Friday, August 28, 2015

Silvana - The Turning

Brown paper packages tied up with string are truly among my favourite things and this week a brown paper package arrived bringing treasure - an eagerly awaited new book by a beloved New Zealand author I met on an online writers group - Belinda Mellor. 

Silvana - The Turning is the second book in a 'fantasy autobiography', haunting, gripping and so atmospheric reading it surrounds you in the scents and sounds of the wildwoods, the smoke and fire of destruction, the pungent rankness of a country ravaged of it's greenery. I drank The Turning down in one sitting, following anxiously as the central family lived through the joys and struggles of a world so different - and yet so similar to our own. 

I first read The Turning ages ago - chapter by chapter on the online writer's group, Scribophile, and now, reading it in paperback, it was intoxicating seeing the early work come to such a stunning fruition. 

Set in a world where Silvana - tree woman - bestow fertility upon the land, and the central treasure is the amber that is their tears and blood - taken by force or bestowed willingly - the story follows the coming of age of a young man who's mother is a Silvana. 

Watching how the machinations of others and his own youthful foibles interact with life in a world with a magical tree-heart, both in Lesandor's own green tree-blest country and it's tree-cursed neighbour, whose people killed their Silvana and in return inherited a land where no green grows, was fascinating. 

Yes - there were tears. Unfortunately, mine were not amber. (Damn it, I'm not a tree-women? I'll settle for mer-girl.) 

I know that images and scenes from the book will linger with me, both those that were stunningly beautiful and those that were searingly tragic. The world itself is so rich in lore and history, so intricately wrought and finely detailed that it seems incredible it does not, in fact, exist.

While I am distressed to admit that my youngest has already torn The Turning from the shelves and scribbled on it's frontispiece, the quality of the book itself - from it's gorgeous map (what is a fantasy book without a map - truly essential!) to it's lovely chapter headings and cover art - is a true delight.

From hence the duo (I'm hoping for trio in the near future) will be kept on a higher shelf and I know my little ones will read and love this highly original and compelling series when they are a little bit older.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One - Giggle-Bear


I've put off this post and put off this post and then put it off again because I can't quite get my head around the fact that my amazing little baby is now a very determined toddler - and well past one.
I think I've been a little teary since your birthday and determined to remember every moment of your fast-fleeing toddler-dom, as I know how quickly it will vanish. It seemed I blinked and you left baby-dom behind.

Ever day I blow raspberries on your neck and kiss your chubby thighs and wonder at how the feet that were once so small, those narrow, wrinkled little things with teeny tiny, skinny toes that could never fit comfortably in a shoe, are now pudgy, solid little feet that go very well in shoes.

In this, your first year, you are a daily - hourly - delight. You are also extremely mischievous. You love to do things you know you shouldn't - like climb onto the table and do a little dance, or pull out all the books, or sink your teeth into someone - and then laugh with glee.

You love to toddle as quickly as you can, holding someone's finger, busily pointing out all the things of interest, particularly birds, which fascinate you.

You adore water and as soon as I mention 'shower' in the morning you toddle to the bathroom, looking over your shoulder the whole time to check that I am following. In the evening you hurry to the bathroom again, as soon as you hear the bath running for your sister.

Your favourite game is the 'hugging game' where you launch yourself from person to person, putting your soft arms around each persons neck and giving their back little pats, cheek to cheek.

Despite my best intentions, you still sleep in my bed, curled in my protective curve, distraught if the milk moves too far. (As I write this now, in bed, in a dark room, you sleep in the curve of my arm, one of your small arms curled possessively over your milk) And watching your silhouette in the night-shadows, I try to memorise every line, every moment. The feel of your little feet kneading, the rise and fall of you breathing, the line of cheek and lashes and pouty mouth. The little dimples in your ears.

You are still very clingy, far clingier than your brother and sister were at this age. It's strange to think I'd already gone back to work for a few mornings a week when your sister was your age - you think the world has ended if I leave you with your daddy for an hour. I went to a yoga class on the weekend and returned to find you in the chair by the front window, both of you asleep and you with clear evidence you'd cried yourself to sleep waiting for me. (The guilt... and yet, at your age your brother was quite happy to go off with your daddy for most of the day. You, my little one, have had to rely more upon me, which, much as I love time with you, I'm not sure has been healthy...) You are just beginning to realise that daddy is a pretty wonderful person as he gets to spend more time with you.

You grow up so quickly - already you love putting on my sunglasses, pretending to talk on my phone, you demand your share of any sunscreen or moisturiser I put on and you are sure to claim your rightful chocolate and froth from my cappuccino. You love all your big sister's sparkles and plastic jewellery and we spent a good ten minutes trying to get a tiara you were insistent on wearing to stay in your slippery-silk hair. You often walk about the house with stray clothes you've found placed artfully on your head.

