Mel's Musings

12 September 2002

Is it really September - again? Where oh where has the year gone? I can't keep up. 'Well' I hear you say 'you wanted chaos with number 3'. That we did and we wouldn't change it for the world.

Rosie is doing very well. Her hips have been given the all clear. She has five teeth as of a few days ago, is fully weaned, has lots of blonde hair and crawls about very fast to keep up with her sisters. She giggles, chatters and yells a lot making her presence felt. She has a very healthy interest in everything, mostly her sisters' smallest (ie choking hazard) toys. Putting things out of reach is proving more difficult as she gets more stable on her feet. The furniture cruising has started as has climbing the stairs, but hopefully we can keep on top of all that.

Jessie is continuing to be her charming cheeky opinionated self. She speaks very well now and has very in depth conversations with me, although they are usually about some game we are apparently playing ('No I'm Cinderella and you are the prince'). I am trying to make the most of the time that Beth is at pre-school to do Jess orientated things and I think she is enjoying that. She has very definite ideas about things ('You wet my hair and now it is all messy'). For a period there her first words every morning were 'Can I wear a dress'. This clearly was a rhetorical question.

Beth finished her first year of pre-school and I think she thoroughly enjoyed it. She also celebrated her 4th birthday. We had a Peter Pan party for her (and Jess believes for her too). I made Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily costumes and pulled together a Captain Hook costume for Nick. Peter Pan (Karen Power) made an appearance too. A fairy cake was required and lots of theme games (painting shadows, treasure hunt etc) were played. It was a beautiful day. We had about a dozen fairies and pirates, some of whom were terrified of Nick. I think it is the first party that Beth actually realised she was the star and got lots of presents, including the dreaded Barbie. She had a ball and her parents were absolutely exhausted. Four-year old pre-school has started so Beth is back at St Francis for three mornings a week. I decided not to fill the other two days with base pre-school as I wasn't overly impressed with it at the end and want to do things for Beth and Jess on non-school days that I wont be able to do when we go back to the UK and work.

Nick's work has been very busy and probably wont change for some time. He has done quite a bit of travelling to the West Coast. Good thing he isn't worried about any further terrorist attacks. It seems like every month has had a trip away. And when he is at home there is always some work to do in the evenings. At least he gets home early enough and to see the girls.

The summer has been great. Jess and Beth have become quite good little swimmers. They had swimming lessons and have some awareness about swimming underwater and blowing bubbles. Beth is quite careful with making sure she is happy with each stage before moving on. She swims underwater all the time holding her nose - quite an achievement. Jess is manic - she just throws herself all over the place and despite swallowing gallons of water, almost always comes up laughing. Rosie loves the water too, but is kept well out of reach of her manic sisters. I have loved the heat, although the humidity did get a bit unbearable some days. Fortunately we had access to the local lake and the swimming pools on base so we could always get wet. All of us got tanned despite the 30+ sunscreen and cancer suits worn all the time.

Beth also did an introduction to dance class for a week with couple of her friends. They learned a bit of ballet, tap and jazz and did a concert at the end. It was very funny and cute, but I think Beth may be like her mother in that talent is not exactly overflowing. Mind you, she tried so hard. We will see. Jess now wants to wear her ballet shoes and dance at home. What have I started?

We were lucky to have a flying visit by Lora (my Rotary Exchange sister of 20 years ago) and her daughter Megan in June. We gave them a whistle stop tour of Washington and a typical Ozzie lunch (roast lamb and pavlova) and before we knew it they were gone again. The girls absolutely love Megan, and Lora and I were stuck for words again (NOT).

We have had a few holidays since my last diatribe. We have been back to Williamsburg and visited Jamestown (the first British settlement). The big summer holiday, however, was to the West Coast. I flew with the girls to meet Nick in San Francisco. Yes another solo flight - I must be crazy. Actually this was one of the worst travelling experiences I have had to date. Jess was sick in the car just outside the airport parking which naturally made me a bit concerned about the trip ahead. She was subdued, but perked up enough to be difficult on the flight. US domestic flights do not have large loos or change tables so changing Rosie was challenging to say the least and fitting all of us in to the loo required the flexibilty and strength of Houdini. Rosie was a lot more work as she wanted to be on the go the whole time and any time she went to sleep, one of her darling sisters kindly woke her up. Needless to say, when I met Nick after 8 hours of travelling, I handed him the children and announced that I was leaving them there and catching the next plane back!

Despite the dubious start to our holiday, we had a lovely time in San Francisco. A very hilly cold city with lots of picturesque sights. We took in Fishermans Wharf, (the girls loved the Sea Lion colony), China Town, rode a street car, caught loads of buses, and even walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (out of necessity not for pleasure!) after seeing an Arthur museum (to the absolute delight of the children).

We then set out for yet another set of flights to get to Hawaii. I admit, I had not really looked on a map to see how far we were travelling. The time zone changes were my first real indication that we were practically flying to Australia! However, once I had realised this and got over the shock of what we had undertaken, we had a ball. Hawaii was lovely, the resort wonderful with its pools (the girls loved the kiddy pool) and private beach in Waikiki and of course seeing Mike and Veronika Lombardo again. We swam with fish at Hananamu bay (at least Beth, Nick and I did), went to a Luau, drove past the Dole and Del Monte pineapple plantations to North Beach and generally had a great time. The weather, food and people were lovely and the girls have all got grass skirts and shell necklaces now. We just didn't stay long enough.

The flights home were a bit different as it was over the girls' night time. This meant they were fairly tired which for Beth is subdued and floppy. Jess is hyper and rambles, whereas Rosie is very manageable. The hardest bit was that they were all asleep when we landed so disembarking was challenging what with three sleeping children, Nick's laptop, and other handluggage. Still the flights were relatively quiet.

Upon our return, Rosie was full of cold and then Jess went down with it. Routines were shot to pieces and Beth started pre-school absolutely exhausted. Still, I left the washing and housework to sort itself out and focussed on the girls. I had an ulteria motive though. The next weekend I went on a 4 day trip to New York with my friend Karen. No children, no prams, no routine,and finally visiting a city I have wanted to go to for years.

Well, what a fantastic time we had. Karen has been before so was a fantastic guide and companion. What a city. We did all sorts of touristy things (Statue of Liberty, the Met, Guggenheim, Frick, Times Square, Broadway, Serendipity 3, Saks, Fifth Avenue) as well as lots of people watching. It was great, although Rosie's cold developed into dreadful fever and two bad inner ear infections. Nick coped very well with Doctors visits and medicines etc. What a star he is. I did suffer pangs of guilt and it took me two days before I didn't instinctively think of their routine - 3pm was lunchtime not bottle and nap time! Mind you, I paid for it upon my return. Beth had wet her bed every night and Jess clearly hadn't been sleeping properly as she was exhausted. Rosie was much better though. I said to Nick that I thought I wouldn't go on holiday again if that is the sort of homecoming I have to deal with. He thinks I should do it more often. We will see....

Now, a few weeks later we are back in a routine and I am getting the house ready for a big visit - my sister Sally, her husband Ashley and boys Oliver and Zak are arriving next week for four weeks. Very exciting as we are also going to Disney together. I am not sure who is more excited about the trip, the children or the grownups. Only 7 days to go....

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