Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Update: In what must surely be unprecedented speed in charity raising without the use of a celebrity my sister Claire has raised ALL the money required to build a new pre-school for her young students in Mozambique. The speed in which this was accomplished indicates not only how easy it is to follow a person as passionate, open, courageous and exciting as my sister but what an incredible project she chose to assist in Mozambique. My sincere thanks go to everyone who came here, read this piece and went to donate. Or spread the word to others. You have helped a group of young kids to get one step closer to whatever it is their heart desires to be.
To quote my sister: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU PROGRESS STARTS FROM THE BOTTOM UP HELL YEAH!
The university a few blocks away always puts on an incredible fireworks display for Chinese New Year. This year we decided to let Eloise stay up a bit later than usual, strapped her in her bear suit and walked over. We made it just in time and were racing through the courtyard to get to the top of the hill when the first explosions went off resonating off the University walls.
When we found a space on the green I held her in my arms and watched her watching the sky explode into fire and sound. She had a very worried look on her face. She didn’t cry, but she seemed to be thinking about it. I put my hand against her head to try and deaden the sound.
I looked at her worried face and told her that it was only fireworks.
I was suddenly struck with the image of all the mothers in this world who had ever had to cushion the sound of falling bombs from their baby’s ears. Mothers who tried to convince their children that the sound of rapid gunfire was “only fireworks”. And then I started to silently shed tears.
As a young teenager I used to wear my heart on my sleeve. I used to be passionate and enraged at injustice. Shocked at war.
Then I moved to Europe and my bleeding heart slowly retreated back into place. I became complacent and perhaps not a little lazy. With Eloise my passion has resurfaced but now it is all directed towards her – and whatever could possibly affect her.
My younger sister Claire has managed to not only hold on to her “bleeding heart” but has used it to try and put the world to right. She has devoted 2 years of her life to being a volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps in Mozambique.
Claire (known in some circles as the toddler whisperer) is working with THE ONLY PRE-SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY. Mozambique does not start education until the age of 5. These young children are often left running around their village, looking after even younger siblings. If you can walk – you’re old enough to carry a baby who can’t. My sister has joined forces with a Mozambican couple that have set up a rudimentary school for children aged 2 – 5. I love hearing the stories about these kids - not just because they sound like funny, unspoiled, loving children – but because my sister’s voice fills with light when she talks about them. These kids have little, and my sister and the other people who run this school often go without a salary to keep it running (food and security are the main costs). Through the Peace Corps my sister is trying to raise money so that by the time she leaves these children have a proper learning environment to create the building blocks for the rest of their education. For the rest of their lives.
I often joke that I do not need to be a philanthropist because my sister is doing it for both of us.
But what I can do is use this blog as a space to urge anyone reading to donate to my sister’s program.
Please visit this link and read more. Donating is really easy – you get a confirmation email straight away and the Peace Corps site accepts all major credit cards – regardless of country of origin.
Comforting Eloise during the Firework display made me realize how insanely blessed my life is. How easy it is. It will be decades before a child born in Mozambique will have the same ease handed to them that my Eloise has. My sister is trying to change that. Please help her.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Friday, 19 March 2010
There’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to write you this letter.* I am having a really hard time accepting the fact that you are now 8 months old. Which I’m sure sounds ridiculous to you at the age you are now, reading this, but here you are 8 months old and you already seem too grown-up for my liking (which may just help you to understand why I still won’t let you get your ears pierced).
You are learning quicker than I can keep track of, which is amazing and exciting to witness (you sit, you wave, you flirt, you joke) but this is slightly bittersweet because a lot of what you are learning is no longer to my credit, but to the fabulous nursery school you attend. Every time I pick you up from there you’re one step closer to the little girl you will become.
Gone are the early days when I would collect you and you would look like you had been to battle – red-rimmed eyes, small, sad face, covered in food you refused to eat. Instead when I go get you you are smiling and excited. Well, you’re still covered in food, but that’s just because you insist on feeding yourself.
You greet me with a face that says "Awesome! Mom’s stopped by to watch me play with my new friends” instead of “Thank GOD Mama has come to rescue me”. At nursery you’ve discovered the joy of being pushed in a swing, finger painting, eating chocolate ice cream. They all love you there – love making you smile. They tell me all the time how beautiful and happy you are – when you’re not startled or overly tired, that is, otherwise you scream loud enough for the pre-schoolers to hear you on the top floor. I suppose I only have myself to blame for the fact that when you’re miserable you make sure every one knows it. Like mother like daughter.
You’re finally able to sit and it looks like it won’t be long until you can get into that sitting position on your own. I love watching you do these little ab work outs trying sit on your own. Notice I said watching and not joining in. Yeah – Mama don’t do sit-ups. Go see your Aunt Claire if you want crunch tips.
I am often blown away by how much I love you. Your laugh, your smile, the little look you get when you’re concentrating really hard or that adorable pout and sharp stare you get when you’re frustrated – which makes me feel like I’m looking in a baby mirror – all these looks make my heart sing. I had you sitting in your little activity centre ma-bob today. This activity thing has so much to keep you occupied - a disco ball, a turntable, this 40’s style mic that encourages you to ‘sing it baby' and the coolest version of the ABC’s I have ever heard. And despite all this song, dance, and flash surrounding you, vying for your attention, your eyes were on me, waiting for me to look at you, to sing with you, to laugh with you.
And oh when I did. Your little face could not get any more joyous if it tried – you looked as if you could quite literally burst with excitement. Arms and legs flailing. Babbling so loud and fast you’re practically choking on your baby gurgles. And then it hit me.
I’ve been so focused on and in awe of how much I love you that I almost didn’t realize just how much you love me.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Thursday, 4 March 2010
I can always tell when a new exercise or diet regime is working because my left breast looses weight before any other part of my body. The right one will eventually catch up, – right boob is a little lazy. This of course isn’t the greatest incentive for trying to lose weight. Avoided cake and huffed and puffed till your face was red on the treadmill? How bout I shrink half of your best assets as a reward.
So combine a left boob that is always itching to get back to it’s C cup and a baby that has an unexplained preference for nursing from the right boob and we got ourselves a one-way ticket to lopside city.
I had been warned from other mothers about what the dreaded nursing boob preference could do, but I thought, really – how much damage can a little baby do. Yeah, I can see you shaking your head from here.
When she was younger she would scream and writhe when I offered her my left breast. When I had the patience I could wait through this period and get her to eventually accept it. But my patience was more often used up with changing her outfit for the third time that day after yet another butt explosion, or wiping up another dollop of baby spew from the bedroom floor. So I would cave in and just move her to the right breast and call it a day.
Now she has no preference, can swap between boobs without batting an eye, but the damage has been done.
I gave her my heart and she took my boobs. Not only do they no longer match, but they’re also a deflated shadow of their former selves.
So my advice to any childless women out there – go have fun, kinky (protected!) sex and in the morning strut around his place in nothing but his oversized t-shirt and a smile while your body is still in a state to make that look sexy. Take a moment to drink in your fabulousness – because once you have a kid your body is theirs.
These days I put on the Frenchman’s shirt and I just look like Meatloaf prancing around without his pants on.