Thursday, 28 May 2015

Letter to baby at 9 months

So here you are, 9 months old. As long on the outside as on the inside.

This week you finally got that right leg arranged in the right place and you are crawling.
You are trying to put your hands up to be lifted. 

You have a cold and are teething as usual so have been upset. I'm taking you into bed with me a lot now.

Today you crawled over to the back door and just stayed there for about 20 minutes jabbering out the door to your sister who was swinging as usual in the garden. So sweet and funny. 

You are a determined little soul, not taking any prisoners for sure, preferring to e.g. feed yourself.  And you do eat a lot, which is a joy to see.

Very clear in what you want. What you don't want. And how to express that. 

It is emotional to think of your 9 months inside, well matched by the 9 months here with us. Your spirit is so strong, fierce, soft. Glowing. Burning, even.   I think of your is so meaningful to me. It is so evocative I couldn't resist it though softer, prettier, even some shall we say cosmopolitan names were appealing to me.

Your sibling who I miscarried last before you was to be called Oriane. Golden Dawn, as she was to be for us. 

Her light shines in different ways now. I'm not religious or even spiritual. But energy doesn't die. 

Not one of us can be anything for anyone else. 

We belong to the winds, to the wilds of fortune. This is what your name evokes for me. Nature. Beautiful, powerful and merciless.

And most of all. Free.

Mam Xx

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Letter to baby at 8 months

Now you're 8 months, and looking very big all of a sudden.

It is brilliant to have a fat have lots of lovely rolls. I must take some good photos before they are gone.  You are just so gorgeous and squidgy.  And such a sunny personality.

You love to eat - picking up peas, devouring oranges, loving everything.

You are chatting away to us.  The other night as I said "night night" to the sun as I closed the blinds (a nightly ritual) you grinned as always and said something very like night night...the same tone and inflection.  You also use the same tone and inflection as me to say something like "Hiya". It's fascinating.

Other things you do are to pick up and bang down a little ball.  If you bang it it lights up and you saw me do this so you are trying to do the same.  You succeeded once and were delighted.  Tonight you banged Daddy's phone in the same way as you have seen that light up.  It's amazing what we see when we observe.

You are trying to crawl still, and are making lots of efforts with rolling.  You go up on one knee but the other one stays over to the side often.

You have moved from the hammock to a cot by my bed and are getting used to it.  Neither you nor your sister were ones for co-sleeping as babies, although when semi-conscious in the middle of the night you will sometimes fall asleep next to me.  Not very cuddly babies - no sitting down cuddling or taking lovely daytime naps together.  Not too fond of slings either, although you will sleep in one for a limited period. Not a fan of it generally when awake though.  You love to be picked up, but with a view to having a good ole nose around - strictly not for cuddling.  I have to laugh at your fierce independent spirit - with you, not at you of course!

We had a trip to Cork so everyone could see you.  You were very unsettled for the first few days when there, seeming to have some stranger anxiety, which did ease off.  I think we had done too much travelling beforehand with two other trips, and you were teething too.

I keep getting glimpses of what you will look like when you are grown up. You have a very strong look - so much of it I can see comes from various patrts of the family, but you are very much yourself. It's funny I can imagine what you will look like as an adult but not as a toddler or as a child.

We are trying to move house at the moment and we are far too busy.  I want to enjoy this very special time before it is gone.  

Love Mam x

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Letter to baby at 7 months

 Baby girl....7 months already.  Blink, and you'll be a toddler.

- So much bigger now - moving up the scales from the 25th to 50th centile
- Eating solids
- Two teeth on the bottom, just like your sister
- New sounds - Mammammammam really clearly Easter Saturday, followed by Lalalalala and Daddaddaddad. So chatty.
- Still up for milk every few hours, and fed on demand.
- No routine, though I think I could find a napping one...only for the days you nap though as sometimes you don't!

Spring is here, and you have been out looking at flowers, sat on the grass, been to the playground, the reclamation yard, swung in swings, had a trip to London, to Nanny Linda....and soon will take your first aeroplane ride to Ireland.

Your big sister is on schools holidays and you are very happy to have her here.  You love company, and are always happiest when we are out and about.  It's ironic as I went out and about lots more with your big sister when she was a baby and she didn't enjoy it as much. But maybe there is a connection to be made there - she was out too much, and you are out too little.

People love babies, but it does seem that you cause a sensation wherever you go - people think you are just so cute, and they are right. We had a fright the other night - you ate a lot of solid food when we were in London for the weekend and vomited a lot after you went to bed. If we hadn't heard you on the monitor it doesn't bear thinking what might have happened. We had delayed slightly turning it on too as the holiday flat was so small and we didn't think we needed it.

