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Dear Eloise: Eight Months

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Dear Eloise | 1 comment

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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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26/52

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Photos | 1 comment

26-52 - Eloise

26-52 - Lachie

A photo of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.

Eloise – The days of finding her where I left her are gone. This little one is on the move. The baby-proofing begins and I’ve realised it is a much more challenging process the second time around when there is a four year old dropping endless amounts tiny paraphernalia throughout the house.
Lachlan – My boy, how you’ve grown. Four years ago you made me a mum and I will forever be thankful to you for that. I have so many words about you that I want to write, I hope to find the time soon (at least sometime before you turn five!).

Linking up with Jodi.
More of the 52 series.

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24/52 (the catch-up edition)

Posted by on Jun 14, 2014 in Photos | 0 comments

18/52 - Lachie

18/52 - Eloise

18/52
Lachlan – Static hair, don’t care.
Eloise – This happy face.

19/52 - Eloise

19/52 - Lachlan

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Swinging after a family bush walk.

20/52- Lachlan

20/52 - Eloise

20/52
Lachlan – My little scientist, post food colour experimenting in the kicthen (kitchen covered in food colour not shown).
Eloise – I’m enjoying these last few weeks where she is relatively stationery.

21/52- Lachlan

21/52 - Eloise

21/52

Lachlan – Inspecting the tiny blooms in our backyard.
Eloise – A fistful of grass en-route to her open mouth.

22/52 - Lachlan

22/52 - Eloise

22/52
Lachlan – Painting a picture for his Papa in the afternoon light. Can you believe it’s winter?
Eloise – Inspecting the grass again.

23/52 - Lachlan

23/52 - Eloise

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Lachlan – The first lime from the tree he planted with his dad.
Eloise – My sweet babe in the soft afternoon light.

24/52 - Lachlan

24/52- Eloise

24/52
Lachlan – Dirty knees and cars. A standard visit to the park really.
Eloise – Those eyes.

Linking up with Jodi.
More of the 52 series.

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My most treasured mothering advice (Happy Mothers Day)

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Baby, Motherhood | 1 comment

Happy Mothers Day

To you, the mothers in my life, thank you. Thank you for your words of wisdom and your practical suggestions, for sharing your hard learnt lessons and sometimes just making me feel like I’m not alone. Your words have buoyed me when I was sinking and inspired me to be the mother I want to be. Thank you for sharing this wonderful, crazy journey with me, Happy Mothers Day.

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My most treasured pieces of mothering wisdom

Use Your Knees
It’s easy to forget but even small children with big personalities and oodles of attitude can still find the world and all its rules a most daunting place. When I find myself at the beginning of an unwinnable power struggle with my son simply remembering to bend my knees, look him in the eye and talk to him is all I need to solve the issue. It stops the threats (mine) and the frustration (his) and nearly always leads to a happier home.

Do what works for you
There is no right way to mother. Only your way, that works for you and your family. Often parenting choices are presented to us in dichotomies: breast or bottle, cot or co-sleeping, pram or baby-wearing, cloth or disposable nappies, and so it goes on. But we are not rigid all or nothing beings. At times I’ve been a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sling-wearing, disposable using mother. And at other times I’ve fed my baby a bottle and put her in a cot. Learning to do what works for me has saved my sanity and gifted me the joy of freedom to be the mother I want to be.

This too shall pass
A good friend first said this to me when I was in midst of a baby waking every hour sleep-deprived hell. It has become a mantra I repeat often, usually accompanied by closing my eyes and breathing deeply. When I open my eyes I am calmed and comforted and most importantly reminded that while the days may go slow the years go fast. These are days to not simply endure but to treasure.

What’s your most treasured mothering wisdom?

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Running on Empty

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Thoughts | 0 comments

Running on empty

As I stepped from the shower this morning and considered what to wear for the day all I could think of was how much I just needed to put my tracksuit pants back on and stay at home for the day. How I needed to just be here with my babies. Mothering of two little people who collectively wake about a hundred times a night is, to be honest, leaving me running on empty. I have all these intentions to be productive, to exercise, to write. Yet I’m in survival mode which involves ensuring we are fed and clothed (even if they are fished, crumpled out of the washing basket) and loved and then falling in a heap by 8pm. And this feeling of being overwhelmed and underachieving is a sentiment I see echoed across the spectrum of motherhood.

Earlier in the year I made the intention to expect less, from myself, from my children, from each day. I didn’t mean it as a metaphorical waving of the white flag on life. In fact the opposite. For me, expecting less is about appreciating more. Instead of feeling disappointed in all I failed to achieve, I’m grateful for the meal I nourished my family with, for the soft arms of my son as they wrapped around me, for the baby giggles and squeals. Accepting that these will be the sole achievements for my day does not make me a failure. It makes me a mother, doing her best to live a happy life.

Do you think you expect too much from yourself?

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