Our puppy (now the size of a small donkey) is your boon companion. You feed him cucumber, biscuits, apple, and he dutifully licks them. You both remain desperate to get into the loo - you to throw down treasures, him to drink the water and you often squabble over toys.

Your big sister and brother are your delight. Your big sister loves to cart you around (you often object) and has had to be firmly told you are too young for roller skates or a skate board. You would have given them a try. Your big brother is fond of you in an off-hand kind of way and you adore him.

You believe poking out your tongue is the coolest thing ever. You have the stubbornest look, little chin thrust out, bottom lip prominent, when you decide on something. When we go somewhere new, or somewhere you're a little unsure of, you hold carefully to my top and look around with a face so full of reserved judgement, as you weigh everything up, that you really do look like a little, displeased, queen.

You love to make eyes at people and giggle though, and make people laugh, and you think extravagant compliments are your due. (Which they are.) You wore a little white fluffy bonnet with ears last week and we were stopped on average every two minutes by gooing people and you thought it was wonderful. You are very perplexed by people of the non-cooing variety, and I have to try to distract you.

You still aren't talking very much, mama, dada, hug, Bec, no, but you make the most musical sounding, nonsensical sentences and often sit and talk to yourself melodiously.

You have started dancing and will often bounce on your knees when a song comes on you like, and you've started head-banging - giggling the whole time with delight at your cleverness - to songs you like on the radio in the car.

You love drawing - on paper, on walls, on yourself... and I have to be very vigilant with your brother and sisters pencils and textas or I find you covered in drawings. Your sister has also tried out her makeup on you. It was not a good look and said makeup made it's way discreetly to the bin.

You love the trampoline, and will often make your way down the back garden, haul yourself up the steps and run around in delight. You prefer it when other people are on the trampoline with you, but you're quite happy by yourself as well.

Your breath is still milk-sweet and you still smell of newness and baby. Every day you bring delight. Every day you bring joy. O Giggle-Bear we love you so!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

33/52 & 34/52


Giggle-Bear - getting her teeth into a book. Last week she was the baby with sneezes and chills. 

The Extravaganza - experimenting with makeup in her Charlie-Bear pjs. Such a mix of old and young! 


Adventure Boy - he's always moving and it's hard to get a picture of him when he doesn't make funny faces, but I love this slightly out of focus one.

The Extravaganza - posed in red velvet.

Giggle Bear - we went to the cafe by the sea, just her and me. And it was good.

Joining with Jodi for a photo of my little ones once a week, every week in 2015. With a catch-up week! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

a moment from the past...

The Hospital.
Giggle Bear is one day Old.

Sweetheart, it's just past midnight, & it would be lovely if you would consider sleeping. Please.
You're busily feeding, again, & seem to think sleep is for wimps. Please note I am a wimp.
One of your wrinkled and tiny hands is curled up & tucked under your chin, your eyes - specks of grey and blue and navy - are nearly, but not quite, closed.
Sleep little one, please sleep.
You have been in the world less than twenty four hours.


My milk came in today, Possum, although I wasn't expecting it till tomorrow. About three minutes before your aunty & uncle arrived I felt a familiar trickle & hurried to change into my bra & breast-pads. Oddly, I had forgotten how crucial these are since the last two kids. How did that happen? How did I forget waking up in floods of milk?
I've just woken from a lovely nap & the nurse has just done a heel test prick, but you're not waking up & my breasts look larger than your head. I swear they've doubled (quadroopled?) in size. I've a nipple jammed into your mouth, but although you're beginning to open your eyes - no luck on the feeding front. Ouch!
This is our last night in the hospital my little one, & I'm trying to savour it. I love hospitals. The food, the cleaners, the hot towels but I strongly suspect that very soon we will be kicked out. (Not quite whimpering & screaming, but close.)  This has been a truly blissful stay, my darling Hours spent cuddling you & staring at your perfect little face. I will always, always remember it as perfect happiness.

7.45am 5/4/2014

Our last morning in the hospital, little one. You lie beside me in the clear hospital crib making little aaah, aaah, noises, sweet & soft, as you sleep. Your face is towards me, one little fist curled up in front of your mouth and expressions shift across your face. You suddenly start, yawn, open your eyes, wrinkle your face, & then return to aaahing. You are wrapped in a yellow blanket & then a pink blanket & are very, very gorgeous.
The nurse has been in to check you this morning & I have now turned on all the lights & opened the curtains. I am going to miss the views of the clouds & the eucalypts. There's a certain time of day, in the late afternoon, when the sun catches the eucalypts & they all gleam silver and glint.
O, a magpie calls. Such a sweet rise & fall of notes.
Such quietness. The tick of the clock, your breathing, the magpie.
Your eyes are opening, little curls of dark open, your tongue comes out, a sliver of pink, your mouth opens & closes. Maybe nearly time to try to feed again.
Ah, a little posset.
Was that scrape of wheels breakfast?
After so much wakefulness I'm hungry. You fed at two am and four am and tried to feed at six and then at seven and a few times before that too.  Food, food, glorious food.


