Thursday, 7 May 2015

On loving your children. A letter to myself.

 When your first baby is handed over to you for the first time, 
you become a mother.
A totally different person.

Less carefree than you will ever be
for the world will feel a scary place at times.
Happier than you will ever be 
because those two little eyes have changed your life forever.

Each little toe and each little finger are more precious than all the diamonds in the world.
Each First is a wonder. 
A smile, a wiggle, a laugh, a step, a word.
Each day is a milestone.

You love your first baby with a consuming love.
You fear being separated for more than a few hours.
You struggle to understand what was the point of life before motherhood.

It is the hardest exam that you have ever faced
and no amount of preparation can prepare you for it.

You constantly doubt yourself because you want the best for your baby.
The first illness brings you to tears.
You want to take the pain away from your baby, but you can't.
The first trip to A&E shows you that you're stronger than you ever imagined.

Your first baby changes you forever.
You will never be who you were before.

Your second pregnancy feels less special.
You are trying to bond with your unborn baby,
but your child needs you more.

When you see the first scan of your second baby 
you doubt that you could ever love another as much as you love your first.

For nine months you imagine what life will become for your first child.
You squeeze her a bit tighter, you reassure her that all will be OK.

When you hold your second baby in your arms for the first time
you truly embrace motherhood.
You know what is to come and you are not scared.
You want to savour every moment.

Your second baby is the missing piece of your family puzzle.
You did not miss him when he wasn't there,
but now that he's here, it is as if he was always meant to be.

The second baby makes everyone better.
He teaches the parents to enjoy the baby days.
Not the milestones, but the ordinary.
He teaches his sister to share her parents love
and he makes her more loving in return.

The first time your two children meet
they stare happily at each other.
That moment will be etched in your memory forever.
The noise of those silent stares is deafening.
You can hear your heart expanding inside you.

You love your second baby with organic love.
You love him without fear.
You love him in a gentle way, 
less all consuming, more real.

You thank your first born because
she has taught you to be a mother.
You thank your second born because
he has taught you to enjoy it.

When you see your children staring adoringly at each other
it takes your breath away.
When you hear your children making each other laugh
your heart skips a beat.

When you witness one of your children helping the other,
when you spy them playing happily together
you pray that you created a friendship that will last forever
even when you are gone.

You know that your family is complete.
You know true happiness for the first time.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Baby Daze

It is March which means that my little Baby Roo is two months old. 10 weeks today to be precise. It is that weird stage where we could not imagine life without him, yet in so many ways he still feels like such a fresh addition to the family.

The past 10 weeks have been intense, full-on, crying-inducing hard and crying-inducing amazing. Being a second child and born in the depth of the winter has meant that Baby Roo has had to deal with a fair few bugs and colds, but I am hoping that Spring will come soon and with it a whole new lease of life made of long, warm and sunny days. I'm also hoping for my brain to start shedding the baby daze* and for my body to start shedding the baby weight.

*Baby Daze: permanent state of tiredness often associated with emotional high and lows. Typical sign of person afflicted by baby daze is the fact that said person goes to sleep exhausted, feeling as if she has done a million and one things that day, especially a lot of heavy lifting and rocking as her back is in agony. Despite this extreme tired mental and physical state, said person's home is a mess, there is no food to eat and often no essentials in the house whatsoever. Emails remain unanswered and to-do lists are now the length of the Earth circumference. Times 24.

Week 1 to 5: Deep in the Daze

Week 1: Mr H and Miss G were at home on paternity leave and school holidays respectively and Baby Roo had no choice but to quietly slot in into family life, meals out and 4 year old birthday parties included. None of these daily activities phased him in the slightest as he was born adamant that the day was for sleeping and the night for being half awake and squirming on his parents' chest. Oh joy! 

Week 2: With Mr H and Miss G back at work and school respectively, Baby Roo found a new unsuspecting victim to his 'do-not-dare-to-put-me-down' antics. The Mothership arrived from Italy bringing inevitable stress and much needed help since I had a terrible gastric flu that saw me totally wiped out of action for day 10 and 11 of Baby Roo's life.

Week 3: The original plan was for the Mothership to stay in London for a week to help me with Miss G's school run, but we had to ask her to stay longer as the germs invaded us again, this time in the form of Miss G's tonsillitis. I will never forget one night when Mr H stayed with Miss G who kept vomiting everywhere, whilst I was up all night with Baby Roo who had pretty much an exploding poo every hour. Oh, how we regretted having kids at 4:30am when Mr H and I met in the laundry room whilst trying to start yet another wash!

Week 4: The real test. The school run with a baby who had no feeding schedule and a 4 years old who was still adjusting to having a brother and who wanted to stay at home with him rather than go to school. There has been screams. Mostly mine, some Miss G's, hardly any by Baby Roo. Thank God he is as chilled as a baby can be. 

