Posts tagged “Parenting

37

Self portrait at 37.

Mother, artist, wife, friend, daughter, sister. So many labels. Sometimes I forget who I am in it all. There are always voices talking and it’s rarely mine. There are hands touching, mouths drinking, my body always someone’s landscape. There are days, weeks, months I forget what I feel like when I am just me. What it feels like to just be. I am always on. Lifting, carrying, holding, soothing, teaching. So rarely still or at rest.

I have days I feel incredibly powerful. When I see the person I have become and she makes me proud. I see how I constantly strive to be better. I see how I push through no matter the obstacles and I feel stronger than ever.

I have days I feel like I am nothing outside my illness. That my darkness is all there is and that I am some sort of contagious disease. Days I fail to contain it. When the woman in the mirror is too flawed to show herself to the world. When I am all shadows and self loathing.

I have quiet days and loud days. Days I feel utterly alone and days I feel more loved than I ever have.

But through all the days I am thankful. Thankful for being me. At 37 I am better than I ever have been.


Jump cut 

It’s crazy how fast time passes. I used to think a week lasted forever. That was before kids of course. These days I can hardly wrap my head around a month.

It’s been three months since we welcomed our new daughter, Arya, into the world. Three months. And I haven’t even managed to write her birth announcement on the blog. Writing has always been a release for me but at the end of the day now all I want to do is to sink into the sofa and hope I am lucky enough to get an hour without anyone needing me. And honestly in that hour all I want to do is to stare blankly at a screen before I get up and resume my parenting.

They say better late than never so here she is, our Arya. Born at home on November 27th, 2016. Caught by her dad in the bathtub. Perfection.

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Dear Baby,

I don’t write much anymore. Not because I don’t want to but because time is never on my side. There is always something or someone demanding my attention. I must have written you a hundred letters in my mind already. That’s where I write these days while I juggle your siblings, work, house and the scraps of time that are left over for myself.

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I swore I would cherish every moment of carrying you but time has gone by so fast and now we are on the brink of locking eyes for the very first time. I’m not quite ready. I’ve still so much to prepare, to process and to memorize about you right where you are. I already know I’ll miss feeling you move inside me, the way you start up as soon as your siblings wake in the morning as if to say “hi”. You’re the last one. The very last seed I’ll grow and there is a great sadness in that. I already know the double-edged sword I’ll walk when you’re finally in my arms. The indescribable joy of every first and the gut wrenching sense of loss for every last. I’ve been there before. I thought your sister was our last but fate had other ideas. And as terrifying as that has been (and is) at times I am nothing but thankful.

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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I’m still finding my feet from last time and I worry that two arms will never be quite enough. I worry about the heartbreak that will follow for your siblings as they find me stretched even further. But I know we will have love abundance. I know there will be more smiles than ever before, more laughter and that my heart will positively burst with love for you all. I know that you will complete us and that there will never be any regrets. There are no regrets.

In a few weeks we will embark on a journey that will mark us for life. I trust you to know what to do. I trust myself to know what to do and this time I have placed that trust right where it needs to be. Right here, in the safety of our haven. We will be right here waiting, ready to catch you as you take your first breath of air.

Lots of love,

Mamma xx

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You are worth loving.

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I’m going to tell you a secret. As good as I am at taking care of other people (and I am damn good at it), I am absolute rubbish at taking care of myself. I will happily bend over backwards for people I love, I will go above and beyond to do nice things even for strangers to the point of stupidity, like working for free. (I mean seriously? What the hell? In what universe am I not worth paying for my professional services?) But I somehow just can’t do it for myself. It is as if I am blind to my own needs, or not even that because I see them, I’m just not capable of tending to them. Somehow it is ok for me to not be ok but it is not ok for anyone else to not be ok.

I have been running on empty for almost 2 years now. I live off the fumes from the few drops that somehow make it into my cup. I stumble, I fall on my face and I get back up again. Life has a funny way of piling on the chaos and even when I can do something about it, when I have the power to open my mouth and say “I am not ok with this. This is not good for me.” Or to voice what I need or accept an offer of help, I don’t. My space is not important. My welfare is not important. (But of course it is.) Somehow I have lost myself along the way or perhaps I was lost some time ago.

