Saturday, June 27, 2015

26/52 moments

- my Adventure Boy in his natural habitat - up a tree.
- the Extravaganza, quick to laugh and quick to cry and growing up so ridiculously fast.
- Giggle Bear. Her big sister put in the hair clip and she's wearing one of her old dresses, still a little too big.
-The Adventure Boy - I love the Peter Pan pose.
- a view across Pumicestone Passage. My parents have flown up from Victoria and rented a house on Bribie Island for the holidays. We're all so looking forward to long days by the sea.
- Branches
- the Extravaganza, sometimes I forget she's still only four.
-Adventure Boy, looking out to sea from his treetop perch.
- My mama, flown up to see us. She's just completing her Phd. on mosquitos and dengue and I am very proud.
-My Papa, with Giggle Bear. It's been six months since we've seen them and I am basking in company and cups of tea. They're dropping in on their way to East Timor.
-Wolfie really is still only a puppy. Not quite five months old but already as big as a... wolf.

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my wee ones once a week, every week in 2015. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015


 Giggle-Bear - so joyous as she explores the world. Carefully studying everything, her face lighting up in sudden wonder.

The Extravaganza - Black lace and faux pearls in the early morning and showing off her self-given hair cut, still growing out.  She is so full of life - and attitude. Here she's riding a plastic pony at a park at the back of the beach.

Adventure Boy - always a worry at my heart. His latest lot of grommets seem to have been successful but his school are talking about ADHD. We've tended to put down his never listening to his ear troubles and his casual destruction - sometimes it seems if his hands aren't pulling something apart his feet are kicking at something - to being a boy. But...

Wolfie - my fur-baby. He's grown so large so fast. Still only five months old his paws are massive although he's still such a puppy, gamboling and playing and full of fun and mischief. He just passed puppy school today.

Nearly halfway through the new year it seems we are nearly ready to catch our breath and settle into our new life as non-students in a new state. It seems every day we exclaim how happy we are with our new house (no asbestos! no ceiling cracks forever showering dirt! no rabbit warren of tiny rooms!) and Beloved finishing his degree. Today the sky is blue and clear and the kids run up and down the street with their friends. Family and beaches are both close. We're in the tomorrow we waited for for such a long time.

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my little ones once a week, every week (mostly) in 2015. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Tactile Years

I type this now in the rain-laden breeze of an open window while my little one nurses and I perch my laptop on the edge of my knees. My babe plays with her toes and studies the grey sky beyond.

And I think: these are the tactile years.

The years with babies, with toddlers, pre-schoolers, with little ones who know no boundaries, who have no idea of 'personal space'.

These are the years when touch is most present, when I am nearly always attached to another being, or dealing with another's fluids, and often both at once - the warmth and heft of a child on my hip as I scrape a nappy, often while negotiating with another child.

These are the years when it is common to have my babe in a carrier at my chest, one little hand in my larger one, and another small being hugging to my leg, while I also carry a school bag and my own bag. When I shower it is more likely than not that my little one will be curled to my shoulder, one hand behind her back to catch more of the heart of the spray. On the loo I am lucky if only one child and the puppy decide they need to be within sight of me.

My littlest, Giggle-Bear, has learnt 'hug' and her small, smooth arms are often around my neck, her cheek to mine. My drama-queen, the Extravaganza,  adores hugs and kisses and comes for them often during the day, launching herself into my lap, often squeezing in beside the baby, and even my oldest boy still holds my hand as we walk to school, still needs big hugs for little upsets and still pads through to our bed in the early hours of the morning.

I am so used to the feel of small hands in mine, of the weight of a small one in my arms that I find it hard to believe that there will come a time - soon - when they won't be there. That ahead lie decades when my little ones are big and I won't wake to find small warm ones curled against me, when my sleeping baby's face, so entirely beautiful, so entirely perfect I could stare at it for hours, won't be the last thing I see before sleep and the first thing I see on waking. Despite all my best intentions that she, my littlest, my last, would be sleeping through in her own bed, she sleeps the night in the curve of my body and screams blue murder if the milk is more than a few centimetres away. Unerringly she wakes if I leave her to go to the loo or let out the puppy. During the day if I try to leave the room she toddles after me to hug at my knees, "Up! Up!"

It's hard to comprehend that the day will come when small feet won't knead at my hip, small fingers won't explore my teeth, when arms won't be up-stretched to me with wide, joyous smiles and bodies suddenly descend upon my back with a stranglehold.

With (God willing) more than half my life before me, I find it so hard to take in that I am coming to the end of these, the sweetest years. I watch my little one nurse, the small poke of curved tongue just above her lower lip, the flutter of her lashes, her pudgy fingers holding possessively to my top, her big stretch and reach and lunge for the other side and the whole rearranging. I cup her foot in my hand, checking it's warm enough - cool but not cold. She flexes her toes.

I have spent so long waiting to get to these years, and they have flown so fast, are over so quickly. I have not been the mother I thought I would be, that I wanted to be, and it has seemed all to often we have lunged from one (minor) disaster to the next, but I already know that I will spend the rest of my life looking back on them with longing, chaotic as they've often been.

Now,  when my days are fully of blowing raspberries on bellies, smooching necks, dropping kisses, I cannot imagine being without the constant touch. (My little one begins exploring my teeth - they fascinate her. A phone rings - Eh! she tells me, then heaves a sigh.)

Thoughout the day so often my littlest is held by my heart, her head just below my chin, all silky gold hair and milk-sweet scents. I drop kisses absently, then with awareness. This time is precious and so quickly fleeing. As she falls into sleep her head drops to my shoulder and I stroke her hair, gently close her eyes more fully - for she often falls asleep with them not quite shut.