Week 5: My brother and his wife visit from Italy. Both Baby Roo and Miss G were real show offs behaving impeccably for their visitors. Baby Roo also finally started to understand that nights are for sleeping and not for pooing. All the tourist activities during the day plus the sleep deprivation at night made me very close to collapse out of exhaustion, but I endured it all dreaming of Half Term and a slow down in pace of our weekly schedule.

Week 6 to 10: Lifting myself out of the Daze

Week 6: Calling for divorce! Baby Roo remained remarkably good natured and mostly happy, but with a strong Koala-bear attitude to life. He would scream and protest the very moment he was not living and sleeping on me or Mr H, so when Mr H sprang 4 nights out for work I very nearly called a solicitor asking for divorce! Putting an overtired 4 year old to bed plus keeping an exhausted baby up past his bedtime so that his sister could have a bedtime story was hellish. Times 4! 

Week 7: Mr H used the week of Half Term as his second week of paternity leave and we spent it as a family of four, with Miss G totally and utterly relishing our time together. Baby Roo kept his trademark of being a very relaxed baby and made no fuss of our trip to the theatre to watch Charlie and Lola, nor he minded going for lunch at Miss G's favourite sushi restaurant. He endured countless hours of his sister squeezing and holding him and totally loved it! When he started to say "Ggggoo" she convinced herself that he was trying to learn her name and she couldn't be more impressed with him if he tried.

Week 8: The germs came back! Baby Roo caught his first cold and he was very frustrated with it. He couldn't feed properly for a week and he was up hourly at night trying to eat. I got exhausted of it all pretty quickly and ended up with a very high fever for three days and night, plus a horrid cold and cough. I didn't remember feeling that hot and shivery since being a child and the daily limit of 8 paracetamols that a breastfeeding mother can take did not even scratch the surface. Miss G caught the high fever from me and was home from school for a whole 3 days which were utter hell as I wasn't well whilst she would be bouncing on the wall after each dose of medication. 

Week 9: Everyone is back to health, but our nanny is going away for a couple of months and it downs on me that life is about to get a lot harder without nanny M who has been helping me with the kids a couple of afternoons a week. Rather than dwell in my misery I have decided to join a new gym so that I can get back to swimming whilst Miss G is in school and Baby Roo is at the gym creche. Fingers crossed this plan will work as I need at least one or two hours a day when I don't have a baby or/and a child with me. And with this very realisation I think that I am finally out of the baby daze and committed to find a space to be just me, not pregnant me nor mother-of-a-newborn me. Just me, undefined by my kids. Wish me luck.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Welcome Baby Roo - Part Two - Meeting His Sister

Less than 24 hours since he was born, Baby Roo took his first black cab and headed off home to meet his big sister. She was incredibly excited. The moment we arrived home, she went to wash her hands and screamed "I want to stroke him and hug him, mamma!". She was terribly sweet and he was very mellow and so their friendship began.

That very same afternoon, Miss G helped with nappy change and insisted on pushing Roo's pushchair when we took a quick stroll around the block.

On January 3rd I woke up at home for the first time since the baby's arrival and within minutes of opening my eyes Baby Roo and Miss G joined Mr H and I in bed. Four of us in bed on a lazy Saturday morning, this is what happiness is all about and hopefully I will enjoy this sort of mornings for years to come. Shortly afterwards I witnessed Miss G read a story to Baby Roo and my heart melted. Perhaps it was the tiredness or the lack of sleep or the baby hormones, but I confess that I might have even shed a tear. Or two.

She wants to kiss him before she leaves for school and as soon as she comes back. She can't wait for him to move into her room, her bed even, if she had a choice.

Despite all her kisses and her sometimes suffocating cuddles, he just stares at her, fascinated, in awe. I never thought that babies did or understood much, but it is undeniable that he knows who she is. For Miss G, and for her only, he turns his head around. If we are on the floor and she moves from his left to right, he moves his head to find her. It's the start of a truly fascinating bond and now I understand why they say that a sibling is the best gift you can give a child. I can now see what people mean by that and I feel incredibly lucky to have two children. Incredibly lucky.

When Baby Roo is going to be older, I will tell him the tales of how his sister gave him his first 'top and tail' and his first bath and she did it with such love and tenderness that we were all amazed by it. Not a hint of jealousy as the fuss was all on her little brother. I am proud of my big girl and how understanding she is.

And when he was all clean she rolled around with him in bed to his utter awe as usual. And his gaze never leaves her when she is around. And she doesn't miss an opportunity to pull funny faces at me when I try to capture these moments...she is 4 after all!

Aged 5 weeks, Baby Roo had his third bottle - the only one during the day - as I was out for a friend's party and Mr H was looking after the kids. And yes, you guessed it, Miss G did not let Mr H feed her little brother as she wanted to do it, of course.

And just look how metrosexual Baby Roo is in his pink cashmere jumper, yet another 'advantage' oh having a big sister ;)


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