And I am back

So this writing a monthly letter to my kids has failed miserably.. but now that I am back at work and thus procrastinating it might just pick up again!

It has been a year full of changes, the major ones being the addition of Kheo, our whiter than white, I am really a Dutchie, son and we moved house.

Lani is almost three as she will tell everyone that she meets, she also wants a dinosaur that closes his eyes when he sleeps and opens them when awake and Roars. Kheo is almost 8 months and besides sleeping a very easy, laid back, smiles for everyone bubba.

Together they rock my world  While those first few weeks were harder than anything I have ever done and made feel so guilty after 3-4 months things changed and now seeing them together, playing and laughing it is amazing and I am so so glad that they have each other.  Lani always wants Kheo there and Kheo is one grumpy little man when Lani is having her nap.

Yann and I are doing really well, I was so nervous returning back to work, not sure how we would cope with the house and picking up kids and getting them fed… We manage to leave the house on time and have dinner ready on time too without the house being a total pig sty and even the laundry gets done.   It helps that January is very quiet, plus I am apparently job sharing (this is whole other story) and bosses are away so leaving early or getting in late is not a huge deal.

Looking forward to more sleep, some night out (we have a babysitter!!) and lots and lots of time as a family of four.

2 years and 3 weeks

My darling Lani, 

You turned 2 a few weeks ago!!  We had a little party with a few of your friends. Nothing major but really enjoyable.  The main reason it was small was because neither your dad nor I are very good at organising things. However your dad was pretty amazing at 1) making a cake (made out of fruit only) and 2) getting you presents.  Please note that he initially only wanted to get you a Petanque set but I asked him to get you a SCOOTER!!  

You are talking and singing and dancing ALL.THE.TIME and you have recently started going to school 5 days a week. It is near unaffordable for us but once you get a job we will get you to pay us back every cent.  The main thing is you love it there. You love the carers, the kids and all the fun things they do with you.  

You have started potty training yourself, you like to pee on the toilet and will take yourself there when you feel the need, not all the time but at least in the evening it is pretty consistent. And last saturday you managed to dress yourself!! T_shirt and pants and socks, and while somethings were on backwards/inside out YOU DID DO  IT!!  This is  something you exclaim whenever you do something: I DID DO IT Daddy/ Mummy.  

You are still very much in a mummy phase but with the new baby coming I think that will change. For now I cherish our morning cuddles and afternoons spend together.  In the morning after a good sleep, you will come running into our room yelling that you have finished sleeping and jump into bed with me.  We will then cuddle/ play/ sing / chat until it is time for breakfast.   Unfortunately you also like to jump in the bed in the middle of the night, something that I have had to stop in order for us both to get some sleep. You still try on occasion, but when I walk you back to your room and tell you it is still night, you will go back to sleep. 

The afternoons are spent either chasing you around, because you want to go running. Carrying your scooter cause after about 3 min you have had enough, reading a book or playing with water.  

Dinner and breakfast for that matter are something you dont care about anymore.. you love eating food at daycare and will eat fruit by the kilo, but anything besides pasta/ baked beans / or Fish is wasted on you.   If someone else has cooked it you are OK to eat it.. so maybe it is my cooking as your dad will so helpfully tell me.  

It is exciting to see you develop into your own little person.  I love that you love to dance and sing and I hope you will continue to express yourself in these ways.  Please dont stop enjoying going to school. It can be the most magical place in the world, but if you start to hate, tell us so we can hopefully make it better. 

I love you Lani, now and always



Almost 2

Dear Lani,


You are almost 2 and it has been a very long time since I posted anything. We have been on quite the adventure and I meant to write about it ages ago. 

At the end of November, daddy went back to France to prepare for his thesis defence. You and I stayed in Sydney and had the best time.  I was a little nervous about being a single parent, but as it turned out it was (with your help and that of friends) a total breeze.  We had a few rough nights, and you wanted me to stay with you while you fell a sleep but that was it!  We went out to dinner together, we visited friends and we managed to not let the house fall in total disarray.  It was such a joy spending all that time with you.  Especially since your entertainment value has quadrupled now that you can talk and sing and dance!! 

After our two weeks together we had to go on the plane to Amsterdam. I was a little nervous about how it all would go since it would just be you and I but once again you were extremely well behaved and a real pleasure to travel with.  We ate lots of snacks, played games, watched the tv and the ipad and you slept. At Abu Dhabi airport you ran around and then when we got onto our next flight there were more games, tv and sleep.  We landed in Amsterdam early morning and took our time getting through customs cause there were so many fun things to climb on.  This was a good thing, since Oma was late in picking us up. 

