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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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The Monster & Me: Letter to Lachlan

Dear Lachlan,

You are thirty one months old and if I ever worried you were late in talking, those fears have long since been put to rest. I remember the early days and weeks and months of your life and the strange loneliness I felt while I mothered you: the house quiet but for your cries and my own voice self-consciously narrating our daily routine. Actually having a conversation with you felt a lifetime away and yet, here we are, conversing every day, and despite occasionally longing for a moment of quiet, I just love this part of mothering.

You like to tell us what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you think we should be doing (have I mentioned how bossy you are?!). There is no internal censor when you are two. And as you narrate your life and your thoughts to us, I can see your mind expanding with connections: you look at an Australian flag toothpick staked in your toasted sandwich and remark “it’s a flag, like Ethan’s” (board shorts he wore on Australian day), you see a plane flying and you remark “Ma-ma’s plane, go to South America” (which she did a few months ago). You are fiercely observant and smart to boot. And you make us laugh at least once every day.

The Monster & Me: Letter to Lachlan

Always an active child, your latest physical endeavors involve jumping and rolling and hopping. But mostly jumping. And mostly off things that look far too high for a 95 centimeter tall toddler to be launching from. Launch you do though. Sometimes even at people, a fifteen kilo boy is leaping into their unready arms their only warning. Miraculously all your bones remain intact even if your legs are a constant polka dot pattern of bruises.

The Monster & Me: Fingal Lighthouse

Lachlan you continue to challenge all that I know of patience and understanding. And teach me everyday about kindness and love.

You light up my world and I love you.

Mummy x


More Letters to Lachlan
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The Monster & Me: Father & Son
The Monster & Me: Father & Son

“No mummy!” he says, palm outstretched to me in a sign of “do not interrupt”. He implores his dad “keep me safe”, from me that is. They laugh at their in-joke. A joke that doesn’t involve me. I watch from the sidelines, un-offended at my son’s rejection, my husband’s lack of inclusion. They continue with their games: pinching and play boxing, imaginary tigers and toddler acrobatics complete with “look no-hands” supermans and jumping off high things. Sometimes I try to join in. But I’m an obvious imposter into their little world of make-believe and tough guy antics: I squeal too loud when pinched, and don’t understand the rules of how to feed the hungry tiger.

Their relationship is a special one. It is full of fun and antics and teaching and respect. So when Lachlan’s palm goes up to me and I’m smilingly told to “go away”, I don’t mind. In fact it makes me immeasurable happy, this precious bond between my husband and our son.

The Monster & Me: Lachie

Dear Lachlan,

You are thirty months old and perhaps more sure of yourself and who you are than I am of myself at (almost) twenty eight. You will not be defined by your actions (sometimes naughty, sometimes nice, ALWAYS cheeky). Nor your personality (energetic, outgoing, inquisitive). The other day when you were repeating EVERYTHING we were saying I asked you if you were a little parrot. Your reply? “I not a parrot! I Lachie Jack GOFTON!” This is the reply to any such question of who or what you are. And every-time I hear you say it makes my heart swell with a simple happiness, and a hope that you always have such a strong and unmovable sense of self.

The Monster & Me: Opening Christmas Presents

This last month also saw you celebrate your third Christmas. It was most definitely the best one yet. This year, you started to understand the whole concept of giving and receiving (admittedly, more the receiving), Santa, celebrating, food, and family. You still liked the idea of Santa more than meeting the big man himself, attaching like cling-wrap to me whenever we attempted any kind of Christmas photo. For the first time you were able to verbalise what you would like for Christmas. The list went as follows: birthday card (?!), food and a car. You settled on a “big red car” and Santa delivered with the goods. Seeing your ecstatic face early Christmas morning made me remember the wonder of Christmas as a child, the can’t-sleep-anticipation and the barely-contained excitement at unwrapping the presents by my bed.

Christmas day was a long-one by adult standards. But being the extrovert you are, buoyed by interaction, energized by engagement, you powered from 6am til 9.30pm with only a short afternoon car nap to see you through. We had lunch with your dad’s family and dinner with mine and through it all you bounced from happy foot to happy foot, making us laugh, colouring the day with your enthusiasm and charming us all.

The Monster & Me: Messy toddler hands

Being your favourite has been a label I’ve worn with pride. It comes with its challenges, like not being able to go to the toilet by myself, midnight cuddles, and constant demands. But also with its rewards: being the only that can kiss your scraped knee better, midnight cuddles, and constant kisses. I always knew my days as your number one were limited but I never expect to be ousted quite so soon. And the victor in this popularity stake? That would be your cousin Ethan. These holidays you have been lucky enough to see a lot of your “boys” (cousins) and after one such day you happily, without a moments second-thought, declared “Eeth” your favourite. I’m not sure he is quite as eager to take on the role as you were to bestow it on him. Nevertheless he is endlessly patient with you: making up games to play, nervously sharing his iPod with you, capitulating to your most ridiculous requests. I can more than see why E has become your favourite and I couldn’t be happier to give up the coveted title to such a deserving contestant.

