Monday, 24 October 2016

The 52 Project: 43/52

'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'
Dear Ruby,
I took this photo to remind me of a few things:
1) Our mutual love for bagels and peanut butter for breakfast. (And granola, never forgetting granola.)
2) The way we have started to plait your hair at bedtime to stop it becoming like a bird's nest by the morning. Sometimes you like to adorn your hair with every hair clip you can find.
3) The Autumn light in the mornings in this house. We won't be living here for much longer, and it is unlikely that you will have memories of this house, so I am doing my best to capture you in all of the golden Autumnal light.

All my love,
Mummy xxx

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Dear Jude,
We have introduced you to the wonderful world of solid food this week. So far you have only tried three foods and these were cucumber, avocado and banana, in that order. There is something so exciting about knowing this is the first time your tiny taste buds have encountered any flavour (other than my milk, the Rota virus vaccine, or Calpol, which are the only consumables that have entered your mouth since you were born).
All my love,
Mama xxx


The 52 Project: 42/52

 'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'
Dear Ruby, 
I am writing this letter in hindsight, as I didn't manage to write you one during week 42 of this year. Aside from this photo reminding me we went to Ashton Court and you conquered climbing the tree trunk, I honestly cannot remember what we did. I took very few photos that week. So my letter is simply a reminder to myself and your future self about the benefit of writing things down so that we might remember.
All my love,
Mama xxx
Dear Jude,
You have become very interested in trying to reach things that are just beyond your grasp. You were particularly interested in this bowl of conkers, and successfully pulled the bowl off the table and onto the floor at least three times while Nanny held you.
Keep growing strong, little one.
All my love,
Mama xxx

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The 52 Project: 41/52

 'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'
Dear Ruby,
The light at this time of year is just beautiful. In the late afternoon, our living room and master bedroom fill with golden light. On Friday afternoon, we were upstairs to change Jude's nappy, and the golden light was spilling out onto the landing wall. I just had to capture it, and thankfully, you were willing to step into the light so I could capture you. I really love finding where the light falls in different places, and to me, this is a constant reminder of how the Bible teaches us that Jesus is the light of the world, and that His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. Light is beautiful, and I pray that you would know the beauty of the light and life that Jesus gives.
All my love,
Mummy xxx

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Dear Jude,
When I think about each of the letters I have written you since you were born just five months ago, I feel like the consistent them has been sleep. In parenting, it can sometimes be hard to see the wood from the trees, and feel like nothing is changing. But sometimes, change is just a very slow and gradual process. Of course you are changing, you absolutely are. One way that I see you have changed in the last couple of months is just how much you love being around other people. There was a time when you were at your happiest at home, without a doubt. Now, I see a calmness about you, along with your beaming smile, when we are with our friends. I took this photo when we were at a third birthday party in St. Andrew's Park. You spent the entire time awake in the sling, just quietly observing everyone around you. I love watching you, little one.
All my love,
Mama xxx

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The 52 Project: 40/52

'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'

Dear Ruby,
We are definitely feeling the transition into Autumn this week, and one of the consequences of this is that you have become undecided about which is the most appropriate form of footwear - 'sandals or boots?' is a daily dilemma. Whichever footwear you choose, I have started taking the alternative with us too, so if you decide your feet are too warm in boots, you can switch to sandals, and vice versa. You have been asking a lot of questions about why it's getting dark earlier, and have learnt that the weather forecast can give an indication of what the weather might be like at any given moment. When we are out walking, you will often ask, 'is it going to rain?' so we talk about what the clouds look like, and if it 'feels' like it's going to rain. This week, you asked, 'what does the weather cast say today?' Your interest and understanding about the world is so amazing to see.

We have done a good amount of baking and cooking together this week. So often when I am baking for customers, you ask if you can help, and it saddens me to have to say 'no', so I have really appreciated some of the slow afternoons we've had at home where we have baked together for our own consumption while Jude sleeps. Interestingly, if I am baking for a customer and you would rather I would be doing something else, you say, 'take your baking hat off...you need to take your baking hat off.' You are incredibly trustworthy when it comes to stirring pans on the hob - there is no need to remind you not to touch the pan and you take such care when you cook - it is such a pleasure to have your help in the kitchen.

Daddy went to Prague for a couple of days this week, and you were very interested to know what it is like there:
You: 'Is there a water fall there?'
Me: 'No, but there is a river.'
You: 'Is Daddy going to swim in it?'
Me: 'Probably not.'
You: 'Why?'
Me: 'Well, he doesn't have his swimming things with him, and he is working, so he probably won't be able to.'
You: What colour is it?'
Me: 'I expect it looks blue or maybe green, a little bit like the sea.'
You: 'Like my paintbrushes?'

All my love,
Mummy

Dear Jude,
You cut your first two teeth this week, almost exactly five months after you were born. There have been many occasions over the last seven days where you have simply not wanted to be put down, so I have resorted to cooking with you in the sling on my back, and being able to hand you over to grandparents has been a great relief to my aching arms when Daddy was away in Prague.

I have been trying to remind myself that sleep does not define us, but it certainly shapes us. In a week where you have taken to 5am starts and many, many hours of pacing to calm you to sleep, it is very easy to feel thwarted. Sleep has not come easily to you since you entered the world, and I try to hold the long view that one day, these first months with you will be a faded memory, when you no longer need us to walk with you, endure hours of crying, or hold you to get to slip into slumber.

We adore you, little one.
All my love,
Mama xxx

The 52 Project: 39/52

'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'
Dear Ruby,
Since Jude was born, you have given up napping, but occasionally you can't quite make it through the day without a little bit of shut-eye. There has been more than one occasion where I have found you asleep in an armchair or on the sofa.

We shared a bath this week, and chatted about the stars. You asked if the stars come out when it's dark and you wanted to know why it gets dark. You have so much to discover about the world and I am excited about helping you learn.
When Daddy came to see us in the bathroom, you said, 'We're just talking about the stars, Daddy.'
All my love,
Mummy xxx

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Dear Jude,
There is a fragmented nature to my thoughts in these early months of motherhood with two children. I often find myself thinking about things I want to write down, but finding the time to write prose is rather challenging when I do not really get time to myself during the day...or evening. So sometimes, I end up writing you short poems. These tend to feel unfinished, but I think that that is ok. It accurately reflects this season of life. I have mentioned before how difficult sleep and feeding have been since you were born, but one thing that I am extremely grateful for is that night time has always been the calmest time for us, which has been quite healing for me.

I'll find you in the dark,
My sweet boy.
Find you in the quiet space that the lull of night time brings.
In the white of sheets and duvets strewn
So carefully to keep you safe,
I'll find you in the dark.

Your tiny snuffles are all the sound I need
To respond and feed
Your tiny tummy that need to be full of milk
Once again. And again, and again.

I'll find you in the dark and you find me.
We don't need light to see in this sacred space.
You shuffle to and fro with great purpose,
Always, always, finding your way
Back to me.

Belly full, you roll, back to your tummy,
Legs tucked up and ready to sleep again.
We repeat this through the dark hours until dawn:
Feed, Roll, Sleep.
Feed, Roll, Sleep.

I'll find you in the dark,
My precious one.

All my love,
Mama.