I remember when I was a little girl, or even when I was a teenager, I would come home shattered because someone I considered a good friend had done/said/or neglected to do something. My mother would ask me time and time again why I let these so-called friends walk all over me and treat me like rubbish. She would say “these people are not your friends. This is not what friends do to each other.” I would curl up and hurt for a bit and then find my feet again. I would patch myself up and open my arms back up to the very same people. Time and time again. Someone I used to know told me “You see the world through rose-tinted glasses.” I knew even then that this wasn’t true. I’ve never seen the world through rose-tinted glasses, I’m a harsh realist but I’ve somehow been able to cling onto this hope that people will do for me what I would do for them. “Do onto others” right?

I could tell you a long and heartbreaking story about how and why I became this person convinced that I am not worthy of the care I give others but I’ll let the details be and just give you the bigger picture. Just know that I know why. To that I am not blind.
Imagine that there’s a person in your life that keeps telling you, in one way or another, that you are not good enough or worth taking care of. You are not worthy of their unconditional love. To this person you are resistance. You are not folding or scraping the floor before them. You are not ‘easy’ because you have thoughts of your own, ideas and opinions. You are different. Though you still take every blow given, you somehow still get back up, limp on and won’t stay down. For years you seek approval and love, time or simply attention but… You are not worth it. You still have people telling you that you are but there is this one constant voice telling you you’re not. If you know anything about how the brain works you’ll know that your brain will latch on to the negative and interpret it as truth. These negative views become your own. You find yourself in relationships with people who treat you the same way, it’s like you seek them out but after a while even your stubborn brain has to admit that something isn’t right. So you start trying to fight it. You figure out that you don’t deserve this but you can’t make it stop. But because your brain is now in conflict you find yourself at war, a war with yourself. It’s an endless battle that will rage on and on, a battle that has many consequences and leaves many scars. And it’s more or less silent and invisible to everyone around you unless they look closely and know exactly what to look for. And all the while this person is still there to lash out under the false pretence of “caring”. And you take it. You say “oh but it might still change.” And you hurt. You cry more than anyone knows that you cry because it just won’t stop.

I bet you’re asking why I’ve held on, why I didn’t just shut the door, cut my losses and walk away and I’ll tell you. In my mind that would make me no better. And I know I am better. I am bigger and better.  I am more forgiving, I have the capacity to love above all hurt. I am nothing like them. I believe in second chances, I believe in redemption. I don’t believe in cutting people off and I don’t believe in burning bridges. And I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried so hard to protect myself as well as stay open. And it doesn’t work. It isn’t working.

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For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about taking a time out. Time for me, away from everything. I am tired, no, I am beyond exhausted and soon I will birth another baby who will need everything from me on top of what my other children do. For days I was looking at hotels and saying I was gonna book one. But I didn’t. I tormented myself because I found it more difficult than you can imagine to just do it because it was for me and only me. “It’s too much money. We can’t afford it.” I kept going in circles. “You need this. You need a break. If you don’t do it now it will never happen. But you’ll be lonely. You’ll get depressed. But you’re already depressed.” It was relentless. I sought approval and permission from my husband. Of course when he immediately said “Book it, you deserve this.” I still didn’t do it. After a horrendous half hour one afternoon that had me mopping up a couple of litres of water off the floor, changing a dripping wet toddler and trying to salvage the laundry all the while I had two hungry kids on my hands, dinner was running late, an achy pregnant body and a husband in Korea for a week I finally did it. I booked a hotel. I booked the one I really wanted, the one bedroom apartment in a hotel with a pool. Just for me. And I was immediately struck with guilt. Then a little bit excitement. And then the war began again.

I went to bed that night torn to pieces. I had to face head on why I was struggling so much to just plan a simple weekend away. The first one ever away from my kids. That there was the first hurdle. I’m an attachment parent. It doesn’t feel good or natural for me to leave my children when they are young. And Isis is still a baby in my eyes. Too young to leave. I sleep next to my children every night. It’s where I find my peace and that’s where I belong. But even I have had to admit to myself that I am not being the parent I know I am. They need me to take a time out too. My ghosts came creeping back out. Old ghosts that never stay away long enough to gather dust. Some time long after I went to bed a thought suddenly struck me. It hit me hard, clear as day amongst the raging chaos.

“You are worth loving.”

Suddenly something in me just clicked. Suddenly I realised that I have to close that door and it won’t make me anything like that person. I have to because I am worth loving. I deserve better. And if they really, truly want to know and love me, I am worth breaking down that door for. I am worth fighting for. I am worthy of unconditional love.

