Saturday, 23 October 2010

Review of the 9-12 month wardrobe

Despite being born at a hearty 8lbs 5oz Eloise is now a petite toddler. Most of her little friends have all filled out with plump baby fat while Eloise remains rather dainty. Because of this she has been wearing her 9-12 month wardrobe well past her first birthday. It is only in the past week or so that her wardrobe has tipped to be mainly the 12-18month size.

So it's taken me a bit longer than usual to compile my ode to the new baby wardrobe we get to indulge ourselves in every 3-6 months. Going back over these pictures to choose which ones to add made me see just how much Miss Eloise has changed since last spring/summer. Her face is now less babyish, more young child. This of course makes me very broody.

Sometimes we rock a do'-rag.

Sometimes we rock it hard. Dress by Next UK. Tights vintage. Bandanna model's mother's.

Sweater by Jean Bourget, dress vintage

Blue romper and pink onesie by Peacock's

Peter Pan collar shirt vintage, jeans by Sainsbury's, star-spangled shoes by Next

First shoes by Peacock's, green leggings by Babylegs, pink polka-dot romper by Sainsbury's, white cardigan vintage, England cap by Pub Landlord

Blue tie-dye by Denver vintage, Jeans vintage, First shoes same as above

Pink top Arizona vintage, Jeans by Jean Bourget

Long white sleeve shirt by Sainsbury's, Floral top by French designer whose name escapes me

Bug dress by Zutano, hot pink tights vintage

Grey tank and star pants by Ikks

Navy striped top with matching jeans Arizona vintage

White long-sleeve shirt same as above, purple overalls Nottingham vintage

Purple vest and pants gift from cousine Eloise

Floral jumper and matching pants Chicago gift

Handmade hoodie and matching dress Denver gift

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Quinzieme mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise -

As I write this you are sleeping in your crib. This of course is nothing out of the ordinary, except this time it was not me that put you to bed, but your father. Oh what a break through! While we've had nights when you've struggled to let me send you to sleep and I had to call in reinforcements this was the first time your father did the final bedtime routine all by himself. We're trying to move away from me nursing you to sleep. Your father and I have been meaning to make this bedtime routine change for a while now, but by the time we get to the hand over point we're both so tired that we just go with what is tried and tested to get you to sleep.

After 15 months of putting you to sleep I am thrilled at the liberty of no longer being the sole person who can. And of course as I have quickly found that motherhood is full of contradictions, I also feel slight melancholy. It seems that just as I have come to terms with the idea that I am a slave to your every need - you stop needing me as much.

The biggest change this month has been getting the hang of the one-nap-a-day routine. We're taking full advantage of the many morning play groups our town has on offer. It is really interesting to see the difference between your private and public persona. At home you strut and dance and blow raspberries on any part of my body you can access. At home you explore the house on your own, singing to yourself. In playgroup you are reserved and observant. You hold my hand and watch the other kids play before cautiously choosing where to join in.

It is frustrating and exhilarating watching you learn to communicate. When you want your doll you say 'Mama' in a spookily accurate imitation of how your doll says Mama. You make the sign for 'eat' when you're hungry and say 'mmmm' when you like what you're eating. You sing little snippets of songs to let me know you want me to sing to you (my favorite is when you say 'up above' which sounds more like 'uh buh buh' for me to sing Twinkle Twinkle). The frustrating part though comes when you vaguely point in some direction and keep repeating 'dat! dat!' with increasing intensity which sends me on a scavenger hunt at the whims of a tiny dictator with a very short attention span and limited vocabulary.

This past month I've had a few "down" days as I deal with future career decisions. I assume you have been none the wiser to my change in mood. Not because I don't think you are smart enough to know when your mother is upset about something. Children - even 15 months old - understand a lot more than adults give them credit for (one of my favorite quotes of late: One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it). No, I think you are none the wiser because it is practically impossible to let things such as a job or money alter my mood when you look at me with our shade of blue eyes, smile and lean your head into the crook of my neck.

