Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Millie seemed tired at mid-morning and Grandma asked: 'Are you tired Millie? What time did you get up?'

'Ten past o'clock!' she responded!

Bella's still not crawling... but it won't be far off!

We have a beautiful little routine/litany when Millie comes up the back steps: 'I'm here Grandma/ Grandpa!' We respond 'Who is it?' 'It's Millie!' (later she'll add 'Stupid!')

One of the beautiful habits is Millie's dancing and squealing when she sees us. Occasionally she'll say 'I'm so excited!'

Yesterday she dropped the last plate (a soup bowl) of a set we bought in the 1970s, and which has been to Canada and back. Jan picked her up quickly so she wouldn't tread on the pieces (she wasn't wearing shoes) - which gave her a double fright, and she cried very loudly (though briefly when he mum comforted her). So today I went to a couple of Two Dollar Shops to buy some nice dishwasher-proof plastic bowls and plates... And also some Santa Claus stickers she can peel off and play with.

Yesterday she was dancing along with the Wiggles and some little girls on the DVD. She suddenly noticed the little girls were wearing skirts. She had jeans. 'Where's my skirt?' she asked...

Millie loves grapes. They're down to $5-something a kilo so I bought some for her yesterday...


Rowland Croucher

Friday, November 25, 2005


Every parent compares the physical/linguistic etc. development of their baby with others' - or the 'average!' A parent's second-worst nightmare (after serious illness) is about her child not being able to do stuff well, particularly in our Western competitive cultures - but also in traditional societies where healthy children will be needed to help the family survive.

We've been wondering about Bella. She has a beautiful, easy, happy temperament, but she's 'behind' Millie's physical and verbal development at this stage. She rarely makes 'DAD DAD DAD' sounds, and has only in the last week got up on her hands and knees.

But the local infant welfare sister says she's OK, so we all have been reassured!

Millie, meantime, is a bright little person who needs a lot of stimulation - playing, reading, running, jumping (onto and over our lounge chair). She loves outdoors, so Jan and I have to think of toys she can play with on the upstairs verandah. A sand-pit's no good (the sand goes through the flooring and clogs up the roof/drainage), nor are small toys she can push through the railings... Quite a challenge! Last night we bought her a ride-in little car, and we'll soon probably reassemble the 'cubby-house' for her.

Phew! We get exhausted keeping up with energy of two little people. Jan is very tired and looking forward to holidays and a rest. So is John, their dad, who has to mind the kids every weekend morning until Amanda wakes up.

But we have no regrets: they're a joy to live with!



Friday, November 18, 2005


Millie loves playing with Rummycub numbers. She sorts them into colours, and other sequences, and puts them into little holders which come with that game. But the little holders have two ‘legs’ which we put in to keep them half-vertical, and when one of these came out and the little set-up collapsed, Millie got so angry that she swept everything off the table onto the floor all over the room!

Her grandma scolded her, and told her she would have to pick them all up.

A little later Millie asked ‘Are you sad grandma?’ Jan said, ‘Yes, and I'm also cross!’ Millie: ‘Are you bery cross grandma?’ ‘Yes I am very cross!’ Grandma had to turn away so that Millie would not see her smiling…

In a little while Millie picked them up, all by herself – quite a job for a little two-something year old!

This morning we were both cross again with Millie, who poked her finger into Bella’s face while grandma was reading them a story. It’s hard to share with your little sister-intruder… And later she threw a tantrum when her ‘high-rise’ pile of lego-blocks fell over!

Such is life!

But then, she and Lockie (our border-collie) and I went for a walk to the bush-trail nearby. She played 'peekaboo' behind the trees, and was quite intrigued by a couple of large fallen trees. 'Perhaps they're asleep Millie?' 'Shhhh!' she responded.


Rowland Croucher

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Millie was in front of her mum, and talking (which she does a lot of the time, and does very well). She reached up with both hands, grasped her mother's chin, looked into her face and asked 'Are you listening?' (Now where did she learn that?)

Bella was introduced to her other grandparents (the Southwells) today as the most relaxed baby in all our clan; Millie is the most dynamic personality of any of our two-year-olds!

Bella extends her arms sideways and 'flaps' them when she's excited - together with kicking her legs. This happens especially when she wakes up and sees one of us, or is being fed!

Millie loves hide'nseek: she hides her face, and counts to ten, while the other person runs and hides. Then she excitedly comes looking. Talking about excitement, yesterday I said to her parents (in Millie's hearing) 'I'll take the dog for a run around the block eh?' Millie immediately ran for her shoes and brought them to me and said 'Millie's excited!' I had no idea she knew the expression 'around the block' and of course she expected to come too - like she's done other times!

Each time she comes up the stairs we call out 'Who is it?' 'It's Millie!' she cries out excitedly. She now regularly asks 'Upstairs?' to her mum and dad (we're chuffed that she loves coming to visit us!)

I'm about to start another Blog on some of my reminiscences. Watch for it! (But for a reason which may or may not surface, I'm not putting my name on it).


Rowland Croucher

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Millie went to a picnic on Melbourne Cup Day last week, and was scratched from gravel, and bitten by some bugs, and needed two bandaids to soothe her pain (and feelings). Next morning Jan was changing her nappy/diaper when she said 'I'm not happy Grandma!' Aren't little people beautifully honest?

For those of you who are Oz-ignorant, the Melbourne Cup is an annual horse-race which stops the whole nation: kind of equivalent to the English Darby/Epsom or whatever it is (I'm not knowledgeable about these things). When a horse-race appears on the news, Millie has to jump off our lap or wherever she is and 'ride' on her 'big bear' (which I bought for her at a Salvation Army Thrift Shop).

Millie's happy now, particularly with an extended verandah to play on.

But Bella isn't smiling so much: she has a cough and runny nose, and maybe some sinus (it's hay fever time in Melbourne). Bella, we're learning, hates a lot of noise, and gets cranky in crowds. Millie likes to go to sleep with music, and Bella doesn't: now there's a challenge for parents whose kids sleep in the same room! But they both love soft music when they're awake...

Millie can now count to 15, she can do a 15-piece jigsaw by herself, and stayed with a little friend and her mum alone the other early evening while her mum played netball. First time - and she didn't fret. (However, the next day when her mum was leaving her to go downstairs she put on a tantrum, and wanted to be with her... ).

Millie while playing near us will suddenly say 'Hello Grandma' or 'Hello Grandpa'. Just to be happy/nice! Isn't that cute?

I woke yesterday with a bad dream. I was in Leeds, England, and some homeless men abducted Millie. As I woke I was figuring out how I could quickly do a metamorphosis to become a homeless person to find her. I didn't go back to sleep after that!



P.S. Here's the wedding talk I gave at Bella's and Millie's mum's and dad's wedding 10 and a half years ago. I'm adapting it for a wedding I'm about to perform today.