Friday, October 3, 2014

How to wake a mummy.

To my little Bean,

So much time has passed since I last wrote to you, so much has happened, you have grown and changed so much! But instead of being oerwhelmed with the thousands of amazing things you can now do and with having to tell you about the kind of little boy you are as a two-and-a-bit year old, I'm just going to write you a short one about just one beautiful thing you are doing right now, that I hope I will never forget.

This is usually how things end up when I try to have a nap :) 

A few months ago, we started to wake you from your naps after a designated time. Some days it is easy, some days it is tough. I always strive to do it when you are in a phase of light sleep, where a simple, 'Hello, beautiful boy!' or a stroke of your cheek might be enough to rouse you. Sometimes, though, you are very hard to wake. On these days, I gently take off your car blankie, stroke your hair, speak to you very quietly about all the wonderful things we will do that afternoon, gently draw circles on your cheek in the same way that I remember my mum doing to me... And I sing you a little song. Usually it is the song that I just came up with one day when you were very little and has grown and grown into a full song ('My beautiful blue-eyed boy, Oh how I love you, I really really do...' etc), sometimes it is Bob Marley (no idea why...), sometimes it is a song from Playschool.

You, gently helping your puppy dog go to sleep, humming a lullaby.
Each and every morning, now, you end up in our bed. Often you have been there, sandwiched between your daddy and I for a couple of hours, but occasionally you wait until a very respectable time before you pitterpatter out of your room and climb on in. When you decide that it is time for me to wake up, you start stroking my arm. Very very gently, from my shoulder all the way to my fingertips. You whisper to me, 'time to get up' and sweep the hair from my face, brushing my cheeks, occasionally sticking your finger up my nose (you are two, after all). It is the most perfectly beautiful way for me to wake in the mornings, and is absolute testament to the gentle and loving boy that you are. You then quietly whisper about how we can play trains and aeroplanes, about how it is time for Mummy, Daddy, Ruben and Baby Victor (our friend's have a little baby named Victor, and no matter how many times we correct you, this little baby in my belly is called 'Victor' to you!) to have breaky, and it is time to get up. Every single time, you put a smile on my face.

You are just such a beautiful boy and I could not love you an ounce more.

Love Mummy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Enjoying You

Hello there, my little boy blue,

I was writing to a good friend today about how much joy you give me lately, and I figured I should tell you too! It really seems to me that from the moment you were born, life with you (and you yourself!) just keeps getting better and better, more and more fun. Really truly ruly.

I watch you run your funny little run, where you run side to side, sashaying down the hallway.

I watch you laugh your big bellied, full bodied laugh when I become a tickle monster, telling me to stop and then asking for more.

I watch your wonderful little sideways grin when you tell a joke, calling a fire truck a bus, an apple a pear, a jumper pants, just so that I will laugh, call you silly and tickle you. 

I watch you playing with your cars or your trains, singing Happy Birthday, or Happy Talk, or Heads and Shoulders, or Rockabye Baby in your own wonderful, beautiful way. 

There are times when I can't take my eyes off our interlocking hands when we are walking down the street, knowing your hand will never be that small again.

I watch you sleep, your perfect little legs splayed apart, your five dummies scattered around you, your little koala shirt riding up to reveal the whitest, softest little belly, rising and falling.

I just want to breathe all of you in, every day, and not forget what you are like right at this moment.

I love you.
Love Mummy

Friday, May 30, 2014

Times, they are a-changing.

Possum! You are TWO!
Three days old
We even managed to celebrate your two-ness, amidst the absolute chaos of moving house. But until the adult you approves of me plastering naked photos of you all over here, there are very few internetable photos as evidence of this... You and clothes are simply not friends at the moment, you see. I do my best to get pants (or at least undies!) on you by the time somebody arrives at our door, and anything else is a real bonus! But really, who wouldn't want to run around blowing and popping bubbles with no clothes on... I get it... :) Now you sing happy birthday to the cornflakes, to your trains, to your bobby car, to a banana...
Two years old! 
While you don't seem to be such a fan of clothes right now, you definitely seem to love our new house. Never before have I been so aware that my own happiness is dependent on yours. What if you had hated it? If you spent the whole time crying and begging for our old house, unable to sleep in your bed whatsoever... what would we have done? Instead, you love your new room, which is now big enough to hold a bunch of your toys, and where you will happily play on your own for minutes at a time! Multiples of minutes! In a totally different room to me! Wowsers. And while listening to Komm Sing Mit for 45 minutes, you will play with your cars and trains and stickers, quietly singing along, totally independently. This has me gobsmacked, when only a couple of weeks ago I needed to hold your hand while you played with your playdough (quite a feat). I think perhaps it is because you always know where I am here. Everything is open, you can always see me, you feel safe.

