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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: 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

Mother and child photograph source unknown

As a mum there is a certain sense of selfishness in the excitement of a friend announcing their first pregnancy. Of course I am genuinely happy that they are creating a family with the person they love, that part is a given. But then there is the other congratulations that is not said and that is “I’m so happy that you are going to be a mum, too“.

I’m so happy because now you will ‘get’ what this whole thing is about. You will ‘get’ the endless sleepless nights. And the heart-aching love. You will ‘get’ the obsession over why a toddler won’t eat his dinner. And the overwhelming responsibility of raising a child. And when I tell you that I’m struggling to know how best to discipline, you just ‘get it’. Because you are there too, or have been, or will be. Our friendship finds a new level of commonality because we are now both in the thick of motherhood, with all its challenges and triumphs.

I love my childless friends just as much as those who are mums. Their company is often a welcome break from the all-consuming world of motherhood. A chance to revert back to just being me, to talk about everything else that makes up life. And there is so much of it. Careers, travel, relationships, adventures. And if I’m truly honest, sometimes I like to live vicariously through these friends, and their careers and travels and adventures. Because frankly it’s a bit more exciting than changing endless nappies and wiping half-eaten food off the floor.

The truth of it is, however, our lives are very different now. Where we shared the highs and lows of school and university, first relationships and travel, suddenly our paths have taken vastly divergent directions. So, when a non-mum friend announces her impending mamma-hood, internally I get excited that we will again be on the same page of life. That I will be able to empathise with the “I’m-so-freaking-over-being-pregnant-get-this-baby-out-of-me” feeling. The “I-have-no-idea-why-this-baby-won’t-stop-crying” breakdown. And the “I-love-this-little-person-so-much-my-heart-my-just-explode” moments. I will nod my head and ‘get it’ because I am there, or have been, or will be.

So to my beautiful non-mamma friends, know that if and when you decide to go down the motherhood path I will be absolutely elated for you but also, selfishly, quietly, happy for myself.

image source unknown but found here

My Christmas wishlist this year. What’s on yours?

Favourite Five Gift Ideas: Christmas Wishlist

1. In Queensland you can never have too many hats. Especially lovely (wide-brim) ones like this Panama hat from Down That Little Lane.
2. This fruity, fun skirt from Gorman would make the perfect light cotton Christmas day outfit. I may not ever take it off again after that, I like it so much.
3. Aesop body balm. It’s self explanatory really.
4. This lovely print from Blacklist Studio Prints would add some much needed interest to many of our blank white walls.
5. A happy, big, carry-all Harvest Textiles tote perfect for dragging along nappies, water bottles and a collection of matchbox cars that always find their way into my bag. I can see my keys getting lost in the ether of this bag. A lot. But I don’t mind.

You can find more gift ideas and Favourite Five collections here. Favourite Five collections are not sponsored in any way, they are simply things I have spotted and hearted and thought you might too.

Favourite Five Christmas Gift ideas for Mum

1. The Monarchy Necklace – Hard to Find
2. Mexican Otomi Pillow – Urban Road
3. Stackable Jars with Lid – Ferm Living
4. You are my sunshine beach towel and tote bag – Blacklist Studio Prints
5. Moroccan Market Basket – Down That Little Lane

You can find more gift ideas and Favourite Five collections here. Favourite Five collections are not sponsored in any way, they are simply things I have spotted and hearted and thought you might too.

Toddler food photo pear

I’m just a little excited. My very first guest post has gone up over at a lovely friend’s blog Bad Mumma. Sam has just given birth to gorgeous twin girls (and has a two year old boy as well!) and her blog documents the misadventures of being a mum. It is hilariously honest and a great dose of real-life mothering for those times when you feel like you’re the only one occasionally dropping the parenting ball.

My post is about the challenges of figuring out how to give our children the very best nutritional start to life. You can read it here. I’d love to hear what you think on the subject.

You can also join the Bad Mumma community over on Facebook.

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