3 years old

We should be planning a three-year-old birthday celebration right now.  Instead we celebrated 15 weeks ago.

It seems like a long time because it is.  It’s still hard for me to process that I missed out on over 3 months of my pregnancy.  I hadn’t even entered my third trimester.

We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter who is matching her peers in her development.

We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter who has an insatiable appetite for learning.

We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter who is so loving and thankful for the people in her lives and the small actions they do everyday.

We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter who is as stubborn, feisty and impatient as she was 3 years and 15 weeks ago.

Eva’s New Adventure

Today marks an exciting day for Eva and our family as she joins the schooling system in which she will spend a large part of the next 15 years!

Eva has begun 3-year-old pre-school (kinder) for 2 sessions of 2.5 hours per week.  Of course she has been looking forward to the start of pre-school, frequently talking about playing on the playground and painting, obviously her two favourite activities!

Today she dashed straight to the painting easels and was content to stand there and layer as much paint as possible onto her page.  This was followed closely by pasting, then play dough and the home corner where she fed the baby doll some cake.  Then it was rest time on the beanbag to read (5) books to which the teacher, Emily, commented that we must like books.  A few puzzles and then it was time for pack up and mat time to listen to a story.

I will admit that I could probably do these activities with her at home but I am looking forward to someone else answering the questions for 5 hours a week.  It will also be fun to spend time with my precious boy just the two of us.  We are thankful that 3-year-old kinder exists in Victoria to entertain and extend Eva this year. It will certainly give shape and routine to our week, especially given that she starts at 8.45am!

I was going to use the pram and have Eva scooter there but I have quickly realised that it is too far for her at this stage.  Thus I have seconded Andrew’s Christmas present (the trailer or “caravan” as Eva calls it) and I rode to Kinder.  My legs noticed that I was pulling an extra 32kg behind me!

It was a fun day and tomorrow Eva is there on her own without the paparazzi mama in the way!

A Dentist Visit

Yesterday Eva had a repeat dental visit.  She did very well, happily sat up in the big chair by herself wearing her spiffy sunglasses.  Eva did question why she needed a bib.

The dentist declared her dental hygiene good instead of the fair that we were graded as last time!  The dentist was much more realistic about the flossing this time understanding that the battle isn’t sometimes worth it.  Also this time Eva is older and more receptive to Dr Karen telling her that flossing is important to keep her teeth healthy.

One of her baby molars has come through with a deficient enamel coating (like her front 4 teeth) most likely due to her premature birth.  Thus we have to put a calcium rich tooth moose on it, as well as the others, to keep the cavities away.

We have a follow-up in 6 months time to keep a check on those special teeth.

Rest Time

Sleepy Teddy is an essential ingredient

I am sitting here listening to Eva sing “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” as she lies in her bed for rest time.  The era of daily 2.5 hour sleeps is over.

Mummy is a little sad about this however I can see that developmentally she is not needing the big sleep and is consolidating on her night sleep with a consistent 12-13 hours overnight.

Eva is now having a rest in her bed of 40 minutes if she doesn’t fall asleep.  The 40 minutes is marked with a timer and she happily gets up and comes out after the timer goes.  After her rest she is more than happy to sit next to me and do drawing as I “work” on the computer and is becoming quite good at independent play.

Of course it is also fun to have one-on-one time with Eva to do activities that aren’t suited to having a crawling baby around.  So it is a blessing to have this time.

I find that the rest time is enough time for both of us to recharge batteries and have a break from each other.  I need that time to not answer any questions and just have thinking time all to myself.  It gets me through to bedtime as a happy mummy.

About 1-2 times per week she does end up falling asleep but I do make a lot of noise around her room at the 1.5 hour mark or else evening bedtime becomes a very dragged out affair with an energy filled girl.

Eva’s day sleeps have been such a wonderfully refreshing time for me and she has been very gentle in her giving up of them so we are both ready now.  I just have to learn to make the most of my 40 minutes of child free daylight hours!

