Saturday, 30 January 2010

On letting her go

My head says it will teach her to socialize with others. My head says it will expose her to new sights and sounds. My head says it will teach her to enjoy getting her hands dirty. My head says she will make new friends. My head says she will be looked after by people who love children, who have chosen to look after children for a living. My head says she will learn not to be attached to only me. My head says she will develop and grow and learn and laugh in her nursery.

My heart. My heart is breaking.

Friday, 29 January 2010

3-6 month wardrobe

Along with the 6 month milestone comes another swap in wardrobe. Man I love wardrobe upgrades. I get to re-familiarize myself with a new set of her clothes, decide what is lacking, and go shopping for the rest. Do you know how refreshing it is to go shopping for someone and not have to think, "will her butt look big in this?"

Lets look back on last season's collection:

Long-sleeve t-shirt Sainsbury's, Jeans by Tesco, Sweater vest model's mother.

Overalls by Pumpkin Patch (on sale!), T-Shirt Sainsbury's

Top and pants both vintage, socks by Trumpette

Dress and leggings both vintage, t-shirt Sainsbury's

Vintage snow ensemble, shoes by Ethel Austin

Hug-a-Hoodie!!! Sweater by Next

Corduroy trousers by Mothercare, Vintage sweater

Vintage dress and leggings, blouse by Vertbaudet. Model seen here with Sophie the Giraffe

Pram suit in Bear by Mothercare

Long-sleeved T-shirt by BabyGap, jeans by Pumpkin Patch

Frog print romper by Me Too! Socks by Trumpette

Halloween sleepsuit by Tesco

Vintage hand knit sweater, jeans by Pumpkin Patch, Blouse by Vertbaudet

Sleepsuit and apple hat by Next
(sometimes even professional models get cranky)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

One set of twin beds away from turning into I Love Lucy

I had an out-of-body experience last night where my inner-child took a good hard look at me and sighed "God, we are OLD". I was sitting up in bed, wearing sexless pajamas and rubbing cream into my chapped hands by the yellow light of my bedside lamp. The Father of my child was sitting up next to me, doing the same to his hands. We discussed our strategy of how to handle the frequent wakings of our sleeping child.

- I'll go in first and rock her to sleep, she'll wake-up when I put her down so I'll do it again. When it doesn't work a second time I'll call you in to nurse her to sleep, ok? But then the next time she wakes up after that, you go in first to nurse right away.

- ok. Hey. Next time I beg you to have a baby can you just buy me a dog instead?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

A load of pink.

I've never been much of a girly-girl, I was a full fledged tom-boy as a child, and although I have come to embrace my inner diva in my twenties I have never immersed myself in pink. Many people know this about me and so I received lots of very cool baby clothes for Eloise that were all colors of the rainbow bar pink.

But when you have a girl it is just impossible to avoid

Even when I shop for her it's hard not to come back with some sweet little pink onesie.

I'd be curious (though not curious enough to do my own research of course, 6 months of broken sleep here people!) to find out the how when why of girls in pink and boys in blue.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Adventures in Weaning

My original weaning plan was to go to France with Eloise, enjoy some time off from being at my kid's beck and call while her extended family got to know her better, come back home in January, read a few books on introducing solids to babies, buy some weaning gear and slowly incorporate eating proper food into our routine.

Instead Eloise started waking up during the night. A LOT. And in my sleep deprived state I quickly buckled under various friends and family members suggestions that perhaps giving her solid foods would help her sleep better. After two weeks of severely disrupted sleep I think I would have taken their advice had they told me that teaching my baby how to flap her arms and fly would make her sleep better.

I waited until the Frenchman joined us in France, discussed it with him, and we decided to start feeding her. I told my mother and sister to come over to the Frenchman's parents house so we could all watch Eloise take her first few bites of food. My mother laughed sarcastically " Yeah, that'll work". Turns out I was extremely difficult when it came to accepting solids for the first time and my mother was expecting a similar battle.

Instead Eloise sat there with all of us staring at her as I spoon fed her carrot with a look on her face like, what? Eating from a spoon is a big deal? I got this down you guys.

And to be honest with you, although a big part of me was really proud of my little girl. Proud that she could accept something so novel in her stride. I was also a little sad. Sad that it was so easy for her to accept nutrients from a source other than me.

There are many things I love about my daughter. One of my favorites is her breath. I cuddle her face next to mine, kissing those chubby cheeks and drink in the scent coming from her parted lips. A mixture of milk and innocence.

