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29/52 – Sunshine and lollipops

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Enjoying a lollipop on the stairs. We limit sweet treats in our house, at least the kind you don’t make yourself and the kind that’s full of sugar and e-numbers. They are for special occasions and weekends, but boy, do you enjoy them when you get them!  Lollipops are a recent favourite. Water melon flavoured lollipops. Sticky goodness. 

28/52 – Sunshine after the rain

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life

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Anakin: That smile. I just can’t go past it. 

***

I had initially chosen another photo for this week, but after some deliberation and in light of the past few days, I ended up choosing this bright smile. During moments of feeling like I’m absolutely failing at motherhood it is this smile that brings me back. That little face that just beams up at me and forgives me for letting myself momentarily slip. I get that it’s not easy being little, being 2,5 years old with big emotions and not always finding ways of expressing them. I get that it’s hard to see mamma and pappa tired and stressed, and to feel that sometimes you’re just in the way or not even properly seen in the whirlwind of the day. I get it. It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

I get that we far too often use too many words, words that are too big, and that we pick the wrong battles when all we really should be doing is listening to you as you struggle to tell us that you aren’t feeling that great either, that you need some undivided attention, that your screaming and bickering is just your way of saying “I’m here too! I’m feeling this too!” And I’m sincerely sorry for those moments when it all falls to pieces. It haunts me and I struggle to remind myself that my failures are so small in the bigger picture.

This too shall pass, my love. Tomorrow is a new day. Sunshine after the rain.

I love you always. xx Mamma

27/52 – Helicopter

A portrait of my son once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life.

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Anakin: I often find you quietly pottering away in your play area. You’ll get your stepladder and pull it down the stairs and over to the small table. When I ask you what you’re doing you say “I’m riding a helicopter! Do you want to come along?”  A piece of plastic becomes your steering wheel, you find other bits and pieces and place around it, all of utmost importance for the helicopter to work of course. 

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I didn’t take many photos last week. It was just one of those weeks again. Everyone had too much to do and with the really bad weather, cabin fever. While this is by far not the best photo of the lot, it is definitely the one that describes Anakin the best these days. His imagination astounds and thrills me every day. I can not wait to hand in my Masters in a couple of weeks and finally take some time off to dedicate to him and him alone. (And cleaning this pigsty of a house that has been neglected for too long!)  While there is still much work to be done before the exhibition that follows, I know that I’ll be better able to be fully present once I hand in this brick of an exegesis. If anyone ever thought doing a postgraduate degree while caring for a kid full-time was a walk in the park they would need their head checked. Then after comes the great unknown, I suppose. The great unknown swimming in a sea of debt. One foot forward at a time, right?

26/52- Stumps and ghosts

A portrait of my son once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Standing on a tree stump in the corner of our yard wearing my rain hat and reciting a rhyme about ghosts. This stump is the designated spot for this rhyme. As much as possible it is performed on one leg.

***

Some days just last forever and seem to test every fibre of your being. Today was one of those days. We’ve had a week where none of us has slept very well, I got the flu, my partner has been incredibly busy and Anakin has tested his toddler rage to the limits. The rage I saw tonight I have never seen in my sweet, little boy before. So much frustration and no proper way of letting it out. Somehow I managed to find my most calm self and ride it out while letting him rage in my arms. It’s ok to be angry. Sometimes I think I should be better at telling myself the same things I tell my son. It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be angry and frustrated as long as you don’t hurt anyone or yourself. I’ll sit right here with you until you feel better. It took a few very deep breaths and a every bit of patience I could muster, but we got there. And we got there in the best way where no one was left feeling scared, ignored or shameful.  And in the end everyone could enjoy story time, good night songs and cuddles.

Now all we have to do is ride out the storm outside. Stay safe and stay warm.

25/52 – Prince Charming

A portrait of my son once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life.

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Anakin: My Prince Charming. You’re such a gentle soul with a heart far bigger than your body. I cut my finger cooking today and you noticed it at the dinner table. You asked for a tissue and started to wipe my cut with such a gentle touch. You periodically peeked under the tissue to see if it was still there before you lifted it, smelled it and said “It smells like ouch. Are you ok, mamma? There’s blood, did you hurt yourself? I’ll make it better for you.” 

You’ve got so much love, so much care for the people around you. When I tell you we’re going to see someone the first thing you say is how much you’ll cuddle them and how much you’re looking forward to it. And you do, you give the biggest hugs and make the people around you aware of how happy you are to see them. 