I am so proud of how you behaved and I truly enjoyed every second of our flight and the 2 weeks before that!!  

Our time in Holland and France was not so good, this had nothing to do with you but everything with the stupid jet lag, your dad and I not being able to communicate or coordinate anything and us not having a place of our own to stay.  I felt awful seeing you distressed and unhappy and am sorry that we put you through it. I have promised you and myself that we will never do it this way again!  In future (and that wont be for a long time) we will rent a house and go in summer, that way everyone can have a bit of a holiday. 

We got back on the first of January and things have returned to normal. You are cheerful, full of life and enjoying spending time at school and with Angus.  I am so happy that you have formed such a close bond, not only with Angus, but with his parents and little sister. Seeing you interact with them warms my heart every single time.  

In a few weeks you will turn two (terrible twos??) who knows.. you have definitely been pushing boundaries and surprising both your dad and I with your meltdowns.. 

* Water in Pink cup.. NO NO NO I want the purple one (why did we teach you colours)

* Dont lie down like that mummy, like this.. NO NO NO

* I want blanket NO NO NO sleeping bag 

* I want apple with skin, NO NO NO without skin

And the list goes on and on and on even giving you choices can set you off.. we are getting used to it though and very soon even I will be immune to your meltdowns. 

I am looking forward to the next few months with some new and very exciting adventures ahead! 

All my Love always,




Dear Lani,


It has been about 4 months since I last wrote to you and many things have changed.  You are speaking in full sentences, one of the first being : “I want to be naked, daddy.” when we tried to get you to put your nappy on after your bath. This has led to a new tradition, you now go to your room naked and stay that way until we put you to bed (after 3 books and 2 min of puzzles).  So far we have only had one tiny accident.  

Your cot is now open on one side, we had to get a new one and decided that it was time to put you in a big girl bed. You roll out every now and then, but it is low to the ground and we put pillows on the floor.  

You sing, you love to sing and you have mastered Frere Jacques,  Three little Monkeys, Miss Polly, The wheels on the bus and I am pretty sure that there are a few more.   And dancing, besides dancing to your nursery rhymes, mimicking all the actions  you love dad’s music, so you and he often spend the afternoon dancing together.  

Angus is still your best friend and you two have the best time playing together.  Your favourite game is the “bed game” where you two pretend to sleep for 10 sec and then you yell WAKE UP and you get up for 10 seconds and then back off to sleep.  Or like the monkey song, you just jump in the bed.  At his house you suddenly love getting your nappy changed and going in the bath. 

You are a little shy when you meet strangers and repeat this sentence often when you meet new people.  I am not quite sure you really know what it means.  

It is going to be an interesting few weeks, since Dad will be going to France and you and I will be staying in Sydney and not seeing dad until the 16th of December.  It will be the first time since you were born that we have spent more than 1 night away from each other.  I hope you wont be too sad. 

You remain the happiest little chicken and every day you amaze me! 

All my Love,



18 Months

Dear Lani

You have just turned 18 months old, time is flying!  Your vocabulary is growing by the minute! You repeat everything we say, although often not quite realizing what it means.  Some letter are hard for you to pronounce, like the K and the S.  My favourite mispronunciation is EMPTY, you turn it into EMPIT.  Other than the growing amount of words you now often initiate games.  Daddy introduced you to the “tent” (we sit under the blanket in our bed) and you love playing this. You make us do “dodo”, take a little nap or you want to jump and then fall.

Running fast is another thing that you like and I often have to race you. I tend to win since you fall over every 3 minutes, but it never stops you.  You see when your friends are sad or upset and try to fix it.  Sharing sometimes comes very easy, whereas other times it makes you very upset.  The good thing is, you now use your words and say: ” Lani’s turn” when you feel like you have waited long enough.

This month was also one of accidents, you got a pretty bad burn on your finger when you stuck it into the polenta that daddy had made and just came out of the oven.   It turned into a very ugly blister, but like most things did not bother you too much, once you got over the initial shock.  Then there was the visit to the doctor, this was a major disaster again affecting me more than you but it was just generally unpleasant, with the doctor having to give you 2 injections and not really knowing what he was doing. I promise that we will never go to see him again.

School is still good and something you enjoy.  There is one little boy, Asher, that you adore more than anyone in the world.  He is  3 or 4 and loves you just as much!  When we tell you that you need to get ready for school, the first thing that you say is Asher.  It definitely helps to get you ready, otherwise we would spend the morning in the tent or reading books.  Your favourite books at the moment are: Boucle D’or (that I roughly translate into english) and Mr McGee and the flea.