Your new style of play keeps you VERY busy! 
Every morning, I almost cry from the overwhelming love that I feel for you when you quietly pop out of bed, pat pat pat pat next door to our room, tentatively stand at the door and say, "Mummy?" and wait for me to pull the covers back. Then in you come, snuggle your little body in so tightly against mine (with Arnold, your car cushion, Ubu the dog and as many dummies as you can hold), and close your eyes. This morning, I whispered a little "Good morning" in your ear, and you whispered it back to me. I then whispered "I love you" and you whispered it back. My goodness, it must be simply impossible for one human being to love something more than I love you.

It was a pretty good morning in all, my love, because you also lifted up my shirt and gave the baby in my belly a kiss and a little gentle rub. Each morning I take my prenatal vitamins (breakfast for the baby) and you have also started to want to take tablets for the 'Baby in Ruben's belly'. Lucky that an oat puff is a decent tablet substitute to you! You are going to be the most beautiful big brother, my beautiful boy.

I love you so much, little one. And still, every day, you amaze me.
Love Mummy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

23.5 months: "What's tha-at?"

Hello my beautiful boy.

You are such a little boy now, it blows my mind. You are so far away from the little baby that you were just six months ago... You are almost two years old, and I fear that when you turn two, life will be utterly crazy and I will not be able to write to you. We are moving house on your birthday! Your Daddy is away for the five days leading up to it, and I am away for the four days directly after it, so... yes, wish us luck...

But I wanted to tell you about the little person that you have become, the way that I used to do your monthly updates during your first year.

Things You CAN DO NOW!
You are potty trained! Much to our absolute shock and awe. It was no drama whatsoever and accidents are now very very rare. You sometimes will even go on the big toilet if we are out in a restaurant! Amazing! You are also now sleeping in a big boy bed - though it is just your cot with the rails taken away. You love being able to climb into bed when you want to, and we love that you regulate yourself this way so well. There is also the language explosion! Counting to 'twentwy!' and constantly asking, "What's tha-at?" and doing your best to imitate our answer. It amazes me how you can then remember if after asking only once! You are a little parrot, copying everything everyone says, like, "That was a big one!" and "Don't worry, Grandpa.". You are mixing your German and your English with things such as, "Flugzeug in the sky!" and "Jump on the Bahnhof?"

Ice-cream headache!
Things You Love:
Talking. You are a chatterbox, when there are not too many people around! Singing the Crocodile song, Guten Morgen and Mister Frog. Jumping in puddles, playing fussball with Daddy, jumping on the cushions once we put them on the floor, watching Chuggington (only the one with the monkeys), going to the farm to look at the tractors (you couldn't care less about the cows...). And yoghurt and cheese. Still. You are a little obsessed with the new gelateria that just opened in the middle of the village too... but are mostly very happy getting to look through the window!

Things You Hate:
Balloons, tunnels (in the playground. On the train they are cool!), loud noises and people, crowds, unpredictability

Who You Are:

Little one, I could not be more proud to be your mama. You are a quiet boy, a very very gentle soul who can also be incredibly cheeky. You are affectionate and very cautious, making sure you have really assessed any situation or person before you put any trust in them whatsoever (like making eye contact). When we are with our friends, you are in your element, but there can't be too many people at once. I think your birthday party, when we get around to it (?!) is going to have to be a pretty small affair for you to actually have a good time! From the first month of your life, I have always written that you are a very sensitive boy and a real thinker, and that has not changed. But now you make me giggle hysterically too.

I love you, my big boy!
Love Mummy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beans and Lentils

Dear Beanie,

I've been waiting quite a while now to write you this letter... I have half drafted it in my head during many early morning insomniac hours, and during these past eight weeks, its content has changed a lot.