I burst with pride, awe and love at the little things you do without ever being asked to do so. Like saying thank you for dinner when we finish at the table or making sure pappa gets an ice cream before you do. 

One of my favourite things these days is how your hands find my neck in the morning, you cuddle closer for a while before you start stroking my back. When I turn around and open my eyes you press your face to mine and smile so big your eyes beam. You start whispering about things you want to do and games you want to play. I can’t imagine waking up without you next to me. I can’t imagine a life where you aren’t the first and the last thing I see every day. 

24/52 – Gardener

A portrait of my son once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of life

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Anakin: So happy to be outside, so happy to sweep, rake and enjoy the crisp winter air. 

***

I hardly took any photos this last week. I’m so wrapped up in the six last weeks of my candidature and all that entails. Half the time I can’t remember where anything is or what it is exactly that I am meant to be doing. I think it comes with the territory. It makes me even more grateful to have my boys around me to ground me and to reassure me that everything is going to be ok. And it  is. I know I have made some great works and I am so excited to show them to the world in September. But first, there’s the exegesis to finalize. And it’s so close I can almost taste it, but every day I grow a little more tired and a little more unfocused. The end is near. And how sweet it will be to finally birth this Master’s degree.

23/52 – Winter

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Suddenly it’s winter. It seems like only yesterday we had warm days running around in t-shirts in that delightful autumn sun. This past week has been all about gardening. We got you a wheelbarrow (well, really your grandparents did, they paid for it!) and you’ve been busy raking leaves and dumping them in the corner of the yard. We should definitely get you more practical gifts more often. Perhaps a small vacuum or mop next? 

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What are some winter activities you do with your kiddos? Do you find yourself spending more time indoors or do you just layer up and get out as much as you can?

887 days – Goodbye and thanks for all the milk

887 days. 2 years, 5 months and 5 days.

Feed time

It’s the end of an era.

For 887 days I breastfed you. And for most of that time it was a beautiful thing we shared, my body nourishing and protecting yours. One of the best choices I ever made was to keep going for as long as I thought was best, to give you what you needed until I could give it no more. We’ve had some resistance you and I, opinionated people who for some reason think it’s gone on too long. Who think it’s their business to comment on and who have no knowledge of the benefits of it all, for us both. Some have thought it was selfish, others have thought it was too selfless, but we stuck with what we wanted and believed in.

I always wondered when it would come to an end. I guess I somehow thought it would happen on its own, that you would somehow lose interest and that would be it. But you didn’t.

And lately it became uncomfortable and even painful. Those moments we shared became less and less enjoyable for me. And as much as I’ve hated to do it I’ve had to say enough with a gentle nudge so we could move closer to ending that last one we shared every day. It pains me to hear you cry and see the grief and sorrow on your face.  Even offering a million hugs won’t take away that loss, I know that, but believe me when I say I can do it no more. If I could I would.

You always were a boobies boy.  We had a good run, baby.

It’s time to say goodbye and thanks for all the milk.

 

Boobies

22/52- Little Big one

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: I look at you and wonder how someone so little can seem so big. I watched you run down the street in front of me today, listened as you told me about everything around us. The way you describe things, the words you use and sentences you make are nothing short of astounding. Then as you curl up in my lap later in the day for a cuddle wearing nothing but a nappy you are again so little, so soft, so warm and ever so much my baby. 

You are so complete in every way, yet still so fresh. How lucky am I to get to watch it all unfold. 

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I’ve been having a slow and strange week hence the late 52 post. My head has been in my postgraduate work and in editing a new image I shot on the weekend, which I have fallen head over heels in love with. There’s much bubbling and many things happening around here, one of which is that I’ve finally kicked myself up the bum and started going to the gym. (I know, crazy, right?) I find I blog while I cook and while I clean, but I never make it to the computer these days. No excuses, I know.

21/52 – Autumn light

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Now that life outdoors is once again liveable we make the most of it when we can. We collect leaves and bark for various crafty projects, take slow walks (because nothing is ever fast with a toddler unless it’s something you shouldn’t be doing), poke things with sticks and chase the cats around the yard. 

Autumn is such a great time, especially here. The grass sighs with relief and turns green once again as the scorching heat gives way to rain and milder days. Flowers bloom, trees flower and the colours are breathtakingly beautiful all around. And don’t get me started on the light.

When I lived in Norway autumn was preparation for hibernation, endless darkness and long, heavy days. It signified the entry into long months of not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Since moving here the years pass in a different manner. There are no tunnels without light, no hibernation. and no desire to give in or give up. Australia, you are good for the soul. 

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