The Monster & Me: Toddler scooting

Sometimes I like to pretend you are still my little baby. When we cuddle at night before you go to bed you nestle into the crook of my arm and I bend my head to your crown of soft blonde hair just like I have done nearly every night since you were born. Except now when I give you a kiss and tell you I love you, you turn your face to me and say “I love you too mummy” and I’m both overwhelmed with happiness and sad at how quickly these precious moments are slipping by.

But grow up, you must. And I just feel incredibly blessed to be able to witness it.

I love you munchkin face.

Mummy. x

The Monster & Me: Wedding photo

Four years ago today I walked through a sandstone garden path to the man I would marry. To the rest of my life.

And there is no-one in the world I’d rather share this life’s adventure with. No-one I’d rather talk things to death with. Or celebrate our child with. No-one I’d rather argue with. Or have press my buttons in the most exasperatingly annoying way. No-one I’d rather be there for through the ups and downs. Or have pick me up off the ground. No-one I’d rather have make me laugh until I choke. Or laugh at me when I trip. There is no-one I’d rather.

And so while I look back at the last four years with a heart full of happiness, I’m know the coming years hold just as much promise because there is no-one I’d rather have by my side.

My darling husband, thank you for four years full of wonderful life*.

*and for putting up with my odd bit of cray-zay.

letter to my toddler son

Dear Lachlan,

You are twenty nine months. Your imagination continues to explode with ideas and stories. And when you convey these stories to us they are always told with words jumbled in a rush of excitement and whole-body actions to match. You make us laugh. Like when you pretend to catch fish, huffing and straining as you reel in the ‘big one’, then, true cave-man style grab the thing in both hands and take big hunking bite! Or when you gulp your milk down and proudly announce ‘milk disappear’, a huge grin on your proud miniature magician face. And when you’re not fishin’ or disappearin’, you are chasing daddy in an effort to ‘eat daddy’s brains’ (a strange game the two of you concocted that never fails to amuse). So, at twenty nine months, your future career path looks like it could go a number of ways: fisherman, magician or zombie.

The Monster and Me: Letter to my toddler son

Except that I think now, Zombies might actually scare you. You see, you are finally developing some fears. And as much as I love fearless, go-anywhere, do-anything Lachie, my anxious-mother side is thankful. A healthy dose of fear is natures convenient way of ensuring the survival of the human race. And keeping mothers from heart-failure as their toddler continually tries to outdo themselves in a race to the emergency department.

A little while ago we had incredibly strong winds. Trees bent and clothes flapped wildly on the clothesline.You started to cry, and then scream, hysterically. Mostly afraid that the wind was going to blow away your toys. But also just generally distraught. Sometimes as an adult it is easy to dismiss other people’s fears as silly and for a few minutes I tried mildly to placate you, tell you it was just wind, to not worry about it. But when you didn’t settle I realised that your fear, of this wind, was absolutely real. And so I tried harder to feel what you were feeling: to understand how wind could be so terrifying. I sat down next to you and explained that wind is just air that moves, that it won’t hurt you and that if we pack away toys inside then they too will be safe. Finally, you calmed. And we carried on with our day.

As more fears develop, as they will, I will try my best to keep empathising with you. To be the reassurance you need. I have a feeling, however, that there will be many in the months and years to come that won’t be quite so easy to overcome.

The Monster and Me: Letter to my toddler son

So there is one last thing I wanted to tell you about your twenty-nine-month-old self. You are a tech-wizz-kid. I suspect all toddlers in 2012 probably are, nevertheless, your tech-savvy continues to blow us pre-internet people away. You probably won’t believe us when we tell you that once upon a time, all mobile phones could do was call other phones. That’s right, no text, no games, no cameras, no photos, no calculators, no apps. All of which you can use, by the way. The other day when you went to play with daddy’s phone he told you his phone had no games, to which you promptly replied “I need more apps, I go get my phone”. And by your phone you meant mummy’s phone which you like to swipe when I’m not looking. Or even at three am like the other morning when I woke to find you sitting silently by our bed, face lit by the flickering screen of a toddler shapes game. So there is no surprise then that we will be keeping all this tech-love firmly balanced with a good dose of life beyond the screen. I think your generation, more than any other, will need to know how to keep a happy harmony between the digital world and real life.

I digress (us Gen Y’s aren’t known for our attention spans either, something about the distraction of the internet…).

I love you always and forever my baby boy.

Mum. xx

My other Letters to Lachlan.

Every now and then it hits me. The completely obvious and yet hard to comprehend idea that my little boy will someday be a grown man. And instantly a lump forms in my throat. And it’s hard to swallow, this realisation that with each new word he learns and every centimeter he grows, he is less and less my little boy and more and more his own person. It’s a part of parenting I wasn’t really prepared for.

When I imagine Lachie as a teenager, and then a grown man, a father, I see a life full of adventure and experience and love. A full life. It’s what I hope for him, more than anything. And yet I know all of these things mean I will have to let go, a bit more every time.

So for now, while I can, I cuddle him tightly and kiss him gingerly. And try my best to savour just how much he needs me, painfully aware it won’t last forever.

Am I bit crazy or do you think about these things too? Or is blissful denial a better strategy?

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