You're going to be a big brother, you see! Writing that makes my stomach flip-flop and makes me go all wibbly wobbly, because I'm pretty scared about the whole thing, to be honest. I'm scared about a lot of things, and from what I hear, my fears are pretty normal... which I suppose is some consolation! Last friday, I had the twelve week ultrasound of the little lentil here inside my belly, and when I actually saw a real baby-looking baby turning around, somersaulting and moving its little arms and legs, I really started to believe it. For the first time. Twelve weeks is a long time to not really believe that you are pregnant...

The experience this time is so different to the last, when I was pregnant with you. For starters, I have a pregnancy journal that I kept with you, and I wrote in it very often, discussing all my dreams and desires for you, my fears and expectations of motherhood, all the things that were changing around me... being pregnant was all that I could think about. I wasn't officially working though (though I was spending many hours each day writing), and I had the luxury of being able to obsess and dream about you in there. Now, with this little lentil, I am trying very hard to spend at least one minute in the morning and two minutes in the evening focusing on my belly, focusing not on you, little bean, but on this new life growing inside of me. I keep meaning to start a journal, but not believing you are pregnant kind of makes it tough! I vow to start writing to the little lentil in the next few days though.

Things will have to change, and change will have to be pretty dramatic. You are my whole world at the moment... I try to remain balanced with sport and writing and other things to keep my sense of self, but really, you are my world. That is all that I have known since you were born, and that is all that you know. I am scared of how this will change, of how having a lentil will take me away from you, will stop me from being exactly what you need, because I just won't be able to be everything you need anymore. Already, things are different. I can't pick you up (you are SO heavy!) when you really need it. I can carry you sometimes, but not often. I can't carry you up all those stairs to our apartment, plus the shopping and whatever hoo-ha I also needed to bring (nappies, food, buckets and spades, spare pants, water bottle, etc), because my shoulder, my back, my heart and my lungs just seriously can't do it right now. So that means that no matter how tired or hungry or sad and in need of me that you are, we battle battle battle every time. This makes me sad... Yes, you need to learn that I can't do everything for you, you need to learn to be independent, etc etc etc, but there is a time and a place, and I miss being able to judge when is an appropriate time to teach you this lesson, and when it is better to just take you upstairs and put you to bed.

I am scared that you will resent the little lentil because it will take me away from you. Though you are an incredibly gentle and loving boy to other babies, and you have never shown any signs of jealousy if I am holding a friend's baby, I think it is only natural that it will happen, and I don't know what I will do when it does. I just hope that I also won't feel that I have been taken away from you. I just can't fathom what it will be like to have another child in my life, how I could possibly love them like I love you, and how I could possibly feel like I am doing enough and being enough when there are two of you to spread myself amongst.

I must admit that those first newborn months scare the pants off me too. I was definitely a floundering mess with you when you were so teeny, dealing with all that stress of our failed breastfeeding journey, and I don't know what I'll do this time, how I'll face those challenges, and how I'll do it all with your bubbly little toddler face around too. I know you'll cheer me up, though, that is your number one super power!

 All of this is not exactly super positive and excitable, is it?! But I suppose my letters to you have always been very honest, and it is important to me that I express how I feel to you while I am feeling it. I know that these feelings will change as the weeks roll on and my belly gets bigger, and already I am having twinges of being less scared and more excited about the whole thing. For example, those moments when you come up to my tummy, lift my shirt and very gently rub your hands over me, repeating that there is a baby in mummy's belly... that is when I envisage a beautiful life with two beautiful children who are loving towards each other, and who just have fun together. What more could I ask for?

We are hunting for a new apartment, my love, and I feel that once we have a new place, I will be less scared and more settled, with room in my mind and my heart to get super excited about this crazy new life that will be coming very soon! I will stop thinking about the difficulties of stairs with a toddler and a newborn. I will stop thinking about how I will have to squash your desires to explore and to be an adventurer, because it isn't 'the right time' to go outside right now -- we are trying to find a place with the outside right there and ready for you, anytime you want it. We will find a community with people and children all around us, where you will make friends with neighbours and we will build a new support network. Even imagining that is exciting to me!

