Amelie at two

She is absolutely, definitely 100% a toddler now.

 It’s just milk, but she  loved  having it in a coffee cup.

It’s just milk, but she loved having it in a coffee cup.

I enjoy this kid so incredibly much! I mean, sure, she's totally out of control from time to time, but Amelie has also become incredibly hilarious. She has a great sense of humour and is super-cheeky; we often have to stop ourselves laughing when she’s being naughty – and that is hard. She likes to drop things on the floor then yell “oh no!” – and if we don’t respond to that she’ll shout it over and over until we do. Then she orders us to pick it up, and when we tell her that if she drops something, she has to pick it up, she looks off into the distance and says “noooooo” in this dreamy, highly casual way. No tantrums or anything, just noooooo…

The tantrums come when we do something that Amelie wanted to do (whether she’s told us or not). What does she want to do herself? Oh, just everything, all the time. We used to be able to convince her to ‘help’ us with things like getting dressed, but now she will push us away and try to get all her clothes on herself, with some interesting results. It’s really cute (and it’s also a really big time suck). Despite now living closer to her daycare, we almost always show up later in the mornings. Getting Amelie ready and out the door is no longer the work of just 30 minutes.

 Our little lion dressed up for Halloween.

Our little lion dressed up for Halloween.

We do face some monster tantrums. They are definitely one of the things I find hardest about parenting at this age. Usually there is no warning – it’s just 0-100 in three seconds flat. But once it’s over, she forgives and forgets immediately. Recently I had to drive for about 20 minutes with Amelie furiously screaming in the back because she wanted to get out of the car. There was nothing I could do – it was a winding open road, we had somewhere we had to be, and nothing I said was calming her down. As soon as I stopped the car – the very second I turned off the engine – she stopped screaming, and was instant sweetness and light. It is bizarre, but also probably a good lesson for all of us about not holding grudges?

One of my favourite things about having a two year old is the conversation. Amelie is a great conversationalist, and she’s always happy to chat – in fact, she talks constantly. She has a really amazing vocabulary and it’s so awesome to see her learning to express herself. Every morning she tells us about her dreams while we get her dressed. I’m still not sure she knows what dreams are, but at the very least she’s well and truly using her imagination – most recently she told us she dreamt that all of us, plus Cuper the cat, caught a bus to the Coromandel to go to the playground. This particular dream does contain some of her favourite things, so it could equally be wishful thinking. When do we develop a common shared understanding of what a dream is?

 Swimming is a favourite

Swimming is a favourite

If we all retained the ability to grasp and remember concepts as quickly as a two year old, we’d be a world of geniuses. Amelie is currently very big on buying and paying for stuff. It leads to some hilarious results – the time she told me to pay a busker springs to mind, as does the time she was shouting ‘PAY! PAY!’ as I left a shop where I wasn’t buying anything, while I loudly and ostentatiously explained to her that we didn’t have anything to pay for, praying that the people around me understood toddlers and knew I wasn’t shoplifting. It also leads to some slightly scary results, like the time I told her we didn’t have any of the crackers she wanted, and without missing a beat she commanded, ‘SHOP. BUY.’

 Riding her bike on the ‘pink path’.

Riding her bike on the ‘pink path’.

Finally, it’s so interesting to see her sense of time develop. It’s no longer just about the here and now – now she remembers things that happened months ago. She also is very big on telling us to do things ‘right now’. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s a little scary, and sometimes it’s just so sweet (when she’s feeling nervous, tired, or sad, she will often ask for ‘Opie right now’. That is also always a good time to get a sweet cuddle from her).

Oh the cuddles! She’s often too busy to give us proper cuddles. She is a very busy child. But she has also become absolutely fantastic at cuddling. Head down on the shoulder, arms wrapped tightly around you, absolute 100% love and trust and safety. They are amazing. She is the sweetest. It’s well into the evening right now and she has been asleep for hours, but I’m on the verge of going and waking her up for one of those cuddles. I won’t – I never do, and H1 and I discuss doing it every night – but seriously, what a kid. She’s a star. A sparky, bright, funny, opinionated star.

 Out for breakfast on her second birthday.

Out for breakfast on her second birthday.

Photos and a wee video from our Fiji trip!

 Hobie cat on Tokoriki Island, Fiji. Funny story – we promised Amelie we’d take her out on a boat, then the wind picked up for our last couple of days and we couldn’t. We bought a pool float and called it her boat…and quickly made sure we got a ferry trip in when we were back home.

Hobie cat on Tokoriki Island, Fiji. Funny story – we promised Amelie we’d take her out on a boat, then the wind picked up for our last couple of days and we couldn’t. We bought a pool float and called it her boat…and quickly made sure we got a ferry trip in when we were back home.

We escaped to Fiji for a quick sunshine break this winter. Fiji is so easy from New Zealand – it’s only about three hours to fly there, and it’s on the same time zone (which is so brilliant when you’re bringing a toddler with you!)

We went back to our favourite haunt of Tokoriki Island, in the Mamanuca Island chain. This place is just blissful. The weather has been consistently good for us each time we’ve been, the staff are all amazingly lovely and the hotel (a Sheraton) is beautiful yet still super-relaxed. There’s a big (and very cold!) pool, a ‘classic Fiji’ beach with white sand and palm trees, and a whole heap of watersports and other activities . Oh, and, importantly, a playground, which we made very good use of.

