Beautiful Summer, beautiful Olive

Mama, Dada, Olive and Koka are having the most wonderful Summer altogether watching our delicious Olive grow into a little girl. She has changed so much and her personality is starting to shine. She is happy and determined, and so smiley. Busy. Oh boy she has some busy to do. We have all been so busy with holidays and activities and swimming and seeing friends, it is such a luxury for us all to not be working.

So, December, we went to our two Christmas parties at vineyards – one in Kumeu with Women’s Health Action (Mama is on the Trust Board) and the other with LawWorks at Te Whau. Doing pretty well for a girl out of work! Olive was a star and loved all the attention. We then went to Olive’s first dress-up party where she got to strut her stuff as a pirate! Unfortunately she wasn’t allowed to eat any of the party food.

Then the festive season began and we all went over to Waiheke for a holiday with Nini and Grandad (who were still working). Most of Grandad’s family came for Christmas and loved, loved, heaped the LOVE on Olive. She was the star attraction and became accustomed to have a cheering, enthusiastic audience at all times.

Olive had her first Christmas, which started with a stocking in Nini’s bed, trying to get what she could from Grandad’s bebes. Not much really. In true baby style, Olive was more impressed by the puppies, wrapping paper and tree than the phenomenal stack of loot she received. She does like the nose of Basil Brush and the stacking rainbow blocks and pegs, which are chewy and yum (and hopefully painted with lead-free paint). Olive chowed down on some yummy mangoes, strawberries (absolute favourite) and still didn’t get any of the good stuff like pudding.

Olive loved the beach, the sand was yum and the sea was fun. The sea added a salty note to the bebe, which was popular with Olive the bebe critic. Dada did a lot of fishing and somewhat less catching, he did come home with a blue cod which we made into a scrummy breakfast. Olive had Leyla, then Holly, then Arlo and Toby to visit, which was choice because Olive loves kids. She watches them like a hawk. She must be figuring out how she’s going to play that big kid game. Impatiently she waits to grow up.

To bring in the New Year Mama and Dada went with Aunty Yani, Uncle Nick and Jesse down to Onetangi for some fireworks and to gawk at the drunk teenagers. Olive stayed with Nini sound asleep well before midnight. For her own celebration the next day Olive decided to eat a little bit of her own poo, which made her throw up several times. No matter, it all looked the same as the silverbeet and apple puree she was eating at the time!

We came home for two nights and then headed down to Aotea for the Stenhouse clan holiday. We went via the greyhound dog races where Mama had a punt on the geegees and pineapple pie. Yum. Olive took her debut in the Judge’s seat specially for Grandad.

Aunty Amanda and Uncle Andy have bought a house on seaside in the sleepy little village. Mama and Dada floated down the current and Olive paddled in the paddling pool with all her cousins. Koka was in heaven, having gotten rid of the puppies and then arriving at a free-for-all-dogs beach across the road from the house and where she could chase whoever she pleased and take a dip when it suited her. Dada did lots more fishing and a little more catching, this time a big snapper and some flounder. We all got tans and Olive had her first growling when she kept on pulling Emma’s hair until she cried. Olive the Brute. The last few nights were sleepless with Olive teething and battling a cold she picked up in cuzzie-land. The drive home was less harrowing than the drive down due to Mama and Dada’s plan to leave at 4am to beat the daytime backseat car blues/ tears/ screams of thunder that we had on the way down.

Home again for a few days and then up to Tawharanui to stay at Tom Cotter’s farm, where the little family all slept peacefully on a mattress in the back of the car. Olive ate some sand and charmed Mama and Dada’s friends who all commented on how much hair she has now! On the way back we stopped in for a visit with Felix, Linda and Otto (Olive’s betrothed) and ended up staying in Coatesville for the night with them. Then we spent a day with the Rabbits who were up from Wanganui and we went to Parnell Pools with Rach and Molly while Dada went to see Avatar at the Imax with Pete. Such a life of lush leisure we are leading.