I won’t lie. I almost cancelled the whole thing. Because we can’t afford it. But I’ve held on. I’ve had to rationalise it all to myself again and again. My kids deserve this. They deserve a mother who can come back and really be present. Perhaps limping a bit less and most likely with a new spark in her eyes. But most importantly I deserve this. Not only the weekend away, but to walk away from years of emotional abuse. It’s about so much more than sleeping in a different bed for two nights. So. Much. More.

It’s time to admit that it’s ok to start loving yourself. I’m doing it for me and I’m doing it for them. Because nothing and no one matters more than  the family I have right here, right now with my husband. I owe it to them and I owe it to me.

And it’s ok to say enough is enough.

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Made from love, born into love.

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Sometimes a voice in your head tells you it’s coming even before it’s possible to really know that it is. Sometimes you ignore that voice because you’re not entirely sure you’re ready to hear what it’s saying. But that ball is still soaring through the air headed straight for you. And then it hits. 


I could tell you about the doubts, the weighing of options or the long talks. I could tell you about the pure exhaustion and the gut wrenching fear. I could tell you about the paranoia, the chaos or the loneliness. The physical pains, the weight of growing yet another life in an ageing body. 


But I’ll tell you about the unconditional love. The quiet excitement, the humble joy I feel for this growing baby. The pride I decide to carry this rounded body with. How i look forward to birthing, to meeting this beautiful, brand new person, to our first touch. But first to cherish these weeks and months ahead. The very last. An unexpected surprise. 


Made from love, born into love. 

Baby, you are wanted.

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Oh hello…

I’ve been a bad blogger. I dropped the ball. Not just fumbling at bit, just dropkicked it way out in the bush somewhere, out of sight. Time has kicked my ass the past 17 months. In all honesty life, the universe and everything has kicked me in the teeth the past 17 months but I’m still here trucking away. I’m like that weed you just can’t kill. Unless I self-destruct I seem to be able to survive just about any shit that comes my way. So much has happened. We built a house, we moved to a new city, my husband became a commuter, our son turned into a prepubescent thunderstorm at 4 and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Oh have I got stories for you…  Anyway, I’m not here to whine, just yet… I just thought I’d check in just in case you were still there wondering what the hell happened.

So in short, I now have 2 kids at home full-time, a husband I see on the weekends and sometimes briefly at night. (Except the past 1,5 week when he was at home recovering from surgery. It may sound funny but it was a luxury for us to have so much time together.) I’m still trying to run a handmade business on my own, get some form of freelance photography going, navigate and integrate in a new city as well as take care of my little banshees. I’ve been a snot covered, bug infested wreck for the past 3 weeks but if you’re a mum you’ll know that none of that changes anything. You still get up and do the shit that needs to be done you just do it feeling like you have the plague.

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And the 52 project? I suppose it’s still going. The photos are there, unprocessed mostly, just waiting for me to sacrifice something else to get to them.

But the new house is great. There’s a huge difference between having a hard time living in a mold infested shithole (no joke) and having a hard time living in a brand new house that’s yours. Somehow the hard times don’t seem as hard. Transitions are always tough. Once it gets better, once we get the hang of this new life, it will no doubt see sunshine it hasn’t seen in a long time. I can be patient. I can hold out.

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Pass me a tissue, I’ve got work to do.

 


31/52 – Happiness in little things

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: While shopping for new clothes: “I want a Batman.” “We’re not getting any new toys right now.” “No, I want a Batman shirt. That one, with a cape.” Who can argue with a boy wanting to be a superhero with a cape? I surely can’t. Go be a hero, little man!

***

31_52_Isis_webIsis: You love showers. While your brother loved his baths you definitely prefer showers with me. I fall crazy in love with your excitement. As soon as you’re undressed and understand it’s time to shower your little legs start kicking and you flex every muscle in your little body in anticipation. Afterwards I wrap you in a towel by the window and you watch the wind in the trees with a smile on your face. Happiness is so easily found in the little things.


30/52 – Family

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: A visit from grandparents is a treat for us all. Every morning you’d wake up at the crack of dawn (like you usually do) and grandma would be the first thing on your mind. You’d get up, run in to where she was sleeping and crawl into bed for a cuddle. She took you swimming, to the zoo, read you books and smothered you in the kind of love only grandmas can. And it was so good! This time grandma brought one of your cousins to your great joy. You were so enthralled by her, always wanting to do what she did and be where she was.