Fiji is not quite as relaxing with a toddler as might be hoped, but it was still such a beautiful, fun, lovely holiday to take. I don’t love winter, so any chance to get some winter sun makes my soul sing. Here are a few of my favourite photos of our week…and even a short video! First video on the blog, amazingly. Let me know what you think!

Helicoptering into beautiful Tokoriki Island. http://condimentsonacitylife.com
 Amelie on the playground. Every day she woke up by yelling excitedly, “Pool! Playground! Up up up!”

Amelie on the playground. Every day she woke up by yelling excitedly, “Pool! Playground! Up up up!”

 H1 and Amelie playing on the beach.

H1 and Amelie playing on the beach.

 Exploring. There were gorgeous little fish right in the shallows here.

Exploring. There were gorgeous little fish right in the shallows here.

 Chasing waves.

Chasing waves.

 Pool time! This kid loves the water so much.

Pool time! This kid loves the water so much.

 Braving the cold with Amelie and her boat.

Braving the cold with Amelie and her boat.

Tokoriki Island pool.jpg
 Fun in the sand.

Fun in the sand.

 General Fiji excitement!

General Fiji excitement!

The importance of reframing

So I just watched this Ted Talk and one of the speaker's four pillars is storytelling; e.g. how the story you tell yourself is the one you'll believe, and the one that will affect you. And that got me thinking, of all things, of our Fiji holiday...

Tokoriki Island.jpg

We went to Tokoriki Island at the end of June. Tokoriki is amazing! It was our second time there, and Amelie's first. We were so looking forward to seeing the friends we made there last time and introducing them to Amelie, to enjoying island fries and fruity cocktails by the pool, to getting out on the water, to laying around reading in the sun...

Have you seen where we went wrong yet?

As literally everyone in the world except us knows, apparently, holidays with a toddler are quite a different beast. As in, they're not really holidays in any true sense of the word.

Our first couple of days on Tokoriki were actually kind of rough (I know I sound like a jerk saying that about our holiday on a beautiful tropical island, but bear with me). Amelie's schedule was disrupted and she was very unwilling to partake in the activities we wanted to do, preferring instead to run as fast as she could towards certain danger and yell at us when we saved her. H1 and I both wanted to enjoy our holiday so got cranky – with Amelie, and with each other.

On night two we reframed it. Amelie was in bed, and we were sitting outside on the porch of our villa having a glass of wine and chatting. We were exhausted, but we decided that as our toddler was, in fact, a toddler, with all attendant toddler proclivities, we just had to go with it. We agreed that once a day one of us would be 'on' and the other one could relax, and then we would swap. The rest of the day would be spent on family activities – swimming, or playing on the beach, or eating (I will come back to the eating in another post. It could probably be two posts all on its own, to be honest).

Fiji pool.jpg

And the rest of the holiday was SO.MUCH.EASIER. I mean, it was still hard – toddler! – but it felt so much easier. Because we had realised the only thing we could change was our thinking.

This feels like a good thing to reflect on in this end-of-winter-not-quite-spring Auckland dreariness! And it's also a nice opportunity to revisit our lovely winter holiday. Did you get away? What about reframing – have you had opportunity or reason to focus on this recently? 

A weekend of moving (!)

 Image via  Jacquelyn Clark

Image via Jacquelyn Clark

Hello! Happy July! How are you?

A LOT has been going on here. May and part of June disappeared into a university hole (another semester done!), I started a new role (so.much.learning, but it's awesome. I like learning), we went to Fiji (winter sun!) AND, after nearly two and a half years, we will be moving into our new apartment next week!

I am just so excited. We went to see it a few weeks ago and it's totally been worth the wait. Official moving day is not until next week, but we should have the keys in time for the weekend so we'll get some small things in and spend some time with Amelie there, getting her used to the place. We've explained the move to her a lot, but until it's done I'm not sure how well she understands the concept. This weekend will be good.

For those of you with more chill time this weekend (I hope that's most of you. I may be super excited but there is no doubt that moving is hard) here are a few fun links for your Saturday (or Friday afternoon! I'm not here to judge).

Anyone else find the subject of exfoliation oddly difficult but also important and fascinating? This is a great guide.

Joanna Coles is pretty rad. It's nice when people acknowledge that relaxing isn't all that for everyone!

My pinning to this board has really ramped up over the last couple of years.

Good advice.

Fast becoming one of our favourite easy weekend lunch staples

Have a wonderful weekend! x

 

 

A weekend of cramming

 Palm trees in the park on a rather summery autumn morning.

Palm trees in the park on a rather summery autumn morning.

It's so definitely time I did another Friday post...I have so many amazing links!

Before that though, the usual Friday excitement for the weekend ahead. What are your plans? If you're in the northern hemisphere I hope they involve enjoying some spring weather...and if you're in the southern I hope they involve enjoying some autumn weather...this is such a nice time of year, when (usually) nobody is facing anything too terrible weather-wise!

I have an assignment due for uni next week so my weekend is all in the title of this post. I'm sure I'll get some fun in somewhere as well though. With a toddler, there's no other option really; she neither cares about nor appreciates my need to study – all she wants is to play! Thankfully, there's H1 to help too (and it helps that Amelie is such a good sleeper as well).

So onto the promised amazing reads!

This adds more weight to my thoughts on buying clothes that can have a life with someone else when you're done with them.

The Cut is amazing and this article gives some insight into why (do you read it? You should!)

Do you take selfies? How do people react? (You'll see from my Instagram I really don't but this article is making me question why not).

Simple rules for healthy eating.

Haha.

Have a super weekend! See you back here soon (after my paper has been handed in I imagine...)