I am so in love with you - thinking of you or looking at photos of you when you are asleep.  I love to squash my cheeks against yours, kiss the top of your head (or any part of you really) or gently rub our noses together.  Blowing rasperries on you always gets a laugh, and you love it if I pretend to eat your feet from under the high chair. Sometimes you won't let me put you down at all, and I have ordered a ringsling all the way from America just for those short carries around the house. I can see that I am the most special person for you - when the chips are down it is me you look to, despite a very strong bond with Dad. It is a very special love between a mother and a baby.  It changes later I've found to something just as special but less intense.

The world is waking up now, and you are keen to crawl, sitting up very well, and rolling with much more force and gusto.   I am out of hibernation and I think of all the things I must do for you - hold you on the little rocking horse, bring to the beach, on countryside walks...oh the time is flying!

Love Mam x

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Baby in her party gear

The attractive parents….not
Vegan turkish delight and strawberry cake, nice.
 She is now 5. Time passed so quickly and so slowly. I am a much different person to 5 years ago.

But is she?  Developmentally, yes of course...yet she still retains so much of her essence. Curious, vulnerable, exuberant, loud, open, funny, fun-loving, watchful, observant, thinking, particular, loving, impatient, questioning, creative. These labels don't really capture her. Can you ever capture a person in words? Perhaps just your own fleeting interpretation of them, if you are good enough to accurately express this, that's all.  She is so much more than I have the language for.  And there is so much of her that is unknown, unknowable.  As it should be.

It took her to be born for me to truly understand the words "force of nature". For she is one, a blast of energy which has shot through our lives, changing it and the world forever.

It is a joy to watch her unfurl.  To find her people, to gain more confidence to go out into the world.

There are times when she drives us crazy, of course.  Our adult, traditionally brought-up selves can sometimes hardly bear the sheer untramelled humanness of this small child. We put negative labels on her (usually silently thankfully) - rude, selfish. We attach intentions to her- interrupting, ignoring, not listening, dawdling.  I catch myself thinking she is ungrateful at times, Yet she has not asked to be given things. And is actually surprisingly grateful mostly. This is for another post…I have many thoughts on all that modern kids are given.

All the while she is just being herself.  Perfectly imperfect. Like us all if we could just accept.

Enough of the musings now.  She is a most wonderful daughter and being and we celebrated her birthday in style.

Pink coconut cake (pink ALLLLLLL the way through, baby!) for bringing into school, balloons, a toy owl to keep her other toy owl company, a pink bike basket (the last two requested), a book about a girl engineer (Mam chosen of course), lego, more books and much more from family and friends.  Then a family trip to a hydrotherapy pool. Disco lights! Water jets! Bubbles! Currents!

Pizza and ice-cream on the seafront? Of course!

Then at the weekend a wonderful party in a local museum with lots of fairy and Medusa based activities, to tie in with current interests, with all the school friends, and some from before.  It would have been brilliant to invite everyone, but not possible, or desireable I guess. It was both a relief and a joy to see her run free and spend the entire party playing with her friends and to be so excited to celebrate with her people. No clinging to us at all.  Not that I mind helping her feel safe.

And there we are. Just like that. And not just like that.



Thursday, 26 February 2015

Perfect, you're the enemy of good.

She bunked off school. We joined a street protest!! 

What a brilliant day! Kids theatre (we danced on the stage!), beans on toast in the brilliantly named greasy spoon "breakfast at tiffany's", cake and culture and my kind of coffee set (and silly word hieroglyphics) at the museum, 

Then a protest against cuts to children's services to top it all off, chatting to people I felt an immediate connection with.

               "I'm free" she said, "the government shouldn't get to make the rules".

Be still my heart.

I'm reminded of why we chose to stay in Brighton. It may not be perfect. But it's bloody good.

And perfect is the enemy of good.


PS if anyone reads this and has an opinion on fonts can you help me out?  Im just not sure what to post in!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Around here: Late Winter

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

― Ursula K. Le GuinThe Left Hand of Darkness


- is rolling around and getting places (not far yet)

-trying to sit up
-making more sounds and continuing with fabulously loud squeals
-still smiles all the time 
-is getting much stronger
-naps much better generally
-can often be persuaded to go to sleep from 7ish to 9:30ish to midnightish to 6ish to 8ish…this is good!
-still refluxy but food elimination has helped (chocolate, vinegar, caffeine, crisps, possibly dairy…yep all my faves)
-very sociable
-doesn't much like being "down"
- loves blowing bubbles and raspberries
-chews everything
-very curious


- has been ill all of half-term (cough), very weak and tired

-delighted with a visit from grandparents
-excited about her birthday party
-loves fairies still
-seems a lot happier, and very caring and loving towards all of us
 -enjoying more time and attention from me now I am not in the middle of pregnancy/post-partum zombie-hood, and thriving on it
-enjoyed the rest at half-term but happy to be back to school
-wants to have people around to play, which is a bit difficult with school being several miles away
-very interested in reading/writing/numbers
-current watching obsession is Number Jacks
-is very confident and assertive at home with us, but finds it hard to speak up and share her ideas at school and with people outside the family
-sometimes deals with conflict by running away to process things


I'm not sure how open and frank to be in this blog. It is odd isn't it to bare yourself on the internet.  I think however if I am going to keep this blog going, and to have it not "just" be a list of things about my children, then I need to use it to write to understand myself better. 

