failed once don’t try again? Am I teaching her not to bother persisting if she fails? She’s not scared of trying again – if I stop her wanting to try things again – am I creating fear in her for the future? Would I think too deeply about these things if she were a boy?

Growing up should be about fun and development. It should also be about the freedom to choose or more precisely at such an early age of 14months, being given less of a predetermined route? It’s up to everyone if they want to dress their son or daughter in pink or frills, but then that’s your choice and not your child’s. At the end of the day, again it’s not about the colour of the outfit – it’s about the girls we are making – the lives we are shaping, the assumptions we are creating. I want to give mine the opportunity to do whatever she would like to do by making sure she does not start off with a set of blinkers on.

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14 months: Lolo’s development and lazy days

Going back to work after holiday sucks. Badly. I went back on a Friday at least. Most people were either hungover or distracted by the sun so it was a great day to go through my 600 emails and catch up.
Holidays were great.  1 week in Madeira and then 3 days staycation. A perfect way to not have that horrible rush and stress when you travel back and then go to work the following day. It’s all a bit too much.

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Holiday as always makes you take stock of things. I realised how much I miss and love my family.  How much Lolo has grown in the two months I’ve been back at work. It feels like I’ve been back for ages but it really isn’t that long. Life cracks on with or without you.

We had a super lazy holiday sat in the sun, reading, having a few beers, exercising Lolo swimming in our pool and by letting her climb up and down the stairs a million times. It was a really basic holiday in beautiful surroundings. We talked lots as a couple and had noisy on a pretty relaxed routine. Spending this much together I started noticing some strong developments in Lolo from the last month:
– she babbles in full sentences. The noises she makes are all different and seem to mean something to her.
– she’s saying words more clearly. Today I pointed to a crab on her book and said crab. She then repeated it back, not fully pronounced but you could certainly tell it was crab.
– she’s identifying animal types. For example if she sees any type of bird she’ll say duck duck.
– she’s been walking for a while now but recently she’s started climbing up and on top of things, hoisting her little legs over everything and reaching quite firmly on her tip toes
– she’s taken to shrieking at the dinner table when she’s done, bored or just testing us. This is quite unacceptable so we’ve been trying a method out where we turn her high chair away from the table we’re eating at to exclude her from our conversation. When she’s been quiet for a couple of minutes we’ll turn her round and include her again. It seems to work quite nicely at the moment
– she now has 12 teeth in total; 8 incisors and 4 molars which she is starting to learn how to use
– we had our 1st family hair cut last week, all three of us. Super difficult to cut the hair of such an active one year old but we managed something and it does look better.
– she recognizes extremes in temperature such as something hot or cold but in both instances she calls them hot
– screwing and unscrewing lids and caps. Totally amused by it. She’s quite good with aim and alignment to get the lids in position in the first instance before she starts tightening
– she’s starting to use a fork or spoon quite well to feed herself although it is still messy. She much prefers to do things herself but does still like to be fed sometimes
– she’s drinking out of open topped cups too!

Boom! X

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Almost 14 months: alcohol

I’m not condoning alcoholism in any way. Especially when you have a baby. Who can afford the calories? However it cannot be denied that a few glasses of wine and/or some beer can sometimes really hit the spot. On holiday even more so. It’s a sign that adult time has commenced.

Here on holiday in Madeira, in a villa to ourselves and room to spread out you have gone down for a nap (ok so I can still hear you downstairs talking to yourself, maybe today won’t be an afternoon nap day) and we’re on the porch drinking Madeira and beer. Separately and together.  No we’re not chavs. We just bought the sweet Madeira and it needs watering down… with beer of course! Suddenly I’m transported back to my uni days a long,  long time ago.