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30_52_Isis_webIsis: Weekends are easily my favourite. It’s the time when pappa usually has some time to spend with us and with you. He misses so much of everything that goes on with you, it all happens so fast and usually while he’s at work. I adore listening to the two of you chatting on the sofa, catching up and getting some much needed one on one.


29/52 -Little Lights

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: Reading in the bright afternoon light. You have no idea how much I love seeing you like this. So peaceful, so lost in inner worlds that are yours and yours alone. I know those places. Feed them and they will take care of you. 

***

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Isis: You shine so bright. On dark days I look at you and wonder how something so bright could grow where something so dark lives. Perhaps you came here to guide me, to tell me that even when all feels lost I have already won because I have you, my sweet children, to pull me back in and show me the way of the light. 


28/52- Remember this

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: The day before I took this picture I came across a drawing you’d done while tidying. For the first time it was clear to me what you’d drawn without any explanation, there was no mistaking it for anything other than a car. The day after I asked you if you wanted to draw some pictures with me, curious to see this new skill in action. First I drew a dinosaur for you which you helped me colour in and then I asked you to draw something. You sat in silence while putting carefully calculated lines on the paper. “Is that a T-Rex?” I asked. “Yes, mummy, it’s the skeleton!” And there it was, a fossil of a T-rex clear as day. I asked if you could draw a face and you did. Suddenly you’d mastered the translation of images to paper. It blew me away. 

***

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Isis: I want to hold on to all those little things about you that I know I’ll forget too soon. The way you kick your legs in excitement, how your body goes all stiff and rigid in anticipation of something funny and the way you fold your hands across your chest when you smile. Or how you rub your legs together when I take your socks off and that cheeky look you get when you go to grab my glasses. The way your face lights up at the sight of my hair as if it holds magical powers, the way you rub your face into my shoulder when you start to get tired and how you turn your head towards me when I rock you to get even closer. How you eagerly open and close your mouth when you know there’s food about to be served or how you burrow your face into my breast as if it will force milk out faster. I want to remember it all. 


23/52 – Little lights

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: There’s something in your eyes. An ache of sorts or perhaps it’s a distance, a thousand thoughts caught in a glimpse. 3 is hard.  Everything is changing. Your world is expanding so rapidly I can only imagine how confusing it feels. You lash out, your screams are cries for help but it’s so hard to get past the stream of punches and toys flying in my direction to get to you. You’re a storm, a wildfire. My little wildling. And then just as sudden you turn around and become the most gentle soul baring your big, tender thoughts as we end our day embracing in the dark. I love this photo for capturing all of it. The beauty of you both, the long distance gaze, your favourite toys (that day) and the protective pose. As much as we struggle to find our balance my love for you only grows. I only wish you knew how the two of you are the absolute light of my life. 

***

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Isis: You remind me so much of your brother when he was a baby.  So happy, so easy-going and so breathtakingly beautiful. You share the same fascination and love of my long hair as he did. As soon as I let it down your face lights up in a smile and when I let it brush across your hands you let out the most delightful laugh. 


22/52 – Skills, discoveries and independence

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: There are so many skills that seem so easy when you already master them. But they take coordination and focus to learn. And you’re all about mastering new things these days, claiming bits of independence. What used to be “I can’t do it” is now more than often “I can do it myself”. 

 At least now when you start freaking out over a snotty nose we can talk you through how to make it better. (And boy, do you hate being snotty.) 

***

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Isis: Your body is one big discovery these days. The look of pure surprise on your face whenever you see your hands always makes me laugh.  Surprise quickly turns to fascination and focus. You’re trying to gain control over these alien limbs that so often fling about causing you to startle, making basic connections between touch and texture, cause and effect.  Watching you learn never gets old. Seeing your joy when you master something never seizes to thrill me. Where did that squishy newborn go that was just here? 


19/52- Golden light

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year.

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Anakin: I remember this afternoon so well. The gardener had been here to mow the lawn and you were so excited by it. We’d been out and once we got back you ran inside to get your lawn mower and spent ages pretending to mow the lawn just like you’d seen him do. You came across a big stick and called it your “english mower”. “This is my english mower, mum. You can have it!” The sun was slowly going down and you were bathed in the most amazing autumn light.  