Sleep is once again gone a bit haywire, there is nap refusal (especially with me) and you now require me to sit in the room with you when you are going to sleep at night.. I dont really mind the latter since I get a bit of rest too but I do think you will need to go to sleep on your own sooner rather than later!

You are the most stubborn, bright and beautiful little girl and every single day I thank my lucky stars that I get to spend time with you.

All my love always,


16 and 17 Months

Dear Lani,

Only a few days late this time.   This month has been great, well except for the 4 AM wake-ups.. really what the hell is that about.

We went on our first family holiday, Hamilton Island and it was absolutely fantastic. We left on a Tuesday morning and took a little plane. You were tired after running around the airport like a crazy person in your new ladybug flip flops and fell a sleep almost immediately. The flight was only about 2 hrs so when you woke you were pretty easily entertained for the duration of the flight.  We stayed in an apartment, twice the size of our house and had a golf-buggy to ride around in, which you loved!  We spent the entire time at the beach or at the pool and after your initial fear of getting into the water you loved it.  Playing in the sand was another favourite, as was looking at the cockatoos (tootoos as you called them), spotting the kangaroos with dad and drawing on the furniture.

Your vocabulary grows day by day although we still sometimes have trouble figuring out exactly what you say!  You have trouble with the K sound at the start of words, so come becomes mum or thom. You have learned to say maman, finally!!. You love to see daddy and constantly want to know where he is but get angry when he tries to give you a kiss. You love to wash your hands and make bubbles when using soap. Brushing your teeth is another favourite, although there is not much brushing, but more lots of toothpaste eating.

Oma came to visit for a few days  She cooked you food and took you to the park. And we went into the city to see her on her last day.   It was a short visit, but we all enjoyed having here over.

You are extremely bossy and get very angry when things dont go your way, it is both cute and frustrating at the same time.   Bath time has been interesting, you have gone from hating it to loving it and back to hating it again. I personally love the time when I am drying you. You give me the biggest hug and bury your head in my neck and ask me  to sing Rock- a -bye- baby by saying  baby in my ear.  We often spend 10 minutes just cuddling and singing and it is one of my most favourite moments of the day.

We stopped breastfeeding!!! A major milestone and 0ne you were quite happy with.. this means that now you go to bed with a book and a song and wake up around 6.30 And if you do wake up in the night all you want is a litttle cuddle that I am more than happy to give you!   To me these past months have been the most amazing (I know I keep saying that).    I can not get over how cool it is that you can express what you want, make jokes and act a little crazy to get us to laugh!

Your dad and I are so amazed by you Lani.  We are excited to see what surprises are around the corner.

All my love always,





14 and 15 Months

Yep once again I missed a monthversary, even worse, the last time your dad or I took a picture of you is ages ago.. Who would a thought the novelty of having a child would wear off so quickly.. Grand parents are not happy since they love seeing pictures of you.  The thing is Lani, you are so much fun to hang out with that I’d rather spend the time interacting with you than taking pictures.

Miss Lani, you have grown up so much over the past weeks!! You  understand heaps, when we ask you to do stuff you just do it.  And to top it all off, you are sleeping till 6.30 AM!!!! There are words: Bubbles, Bye bye, truck, daddy, duck and dog and maybe some more but your pronunciation is not always very clear.  It is just lovely to hear you chat away.  You like taking my hand and showing me things. You will grab a book and crawl into my lap so we can read it together.  You like to go on walks in the morning to look at the trains and the diggers outside of our house.

You have discovered the joys of the ipad and some silly app we downloaded called Talking Tom and his girlfriend Angela. We are trying to limit your access but sometimes it is easier to just give in, plus it is amazing to see how quickly you figured out how to unlock the ipad and find the app you want. You ask for a song by sticking your hands in the air, like twinkle twinkle little star. You do yoga poses and clap your hands when you finish.  We found you a little truck that you can sit on and push and you love it.

I am amazed at your ability to communicate by using signs and pointing at things.  You are extremely stubborn and strong willed, which is both admirable and frustrating at the same time.  You know exactly what you want and have already started to cry when we dont give in (see ipad story above).

I dropped you off to school for the first time in months, something your dad normally does. And it was so great to see you so excited. As  soon as the front door opened you ran inside to your room and to the back to play with toys. It is nice to know that you fit right in and are happy to be there.

You have become friends with our neighbour Angus, and you and he actually get along pretty well. There is still some pushing and sharing can be a problem, but in general you are very happy to see him.

As for milestones, your walk has turned into a run and I am hoping that pretty soon there will be an explosion of words, MUM being the next!

