Louisette Interview, Age Two

These questions are mostly from parenting blog http://crappypictures.com/. Louisette’s conversation level is confident for comments on the lines of “Big dog! Noisy!” and absurdist with regard to, “Are you a monkey?” She’s JUST got to the stage where we can ask her a couple of genuine open-ended questions – “What animal are you?”

. . . so I wasn’t sure how this interview would go. If I knew a synonym or another way of explaining the question that I thought would work better, I used it. This interview took over a week – picking my moments carefully, and stopping before she grew too bored with the whole idea.

•What do you want to be when you grow up – when you’re big?

This provoked a long silence. I began suggesting professions such as gardener, builder, trampoline maker (all things she’s seen recently). At last she replied, “A big tree.”

•What is the meaning of life?

“A lid.”

(Why not, really? It makes as much sense as most answers to that particular question. She was playing with bottle lids at the time, in case you wondered.)

•What brings you the most happiness?

Another long silence, but this time she grinned like crazy and looked at the floor. This carried on for some time, and she seemed to find the question hilarious. At last she said, “I hide. Daddy hide too. I find.” (Daddy was at work at the time, but Louisette and I promptly had a game of hide and seek under blankets and behind pillows. I’m highly impressed that she strung three whole sentences together. Possibly her first paragraph.)

•When do you feel the most loved?

“Daddy on [the bed with me].” (Since I became pregnant and sick, she has played a lot of “falling asleep” games with me. Daddy usually gets unceremoniously outed from the bed when she comes in and wakes us in the morning – “Daddy out. Lizzie’s turn.” – and headbutts. But every so often all three of us snuggle under the covers together.)

•What are you afraid of?

“Truck.” (Interesting, since she loves trucks – she might have encountered a noisy one recently. Usually when she hears a noisy dog or cockatoo she will run to me saying, “Noisy! Noisy!”. . . but she’ll often stop partway through to grab a toy.)

•What is your favourite animal?

Horse in there. (She was playing with a container at the time.)

•If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

“A cushion.” (She pulled such wonderful faces before answering!)

•What is the funniest word?

“Dot.”

•What is the hardest thing to do?

-no answer

•What is the easiest thing to do?

-no answer

•What is the best/worst thing in the world?

She said “A circle” – while standing on a circle.
Otherwise, no answer.

•What makes you mad?

-no answer.

•If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy with it?

“A banana.” (This makes perfect sense, since she loves bananas but I can’t stand the smell at the moment – so they’re not currently allowed in the house.)

•What is love?

“A big present.”

Then (after many giggles and kisses) she repeated, “I love Mum” and, “I love Dad” for the first time.

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I was so incredibly impressed with her evident grasp of concepts that I definitely didn’t expect her to understand in the slightest. The clarity – and sometimes brilliance – of her answers stunned me. This has been a very slow but very enjoyable and illuminating experience.

And here she is with a full-on braid in her hair (another thing I would have considered impossible), courtesy of a staff member at her day-care centre:

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It’s less than a month since she turned two. I’m the world expert on this particular human being, and I ultimately know so little about her. How good is that?

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Pics or it didn’t happen

I know it’s true: I’m THAT Mum – the one who sits down to watch her kid play with your kid, then rushes off in the middle of a lovely moment to get her camera. I’m the most extreme example of this I know, and by a long way. It’s gotten so bad I now see it as a kind of public service – I consciously take pics of other kids (close family friends, not random strangers at parks) and then email them to the parents.

In fact, here’s a quick run-through of Louisette’s second year of life (my favourite one or two…or a few…pics from each month, so you can get a sense of time):

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351

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51

4

8

14

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1

6

14

18

25

10

11

14

7

18

6

8 (3)

12 (8)

3 (4)

4

7 (4)

8 (1)

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2 (4)

2 (7)

12 (3)

12 (1)

12 (11)

12 (12)

12 (21)

12 (23)

12 (28)

12 (29)

12 (37)

12 (53)

12 (63)

12 (68)

1 (1)

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And a couple more from yesterday, because they’re unbearably cute:

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All these pictures tell a story of the last twelve months – a story about a very happy, cheeky, beautiful, charming, clever, active, creative – and above all, adored – little girl. So many of these photos were taken on unbearably hot days, or between tantrums, or in the only good thirty seconds of an hour. Given the haze of time, none of the horrors of raising young children will remain – just the stories we tell ourselves about all the love and laughter. These pictures (and I even managed to stomach putting myself in, albeit rarely) are the stories I plan to tell Louisette until she’s old enough to tell her own story. Hopefully, with such an opening, she’ll have no choice but to write comedy.

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Time for her close-up

Although I like all the pictures in the post below, I wanted a close-up on Louisette’s face so it’s easy to trace the changes. She’s been unusually amenable the last few days (is it a trap of some kind???) so I was able to take a whole bunch today. Here’s the best.

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And, the one that means so much more to anyone who knows her personality. . .

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Mother & Child: 0, 1, 2

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Mother & Child: 0, 1, 2

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And, because you’ll want to see her face more better:

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January 19, 2014 · 21:58

Party Time

Louisette is turning two, so we had a party this morning. It has been my belief for a while that first birthday parties are about the parents celebrating having kept their bundle of joy alive for a whole year. It’s certainly not about the child, who is usually terrified by the whole thing, and spends their party crying (we were lucky; Louisette is a very social creature and she had a great time. I think it also helped having it in an unfamiliar environment, so she didn’t get thrown by a whole crowd being in her safe place).