***

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Isis: So curious and full of wonder. You want to be part of it all. I keep trying to tell you nothing much happens while you sleep but you clearly don’t believe me. 


18/52 – Near and far

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: Look at you growing up so fast. Always so busy, so full of energy and big, bold emotions crashing over you like waves. Suddenly you know all these things that take me by surprise. 3,5 is tricky, isn’t it? So big yet so small. Most days I feel like you’re a few steps away from me and its hard for me too, but we always come back together before you go to sleep. You’ll probably never know how much I love it when you come crawling under the covers at night and put your little hand around my waist. 

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Isis: He loves you, he loves you not. He loves you… My sweet girl, how we’re all completely entranced by you. Your big smiles, your bright eyes. Your sweet, loud voice. You are so in awe of him. The force of his hugs can be overwhelming taking you by surprise. He’s got his own nickname for you that none of us know what means or where it comes from, “Kuntie”. He does the Kuntie dance, the Kuntie song. Perhaps we’ll never get it but you’re his Kuntie. 

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I’ve somehow managed to fall behind again with my posting. Two kids, deadlines, a messy house and illness all around will do that, I suppose. We’ll get there eventually.


Mama, forgive yourself

I think some part of me thought number two would be easier. I’d done it all before, right?

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She was born into expectations of how certain things would be. Her birth would be calm and serene. She would sleep better and longer, she would be easier to settle, she would like to be worn, she would… But she is her own person. She’s not a shadow of who came before.

He would go through the motions for a few weeks and then settle and we would all be one big, happy family. His anger and his hurt would vanish and he would always know that my love for him remained the same.

I would manage to keep the house tidier and cleaner and tend to every need for both of my children. I would make sure I had plenty of time for my son, I would play with him every day. I would always keep my daughter close and we would remain as one. I would excel at juggling, I would let go and ask for help when I needed it. I would stay level and take care of myself. I would bounce back to my pre-pregancy shape (despite never doing so the first time), my stomach would be flat within a week like I’d seen other people’s do and I would feel magnificent about my post-baby body right away. Breastfeeding would be a breeze, after all I’d spent 2,5 years doing it already. I wouldn’t stress about anything, I would go with the flow at all times and I would get work done. I would always keep my cool and I would be even more patient than before. I would understand and empathise at all times.

But I am constantly failing to meet the ridiculous standards I’ve set myself.

It’s not the same, it’s not easier.

And some days I am not the mama I want to be for my children.

But what I am slowly learning this time around is;

Mama, forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for expecting too much, forgive yourself for putting too much pressure on your body. Your body is beautiful because it is uniquely yours.  It was their first home. It grew, carried and birthed two of the most beautiful little people. It is softer, rounder and fuller. Forgive yourself for sometimes forgetting the look they both get when they see you naked, their eyes lighting up at the sight of you because to them you are perfection.

Forgive yourself for momentarily buying into ridiculous nonsense about baby sleep. Your children are healthy and need nothing but your love. You are following your instincts and you are doing everything right. Forgive yourself for not always having as much time as you want for both of them. One is still so little and her needs so big. You will get better at dividing your time. Forgive yourself for not being an expert, a mothering perfectionist. No one expects or wants you to be perfect. Forgive yourself for still struggling with breastfeeding your little one. It takes time and she is not her older brother, you both need to find your own way. Commend yourself for not giving up despite your raw nipples and your aching back.

Forgive yourself for the times you raise your voice, for the wrong battles you pick and the tears that follow. You are tired and it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you apologise and keep trying. Forgive yourself for your doubts and your darkness. For neglecting the needs of your husband, for feeling ‘touched out’ at the end of the day and needing to keep your body to yourself. Forgive your mood swings and your occasional sadness. You give your children everything, it’s ok to feel empty as the day nears its end. You have yet to find your village and sometimes you will feel lost in the dark. But you are exactly where you need to be.

Anakin and mum

Mama, just remember to forgive yourself a little every day. It takes practise. What you’re doing is nothing short of amazing.

 

 


17/52 – Nerds

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: Making goofy faces in the bath. You make me laugh in the best of ways. Don’t ever stop dressing up and having fun. 

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Isis: Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself when some dear friends gave you a Princess Leia beanie. I promise, your parents are nerds in the best of ways. 


