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Dear Eloise

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I am standing in the kitchen, where I suspect I spend eighty per cent of each day, you are in your highchair investigating various bits and pieces that have been placed there for your amusement, none of which are actual toys. The kitchen is a scene of chaos: food preparation spread across one bench and dishes waiting patiently to be washed across the other. Your brother races in holding a stapler he has pilfered from the office, bouncing from one foot to the other in that crazy excitable way he has. “Look Eloise” he says, opening the stapler wide like a beasts mouth ready to devour his pray. He slams it shut and you break out in hysterical laughter while I observe the scene wondering if it is wise parenting to let a three year old play with a stapler. Open. Shut. Giggles. Open. Shut. Giggles. And so it goes: the two of you playing your game where he acts the clown and you, the ever enthusiastic audience.

My dear sweet girl I must apologise for the lapse in letters. Something you will likely learn about me is that unfortunately on the scale of routine to erratic I lean much more toward the latter. My absence has not been from lack of things to write of. Not at all. In the last three months you have morphed surely and steadily from a stationary baby to a sitting, crawling, and now standing (god help me) infant. Nothing is safe anymore. The baby gate has been erected and I am in that constant state of alertness that comes with a crawling, standing baby: always at the ready to pull some tiny non-food object from your hand. I’m also coming to realise that if I want to keep dressing you in white Wondersuits, daily sweeping and mopping will be required.

This newfound mobility means play with your brother is getting easier. It tends to be a mix of happy giggles and hair pulling. He really actually adores you. And you, him. And I’m surprised that already the two of you seem to have this bond and certainly a strong affection for one another. On kindy days when we drop him off he always give you a kiss goodbye. Always. And in the mornings when you wake he asks me to lift him into the cot so he can play with you. There are also tears, of course. When you get your chubby hands on his lego creations, when he gets too rough with rolling you over, when you laugh at his tantrum-ing four year old ways. But the smiles and laughter far outweigh the tears. And seeing you two together is the most joyful sight to my tired, sleep-deprived eyes.

It has been a joy these last few months getting to know you. You remain a happy and easy-going baby: smiling for strangers with your big dark eyes and sweet dimpled grin. When you do cry you are easily placated by food, sleep or cuddles. Which is just as well because although you are not a noisy child, when you do scream it is at a volume that leaves ears ringing and ensures that your needs are seen to right away. Oh and I have to tell you about your Pterodactyl squawk. It is equal parts disturbing and hilarious. You squawk when you’re excited, when something is funny and probably most often when you are waiting impatiently for dinner. My girl, you love your food. Almost anything we put in front of you, you are happy to eat. Except banana and avocado which is surprising considering they are two of your brothers (and mine) favourite foods. It is certainly a relief having another child who is a happy and willing eater, which is just as well because you are still a pretty terrible sleeper. Good thing I’m experienced in this whole sleep-deprivation caper (your brother has given me good practice).

I just adore you Ellie, you bring so much joy to our family.

Love mummy. x

More letters to Eloise.
Letters to Lachlan.

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Dear Eloise: Four Months

I sit in your room in the chair by the window, soft afternoon light speckling your perfect olive skin as you nurse contentedly, occasionally pulling back your head to look your big dark eyes up at mine. It’s a rare moment of quiet while your brother is occupied, my phone is out of reach and your dad is working. It’s just you and me and that spectacular afternoon light. As your little hand reaches across my face I take hold, wrapping your fingers around mine as I try in vain to imprint this fleeting moment in my eternal memory.

I find myself often racing through the day from one ‘to-do’ to another, the afternoon and bedtime wrangle arriving before I feel I’ve had a chance to have my fill of your loveliness. Because you are, so lovely. And regardless of whether you are our last baby, you will never again be this age, never again learn for the first time to grab your toes and pull them delightedly into your gummy mouth. So each day I try my best to take leave of the rush and just be with you, to observe you in this moment in time.