All my love always,


13 Months and a bit

Dear Lani,

Once again a bit late, but with good reason. I t was grant writing time and I am a little desperate to keep this job so was busy working very hard.. Now everything has been submitted and we can have a little breather.  Things have been pretty awesome you are WALKING and loving it.. It keeps your hands free for carrying things around. 

School is still one of your favourite places to be and I hope it stays that way for a long time.  You are now officially a water chicken, after your near drowning session in France you can not get enough of water.  We have been to the pool, the beach and on the weekend you decided that sitting in a bucket of water (meant for dogs) was the way to go.  

We have made some new friends in the neighbourhood since some of our old friends have moved away.  You are the new owner of a pink bike that we found on the street and even if it is way to big for you, you love riding it. 

There is a lot of talking happening, although your dad and I have yet to figure out what it is that you say or even what language your are speaking. So far the one thing that you say consistently is bye bye and you even use it in the right context (when you close the door, or put something away). 

It is has always been fun hanging out with you, but these days are even more awesome, and while you can be demanding and a princess you are also very loving, always on the go and funny.  (the funny bit is obviously something you inherited from me). 

All my love always,






1 year

It does not feel as great as I thought it would be, probably because we had a crappy night after so many good ones. Every time I get fooled into thinking that we cracked it and Lani will sleep through the night from now on and then SMACK-DOWN from 1.30 AM till 3 AM we are taking turns in trying to settle her.

I do think that our hardest year is yet to come, with Y having to finish his PhD and dealing with family issues.  We have no idea where we will be in 8 months time, my contract is ending and Y will have to look for a post-doc position.

It is only today that I have really started to become worried, moving house/country and job is a lot less easy with a toddler around.  Although she is probably the easiest, closely followed by Y and then after a very long pause there is me.

Going back to Europe for our trip made me realise how much I dont like it. It also made me realise how much Y does and how happy he was to be back.  He has never ever said anything indicating he wants to go back or that he does not like being in Australia but I dont think I have seen him being so relaxed and so himself as he was when he was with the people from the lab.   It has definitely given me something to think about and depending on the job situation, it is probably time for me to just suck it up and embrace Europe if we have to.  I know that the grandparents will be ecstatic.

For now though I need to try and get some data together and finish the work that I started so I can get some new publications.. the gap on my CV is getting bigger and bigger..  I always have every intention to start with my review, but never get much further than that.  Hopefully the doom of being jobless and without a good CV to help me find a new job will give me the motivation I need.






11 almost 12 months

Hi Ms Lani,

Yep about a month late.. oops but we were overseas for most of your 11 month.. Our very first overseas adventure and not one I would like to repeat. It was not bad but also not so good.

You were great on the plane, you made new friends, barely cried and managed to sleep not in the bassinet, it was to small but on my lap.

We spent our first week in Joue le Tours with your French Grandparents and it was pretty tough. You were clearly jet-lagged, even resulting in a few big vomits.  And sleeping at night was even harder.  You did become best friends with your auntie’s cat Inca.   The whole family spoilt you like crazy with toys and clothes.  You finally saw your first Wallaby, in the botanical gardens in Tours, crazy huh??

We left to see your Oma en Opa in Holland on Boxing Day, by then you were pretty much recovered from your jet lag but you still ended up spending every night in our bed.  Oma had organised a little party so people could meet you.  While you were not too happy with all the people trying to touch you. You really loved seeing all the other kids and playing with them.  We took you to Amsterdam and to the delta works and to the zoo.  Most days though were spent on the farm, which because of the shitty weather was pretty boring, but you did enjoy looking at the Fish and the cats and the chickens.

Our last week we were back in Tours, you were much better. Although still never really yourself.  I was dying to come back home and so so tired. Mainly because you still did not sleep through the night and were spending most nights attached to me.  Dad was having a good time which which was lovely to see.   We went to the lab where you got to meet lots of people and got to spend time with Salaar a very entertaining and funny 3 yr old! And then it was time to go, just before the snow arrived.

The trip home was very tiring, mainly because we had a very long stop-over in Singapore and we went from flying business class to having to go back to cattle class. Again  though you were very well behaved although on the second leg there was a bit of screaming.

Once home, we quickly managed to settle into our usual routine. You sleep in your own bed and we have stopped all the night feeds!

You have 5 teeth, are still not walking but are very good cruising and walking while holding our hands. You have an extreme interest in animals whether they are real or in books.  You point to the things that you want, and make it very clear when you are not happy.  And last weekend we saw your love for rain since despite the torrential rain all you wanted was to be outside and dive into the massive puddles, and so we did!

My darling in these past 2 months you have changed from being a baby into a little girl and it is the most wonderful transformation.  I can not express how much I enjoy seeing you develop into your own (very bossy) person.

All my love always,