15/52 – Pause

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: I wonder where you go and what you think of when I see you drift away. Do you go on adventures? Are you riding dragons or digging for treasure? Are you captain of your own ship sailing the high seas? Or are you overcome with feelings that weigh heavy on your heart? 

I often think you look so sad when you sit there staring into space, in a place where I can’t quite reach you. It makes me want to wrap you in my arms and do everything I can to put a smile back on your face. But maybe you’re not sad at all, maybe you’re soaring high on the back of an eagle or diving deep with turtles. Or maybe you just need to stop and feel.  So I let you be and I quietly watch and wait, hoping that if you need my arms you’ll let me know somehow. 

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Isis: You’re just as alert as your brother was. Taking it all in. Your gaze finds mine and your body becomes busy as you babble away, telling me stories about your day and your new discoveries. I ask you questions and pause for your answers, you squeal in delight and your sounds are music to my ears. As long as you are rested you are all smiles. But just like your brother you struggle with your daytime sleeps and your exhausted wails are heartbreaking. I do the only thing I know will work, I wrap you tight and walk you down, holding you as close as I can. And as you find sleep next to my heart I find peace in your closeness. I will carry you for as long as I can. 


14/52- Sharing

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: Sharing one of your favourite stories under the blanket with aunty Leah. You are always excited to see people and even more so these days. You’ve grown louder and more animated as if you feel you need to be to take the attention off your baby sister. It is nice to see you have some quiet time, to see you calm and assured that you are indeed just as important as you’ve always been. How could you not be? If only you knew how amazing we think you are, even on our bad days. 

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Isis: Your first meeting with aunty Leah. You gave her some sweet smiles before falling asleep on her chest. There is something so comforting about seeing you at such ease with the people we love.  


13/52 – Light and shadow

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: We took you to Kids Arty Farty fest in the park on a Sunday. You were wide-eyed and excited. Underneath some trees was box city, a place where everyone could build their own houses and forts out of cardboard boxes. I took your hand and we went in there, just you and me. We walked around, picked up a box and some tape but in the end we were both too preoccupied with looking around to really build anything. We stopped under the biggest tree in a spot of sunshine, your eyes fell on someone behind me and you disappeared into thoughts. I looked at you and saw so much of myself standing there. The curiosity, apprehension and vulnerability all surfaced on your face. You made the perfect picture, bathing in sunlight with big shadows framing your body. That moment, like most these days, felt far too fleeting. I can’t help but feel lucky that at I least have some way of documenting these fractions that make up our lives. A small way of holding on to all the little things that make our love so big. A way to remember you as you grow and change. 

***

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Isis: I’m holding on to your infancy for dear life. I find myself burying my nose in your hair and my face in your neck all the time. I stare and stare afraid that I’ll forget. I wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t know that my unconditional love for you would be shadowed by this sadness, this grief that you are the last. Every day I have to learn to let it go, to let my delight of your discoveries be what I carry forward. I keep you as close as I can. I need your heartbeat next to mine as much as you do. Your eyes are finding new things all the time, your face lights up at the sound of familiar voices. I see you watching your brother, beaming as he lends his attention to you.  Soon you’ll find your laughter and our house will be filled with the sound of twice the joy. As I think back on my life I am grateful for every bump and every bruise because it all led to this, it led me to you. 


12/52- Stillness

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: You stopped me in my tracks when I saw you standing there on your stool at the kitchen bench reading a comic book. The light from the window hit your face in the most beautiful way. There was this stillness about you. So peaceful, so quiet. I stood there admiring your beauty while feeling this strange sadness come over me. I wished you knew how much I still see you, how much we’re still what we used to be, just different. I felt guilty for thinking you were being difficult when it was never you, it was me. I’m the one who changed things on you, I’m the one who went from being all yours to always being busy caring for your sister. I’m the one who needs to learn how to give you both what you need, to divide my time better. I’m the one who needs to say sorry, sorry for getting frustrated with you, sorry for letting you down. Everything you’ve done is only natural considering your world just got turned upside down. Mine has too but I should know better. I’m so sorry, my love. I wish you knew how much my heart aches for you, for time to be with just you, like we used to.

I love you so much it hurts. 

***

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Isis: Your world is expanding so fast. You just have time to get comfortable before it changes again. I had almost forgotten how turbulent the first year is for someone new. It’s thrilling to see you develop, but so exhausting. It’ll keep changing, baby, but we’ll be here.  We’ll be your constant and your anchor. These days are numbered, days where you’ll only find peace belly to belly. As difficult as they may sometimes be they are also so incredibly precious. 


