Sunday, 11 December 2011

What I think about when I'm away on business

I think about how insanely relaxing and liberating it is to travel without a child who is wont to run down the aisle screaming to try and open the airplane door and "get off de plane!". I think about how nice it is to have a drink and not have to worry about being responsible for the life of the person you love most while mildly inebriated. I think about how peaceful it is to fall asleep knowing that the only culprit for a potential bad night's sleep is mine and mine alone - no toddler at 2am calling for mummy. I think about how great it is to have a meal that is hot and without worry about what my toddler might do to put in question my parenting skills.

And I think about how you are growing without me, how your accent sounds that much more English when I speak to you on the phone. I think about how my heart breaks when you tell me: "see you tomorrow!" and I know you won't see me for 5 more days. I think about what your grasp around my neck will feel like when I come home and pick you up from nursery after more than a week away. I think about the tears that will sting my eyes at how more worried you seem about where I am and when I'm leaving than you were before I went away. I think about the single parent mode I am putting your father through. But mostly I think about how much I miss you. I miss you calling me a pretty princess when you like what I wear, I miss you pretending to fall asleep and snore and making me laugh so hard I have tears in my eyes, I miss you holding my face in both your hands when you sleep next to me, and I miss you telling me that you love me.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

2 ans avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Oh Eloise. My Eloise. No. Not my Eloise. You are very much your own. I know how commonplace and slightly boring it can be listening to parents go on about the mundane tasks their mini person can achieve, but it is hard to explain just how rewarding and inspiring it is to see someone who you created, who went from not being able to keep their own head from snapping off their neck to a little girl who tells me that a cow goes moo and puts her shoes on her own feet and who not only washes her own hands and dries them, but wipes down any drops of water she spilled in the process. A little girl who makes me laugh - intentionally and often unintentionally. A little girl who can challenge my patience, energy levels and priorities. A girl who can make me feel like the most beautiful and cherished woman in the world with the most gentle of cuddles.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep up these letters. I am more and more aware of the person you are becoming and I worry that you’ll be angry with me for over divulging our lives. But while I’m not sure how long I will keep this blog out there for the world to see, I do know I will always write you. I am the mother who will cry each time I see you sing in a choir. I will cry when you give me your first handwritten mother’s day card. Hell, I’ll probably cry the first time you get your period, so we both have that to look forward to. I’m a heart-on-my-sleeve, emotional sort, and becoming your mother has simply made my sentimental heart expand ten-fold. So I will always need to put my feelings for you into words. To not only let you know how much you mean to me, but to help me figure out how to handle having my heart live outside of me.

I wonder where we will be living, what you will be wearing, the day you start reading these letters. What will your voice sound like? What will your hair look like? What size shoe will you be wearing? What music will you be listening to? What will you feel when you read all that I have written about you? I just...well, to quote a man that makes far more money than me for the words he writes: I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you're in the world.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Vingt-troisieme Mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise -

Man, on your bad days you push me to limits of patience I have never been pushed to before, by far the most challenged I have ever been is during one of your tantrums, but on your good days? There is no one else in this world I would rather hang out with.

Your language is INSANE. All of the sudden you are speaking in sentences, bossy slightly caveman-esque sentences, but sentences none the less. Sit DOWN mummy. Daddy, no sing. Eloise singing. Eloise no like it. Mummy dance. Mummy running. Shhhh,Rabbit sleeping. Thank you Mummy!

And then of course there is the ultimate: I love you!!! ( I loff OOOO)

As these tantrums get more intense, you find a corner and just loose your shit - throwing whatever you can get your hands on, banging whatever surface is within reach, producing strange frustrated sobs, I am becoming aware that while the hard bits get harder, the good bits get AWESOME. To hear you tell your father and I that you love us? Makes the tantrums worth it. Ok, maybe not worth it, but tolerable. Really completely tolerable.

You are becoming less and less Eloise, my baby, and more and more Eloise the Person. Eloise, the half French Amercian born in England. Eloise the little girl who asks for cereal in the morning and ham at night. Eloise who loves Snow White and owls and cats and dogs and Nancy Sinatra's Sugar Town.

And yes, there are moments when I miss Eloise the baby, the little being so dependant on me, but that is eclipsed entirely by the pure elated joy I feel every day at meeting a little bit more of Eloise the person.

You amaze me. Je t'aime.

Mummy, Mommy, Mama, Maman,

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Vingt-deuxieme mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

(Photos to come soon(ish) - still working on this whole job/home/blog balance)

Thank you Eloise. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have made this transition between stay-at-home mom to “working mom” (starting to hate that term - like what I did with you the past 21 months wasn’t work?) (incredible work by the way - best job ever) so much easier than I thought it would be. And sure it hasn’t been entirely smooth, but I was expecting far worse. I should have given you a bit more credit, for being the adaptable and curious child that you are.

So far you haven’t cried when either your father or I have dropped you off at your nursery (By the way BIG UPS to your Daddy for doing more than his fair share in getting us all to our new jobs on time and back home in one piece each night). You’ve been clingy, which is fine, because let’s face it, I’ve been clingy too. But after you’ve stayed in my arms for a while, wrapping your arms tight around my neck, you take a look around, and I talk about how good the breakfast is going to be and how much fun it looks like your friends are having, and oh! Did you see those jungle animals hanging out and being awesome over there? And then you slowly release your grip and get swallowed up by different loving arms.