A wedding on the weekend where Olive was a charmer and a trip to the Whatipu caves before Olive the Brute struck again frightening wee Maia into the corner with her hair pulling. Olive the Brute also left a lovely poo on the deck for Maia who had invited her in for dip in the paddling pool (which the babies plotted and executed a joint escape from).

Now we are home and Olive is sleeping. Mama has learnt that too much chocolate for pudding means a bright-eyed crawler chatting away at 3am. Mama has also learnt that Olive doesn’t need all the bebe she has been getting in the night and with a few pats on the bum sleep soon returns. All those sleepless nights sucking may have been in vain, probably not though. Happy baby, happy Mama. The grand plan of Dada settling Olive in the night had a troublesome first night with a sad baby calling for her Mama, and Mama saying persist, she’ll get used to it, only to discover the little toothy peg had popped through in the night. And so continues the guilty and endless conveyer belt of motherhood. The tooth has come though and what a sweet tooth it is, all of the pain and the grumbles and the gnawing and the homeopathic spray (oooh yum yum says Olive) was worth the shiny gleamer (we hope it is anyway, not much to see yet, just can feel the tip of it). Why don’t we just cut all the gums open and be done with it? Maybe someone knows, but Mama doesn’t. Ouchy might be the reason.

Our little Indian. Sometimes its an angry Indian…

Koka is learning her lot is a new lot which includes a grabby handed Olive pulling at her eyes, her ears and claiming fistfuls of fur. She tolerates it like a true labrador, even the patting in the water bowl and the kibble stealing mid meal is going by without a second glance. Lovely and soon to be long-suffering Koka-dog.

The busy little butternut is eating now, as she pleases, where she pleases – in the bath, naked. On the swing outside. In the pool, Ok. In the highchair. Um. No. No way. Standing on the bench? Sometimes. I can open the drawer. Yeah. Chase me Mama and I’ll eat. Maybe. The sweet tooth may have arrived but we are still managing to sneak in some lentils and silverbeet. Tonight she had apple, almond butter and rice milk for pudding. In the bath. Yum. The best thing about eating in the bath, from Mama’s perspective, is that all the spitting out of water, food and general mouth contents that Olive is rehearsing and loving (and Mama and Dada can’t help laughing at) is contained!

And also the big girl does poos on the toilet. Just like the big kids!

Mama and Dada are the luckiest people in the world to have our beautiful little peahen.

Ministry of Health breastfeeding promo shots

7 months fast

Olive, the superbaby, seems to have transformed from our teeny tiny new baby to a big, lovely, not so babyish baby. A small (very small) child. She can do so much (its all relative right?) she can crawl, climb up to standing, squeal SQUEAL and SQUEAL, wave, play ‘hup’, the xylophone and ‘ta’, eat food that doesn’t come from the bebe, swim, eat puppies, play with her friends. Oh and read, write, sing and compose operas. Yes yes very boastful. It is so amazing to me that this little person has learnt so much in just seven fast months.

On the 4th of November, Olive turned six months old and celebrated by eating her first (official) food (we don’t count the sand, paper, dirt, dog hair etc). It was kumara and ingested to an audience of doting family members singing “happy half-birthday to you”. She spat most of it out. It was all a bit exciting really, mama felt like Olive was taking her first tiny step in the other direction. It probably will get a lot worse for mama’s separation anxiety. Mama was hoping for an overnight dramatic sleep change session, but no. No change to the every 1 – 1.5 hour routine. It was getting tiresome by this point.

On that day she also showed the first sign of teeth in her top gums (which seemed to take a lot of the nighttimes making Olive grumpy) and took her first few slightly coordinated crawls. The next night she fell out of bed. Oops. Nini and Mama were in the bed (Nini saving her back, Dada in his ‘flat’ (spare room) santuary of rest) and in the middle of the night Olive waahed (which she never does) and Mama startled awake and dug around beside the bed to find her wee critter who had somehow been squeezed out. So after that we put the cot up right beside the bed to make an Olive cage out of the bed.