We are waiting in the car outside Bunnings, a detour on the way home from the hospital. We have already oohed & cooed at how little you look in your carseat.  It's your first trip to a hardware store, but I can guarantee they'll play a big part in your life. Your daddy has run in to get superglue to make extra sure the bassinet - an ebay buy - is safe. Oddly, looking after your two older siblings at home while we have been idling in the hospital, he didn't get around to it.
You are three days old & heart-staggeringly beautiful.
It is so hard - and wonderful - to believe you're out in the world with us, little one. Not only here, but embarking on our life as a family.
We went around the hospital showing you off to all your daddy's friends, wee one. You & I both managed to get a little warm in the heating, but outside the sky is grey & the wind is chilly.
My goodness - I just saw another newborn go into Bunnings. It must be 'the' place for the Newly-Born to be.
Everyone commented that you are entirely beautiful. The perfect baby, & your daddy & I are still in awe at how amazing you are, so perfectly you. The way your eyes so busily take in the world, your divine smell, the softness of the tender skin of your skull.
You had your first bath today - you were unsure at first, & then you lay back & enjoyed the warmth & fluid & studied with great interest the tap. I was worried I would have forgotten how, but no, I still remembered the knack. It was lovely to see how you enjoy it - we didn't take photos, it was just for us.
I hear you now, making little aah noises in your sleep, no doubt dreaming of milk, or maybe the play of light in the womb.
We're going home, wee one, we're going home. (A little hiccup, Another little aaah, aaah.)
A moment to remember, you begin every day domesticity with us.


I write this now as you play beside me, looking through the pages, torn & falling apart that I'm typing from - an old diary that had something spilt on it, so I tore out the pages I couldn't stand to lose telling myself soon, soon, I would put them somewhere safe. Since then, one of the kids has scribbled on them in blue texta, so I decided to put the words somewhere really safe. Now, you lie beside me with the pages on your tummy, giving them little pats & chirrupping.
The person that is you is amazing. You never fail to make me laugh, never fail to make my heart sing, whether launching yourself from person to person in the 'hug' game, giving me little pats on the back as I carry you, or laughing when I tell you, no, you may not draw on the wall.
From the beginning you were the person we see you as now, so full of life & love, laughter & mischief, & it amazes me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Morning Moments (books & babe)

She grows so quickly, my little one.
My smallest one, who only a blink ago I carried everywhere, is now toddling around the house with great determination, causing mischief and unravelling order.
Capture a moment - early morning, as she pulls some books off the shelf and carts them around, followed by her faithful hound, who stops every so often to lick her snotty nose.
There is a reason my books are not beautifully catalogued - by colour, sorry Dewey - and that reason's name is Giggle-Bear.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The First Cut

My shnot nosed little babe has been finding it hard to see recently as her hair, fine and gold, falls into her eyes. Together with the constantly streaming nose, it's been giving her a very neglected, waifish look.

But... it will be her first ever hair cut and she is my very last baby. And denial is not just a river in Egypt. Surely not, surely my littlest one does not need a hair cut yet. See. She's still a baby. Look at the pudgy thighs. The chubby cheeks, the little chirrupings she makes instead of talking.

On the other handed, her mouthful of sharp little teeth as she chomps down on her big sister's finger and then belly-laughs, are possibly not so baby-like. The determined demands for treats she sees the big kids getting.

So today my littlest, my last was taken to the hairdresser in all her shnot nosed glory and I tried very hard not to cry.

I am still becoming accustomed to her new, grown up look. The mullet takes getting used to for one, but she also looks so much older now the contours of her face have gained a new definition. While her sister for one will tell you she's a don't-mess-with-me kind of babe, the scraggly hair softened the definition. Now you just have to look at her to see - this is a babe on a mission and heaven help anyone who gets in her way. She will hold them up and roll them with her drool. *

*And yes, Beloved and I are quietly despairing about the kids teen years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Giggle-Bear - so proud of herself for climbing onto my dresser. She's slung my granny's pearls around her neck and is checking out my tea-light holder. In a second she'll put the tea-light holder on her head to see if it works as a hat.

The Extravaganza - the silence after the applause. She's just finished playing a loud and very raucous song on her ukelele while perched on the back of a chair. She's been whirling around the house, invading everyone's space and making a lot of noise. It's been a 'me, me, me, look at me!' kind of day, 'get over being sick already, look at me!' She's the first of us to recover from the flu and is feeling housebound.

We've all had the flu this week, and while the Giggle Bear has snortled through it bravely the rest of us have taken to our beds with fevers, aches and whimpering. It's that time of year, but at least we're nearly at an end.

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my littlest two, once a week, every week in 2015.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Giggle-Bear - 'I can't believe I forgot it again!'

The Extravaganza - Teaching her little sister how to balance a balancing bird.

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