As many writers find though, you don't know what you think until you start to write.

As usual, different and conflicting things are swirling in my head.  
I am not sure about lots of things.
 Perhaps here I can pin them down. Or not.

I am worried about B not feeling assertive at school and want to help.  But I am not so good with people myself. Simultaneously I know that being slow to feel confident around non-family is part of her personality, can be a good thing, and I must let her unfold at her own pace. 

I regret moving to this area. It is far from the school and from people I know. I'm not sure I want to raise my family here.  At the same time, I always knew its disadvantages, and I love the views, the garden, the proximity to the countryside, and the potential of the house.  Priorities shift and change, and no place is perfect. I am trying to sit tight and wait this one out as I know I may feel differently in the future. I have not tried to meet people here yet and I think this could make a big difference.

I want to exercise, get to bed earlier, but at the same time know that I am in survival mode right now.  I am in a liminal space I think - the space between giving birth, and getting to that point where some semblance of normal life reappears.  Perhaps I should just do whatever comes easiest for now. 

I am worried about money, but at the same time I know that we have assets which in reality, barring a big economic crash, will keep the wolf from the door, and he will be able to work more once I can do the school run.

I am feeling homesick for people that I have a longtime connection with.  I am not good at forming deep friendships.  It sounds childish, but it's true - I want to have a Best Friend around the corner again!! I think of my best friends from childhood, and how great they are (still) at keeping in touch and showing they care for me and my family.  
They keep chipping away at me, even though I go on radio silence for long periods. Wow. I MISS that here in this new country. 

I haven't found that kind of friendship again. Without being aware of it, I often pause and turn away at the threshold. And people shy away from me too.  I am full of enthusiasms for being with people, and then I run and hide.  I do things like arranging a family trip to London where I have friends, good longtime friends I guess,  and then thinking I'd better not meet any of them so I can concentrate on family things.  There must must be a balance I'm not finding! Lunch???!!! I find it hard to be truly open, though I think I probably give a good impression of being frank and forthright. 

I imagine this turns people away from me too, as people sense these things. Or perhaps smell the desperation lol.

The reason I am like this? I am not sure. Fear, and perhaps need. 

I feel alone. 

And I like it.  It grounds and enriches me.

And I don't like it. Company energises and enriches me.

While others have their own friendship circles, I feel on the periphery. I want to belong, while at the same time wanting to occupy my own space. 
I need lots of headspace, which severely curtails the time and energy I give to others.

I have wondered if I am actually a shy extrovert, who thought she was an introvert.  I love to be with people I know, and even people I don't. Perhaps the introversion arose from dysfunction. One to ponder….its important to figure this out. One thing is sure - a balance needs to be found,

As well as all this, its important to add, I am often very happy and feel so lucky. The feeling of having such lovely girls, life and health throughout the immediate extended family, a partner to share it all with, a new life in another country, a semblance of financial security (if I could let go of the fear!), is like a dream. When I was younger I never imagined all of this for myself.

These conflicting thoughts live alongside each other.  Perhaps one day I will have unity.  Or are they already part of a perfectly imperfect whole? Could there be completion in b
eing uncertain - of what I think, feel, see, will become? My life?

Yes, perhaps this is the only way to make peace and truly live.


Friday, 6 February 2015

You're alright.

She's been off school sick with a cough and cold. She lashed out with a big emotional episode tonight. She's feeling rough, having sleepless nights. And she feels too controlled. I know it, and struggle with it.

She said some ugly things to me, that she wished she didn't have a Mammy, she hated me, things like that. Trying to push me out of the way and making as if to bite me.  I've been there myself many times with these big emotions and know how horrible it feels. I told her I loved her, but I wouldn't let her hurt me. She wanted to sleep behind the kitchen door. It was well past bedtime and she was exhausted - I made her go to the bedroom. None of it was pretty.

A very little later, she was ready for a hug and a chat about silly things.  

She said she'd been out of control. I said I really didn't want to make her do things. 

She took herself off to get ready for bed but paused at the door. Said she loved me, but when she was out of control she really felt she didn't love me at all. And she wasn't able to remember that she would love me again. She puzzled over it. 

I told her a secret.  
                                  Everyone feels like that.  

No matter how much you love someone. 

                                  And it is ok.

She grinned and hugged me.  So happy to be understood. To be accepted, warts and all. And to feel everything was alright.

That she was alright.

A bad evening turned right around.

This is everything I want for her.  Not perfect behaviour, or the pressure to be happy.  Not educative or career achievements, accolades or prizes, beauty or talents.

I just want her to know she is alright. Just the way she is.