Our business news is that we went to our first all day conference (on the Cartwright report) and Olive was a champion cutie-pie, she cooed and wriggled on her Dodo mat at the back of the room and didn’t seem to piss anyone off! Amazing.  Dada finished his degree. Forever. And got an A for his final project, which was featured on the morning news show. No job yet though, fingers crossed… Mama finished her duty solicitor course and so should be able to go on the roster in February one day each week. Olive has kept up her appointments with the SPACE program at Playcentre and Wriggle and Rhyme at the library. All things created equal.

Our travelling news was the most exciting news of the past month. It began with Mama and Olive flying down to Napier to spend a few days with Nana-G and Grandad-G and the Japiwi rellies. Olive loved the trip and the attention, even though she missed out on the chocolate icecream Nana-G wanted to give her “come on, just a little lick won’t hurt her”. Mama was still food-precious at that point. We did the showing off rounds and Olive performed like a perfect monkey – all smiles and cooing.

We were back home for a few days and Olive learnt how to climb up (on Dada, which quickly became climbing up the bars of the cot), Mama did her duty solicitor assessment (pass with flying colours) and Koka had her puppies – three little brown, blind moles. The puppies have been named by Rico: girl – Mrs Bones, girl – Snoozy Moo, boy – Rico the Kind of Avondale, the King for short.

Then Mama received a text message at 3am on Sunday morning “Ringo Rabbit is on the way!” – Rachel was in labour. What to do? Get in the car and drive to Wanganui. Eight hours later we arrived and met Baby Bunny Rabbit (Molly Mae) who is so precious. We stayed two nights to soak up the new baby waves and then missioned back to Auckland, much to Olive’s dismay.

We were home for two nights, had Dada’s graduation show (- YUS! He was the star of the show and his product was featured on the Good Morning TV show, even though they kinda broke it) and then we were off to Japan!

Disaster strikes the night before we left with Olive up most of the night crying (which she has never done before) and we realised two hours before we were due to leave that she had developed a fever. Oh no! Mama was exhausted beyond imagination and felt like getting on a 16 hour plane trip as a standby passenger was not the behaviour of a rational and sane decision-making mama. But off we went anyway, Dada on his peaceful, direct, Air NZ flight and Mama on her crazy journey with a sick babe. We made it and discovered it was totally and completely worth it. So much fun!

We stayed for a week in a ryokan in Asakusa, the Japanese ladies swooned over Olive and Olive gawked in awe at all the lights and watched all the little people ants from up high in buildings. We tripped around each suburb looking, poking and prodding. Olive loved the train and learnt to catch someone’s eye and they would love her. Then she would squeal and maybe squeal some more. She picked up some Japo baby slang, but her favourite was standing naked eating at the little table. She loved us all sitting on the floor at her level. She ate some pretty exciting things – raw fish, pickled radish and white bread to name a few. She had an exciting experience with the sugar bowl, her mouth and her hands and sugar all over the table while Mama and Dada watched the morning news simultaneously on TV for two seconds. But most of all she spent a lot of time in the ergo – on the front, on the back on the hip. Poor bubba got a bit over it if the truth be told, she’s got all these great new mobility skills that she was just itching to try out. Olive would pose for photos with complete strangers each day, and we learned that if we lived in Japan with all the rule-keepers Olive would be adored day in day out.

Then we got home (another exhausting, but not hellish trip home) and took a big breath of fresh air and soaked in the glorious sunshine. Since we arrived home Olive has become afraid of Koka, she doesn’t like the doofs in the face and when we say Koka she looks around in nervous anticipation. But the exciting part of this is that she recognises the word Koka!