This year’s birthday party, in my mind, was all about school. Louisette is in day-care (has been for about six months – long enough for her to have genuine friendships), and the centre is also a school, which she and her friends will attend (and where I work – putting me in the peculiar position of knowing the children very well, and the parents not at all – I learnt several names for the first time because of this party). I invited her whole class, and ended up with all three of the other girls (awesome! A full set!) and one of the boys. My ambition was to get a photo of all four girls together, and I technically succeeded twice – this is the better one:

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I’m pleased with that, despite the facial expressions. I also caught the three girl cousins together –

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Louisette was thrilled with her balloons and with her paint (we bought the paint for the party, and this was the first she knew of it):

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It was a raging success, I think. Today’s weather, like at her party last year, was always going to be hot – over thirty degrees – but fortunately my parents bought us a gazebo for Christmas (we had NO idea, and it’s just brilliant and beautiful), and my father-in-law brought over a huge length of shadecloth and clipped it to the roof and fence – turning half the yard into a kind of tent. That meant we were able to stay outside, which meant that all the post-party mess is out there – all the crumbs, all the water (there was water play too!), all the icing smears, all the paint, all the watermelon juice! The difference in post-party stress levels is amazing. Half of it gets hosed away or put straight in the wheelie bin. This was SO much easier than last year, when everything had to be carried to and from a park, because we had nowhere else to go.

Louisette had fun, and so did I. The stress of it was enough to make me physically sick beforehand (my pregnancy is severely messing with me) but I feel very good about it all now – and it was enjoyable during the party, too. I lay down afterwards to recover and was trying to think of anything I could have done better, and I basically came up with one thing: A bigger water jug for outside.

In my hormone-addled mind, that is a truly epic achievement. It was very brave of me to invite people who I fundamentally don’t know, and to get into (washable) paint for the first time (ever seen a group of toddlers with paint?). I’m terribly impressed with myself, knowing I could never have pulled this kind of event off a few years ago – let alone while sick (I’m not even going into work this year – at all).

(And CJ managed to set up a slideshow of Louisette photos, for which I was very grateful – I spend MANY hours sorting through the last year of Louisette pics, and a birthday slideshow was the perfect result.)

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Boo!

It’s been a while (due to the complexity of logging back on after forgetting one’s password, and also forgetting the password one needs to set a new password), so here’s a pretty pic for you.

The pregnancy is horrid, but I’m managing to scrape through at work – which means I’ll get eight months paid maternity leave! Wow.

I’m pretty sure someone shaved a small patch of the cat’s fur (Ana, of course – she’s been wandering about the neighbourhood making enemies). Who said life wasn’t full of mystery?

I’m studying a Cert 3 in childcare, reminding me that I’m much better at seeming to know things than actually knowing things. Which is. . . . nice? They keep refusing to send me more because I can knock over a (monthly) assignment in an evening. While nauseous. I wish I was as good at. . . something else. . . as I am at producing assignments. It’s pretty much my superpower. Since I plan to get a teaching degree after this, I’m grateful. A bit.

Louisette is a leader among her peers at day care, which makes me even more smug about her awesomeness than I already am. Whoever said toddlers couldn’t play together hasn’t met my kid – and her very sweet classmates. They love running around, and working together to fill containers with sand and/or water. The best part is when you see two tiny girls talking to each other. Her world is expanding enormously, and good for her. IMG_2707

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Boring people should be seen and not heard

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I went to a picnic with friends today. A particular kind of friend – the kind who brought along a spare pair of wings for Louisette to wear on the castle playground at Canberra’s Commonwealth Park. Which is to say, the cool kind of friend. The peculiar kind. [Found out later that the wings are for sale here.]

Normally I’d say peculiar is the kind of person I am, not to mention the kind that I like. Which is why I made the effort to push past my leaving-the-house panic and my I’m-too-fat-to-be-seen-in-public panic, and I got there – counting on my friends to pull me out of my fear into a nice day.

The first two minutes went great. I knew a lot of the people there, I wasn’t the only one in a corset, and everyone was sharing finger food that Louisette likes (so her boring old sandwich never had to emerge from our bag to be rejected and/or smeared on her new dress).

But within five minutes of ordinary conversation I was told to switch conversation topics. Immediately. For everyone’s sake. I asked if I was allowed to finish the sentence – the punchline – and was told no.

I don’t get to talk to adults very much – other than CJ after his long day of talking to adults too much – and most of what goes through my head is stuff to do with children or writing, both of which are seriously dull to most of the world. CJ and I watch a lot of TV – mostly fantasy/action with a bit of comedy satire. My third conversation topic is TV, which can backfire badly if your friends don’t watch all the same TV programs in the same sequence at the same time. But I’m up to date with certain bits of the news.

Before I was cut off, I was talking about a couple of genuinely absurd moments in politics lately – one in New York, and the second in Australia. Namely, that a mayoral candidate in NY was known as the kitten-hating candidate after saying it was stupid to have stopped trains for two hours to protect a pair of stray kittens; and that our new PM Tony Abbott (infamous for his awkwardness around any woman) has appointed himself minister for women’s affairs.

I won’t get into grading my own conversational skills, because I know they’re below par, but I wasn’t doing any harm and didn’t deserve to be told to shut up.

I’m glad I made the effort to leave the house, because I try to go to Floriade (or more specifically, just outside Floriade) each year, especially since Louisette was born. I’ll remind myself in future that peculiarity and rudeness can often go hand in hand.

I can’t remember if I mentioned here yet that my Mirena is gone and I’m improving rapidly (I’m back at work, for one thing). All the side effects (hopefully including the balance issues that caused me to almost fall and crush another friend’s small child today – poor guy had to actually catch me before dealing with his upset child) should be a memory in a few more weeks.

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