For some reason Charlotte has developed a real fascination with cleaning. She loves pushing the broom around. She loves reaching up and pulling the dish cloth off the bench and then proceeds to wipe down her plate, her table, the kitchen cupboards, the floor, daddy, pretty much anything else she can reach. She even tries her hand at loading and unloading the dishwasher, although we obviously have been trying to discourage this a bit given her perpensity for trying to grab knives out of the cutlery holder by the blades.
Overall we’re not displeased, both being of the opinion that she should do chores when she’s old enough, but we’re a bit mystefied as to where she got this all from since we didn’t teach it to her.


This morning Charlotte was feeling a little under the weather, but not so much that she didn’t want to help with making the bed

The toothening

Charlotte appears to be going through another round of teething and has had the last day and a half off daycare being generally grumpy and drooling everywhere. Today she is a bit happier, but no sign of the offending chompers emerging, and ongoing floods of slobber so I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.
Yesterday she didn’t even want to eat bananas, although she did still want to check how tasty and chewey the gravel outside was, so she can’t be too bad.
Anyway. Between Charlotte and the show day public holiday today I’ve had a pretty easy week. Far cry from the hecticness of the fitlrst half of the year.

Theories of evolution

For as long as there have been archeologists there has been debate about how fire was first created, however watching Charlotte rubbing and banging things together it all seems pretty obvious to me.
Currently she really just starting to get highly mobile and highly curious, and her scientific repertoire of investigative methods currently contains:
1. Lick it or chew on it
2. Shake it vigorously
3. Drop it
4. Rub it againt something else, or try and smack it and something else together.
This last one provides me with amusing parallels to the scientific process in the game evil genius, where your science minions wander around trying to find things that they can combine to make a new thing out of. Although the depicted process is slightly more involved, it still in essence boils down to smack two things together (and shoot them with your giant laser) and see if they make something new.
So I can completely understand how kids could have rubbed two things together and discovered fire, in every aspect apart from their 7 second attention span…

Brisbane academy of gastronomic art

In the last week or so Charlotte has latched onto the dual ideas that (1) food can be something to play with, as well as to eat, and (2) this feeding malarkey doesn’t look too hard, and dammit if dad can feed me that I can sure as hell give it a try as well.

The result is that to varying degrees she is not letting us just feed her directly, but rather insisting on picking up the food with her finger, or (more messily, strangely) trying to use the spoon herself. Now given that she’s transitioning into chunky finger food type meals (perhaps unexpectedly she quite likes broccoli) away from “You’d better not ask what’s in that” mush, the potential for food spreadage is theoretically reduced, but not enough that the overall process isn’t creating a fair bit more work for me at the end of every dinner.

So for the next little while at least we get to roll up her sleeves and ours, and spend the evening making enquiries into the canvas properties of high chair trays, the aesthetic qualities of spaghetti and pre-chewed potato, and the role of passing cats as professional art critics (I don’t know art, says Jack, but I know what tastes good when it’s dropped).

The process of science

One of the games I own and play periodically is called Evil Genius, and in it you control minions, including scientist minions.

Now in the game, the process of scientific progress and innovation involves said scientist minions wandering around your secret lair and looking for things that can be combined together to create new (and hopefully useful) objects.

This appears to be how Charlotte’s brain is working at the moment, and I’m chuffed to watch it in action. She keeps on picking one thing up, wandering around with it for a while, finding something else, looking at it thoughtfully for a moment, and then either directly hitting it with the first object (which is often a wodden block or plastic spoon) or picking it up and trying to smack the two things together. Recent combinations include aforementioned plastic ball + another plastic ball. Plastic ball + TV. Lid from toilet roll holder + bath toy. Toilet roll + bath tap. Xylohone toy + daddy’s leg. And all of them make good noises (the last combination producing a very satisfying “Ouch” for her efforts), which is an added bonus.


Charlotte has now started crawling in ernest.

Initially we had to make sure she didn’t overbalance in the process and scone herself on the head. Now we’re having to put the cat’s food bowl out of reach. Next it’ll be putting things up on shelves. Eventually it’ll be finding wall space to hang her medals from the International association of athletics federations meets.

As an aside, because this entry has been a while coming I have had time to contemplate the title, and I felt that some of the other title options were worth sharing with you:

  • Per ardua ad astra (which is the motto of the Australian Air Force, translating as “Through adversity, to the stars).
  • Do the locomotion


As she continues to rapidly grow up (she’s onto eating solids and really likes beans and pumpkin (not together obviously)) Charlotte has almost mastered sitting up unsupported, and is making valliant efforts to push herself up onto all fours. We are already getting the house locked down in the expectation that she will start crawling any time. At the moment she can’t quite support herself on her arms and legs so she rests on her head as well, creating a sort of ostrich appearance, head in the sand like. She ends up looking like some strange five legged creature (in a pale pink jumpsuit).


Today Charlotte reinforced our impressions that she is rapidly growing up.

She did her first proper roll over, from back to front, and heeding our friend Chantelle’s warning that it’s not science unless it’s reproducable she then proceeded to do it another two times, just to show how clever she is.

Later in the afternoon she also gave us some social laughs, the first ones she had directed specifically at us (you may recall that she previously giggled at our tour guide in Cambodia).