Olive has had her first trip to Parnell Pools with Anna, Maia and Aunty Yani and then today went to Pt Chev beach for her first swim in the ocean. She loves the water,  just like her Mama. We are set to have an amazingly fun summer… And then she learned how to do poos on the toilet. Just a little grunt and Mama sits her on the seat and away she goes. So clean.

New sounds

Maybe they are words? These are the order they are coming out in:






oof (as in woof)

Olive can do this now – sitting up, talking, smiling, gooing, on all fours, squealing, on tummy, ba ba ma ma da da, on back (interlude of grab feet, suck toes), on tummy, squealing, all fours, smiling, moving backwards, off the mat, on the floor. Wah. Bebe. Laughing. Start again.

Toys go from one transitional hand to the other. To the mouth. Hair is growing – there are even some strands that don’t touch her head!

So hungry. She is waking up every hour through the night for bebe. 9 more days I tell her. She is going to be very ready for the solids when they come. Kumara. Give me kumara.


Olive said Mama this morning and it made Mama all teary-eyed. She has the sweetest voice in the world. She was sitting on the bed and said “Mama”, so I called Dada and then she said it again. And again later in the morning when we went to our first SPACE (Playcentre, Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education) meeting. She also arguably said Hello and Yeah. Amazing.

Beautiful baby



Getting big Big BIGGER

Growing like a sprout, but still our little wee baby, for a few more months at least. I can’t believe its been two whole months since I last updated the people. In the last two (long, sleep deprived, busy, happy) months we have become the proud parents of a sitting, squealing, wriggling, tongue-poking, giggling girl. She is a complete joy and delight.


I miss her when she goes to bed these days (not quite enough  to keep her up though – unlike her Grandad who manages to wake her up every time he visits “I just gave her a kiss” and voila, an awake baby miraculously appears in his arms).

Olive and Mama went up to Kerikeri in September for 5 days, so that Koka could have some romantic time with her boyfriend Jasper and get pregnant (she is now the official dog-breadwinner to fill our somewhat empty family basket). We stayed with Jim and Jill and loved being on the farm and walking in the country (even if Mama realised a country life fantasy is boring). We met projectile vomit for the first time and Olive spent a lot of time lying on her back squealing. She did roll over from back to front for the first time, repeated it several times (once back home) and then quit in favour of lying on her back clutching her feet (which quickly became sucking her toes, preferably all 10 together!).


As well as learning to really laugh properly, we met poo shooting up the back of the nappy and all over the clothes for the first time last month. Equally exciting for sure.  She started pulling her knees up for a crawling position in September and that has moved on to getting up on all fours and rocking now. She can wriggle backwards and get around sort of commando style, squealing the whole time of course, moving in a circle is still the easiest thing for her, so tends to be the direction du jour.  On 22 September Olive was properly sitting – less than 5 months – she is very advanced (not that I would be showing off).


Our lovely haired baby lost all of the few strands she had in September, and it is only just starting to grow back now – no mullet anymore! It looks like it will be light brown/ dark blonde. Her beautiful eyes look olive-green-grey so far, they also look very wise and knowing. She is definitely not missing a beat this girl.

Just before Olive hit four months old she packed in the sleeping at night for anything more than 2 hours – Ouch! – after Mama was just getting used to 7 hour stretches. I think two nights of Mama eating curry set it off, then it became habit. It wasn’t long after that when she decided even two hours was more than Mama needed and went to every 1 – 1.5 hours. Finally, last week, after no more than 2 hours sleep for nearly 8 weeks she gave us some reprieve and went to 3-4 hours. And then I became a mother a little obsessed (addicted?) to talking about sleep. Not any more though. We just deliriously ride the wave now. It got to the point that we were so tired Dada started taking the occasional (and indulgent) night in the spare room – imagine that – a full night sleep. Incredible. He calls it his flat now. Mama and Olive spread out luxuriously in the bed (but always end up curled up together in the corner anyway) when Dada’s away. Its no surprise she was so in love with the bebe at all hours – Olive grew 8cm in height in 7 weeks.  But it is just unbelievably delicious to snuggle up in bed with a little Olive in Mama’s arms. Life has changed though, its undeniable!