But as much as Lolo is a fantastic child. She’s up, she’s been walking around since 10 months,  she’s climbing, she’s spooning food, she’s talking (not sentences but loud, ordering type noises- I still think she’ll be an engineer) she’s doing really well. But like all good kids she is also a handful.  The screaming gets tiring, she now stomps her feet when she is denied (really quite funny) but still needs help in so many other ways. So yes. Mummy and daddy went from being selfish and having all the time in the world to now having our world filled with a little (big) Lolo. This means we need a break. Much like with all intense jobs, you need to have a break in order to pick it up and carry on. To all parents who think parenthood is a doddle, you’re either; lying, someone else is looking after them, you have a saint of a child or you’re doing it wrong. Kids are intense. That’s why taking time to yourselves, having some glasses, chilling out and enjoying yourself, is ok. No need to feel guilty or like bad parents. It’s your life too you know.

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Almost 14 months: Reminiscing

Oh what a difference 11 months makes. Assume New York accent from the 1970’s (although I doubt it’s changed much)

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You lookin’ at me?!

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Eh Charlie! This wise guy’s lookin’ at me funny.

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Why I oughtta…

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All change: 13 months NEW holiday list

I’m giving up on the whole day thing. Since my blog is less daily now it’s quite difficult to keep up with the number of days/I can’t be bothered. I’m going with her rough age now as it’s less abstract.

Anyway we’re off to Madeira tomorrow and we have a new list of essentials as we now have a 13 month old. So I think it’s important to point out that we’re travelling to a home that we’ve rented out in its entirety. What this means is that although we have a change of clothes I don’t anticipate we’ll venture very far. We have a pool, garden, satellite t.v., a kitchen and an amazing view of the sea. We’re also only going for one week.  We’ve managed to pack light, ish… well hubby and I have. Lolo? Not so much. We have one medium suitcase, one back pack, 2 normal carry on bags and a buggy. So what is in the case?
– A box of formula powder and two bottles
– a sleep bag/grow bag
– several toys, a few books, building blocks and Thomas the tank engine- very important
– baby antihistamines (because I figure most things you can control but this is a bit of a wild card) and Calpol
– a pack of nappies and wipes
– sun screen, a blow up floating device for the pool and a core body swim suit
– and of course 7 gorgeous summer dresses. She clearly doesn’t need 7 but I so desperately want her to get full use out of all the dresses she was bought for her birthday.

And that my friends is it! The essentials of packing for baby for holiday at 1!

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Day 407: hands in mouth

She has had her hands in her mouth quite a lot recently. But that’s nothing new. I noticed however that recently it was deliberately on her right hand side. So I dug in and…. found another molar! Yup. Little cherub has sprouted her third molar top right hand side. Very similar to how she got her front teeth. All 7 in a burst of about a month at around 7.5 months. Now it’s 3 molars and her final incisor in 3 weeks. Would be nice if she could squeeze a few more out. Only 9 to go!

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Day 403: smash bang duck duck

We are claiming duck duck as Lo-Lo’s first proper word at 13 months. She’s been saying it for a while but last week it was clear, daddy went into the bathroom and she saw the duck and said duck duck. Similarly she’s been making woof woof noises when she sees a dog but that’s not really a word in my book.

She’s also just started to climb the sofa at home. She saw her books on the shelf just above the arm of the sofa and that was it! Interesting you can see she uses a combination of grip (from her naked legs), her weight (she’ll be standing on tippy toes, belly and arms stretching as far back into the sofa as she can til her body has hit the balancing sweet spot) and strength (she pulls and pushes herself along with her arms and legs). This is fantastic.  We’ve been teaching her how to come down safely too. Either to sit down and wriggle off from her bum or to lay down and climb down backwards on her belly. Anyway last night she decided not to do either and just walked off the edge. The thud was pretty brutal (we have wooden floors). Oh how she cried. .. for all of two minutes.  Then she looked back at the sofa and went to climb it again. This time she came down safely on her own. Guess they’re designed to do this kind of stuff,  but have to admit I was rather happy she woke up this morning if you know what I’m saying!

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