The Big adventures of little Charlotte in NZ

Hello for the first installment of Charlotte’s adventures overseas. To see bigger versions of the pictures, click on them.

It all began very late one night with a trip out to the airport. Our plane left at midnight, and daddy had been working very hard in the days beforehand, so he and I had a little sleep one one of the couches while we waited for the plane to begin boarding. Mummy said that she was going to go to the toilet and look after the bags, but she also also took some photos which look very undignified. I don’t think Daddy has even shaved.


After we got to Auckland we picked up our rental car (which was a luridly bright blue ford XR6) and drove into the city in peak hour traffic. Mummy reminded daddy about the family rule allowing for swearing when driving in big unfamiliar cities, but daddy didn’t have to use it (much).

After we found the hotel, checked in, and had a little nap, we went for a walk around town. We looked in the shops down Queen street, the viaduct basin where all the Americas Cups boats were, and around the area of the sky tower building (which dad kept making derogatory comments that I didn’t understand, something about collective compensation…).


The next day we piled back into the car and drove north to the Bay of Islands. Once there we went for a walk along the waterfront, before heading back to our rented unit (via the bottle shop so dad could pick up some Otago Pinot nior wine). After some wine and cheese and crackers (I didn’t get to have any, despite my very non subtle hints that I’d like to try some too) we went out to a restaurant which had a big aqueruim in it, so that I had to divide my time between watching the fish swim past and watching the food going into mum and dad’s mouths (again, they completely missed my subtle suggestions that I’d like a sample or two).


The next day we got up and caught a ferry across the harbor to a town called Russel, where we had breakfast and looked around. Apparently it had once been the capital of New Zealand, but I don’t know how that could be, because I didn’t see any sheep, and I only saw two pubs. I suppose that there were some nice old buildings, including a really old french catholic missionary house with a printing press for making bibles in Maori, but I soon fell asleep.

In the afternoon we returned across the harbour, got in the car, and went up the road to a place called Kerikeri. There as a big old stone building which had been a store ages ago, but after we saw that I got dragged from art gallery to craft store to yet another art gallery. The only upside was when mum took me into a chocolate factory, and later on when we went into a furniture store and she talked about buying me the play table made from several thousand year old kauri wood.


The next day we went on a big drive right from one side of the island to the other (even if this was only about 200km). I got dressed up in my cutest outfit.


On the way we saw some kind of traffic jam. Daddy got all excited and said that this was brilliant, and just like what he remembered was fun about NZ. Mummy didn’t get it.


Along the way we stopped for a coffee and a scone, and there was a sign that mummy found both amusing and terrifying. I thought that if they were having coffee I couldn’t see why I couldn’t have one, and a puppy sould like fun.

1770 1773

The point of all the driving it turned out was to see a huge kauri tree called Tane Mahuta, who in Maori mythology is apparently the god of the forest. He certainly was big.


On the way home we stopped at a place called Opononi so that I could ride a Dolphin. There had been a friendly dolphin who used to live in the harbour next to the town, and it would let kids play with it in the shallows and occasionally even ride it. Apparently New Zealanders had songs and stories about Opo the friendly doplhin that all the kids used to know. Unfortunately the dolphin eventually got old and died, but there was still a statue of him to ride (which was probably for the best anyway, since the water in the harbour looked pretty cold).


For the afternoon we went to Waitangi, which is the birthplace of New Zealand, and where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. We learned lots of things about the history of early New Zealand. Daddy saw some native wood pigeons, and some Tui birds, and was very happy. I got to ride on some big war canoes called Waka.


And have a nice walk around with mum as we looked through Maori greeting houses, a colonial missionary house, and some nice native bush.


The next day we packed up our stuff and headed north, so a town called Kaitaia, and on to Cape Reinga, which is the northern most point of New Zealand. There was a big light house there, and some very pretty views out to where the Tasman sea and the Pacific ocean met and mixed.


The next day a big storm hit, and so we drove back to Auckland (we had been planning on this anyway, but we we pleased to get back to the big city and out of the worst of the weather). Along the way daddy had to stop and help some people whos campervan had been blown off the side of the road by a strong gust of wind.

The other thing that was waiting for me in Auckland was my Granny and Grandad, who were very pleased to see me because I’d grown lots since they’d seen me two months earlier.


We went to the Auckland Museum and I saw how big a Moa was and all sorts of other interesting stuff. After that we want and saw Daddy’s god mother for afternoon tea, and I got told how much I’d grown and how beautiful I was.

Next day we went shopping around the city and to the art gallery. In the evening we went out to dad’s friends Tim and Leanne’s house, where we had dinner, and we met their new daughter Annabel, who is a bit younger than me and who was sleeping most of the night (which was good, because it meant I could use her rocker which played music and flashed light, which was very entertaining).

On our final day we went out to Kelly Tarlton’s underwater world. I got to drive a (pretend) submarine, go on a snow car ride to see penguins, saw sting rays being fed (they’re very pushy and messy eaters, but quite playful too), and went through the underwater tunnels to see lots and lots of different fish.


That night we all went out to dinner, before going to bed early so we could get up and go on the plane again in the morning.