I want Eloise to be an adventurous eater. I enjoy feeding her and cooking for her. But my milk on her breath will soon be replaced with the smell of swede and papaya. And I guess I'm a little sad to see that trace of me go.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sixieme mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise –

6 months kiddo. Half a year. So far I’d have to say this last month has been my favorite. You are quickly turning into a little person with her own personality. The other day you made your first “joke”. Usually it is either your father or me (or another relative) who will do some ridiculous face accompanied by some puerile noise and you crack up like you’re watching Buster Keaton for the first time. The other day you twisted your body in my arms, leaned your head back, pretended to eat my neck and then laughed hysterically. Which of course made me crack up. You would then right yourself. Lean back and do it all again. This went on for a solid 5 minutes – both of us hysterical with laughter by the end of it. 6 months old and you’re a comic.

You are also becoming more of a handful (and more fun!) to look after.

Last night I placed you on your play mat and asked your Father to keep an eye on you while I made you dinner. 10 minutes later I walk back into the room, your Father is immersed in Google Earth and you have rolled off of the mat and under the sofa to hang with the dust bunnies. You are a lady on the go these days. Turning your body 360° in your crib, rolling this way and that.

Feeding you solid foods has gone much better than I expected. After the whole refusal to take a bottle or anything other than breast-milk I was imagining quite a battle when I first offered you puréed carrot on a spoon. Instead you rather casually accepted the orange mash and slowly but calmly ate your first meal. Even the fact that 3 grandparents, 2 parents and 1 aunt watched your every move didn’t bother you.

If only getting you to sleep through the night were this easy, huh Eloise?

Everyone knows that mothers are blinded by the light they think shines out of their offspring’s butt. Hell, I’ve created an entire blog almost purely dedicated to the sun that lives in your ass. So it was very vindicating to go to France and have every one else who met you fall in love too. The spell you cast is wide my dear – it appears that no one is exempt from your charms.

I have moments nearly every day, despite the sleep deprivation and dried broccoli mash caked on my sleeve, that I feel a sense of excitement so strong it is almost like stage freight. Being your mother is the most intense, warm and inspiring feeling. You grow and learn and react more and more each day. It is like I am always just about to perform in front of an audience, waiting with my stomach in my throat just off stage-right watching you unfold in the spotlight.

And I cannot wait to see what you’ll do in the next act.

Je t’aime


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Baby's First Holiday - in pictures

White Christmas!

Eloise's room at her paternal grandparents. This used to be the Frenchman's room. Hence the Sex Pistols poster. Which I insisted we keep on the wall.

Aunt Claire and Eloise the bear taking in the fresh country air. Those two got on like a house on fire.

I'm thinking of quitting my job and moving here to sell potatoes on the side of the road. Why wait until retirement to live the good life?

The views we woke up to at the farmhouse. You'll come buy my potatoes, right?

We ate inappropriate amounts of meat that we cooked in the chimney with the flambadou.

We travelled further south to the town of my birth, Aubagne.

The Frenchman and Eloise in front of the Pagnol Cinema House.

Nothing like a stroll through the marché for culinary inspiration.

Eloise joins the conversation.

Foot-grabbing baby reads the paper with her Daddy.

Baby-wearing Mama on New Year's Eve. Rock.

Vegetarian Aunt Claire searing our gigot d'agneau with the flambadou.


Baby on a plane!

"Ok. Maybe can we stop with the photos? I'm just trying to fly home like a normal person."

"Don't make me get Brittney on your ass you damn Papawazzi!"

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Time Warp

Today I did a load of laundry and put away two previous loads from yesterday. I washed the dishes. Twice. I increased my baby's meals from 2 a day to 3 a day and managed to prepare and feed all three with relative success. I got two solid naps out of my kid without resorting to walking her around the block in her stroller. I cleaned the kitchen table. I changed her outfit twice (once due to her trying to drink from a cup without Mama's help). I read a chapter of my book. I took Eloise to the grocery store despite the snow and black ice. Neither of us fell. I filled out her nursery application form. I spent various pockets of the day singing, signing, making silly noises, dancing and playing with toys for her amusement (and mine). I put her to bed. I cooked bangers and mash to be ready for when Eloise's father came home from the pub.

2010? More like 1955.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The first Noel

Lots of fabulous moments and milestones happened on our trip to France. Some not so great stuff happened too.