You have however had a handful of more difficult nights. It’s like you bottle up all your frustrations at having to deal with this change and save it for when you get home and you can unleash it on the two people you’re closest to. I guess we all do that. But to see you so angry with me was a hard pill to swallow. We’d finally wrestle you into your pyjamas (some nights literally wrestle - 2 against 1 and even then it would take your father and I 10 minutes to get you dressed, you got some moves kid) and then after reading 8 stories I’d turn out the light and hold you while you finished your glass of milk. You would pull my face close to yours, so that our cheeks were pressed up together, and then you’d keep pulling and pulling. Trying to get me even closer. I mean, I would have had to swallow you whole to get any closer. And then you got mad. Mad that we weren’t more together. And you started clawing at my face and hitting me - things I would normally scold you for doing, but this time I just let you do it. Let you get the frustration out of your little body and into the scratches on my face. And then you called out for Daddy and he came to finish putting you to bed while I went into my room and cried.

Luckily we’ve only had a few nights like this. On the whole you’ve been an absolute star and I can see in your social skills and language skills what a great effect nursery is having on you. And I’m really enjoying my new job, it is interesting and challenging and creative and I love that I am pushing myself in different directions. But make no mistake Eloise, the worst fucking part of this job is being away from you.

Je t’aime. Super hard kid.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Then these things happened

The in-laws came over for a quick visit and we dyed easter eggs and then went searching for them in the garden wearing a colonial inspired dress from Grandma and Grandpa's trip to Mississippi.

Then Eloise and I had a little day out together in Nottingham, visiting the Contemporary Museum and having a picnic on the market square.

Then we somehow managed to secure a patriotic hat and flag and watched much more of the Royal Wedding than we planned on. But there were horses, and cars, and pretty! So we waved our flag and wished the happy couple all the best.

Then we went to a nearby pub which had chicken and ducks in the garden and were giving away free! tiaras and we ate sausages and "royal" mushy peas with mint sauce.

Two ladies in waiting...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Vingt-et-unième mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise


I have recently been reminded of how precious and fragile this life is, and it makes me all the more thankful for you, and for the chance I have to write these letters to you. You have been a wonderful distraction while I mourn a friend, wiping away my tears and helping me to laugh again.

You seem to have shot up in size once more, I just noticed today how your legs seem to dangle from your highchair as if they should belong to a much older child. I could spend my whole life (and indeed I plan to) studying the different expressions your face can make. Every once in a while I catch you making a face that gives me a glimpse of the young woman you will become and it makes me equal parts ecstatic and scared poopless.

You are starting to build proper relationships with your little friends - calling them by name, shouting No! No! No! at them when they don’t play the way you want to, giving them unprompted hugs to say goodbye. At the moment I can safely say you run with a good crowd. I’m sure all parents worry about their children’s choice in friends - I know first hand how much damage a manipulative friend can cause - but if your early choices in mates is anything to go by, your Father and I will have nothing to worry about (ha!).

Some changes are going to happen around here soon, and it breaks my heart that I can’t sit you down and explain it all to you, that instead one day you’ll just see less of me and you’ll wonder why. To make the most of our time together before I become a full-time working mother, I took you out on a date, just me and you. You were an absolute star and I couldn’t have had a better time. In homage to your namesake we spent the night at the (Park) Plaza in Nottingham (the Presidential Suite Daaahling). We rode up and down the elevators and ordered roomservice with giant linen napkins wrapped around our necks. We went shopping and went out for lunch where all the grandparents sitting around us commented on how well behaved you were. We walked around the castle grounds, chasing squirrels with security guards and playing with little boys in school uniforms. In the morning we had coffee and milk in bed while reading the paper, then went down stairs for breakfast where the hotel staff fawned all over you. We went to the Museum of Nottingham Life and had the whole museum to ourselves, playing with dolls, opening kitchen drawers and walking through caves. I think my favorite moment was buying a copy of Vanity Fair for me and a jug of milk for you and watching you walk down Maid Marion Way carrying your milk and weaving in and out of the people trying to get home from work.

I feel so fortunate to bear such close witness to the person you are becoming, to see you stand taller and taller as you make your own path through the crowds.

Je t'aime.

Maman (Mummy) (Mama)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mothering style in 1000 words

This picture perfectly demonstrates my parenting style. There's clutter. There's a "cubby" where I apparently think it is appropriate to store bubbles and booze. There's a pile of recycling that only needs to be taken a few feet outside but still hasn't made it out there. My kid is wearing a cardigan with her name tag on from a song class she had been to a few days prior. Her hair looks like Pebbles from the Flintstones because some days I feel like making her (and me) look spruced up but I'm not actually that good at it (though far better than her Father). She has apricot jam on her face but she's also eating homemade spelt bread and local honey. And the person taking this picture is a little bit tired and a lot happy.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Mummy Eloise

Ah, remember the early days of being a mother to an infant?

Having to carry your baby with you everywhere.

You could barely find time to feed yourself, let alone keep your eyes open while doing it.

Having to constantly help prop their heads up.

And don't get me started on how old and tired it made you feel.