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Nicola (Received Oct. 2001)

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Dear all,

Nicola is rapidly approaching her first birthday, and I'm rapidly approaching my return to work (at the end of October). I've negotiated to go back to work two days a week, and we're in the process of finalising child care. We're going to try family day care, which means a woman will look after Nicola (along with 3 other children) in her home. We thought that might be more personal than a child care centre.

Nicola is now crawling, so we've got a gate on the stairs, and we're discovering how much Nicola can get into. So far we haven't had any major disasters; she has pulled the fireplace tools and the air return grill in the kitchen (heavy) down on herself, and has played with a few power cords, which we are in the process of removing from her reach. She also managed somehow to get a video out of the VCR that (as far as I'm concerned) was stuck in there for a couple of weeks, waiting for Peter to take the machine apart to get it out. Thanks, kid! So we've also ordered a new (higher) TV stand, which will also house the stereo, VCR, CDs, etc. I'm just waiting for her to figure out how to open the kitchen cupboards and drawers, then we'll have to rearrange a few things and maybe get some childproof latches.

We had a torrid couple of weeks in September, with Nicola not sleeping at night and scratching herself till she bled quite often. We're not sure whether the warmer weather triggered it off, or teething (she now has 8 teeth), or something she ate, or something else, but we were just about at the end of our rope last week. She's now had 3 "normal" nights (ie waking twice or three times, but resettling relatively quickly), so I hope we're over the worst of it. We have an appointment with a paediatrician who specialises in eczema at the end of October, so we'll see what he has to say.

Other than that, we've all been pretty healthy after Peter got over his shocking flu. Nicola now weighs 8.5 kg and is 75cm tall, and the health centre sister is very pleased with her progress. I've reduced Nicola down to 3 breastfeeds a day (in anticipation of going back to work), and she's eating solids pretty well now. Her favourite foods include yoghurt (which she will eat till the cows come home!), porridge for breakfast, and lentils -- go figure!

Well, that's the news of the moment. My love and greetings to all of you; sorry I can't get around to individual letters to you more often. Attached are a couple of the latest photos of our darling for you to enjoy. (Sorry, Donna -- still none of me; unfortunately I'm usually on the other side of the camera!)

Helen.

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