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growing independence

Life — October 2015

Helen has starting talking about how she's a big girl (sometimes "a big little girl") and getting bigger, and has made what seem like big strides towards greater independence in the past month.

Our stairs are quite steep and Helen has never got the hang of walking down them, though she now manages shallower staircases, for example at the library. (Since we have a steep, single long flight of stairs ending on a hard surface in our hallway, we've been happy about this.) We tried to show her how to reverse down, but though she could do that she never seemed to like it. In the past few weeks, however, she's worked out how to come down on her bottom, and is happy doing that. (She may have copied this from her friends Matilda and Dylan.) In the mornings now she sometimes wakes up and, instead of calling out for me, gets out of bed herself and comes downstairs to find me.


the nappy bucket is now collecting one dry nappy every morning; the change-table barely gets used

One of the incidental advantages of Helen being potty-trained is that it has also worked to get her to sleep in her own bed — or at least start the night there, most nights she still comes to "big bed" eventually. She really wants to wear knickers, so will often go back to her bed instead of having to wear a nappy. This was quite unintentional on our part: we imposed the "nappy in big bed" rule because we couldn't face a middle-of-the-night accident that would require cleaning up ourselves as well as Helen and our bed, whereas accidents in her toddler bed (there have been two so far) simply involve cleaning her up, putting her into a nappy and clean clothes, and taking her to the big bed, leaving dealing with the bedclothes to the morning.

And she's suddenly got a lot more confident climbing. A few weeks ago she started happily going up the shorter ladders in the Manzil Way and old Florence Park playgrounds, then suddenly in the few weeks she's been happy to go up the taller Manzil Way ladder, the wooden cutout stairase in Florence Park (with me holding her hands) and the big inflatable slide at Rectory Farm.


in the Manzil Way playground

Rectory Farm: until now Helen has looked at this wistfully
and then said "too big"

first outing with the balance bike:
watching the big children play football

Two weekends I took her out with her balance bike for the first time — we met up with Kat and Immi in the playground just around the corner from us on Ridgefield Rd, which we'd strangely never been to before, so walking her there carrying it was easy — and she took to it quite confidently. I had to support her for a bit, but after a while she could walk, slowly, while on top of the bike, and she had worked out how to drop it, more or less intentionally, without hurting herself.

1 Comment »

  1. My apologies to little Helen for hijacking her dad's regular update on her progress. I've never seen anyone, certainly not myself, who is more thorough in detailing the step by step growth of a child from birth.

    I can log on to your blog here in China, but I am surprised that I can log on to the ABC, SBS and even the BBC for news. China is sending very conflicting signals.

    You may remember I am accompanying the 17-strong Mar family on a roots journey. I arrived in advance of the main party to welcome them in and smooth things. That discovery journey started three years ago when I was invited to a lunch meeting at a resturant in Chatswood. That was in 2013.

    The journey came to fruition in Oct. 2015. In 2013 and 2014 I made preliminary enquiries to ascertain the all-too distant memories of the 87 years old patriarch Jim, who left China for Hong Kong then Australia, when he was but three or four years old.

    Though Jim was born in China, he has two older brothers born in Sydney, but that didn't stop the immigaration department from rigorously applying the White Australia Policy to turf the father out and thus the whole famly of mother and two older brothers back to China.

    It is a long story of intrigue. I am now finding myself very much involved. Danny, did you know your grandfather had a key role in this?

    Jim hosted a dinner party for his party and guests at their ancestral village. When he stood up to speak, he was visibly shaken and became a little emotional.

    More of the story and photos too, when I get back to Sydney.

    Comment by DL — October 2015

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