I don't know what will happen to this blog, how it will change, what it will morph into, with a little lentil on the scene. I won't have much time, that's for sure! But these first three months of pregnancy have been rough, to say the least, so at least that is an introduction for how crazy things might become!

I could not love you more, my little one (I admit it, there's a little tear!).

Love Mummy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meeting Arnold

Dear Beanie,

There was a very very special parcel that arrived in the mail for you the other day. It was a parcel from your Nanny in Australia. She sent a couple of pairs of shorts (it is very handy to have someone who sends end-of-season sale items at the start of our season!), some easter eggs (of which you had one and went TOTALLY bananas asking for more! Chocolate is a very rare treat for you!), and Arnold.
Meeting Arnold in the flesh for the first time

Arnold is the first ever doll that your Nanny has knitted. You and I have been watching him grow and change over Skype for the past few months, and you became quite obsessed with him, always asking for Arnold the moment Nanny popped up on the screen, and often asking me if we could 'Call Arnold'.
Arnold LOVES dancing!
But Arnold wasn't meant for you. Arnold was meant to be sent to Africa as part of this amazing project that sends handmade dolls to African children. Since Arnold's completion, he has gotten a couple of siblings, but you've never really shown an interest in them like you have in him. I know it would have been a tough decision for Nanny to send him to you, who is in no way starved for toys, instead of sending him to Africa, but WOW WOW WOW your complete and utter joy at finding him inside that package...

But one day, Arnold will find his way to Africa... so long as you don't love all of the stuffing out of him first!

I love you, little boy. And I love your Nanny too! And you love Arnold.
Love Mummy.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Trusting You

Good morning, little bean!

I think one of my absolute favourite things in the world is when you look at me and say, 'Good morning, darling!'. Coming in close second is when you giggle your little head off and say 'Gesundheit!' when I sneeze. Could you be any more loveable?
Seems I'm not the only one that loves you! 

The longer that I am a mother -- the longer that you have existed in this world -- the more that I am learning to trust you. It is a wonderful feeling, to realise that you are such a good self-regulator (you have actually started to tell us when it is bedtime, and you go into your room, sit on the chair and ask for your book!), and that I can stop worrying so much about what I am doing, the impacts of my decisions, the terrible five-year fall-out of letting you go to sleep with a bottle for those two nights...

For instance:

- Sometimes you go a week, it seems, without touching a vegetable. I can try to trick you or disguise them in any number of exotic ways, but you see through me. I am learning that instead of stressing about this, I just keep putting them in front of you. And then, around about once a week, you have a total fruit and vegetable GORGE. Purees, soups, muffins, fresh, whole and chopped, grated, in quiche, in waffles, in pasta... I just have to let you be.

- You 'should' (ugh that word makes me shudder) be having about 500ml of milk now, and not from a bottle. Some days you have only 150. Some days you seem to have about a litre. Some days you have none at all in the night. Some days you have it ALL in the night. I know now that you have your reasons. When you are teething badly, it somehow helps. And that's okay by me. Whatever gets us through.
A cute photo... just because... So serious!
- Some days you don't want to walk. We will go out and you will remain entirely in the pram, never wanting to explore, not wanting to play at the playground, not wanting to chase after that puppy. Instead of thinking about how this will impact our night, and how you need to exert energy so that you will sleep, I just have to leave you be. I know that there are some days where I'd give the world for my mummy to push me around while I just zone out and watch the birds.

- You get very overwhelmed by a lot of people. I am learning that instead of always trying to do 'what is good for you' and what I think 'will be fun', I should let you decide what will be fun. So now we don't go to the Monday morning krabbelgruppe (playgroup?) here, as it has ballooned to about thirty people, and it is pretty clear that you don't want to be there. Now I ask you if you'd like to go, and you say very clearly, 'NO krabbelgruppe! NO!' I suppose this is the same lesson as when we stopped swimming. Now instead, we focus on catching up with friends and socialising with kids in smaller groups in an unstructured way. You enjoy this so much more, which means that I do too.
Kisses with one of your favourite friends
We've all been in struggle town a bit lately, my love. But the Spring sunshine (I love that you now declare it a sunshiny day!) is bringing life back into our household, the snowdrops are well and truly blooming, and we are all shaking off the cobwebs of grey foggy days. And you always bring a smile to my face, little one.

I love you!
Love Mummy.