Thursday, July 31, 2008

Diary: Sugar and spice and all things nice

Is it really a year since the birth of my daughter Charlotte? She is such a little angel, so different to Tom. Even in utero, much calmer but still very energetic. Her favourite food is banana, although she loves vegemite sandwiches, macaroni and pieces of apple too. She has six teeth, and one pair of shoes. 
She loves music, is not very fond of the stroller and only has limited patience for her highchair. She will not sleep in her cot in the daytime. She loves to be picked up and will make a funny little snort as she straightens and stiffens her whole body before grabbing hold of me like a little monkey. 
Charlotte loves animals. We thought she was accidentally dropping food from her highchair but I have come to realise she is purposefully feeding the dogs. At Daydream Island she took some apple from my hand in order to hold it out to a rock wallaby, which made me a little nervous I admit. She has always loved being outdoors too, exploring grass and dirt and sand, and laughs when I kick the red and white soccer ball. 
She hates lying on her back. Nappy changing is an effort and she has always preferred sleeping on her tummy, preferably on a pillow or my chest when she was very small and had trouble settling. My greatest joy is being able to comfort her.
When we went to Daydream Island I took her in the bath with Tom and I. It was a spa bath and when Tom turned it on she screamed! Even though we turned it off straight away she was still hysterical and refused to go near the bath for the rest of the holiday. I tried taking her in the shower with me but she still screamed and squealed and clung to me, terrified. At home it was the same and I was worried she'd always have a phobia of water (and would be very smelly by her 18th birthday!), but thankfully, by the third night at home bath time had returned to normal.

I don't remember Tom ever being really frightened of anything, except going to sleep, where even as a tiny baby he would become hysterical and there was nothing I could do to give him comfort. Charlotte goes to sleep comparatively easily. Tom pinches when he gets tired, and I never thought anything could be as annoying, but unfortunately Charlotte loves pulling my hair. Still, at bed time she is much more relaxed and spends the first half of the night in her own cot. She loves to cuddle too and my fondest memory of Daydream Island is feeding her after we'd both washed and dressed for bed. She snuggled so close I felt like I was sure a teddy bear must. 
When she was born her eyes disconcerted me. They were deep and dark and steely grey. Now they've changed to an interesting brown and I'm still not sure what colour they will eventually be. Her birth was sudden and violent, and for the first few days her tiny nose was bent from the force of the contractions. For this reason we nearly named her Cameron which means 'bent nose'. But we stuck to Charlotte. While I was pregnant I had caught a ferry from Woolwich, the vessel had floated out of a heavy fog with the name Charlotte written boldly across its stern. The name was beautiful and romantic and it stuck with me. Tim liked it too. I like hearing Charlotte's name in different situations - Charlotte's Web, Apple Charlotte, Charlotte's Pass, Charlotte potatoes. My favourite song Charlotte Sometimes. There was also a ship named Charlotte in the First Fleet. I wonder when she grows up if she'll get Lottie or Charlie.
With every day that passes she gets closer to walking, her little red shoes practicing wide, swaying steps. I cannot imagine how she will look another year from now in dresses and skirts, her knees no longer perpetually dirty from crawling. I wonder what she'll be like at Tom's age, at five, at thirteen, whether she'll wear plaits to school. I wonder if her first kiss will be horrid and forgettable. Where will destiny take her? Will love make or break her? I hope with all my heart she loves herself and others, and that others love her - passionately, truthfully, unconditionally.

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