10/52- Bonds

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: Quietly reading by yourself. I find you like this several times throughout the day, completely absorbed in books for ages. Once you learn how to read I have no doubt your love of books will only grow. 

***

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Isis: Your eyes light up and you turn your head and smile upon hearing your brother’s voice. He comes over to comfort you, to hug you and kiss your forehead.  Seeing you like this is pure magic, intertwined and forming that lifelong bond that will hopefully outlast me. 

Weeks are passing in a flash. You seem to grow so quickly. I can hardly bear it. I’m so conflicted by pure joy and by sadness as I watch your fleeting newborn time disappear before me. You change so fast and every time you do I am delighted by your growth as much as I miss what’s left behind. 


9/52- The best sleep

A portrait series of my children, once a week, every week, for the next year. 

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Anakin: Look at you. You’ve grown so tall over the summer. Probably even more so in my eyes. I have to admit I have days where I miss you so much. You’re right here with me but I miss you. I still try my best to let bedtime be all ours, just yours and mine. We sing and we cuddle in the dark. You want me to lie in your arms, you hold me tight and breathe into my hair. It makes me feel so strange to have you comfort me like that, and I wonder for how much longer I’ll be blessed with being wanted so close. Our bed is my favourite place in the house because we all share it. It’s always messy, always full of pillows, blankets, books and toys, but it speaks of love. It speaks of family. And it tells the story of how the best place to be is together and the best sleep is found next to the ones you love. I hope you’ll want to sleep there for a long time yet. 

*** 

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Isis: Sweet little baby yawns. I’d forgotten how much life revolves around sleep when you’re so little. Your sleep, my sleep, or lack there of. You’re still just a newborn, you still just want to be held. For every sleep. My arms are sore and my back aches, but I still hold you. Time passes so quickly when you watch someone grow. Every day comes with a new adventure and hopefully brings us a little closer to more rest. 

I never seem to learn how to rest. Or to ask for help.

***


6/52 – Him and Her

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for his fourth year and her first. 

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Anakin: I remember hearing your voice in the hallway of the hospital the morning your sister was born. It was full of a special kind of excitement. Today was the day you finally got to meet the mysterious little person that had been growing in my belly for the past nine months. The very same person we’d talked to, sung to and dreamed about. As you entered the room my heart jumped and took me by surprise. How much you’d grown in just a couple of hours. You eagerly climbed into bed asking to hold her. I was shaken by how much I’d missed you in just a few hours, how much my love had grown and how desperately I wanted to hold you close. I picked her up and placed her on your lap. You gently kissed her face and gave her a cuddle. Your hands gentle and your face so full of love and wonder. 

***

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Isis Indigo: My darling beautiful girl. My daughter.  You took us by surprise both at conception and delivery. Your screams are as loud as your nature is soft. I spent the whole night you were born just gazing at your squishy, little sleeping face so in awe of you. I felt my heart expand to make room for the love that exploded within me. From the moment I laid my hands on you, your soft body still warm from being inside me, I knew that nothing would ever be the same. Life as I knew it, love as I knew it, had just grown bigger and more powerful than I could have possibly ever imagined.  I held you close and took in that sweet, brand new scent in deep breaths cherishing the hours of darkness still left. Those early hours that were just yours and mine, before the world woke up and before our family reunited for the first meeting as a foursome. 

***

For all the squishy baby spam, find us on Instagram @didajenta


SHE

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Thursday January 22, 38 weeks +6 days. She was still swimming on the inside.

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Sunday January 25, 39 weeks+2 days. She came rushing out at 00.45 am and we fell head over heels in love again.

Meet our baby girl, Isis Indigo.

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1 day old, having her first sleep in the hammock.

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4 days old. She’s a peach. She’s absolutely perfect in every way.

***

We’re still finding our feet as a foursome and I’ve still got some healing to do, but life is good. I’m still processing the events that brought our baby girl into the world but once I do I will write her birth story and share some photos. In the mean time we’ll be busy enjoying our new family and easing our way into this new life. Posting will still be erratic for a little while as we’re still navigating our way through the early days. My heart is still expanding, my head is still trying to catch up. All I know is that right now I couldn’t possibly be happier. Unless I had a really long sleep.