Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Outside, the night is cold; the sky black, bejewelled.  The smouldering tangerine sun set hours earlier, before dinnertime.  During the day, the sun was warm but the air cool; bright leaves lay in piles, untouched in places, and crisped at the edges like toast.

Soon, burnt orange pumpkins will be plucked from the ground, carved, and filled with glinting lights.  Colours will explode in the sky and sparklers will be held in gloved fists; names written excitedly in the air.  Fires will blaze; marshmallows will be torched then devoured, their centres gooey.

Snow may fall, later.  Endless crystals dropping to Earth, concealing its blemishes in pristine white.  Children will marvel at it, use it to form men, slide down it; muddy its edges.  Then, it will vanish, melt away like it never existed at all.  Fires will roar inside darkened rooms; cocoa will be sipped.

The promise of Christmas will bloom, bringing with it golds and reds; lights, spices, trees, and gifts.  Food will be consumed in abundance, drink will flow.  Children will burn brightly inside, glow like the flickering candles reflected in their faces. Count days off on their fingers, or calendars.  Letters will be answered by Santa, who will squeeze into homes, leave bundles of excitement beneath the tree and watery footprints, if you look closely enough. 

The most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Happy Birthday, Sonny

Dear Sonny,

This time last year, I was in hospital, midway through an induction that couldn't be continued overnight due to a staff shortage.  Everybody was giving birth that evening.  I was uncomfortable; annoyed at being 13 days overdue; miserable at the thought of Daddy's imminent departure, and starting to doubt that I was even pregnant anymore.  I just wanted to go home.

30 minutes later, I was in labour.  Daddy had just left, was probably not even home yet.  The midwife had also disappeared and so I spent a while texting my best friend in Dubai, trying to pass the time.  Hours passed and the pain increased to the extent where I was certain you were about to make an appearance.  I called the midwife, begged her to examine me, which she eventually did.

"4cm," she said, smugly.

She gave me paracetamol and a sleeping tablet and told me to get some rest.  It was 10:30pm.

By midnight, I knew it was the real thing; knew you really were on your way.  I begged the staff to let me call Daddy, and he arrived shortly after 12:30.  We were given a side room as all the delivery suites were busy.  We were left alone.

A lot of what happened between midnight and 4am is a blur of ineffective pain relief methods - TENS machine, a hot bath, codeine.  Nothing made a difference.  I asked for pethidine but the nurse wasn't qualified to administer it, said I would need to wait until I was in the delivery suite.  By the time a room was free, it was just after 4am and it was too late for pethidine so I opted for the only other thing on offer - gas and air.

It was so hot in that room.  Daddy kept opening the window when our student midwife left the room.  Every time she came back, she told him off and closed it again, said something about a risk of infection.  Daddy was also hot, and tired.  He fell asleep in the chair by the bed, and the midwife (called Amy, I think), kept leaving the room.  It was strange to be alone; Lucozade in one hand, entonox in the other.

At some point close to the time you were born, the midwife checked on your heart rate and I distinctly remember needing to know that you were ok.

"I love him," I said.  It was the first time I had said those words about you.

At 06.10am, on Friday 24th September 2010, you finally arrived.  It took all my energy and effort to get you into the World, with the threat of a caesarean hanging in the air.  Even in a confused state, I knew that you needed me to come through for you.

Your first cry was fractured but it was there.  I kept asking if you were alright; I asked Daddy, asked the midwives.  They all nodded, said of course, you were fine.  Your airways were cleared.  Then came the proper crying; the healthy, hungry yell.

You were wrapped in a towel and handed to me, wide awake, taking in your new surroundings.  Your lips and hands were blue; I kissed you and you were cold, so I held you closer.  You looked at me; you were so beautiful.

From that precious moment onwards, you were the best son in the World.  Daddy and I loved you immediately, off the scale.  So proud.  A boy!  A son.  We couldn't have been happier.

So there we have it, Sonny boy - the story of what happened this time last year.  The beginning of your beautiful life. 

You have changed so much already; you are a proper little boy now.  Gone are the baby days.  Sad, but necessary.  I am proud that YOU are my son, I would not want it any other way.

Thank you for an incredible year.  I hope you enjoy your presents in the morning; I hope we have chosen well!  I hope you read this one day and know how special you are.

I love you.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Mini is a bit of a tomboy.  She prefers trousers to skirts (because they're easier to climb trees in), shows no particular interest in Barbie dolls and make up (thank God), and loves to play football.

But she is still a girl. 

She looks beautiful in dresses, has the best pointy toes at ballet and likes to have her hair blowdried after her bath.

It really does bug me when people watch her climbing at the park and come over just to say that their daughter wouldn't do that because, "she's just too girly".

Females are allowed to be athletic, fit and strong as well as enjoying baking and painting their toes in pretty colours.

It isn't just boys who can climb, you know.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mini's Music

Daddy made Mini a CD for the car the other day.  About half of it is fairly unremarkable listening for a 2.5 year old; classics such as Humpty Dumpty, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow and The Wheels on the Bus.

The other half, however, is rather more unusual toddler fare.  The following songs have been personally picked out by Mini as being her favourites:

Jorge Regula by The Moldy Peaches
My Girl Lollipop by Bad Manners
Surfin' Bird by The Ramones
Something In The Way She Moves by The Beatles
I Got Love by The King Blues
Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers (known as "The Jasmine One" in our car)
Fuego by Bomba Estéreo
Mama Do by Pixie Lott
and her absolute favourite:  Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen.

The purpose of this post is to remind me just how special my little girl is.  So individual and funny; and she certainly has better taste in music than I do!