Spring peeping its nose around the corner for a few glorious September days meant Olive had her first family trip to Bethells Beach and got to eat some sand, get her feet dirty and a get a sandy fanny.  She loved it, and so did Mama and Dada.


Mama started doing some work too – a contract with the Law Society to revise the adoption chapter in the Legal Practice Manual and the Duty Solicitor Training Program, so next year Mama can stand beside Koka as a legitimate income-earner. Mama’s muddled brain managed an 87% in the exam, so the baby-brain mustn’t be killing all semblances of thought-processes. The hardest part of all of this (by a million miles) was leaving Olive. She went to Kirsty and Leyla’s for 7 half-days, and Kirsty breastfed her (seeing the bottle, cup and syringe of Mama’s milk were all shunned). Olive was perfectly happy with the arrangements, Mama on the other hand almost did a U-turn several times. We got through though and its good for Mama to know that Olive would be well-nurtured if my breasts fell off. Dada has 2 more weeks of studying and then we have a summer of hanging out all together lined up.

Olive’s Papamoa cousins were up for a few months and we tried to capture them all together, non-compliance was an issue…


Aunty Yani has successfully had her first sole charge babysitting charge (as have Nini and Grandad). Olive has been to her first gig – the Rhythm Interactive drum show. So fun. Olive wore Dada’s earmuffs to protect her wee ears, and hung out in the ergo the whole time. This month we have featured in the Ministry of Health’s breastfeeding DVD, which is being released in a few weeks. So famous. We’ll probably need an agent when its released.


Olive her first fall when Dada’s hand slipped off her pants when she was standing up, she hit her wee forehead on a wooden toy and ended up with a monobrow. Olive cried, but Mama and Dada was definitely more traumatised by the whole incident than Olive was. Mama felt so upset she couldn’t believe we didn’t need to call an ambulance or go to Starship, nope we didn’t – it was just a donk on the head. IMG_3899

We’ve joined Mainly Music (where we change the word God in the songs to Dad “Dad gave me my smile/ Dad game me my life etc and similarly Jesus becomes Koka – we fit right in). Wriggle and Rhyme at the library is Tuesday’s activity, Olive loves it so much she now gets excited when we arrive at the library. We’ve joined the Green Bay Toy Library and joined the waiting list for Mt Albert Playcentre, which looks like the funnest place ever. We went to the Plunket parenting course (PEPE) and arrogantly decided we needed to go so that Mama could take responsibility for the group’s learning by asking ‘questions’ to make sure all the other mamas know that what Rochelle (/ Plunket) is saying should not be taken as gospel.

We also started a new coffee group for our friends who are attachment parenting, which is so much fun. No crying babies, no parent-directed routines and no uptight mummies. Lots of bebe. Today it was at our place and we got the bath out for a splash on the deck.


Its good that Olive has become more tolerant of the car (mostly with a lot of toy rotation, singing and general distraction) because for her 4th month we had to get the bus and train everywhere, which meant a lot of walking and a lot of time to get everywhere.

We love the jolly jumper so much that after Olive has been in it she forgets how to stand and bounce, bounce, bounces her little legs wherever she is being held up.

Next on the agenda is starting solids in 2 weeks when she is 6 months old, well real food anyway, Olive’s first ‘food’ was orchid stem, she has also already eaten sand, newspaper, dog hair, leaves, fluff from the carpet, bath water and a paper tag from a christian toy at Mainly Music

Life is so sweet, we have found the baby-beat and are getting into it 100%. This is what it is all about. WE LOVE OLIVE SQUILLIONS AND FOREVER! YUM YUM YUM. Unfortunately though, my bum is not getting any smaller, or less like a Burgess-bum.