These are the years of touch and fluids. Of holds, kisses, hugs, but also of milk and poop, stripping beds, cleaning up vomit, wiping noses, reaching into the toilet to retrieve lego that's gone for a dive (arm safely encased in a plastic bag). These are the years of head-butts and hair-yanks, of eye-stabs and sudden nipple-bites and I never imagined it was possible to be elbowed so many times in so many places in one day. But touch is the constant.

I have forgotten so much - impressions remain, but looking back on the day to day of the past six, nearly seven years, so much has been forgotten.  I think of all the moments, like this one, that I've forgotten and I promise myself that now, in the close of them, the last of my baby years, I'll hold tighter to them, record them better.

But the thing about the tactile years - it is the touch, the softness, the sweetness, the lightness, the delicacy, the warmth, the smooth cool, that can never be properly captured, recorded. The complete happiness of reading stories with a child to either side and a babe in arms, warmth and vivid personalities surrounding. Of smooching in at a delicate neck as a babe or toddler contorts in giggles, the casual cupping of a head of silky hair as my babe is carried, carrying a toddler in a towel through to their bedroom to dress them for bed.

These years are fleeting are they more precious as they are so fleeting? It is so easy to think of all the things that will come later, the time and space that will free themselves when my little ones are that bit more independent, but these are the years that will never come back, in all the decades to come, these years of tenderness and touch will never return.


Writing Wedensday

Time has been hard to come by of late, time that is without a wee one attached, steadily turning my brain to milk (in the pleasantest way.)

However, at night, in the time between sleep and wake, I still find myself turning over plots, picking at characters, unravelling them, then re-knitting them.

Going through some photos from our Christmas trip to Scotland, I was reminded of my re-telling of the frog prince, The Toad Lord, a half-finished manuscript that I'd dearly like to wrest time to finish. The photos of stone and moss, loch and mountain reminded me of all the atmosphere I'd like to convey.

Since I wrote the bulk of the story last November (thank you Nanowrimo) I've re-arranged, as well as re-named the main character. Jeannie is still living in 1801, but she now has a Grandmother from Kashmir (such things were quite common in 18th century Scotland as thousands of young Scots went over seas to the West Indies or India to seek their fortune: I'm just about to start reading Dalrymple's White Mughals and I am very much excited by the prospect).  She is also a dedicated artist in the style of Amelia Jane Murray. She is no longer solidly built, curvaceous (Edinburgh's million steps persuaded me this was an impossibility) and ordinary looking, but slight and quick and fey looking with startling green eyes (courtesy of her Kashmiri grandmother). I admit she's a bit of a cliche, but it does make it more likely that the fairy queen would want to steal her away... There is also a reason society looks askance at her (as well as her habit of talking to her toad...)

I am enjoying piecing my character, as well as the story around her, together, even while I itch to be writing, but unfettered time, when my brain is not a milk-mush is not common, so instead I've been researching. I've been reading Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant, which is written about roughly the same time and is fascinating in its detail. When I've read it through once I'll re-read it intent on pillaging the little things. I'm also hoping to re-read Dorothy Wordsworth's account of her travels through Scotland. My to-read pile is becoming very long.

Twisting ideas around, running through scenes like short movies within my head, looking at them from all angles and tweaking the lighting, the dialogue, plot and character entertains, but I long to be writing. Soon. Soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Adventure Boy - looking so grown up. His grommets seem to have gone in well so we're hoping he finds listening (to us and his teacher) a little easier next semester. I had a cold recently and one ear went bung just for a day and it was like being under water, voices sounded so distant and distorted, it was hard realising that that's what it's been like for him, all the time.

Giggle-Bear and Wolfie - my babies asleep in the middle of a busy day. Wolfie is now nearly eighteen weeks old and massive. He spends most of the day with Giggle-Bear and they really are good friends.  Unfortunately, they each prefer each others food. Giggle-bear is now a little walking girl and so proud of herself. She has to stop every so often to give herself claps. She continues to climb everything in sight.

The Extravaganza - up in the fort in the garden, clad in palings from our old fence. We hoped to make it nearly entirely from the old fence, but a lot of the wood was too old.  It's nearly finished now, and is one of the last of the moving-in-things we're doing to the house. It feels so good knowing that next weekend is just for us and that there are no 'house stuff's' to do! Although it has been fun playing with the power tools! The Extravaganza is nearly five but it seems like she's nearly fifteen. "You're not the boss of everything you know, mummy!" "My bedroom, my rules!" "Why should I have to clean my mess? I make the mess, you clean the mess!" Her sentences are sprinkled with "O how fabulous!" That will be divine!" Her enthusiasms are enchanting, the temper tantrums less so.

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my little ones every most weeks in 2015. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Giggle-Bear - swinging in one of the hammocks.

Adventure Boy - once again sporting old face paint. Also swinging in a hammock. He had his third lot of grommets put in this week - we're hoping that they're the last ones and that they help with his concentration at school.

The Extravaganza. Alright - I admit it. This is an older photo - I've been a bit slack this week on the photos. And last week. From a couple of weeks ago up at Caloundra. Hopefully the last of our tumultuous settling in days are nearly over...

Joining with Jodi for a portrait a week every most some weeks in 2015.

We've been getting a new kitchen put in this week (we still don't have running water or gas in the kitchen and won't until Tuesday - thank you long weekend) as well as finishing building a fence and putting up a fort, rushing to finish everything before Beloved's holidays end ... tomorrow. Sad face.

I know I missed last week so...  Giggle Bear with the boxes of our new kitchen at the beginning of the week. The boxes are now empty and the kitchen is (very nearly) up. It is so exciting. Is it wrong that glass fronted display cabinets give me a thrill. And waste recycling drawers... and o my sink!