The not so great stuff was that Eloise decided to stop showing off her sleeping skills in front of her relatives and put her mom through hell by waking up far too often for my liking. Before we left for France Eloise was waking up twice a night - which had only started recently and which we decided was due to her being hungry and getting ready for solid foods. I remember thinking that this waking up twice a night business was a bit crap and hoping it wouldn't last long. Oh how ungrateful I was. The first few nights in Paris Eloise woke up every 4 hours. Then we spent the night in Fontainebleau just outside Paris and she woke up every 3 hours. Then we spent the night near Montlucon and she woke up every 2 hours. Then we made it to Millau, The Frenchman's home town, and Eloise woke up every hour. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... she was not only waking every hour, but towards the end of our trip she decided that sleeping at 4am was for pansies and would wake up and stay awake until 8am.

I also found it difficult to hold my ground as a new mother in front of all our relatives. When I wanted to let her cry for a bit to see if she would calm herself down, I would cave under the worried eye of my mother-in-law and rush to my baby. When I wanted to rush in and comfort her I would wait a minute or two longer than I wanted when my Father would tell me to let her cry it out. Clearly I still need to find my confidence as a Mother. I also need some fucking sleep.

Now on to the good parts.

Eloise met her Grandfather, Papounet for the first time. I do believe she approves. He of course fell madly in love with her.

Eloise started eating solid food. Gone are the days when I can say the chubby cheeks on my kid are all thanks to me. Carrots, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Banana, and Avocado have started to work their wonders on my child's growing body.

A lot of Eloise's baby friends discovered their feet weeks ago and I was quite disappointed that Eloise was showing no signs of interest in her adorable little feet. Her hands she can stare at like a 16-year-old on acid, but those toes were doing nothing for her. So when I went to go change her a few days before Christmas I was ecstatic to have my diaper changing tactics thwarted by a foot grabbing baby. Best present I got this year.

Eloise also started sitting up for longer than a nano-second (though no one believed me because she'd have fallen over by the time they turned to look).

Not only did Eloise get to spend quality time with grandparents, her two aunts and uncle, but she also got to meet her great-grandmother and great-grandfather. She met a plethora of second cousins or second cousins twice removed or however the hell that works.

My favorite moment was when my brother Kenny, a boy now on the verge of manhood, a boy who I had met when he was only Eloise's age, held my daughter in his lanky arms, forgot about his self-consciously cool teenage persona, closed his eyes and pressed his lips against her forehead. He'd known her for all of an hour. I guess that's all it takes.

All in all it was an amazing trip. Next year we're staying home.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Cinquieme mois aved Mademoiselle Eloise - tres en retard

Dear Eloise -

You turned 5 months old 18 days ago, but as I decided to bring you on a month long trip to France, starting in Paris and ending in Millau, I never got around to writing to you. For the most part you travelled very well. You certainly had no qualms with being passed around by various family members. You probably met over 100 people during our trip and I think you would have had no problem leaving your father and me to go live with any one of them. You smile and laugh and love to be loved.

We met up in Paris with Grandma (or Gran or Granny - she's still figuring out her name) and Aunt Claire who flew in from Chicago and Mozambique respectively. They ADORE you. Not that I blame them. You especially developed a bond with Aunt Claire who has a knack for making you laugh. You got to take your first bath in a sink, see the Pantheon, and take a stroll through the Place de Voges. Paris is where your Father and I met and you will get to know the city well. You're already a regular on the number 38 bus.

Now being away from home, we weren't able to do our monthly photo, so we improvised with your father's old toys on your grandparent's couch. The biggest bear in the line-up is named Galac, and your daddy was so excited to see him it was like he had ran into an old college buddy he hadn't seen in years. Your father is not a very outwardly emotional man, but clearly Galac is a very dear friend.

I bet if you're very good, Daddy will let you and Galac be friends too.

Je t'aime.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Back to England

We tend not to notice how our babies are growing since we see them everyday. Try leaving the house with your 5 month old and coming back with a 6 month old and the difference will smack you in the face.

Eloise was just starting to tug on her toys that dangled from her play mat when we left. She is now grabbing a toy in each hand and practically pulling herself up. The picture display above her changing table is now in danger of being yanked down by her chubby little fingers. The bassinet she slept in groans under her weight as she kicks the bars so we've quickly moved her into her own room. At this rate she'll be asking for a set of keys to the house so she doesn't wake us up when she gets in late.

I have photos to upload, suitcases to unpack, washing to be done, weaning supplies to be purchased and the next size up in sleep suits to buy. The holiday was great, but I'm glad to be back home. Posts of Eloise in France to come soon!