Last Week Was Hard

The days and nights from the evening of the 6th until bedtime on Eva’s Birthday (11th) found my brian working overtime processing the events of three years ago.  I thought that it would get better with each successive year and it did but it was still hard.

The dates and times of the labour of Eva 3 years ago were still at the forefront of my mind all week.

In the quiet moments I reflected on what stage of labour I was in, who had visited me, which room I was in.  I reflected on the fact that I was so nervous about the baby’s survival that I didn’t want to name her Eva in case my favourite name was given to a child who didn’t make it.

I hope that next year I can enjoy more of her birthday joy instead of feeling anxious the whole day about how awful her birth day was for me. And guilty for what a hard journey she endured for being born so early.

I have learnt from my counselling that although I am grateful for the good outcome from the birth of Eva I can allow myself to be disappointed and saddened by her entry into the world.

I was blessed to have a very supportive husband who understood my anxiety and helped out in lots of ways including lots of hugs for me and being the fun parent for Eva.  Our plan is for Andrew to always be at home for the children’s birthday to make it a special day for them.  I look forward to spending that day with joy in my heart next year.

Being the parent of a premature baby doesn’t end at the discharge from hospital or the achievement of developmental goals it is always going to be part of my mothering.

There’s so much to look forward to in parenting Eva this coming year that I know that her next birthday will bring me more joy.

Eva’s Third Year in Pictures

We have breathed a sigh of relief as Eva has made it to 3!  Some days this year have been challenging and some have been magical. It goes with the toddlerhood territory.

From a cute toddler to a little girl, this year has seen so many changes. Of course to us the changes are fluid as we see them every day.  It’s not until we take time to stop and reflect to see how much she is learning and embracing new concepts all the time.

Eva has graciously (mostly) welcomed her baby brother into the family although it has been hard for her to have less dedicated attention.  Overall she does enjoy showering him with love although jealousy does rear it’s ugly head some days.

Eva’s language and comprehension is where the most obvious changes have occurred.  From having a list of 20 words at her second birthday and us willing her to talk.  To now, where there is no silence during her waking hours only constant chattering!

The air is constantly full of questions these days.  She is unsatisfied that we don’t know what the man is doing in his front yard/why the car is parked there etc.  Shouldn’t we know everything?

Her memory is scary.  How does she know that that is the shop that we bought a ball at months ago and haven’t driven past since??  Nothing escapes her it seems.

Eva still loves to climb, explore and of course riding a tricycle is her favourite new skill in recent months.  The tricycle was a skill that crept up on us seeing as we don’t have one at home. Just something she picked up from various other play spaces and then suddenly she could do it.

This year we have discovered that Eva has several food sensitivities that affect her behaviour, digestive system and skin.  The change in her has been amazing and it has meant that we like being with her all the time when her behaviour is under control.  The good news is that she will most likely grow out of them.

Speaking of growing this year hasn’t seen her do much of that!  Eva is growing in height but as always her weight is lingering behind.  It’s not from a lack of trying to feed her or from a lack of eating.  She’s just tall and thin!

Watching her play develop to include other children and imaginary play has been fascinating. I love that she can now tell me stories and can join in with other people’s games.

We have enjoyed watching her fine motor skills improve with a range of art now adorning our walls.  Stickers and markers are favourite art tools although with an easel now in residence and warmer weather I’m sure that paint will become even more popular.

Since Hugo’s arrival Eva has had an increased awareness of her hospitalisation.  She looks through the photo album of Eva’s Story (her 105 days in hospital) and watches videos of herself.  She pauses at the canvas in our hallway of her on Day 2.  All this leads to talking about various attachments that she had.  I am fascinated to know how much subconscious memory she has of this traumatic time in her life.

Lately Eva has been saying her own “Dear God” prayer after we say one as she is going to bed.  It really touches our hearts now that she can verbalise her thanks for the little things that we do on a day to day basis.  Sometimes to us it was an insignificant part of the day but it’s that moment which she remembers to thank God for.

Above all we are just so proud of our little girl who keeps us on our toes and loves life.  God has blessed us with a beautiful daughter.