And my girl there are plenty of moments each day that I just feel my heart swell with joy. Perhaps none more so than seeing the love grow between you and your brother. You reserve your biggest smiles and your heartiest laughs just for him. Often you will be mid cry and he will work his silly-face magic and within seconds your red angry expression will have softened into smiling eyes and a toothless grin. This is not to say that things are always harmonious between you. I find myself constantly reminding your brother to be gentle with you, to watch out for you. Sometimes those requests for gentleness don’t always work and occasionally an overzealous arm will be flung your way. Mostly you take it in your stride, learning to be tough for the mere fact that you have a rough brother. A few weeks ago, an hour before your dad and I were due to leave for a rare date night, your brother, in his excitement, connected his elbow loudly with your head. And you screamed and screamed until I could calm you at the breast. Movie night was cancelled and I instead spent the night checking your head for swelling. Thankfully such incidents are few and far between.

We’ve reached the four-month sleep regression stage where the developments come thick and fast and you are trying your best to take it all in. So you are waking more, crying more and generally more unsettled. Yet your easy-going nature makes navigating these developmental leaps only mildly challenging. And it’s a wonder to watch those connections form in your brain while you learn to use your hands and coordinate your body to grab things and bring them to your mouth (which by the way makes me terrified for all the tiny paraphernalia scattered over the house courtesy of your brother). You roll with ease now and move in a worm-like wriggle from place to place. I fear crawling will not be too far away.

Beyond the physical milestones you are increasingly intrigued by the world around you. As you sit on my lap your still slightly wobbly head turns from side to side observing the sights: inquisitive mind ticking over behind those brown eyes. Sometimes you will let out a squeal of satisfaction or a babble of conversation and I wonder at what your voice will be like, at the actual conversations we will one-day have. For now though, I’m busy enjoying wrapping my arms around your squishy body, smothering your face in kisses and delighting in that utterly endearing incomprehensible babble.

I love you beyond measure baby girl.

Mumma. x

Letters to Lachlan
Eloise at three months.

Dear Eloise: Four Months

Dear Eloise: Four Months

Dear Eloise: Three months

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For three months we have watched you unfurl like a new leaf: little by little revealing yourself to us. And my girl, you are truly delightful. When I was pregnant with you I hoped for an easy-going child, a calming force to your brothers high-octane personality. And it seems this is exactly what you are. You are easy to sleep, easy to feed and generally just a happy little soul. Your smiles are the highlight of my day and just yesterday you had your very first little chuckle. I cannot ever do justice to the immeasurable joy of that tiny sound, the way your eyes lit up, and your cute little scrunched-up nose.

I’m finding second-time mamma-hood quite blissful. I still get to the end of most days and fall into an exhausted heap while our floors remain laden with crumbs and the washing sits in a heap waiting to be folded. I think I have come to expect less, from us all, and in doing so have gained so much more joy from the everyday. I’m painfully aware, sometimes too much so, that these days are over all too quickly. So I do my best to imprint into my memory the feel of your butter-soft squishy cheeks as I kiss them and the way you do the sweetest little stretch as I pick you up after you’ve been sleeping. I want to pause time and race into the exciting future all at once. It’s a truly wonderful place to be.

You should know your brother just adores you. He calls you “bootiful wittle girl” yet if anyone refers to you as anything other than your name he corrects them: “her name is Eloise Grace”. Everyday he asks to cuddle you and does so ever so gently in a way that continues to surprise me considering for most other moments of the day he is anything but gentle. And as much as he adores you, you seem fascinated by him. I’m quite sure I will blink and the two of you will be running around creating mischief together. For now though he is happy to plant sloppy kisses on your head and high-five your little hands.

I feel I should use this time to document your milestones (you rolled at 5 days (yes, 5 DAYS!) and smiled at 6 weeks) but honestly those things aren’t what I want to remember, what I want you to know was what was important to us, to me. And that is the time we spend with you, the way you have enriched our lives, and just how blessed we feel to have you. When people ask me how you are, what you are like, I tell them you are my delight. My little sunshine.

I love you beyond measure, sweet girl.

Mumma. x

Eloise’s birth story.

Letters to Lachlan.

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