I know I've said this before but you are so much fun to be around. I am just so excited at the fact that I get to be your mother. Imagine that you are say, 6 years old and you get a seal puppy for your birthday. A baby seal! All for you! Can you just picture how eye-poppingly excited that 6 year-old is? This is what being your mother feels like. Like I'm the only 6-year-old on the block to have a real live baby seal as a pet.

Je t'aime


Wednesday, 6 October 2010


My biggest downfall as a daughter was my inability to clean up after myself. I think my sister would agree that this was her biggest downfall as well. It certainly wasn't intentionally out of a lack of respect for our mother, more a lack of respect for the act of cleaning. I just could never understand why bother cleaning something if you were just going to mess it up again.

I remember when Claire and I would hear our mother's car in the driveway there would be a mad dash to put dirty plates into the kitchen sink and move school books to the bottom of the stairs to avoid being yelled at.

It's only recently that I've got a bit better at cleaning and especially with the addition of Eloise there is a certain level of hygiene I try and maintain for her safety. But there's a lot of cleaning tasks that I am still rubbish (ha!) at.

When my mom would tell me to clean my room, a hot rage would burn in my stomach. It wasn't so much that I minded cleaning my room. If I was in the right mood and with the right "cleaning" music, I could actually quite enjoy it, and certainly enjoyed the satisfaction of having a clean room. But something about being told to clean up would make me seethe.

These pictures have nothing to do with the post. But someone needs to knit me that sweater in a mom large.

I know my sister's and my inability to pick up after ourselves drove my mom crazy. And who can blame her. Single mother, working hard, and her two intelligent, thoughtful daughters can't muster up the energy to keep their mess in check. I'm impressed all she did was yell.

I want to do whatever I can to avoid this struggle for cleanliness between Eloise and me. So I've made a point of singing songs* as I clean-up small messes, or putting on good music to clean a whole room. I'll use the vacuum to suck up her shirt to make her laugh. I read a tip saying that when your baby is old enough, get them to help with the cleaning. If they throw all their food on the floor - no problem, but when you're done with the meal, get the kid down there with you helping to sweep up.

I don't know if what I'm doing is going to have any impact in the long run, but this past week Eloise has snuck baby wipes behind my back and started wiping whatever surfaces she could find. The other day while I was wiping the food that missed her mouth off of her highchair, I turned around to find her wiping my chair clean with a baby wipe. And you better believe I praised the shit out of that behavior. My voice shot up 8 octaves "Good Girl! Are you cleaning? You are so clever! Mama's little helper! That is some REALLY GOOD CLEANING ELOISE".

So of course now that she has shown an interest in wiping down surfaces I am doing what I can to show my support as a mother in what my daughter enjoys. Which lead me to what happened yesterday when I found myself sitting on my fat ass with my feet propped up drinking a cup of coffee while my child was on her knees below me mopping the floor with her own toilet paper.

*Does anyone know of any good clean-up songs apart from that horrible "Clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere.." that makes me want to punch myself in the head?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How can I be lonely when she never leaves me alone?

The other day a grandmother at one of the morning play groups Eloise and I go to asked me if I find motherhood lonely. Now you know you're giving out super happy content-with-my-life vibes when a stranger who is currently spending her well earned retirement as an unpaid babysitter asks you if you could use a friend.

And sure, I guess I've been a little mopey lately because I'm unemployed and our savings are slowly seeping out of our bank account and I'm trying to stretch the household income as much as possible which means being frugal and not pampering myself as much (two things I am not good at) - but am I lonely? A 1 year old doesn't really give you time to be lonely, do they? I finish my day with Eloise and my feet hurt from running around with her and my cheeks hurt from smiling and my heart hurts from adoring.

And while I do sometimes need to make sure I get some adult conversation into my day I can think of quite a few people that are far less interesting to talk to than my 14-month old who knows all of 7 - wait - is meow a word, or a sound? - 6 words.