Friday, 14 February 2014

In This House

In this house, there are no monsters.

There are small creatures, 3 of them, the Christmas Angel, the Spring Angel and the Winter Fairy.

They are bundles of love, 1 medium, 1 small and 1 tiny.

And I adore them, each hair on their head, their smells, their faces, their fun and their absolute unbridled joy in life.

The Spring Angel is the bounciest, he is a 5 year old pure bolt of energy, a fiery ball of passion and joy, he sparks and fizzles, sometimes he explodes in a monumental eruption of rage and passion and deep rooted sense of unfairness, there is no logical to these explosions and as quick as they fire, they dissipate. 

He is also a bundle of affection and love, the most tactile and loving of my children, he hugs his siblings countless times a day, he dives home from school, hugs his brother and announces, "I MISSED YOU so much my baby", never has he felt a moments jealousy - and in that moment of unlimited, pure and boundless love, my heart could burst with the sheer joy it feels.

He is different this boy of mine, he believes in magic and myth, in Santa and in Dragons and Faeries, in Mummy and Daddy and brothers and sister, he spends his time dressing up, making things, building lego, in a world I am not always sure I can enter, but wanting the constant, reassuring presence of mummy, he likes to know where I am - all the time, and tells me he has secret spy cameras through which he sees me when he is not with me. 

He is my shadow, he likes to be with me, always.

Next is the Winter Fairy, my stubborn, gorgeous, wilful just 4 year old daughter. She is so like her father, aloof on one hand, but needing reassurance on the other. She has my temper and stubborness, that is for sure, but with her fathers sense of detachment, she is not a child who cares what other people think, she knows her own mind and makes sure I know it too.

She is tiny and dainty and delicate and oh so very beautiful, to me they are all beautiful, but "NO, MUMMY", "Daddy and the other smalls are NOT BEAUTIFUL, they are HANDSOME, you and me WE are BEAUTIFUL".

She believes in Faeries, but NOT DRAGONS, as she stamps her foot and announces strongly, I ABSOLUTELY do not believe in DRAGONS, DRAGONS are not REAL.

She likes making, and drawing and sticking and her baby brother and her 2 big brothers and her daddy. She likes to make new names, I am Mamma Mia, which she invented for herself. 

She loves clothes and dresses and swirly, swirly skirts in which she dances with absolute abandon.

The Winter Fairy is supremely self confident, there is no self doubt in her, she adores her aunt and her nanny and unlike her brother will leave without a backwards glance, secure in the knowledge that everyone she meets, absolutely loves her and that we are always here waiting for her.

She will stride confidently into the world, this daughter of mine. Sometimes, while she sleeps, I go to watch her, her heart shaped face so similar and yet so different to mine. 

And then there is the Christmas Angel, sent to heal me, my Rainbow after the Storm, my high needs, highly attached soon to be toddler, delivered as an early present to us by Santa.

A mass of cuddles and kisses and happy smiley faces, already I can see that he is to be the family joker, everyones darling - when his brother and sister are out, he misses them so - he isn't quite whole without them and he crawls from room to room, seeking them in each one.

His first and at the moment only word is a variation on his brothers name, he takes 7 steps, each day we count them, his sister bursts with pride at his every achievement and I burst with love to watch them.

This baby was sent to teach me a few lessons I think and to bring me out of the darkness. I have been told he has been with me before and certainly his arrival made me feel complete.

Despite a houseful of toys, he likes to empty kitchen cupboards, despite a whole unit of Happyland he likes his brothers Playmobil. He is beginning to like to join in craft time, waving a paint brush in the air with great enthusiasm.

There is one other, my eldest, he is forging his own path, his story is his own, he doesn't like to be spoken about on the internet but no story of our family is complete without at least a mention of him, my first born who holds his own special place in our hearts.

I love them so, my children, each one so different.

And lastly in this house is my husband, my soul mate, my hero and the one person in my life I know, would lay down his life for us without hesitation and will never hurt us or let us down. He is my everything, and the foundation of our family - he thinks that role belongs to me, but without his love and support, I wouldn't be me.

He encourages me in whatever I want to do - and all it takes for him to be happy is us, he takes his joy from me and the 3 small creatures (and his beloved motorbike - only he could possibly get a thrill from riding in the current storms).

4 children plus 1 husband = my whole heart.

The Monster in the Dark

The Monster in the Dark

I bought a house, to be a safe place, where I could live my life and raise my children.

A home full of light and love and happiness, where, once the door was closed, we were safe me and mine.

I knew about monsters, that they were real and they existed, so I was cautious and careful. I monitored and I watch and I loved and I laughed.

But time came when something slipped past my guard, past my ever watchful eye and came into my home.

The monster came in the shape of a child, ousing an evilness and a blackness that I did not see, invading every crook and cranny, disturbing the peace and harmony of my once safe place.

But still I did not see, for the monster made me blind.

And now I know more about monsters than I ever wished to know, that they can shape change, face change and take many forms, that they can steal your heart and your soul and leave a void that can never be filled.

The monster in my life has stolen my past, my memories, although life moves on and forward, there is a shadow that cannot be brightened, a darkness that cannot be filled with light.

To find peace, I have had to accept, that a part of me will now always be forever black, there will always be a chasm that will remain empty.

So I have bought a new house, a new home, to fill with light and love and happiness once again.

And although a part of me will always yearn for the past, I know, that with love and patience and time, I can be happy once more.

My home is slowly filling with hearts and arts and crafts. With love, with light and with laughter, with dragonflies and butterflies and signs of a new start, a rebirth.

I will keep a more watchful eye and this time, in this life, in this home, no monsters will slip by.

We will be safe and at peace again, me and mine.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

An overnight guest of the most lovely variety - wet nursing.

I have discussed in the past, would I feed another mothers baby, yes I thought.

So one day this week, I got to my phone to missed calls from a friend of mine, and a text asking me to collect her baby from the hospital where she was having to overnight with her toddler.

In a heartbeat I confirmed I would and headed home to drop my brood before picking him up from hospital, I certainly hoped she wanted me to nurse him, because I have no pump, no bottles and being a Sunday all the shops were closed.

I often wondered how an exclusively breast fed baby would settle with a different mama, would he cry or would he be content.

I arrived to collect him and checked with his mama, yes she would like me to feed him, and co-sleep - thankfully we have a side car and he is a better sleeper than my youngest, who wakes hourly. So I brought him home, this little bundle of loveliness, my 3 and 5 years olds were delighted, my 9 month old, not so sure.

Cue happy smiles, posing with baby for photos, kisses on his precious head and then, feeding time, he was so light compared to my milk grown monster. He had a few test suckles and then he settled down for a good long feed, my little one wasn't having that, so I had one on each breast, booby brothers.

This brought back many happy memories of tandem feeing my 3 and 5 year old. Having fed he happily settled down and slept, waking only once for a feed and settling back off again. 

It was a lovely experience to be able to do this for him and my friend, what were the alternatives, formula he wouldn't drink and that upset his little belly, or a bottle he wasn't used to given not by his mummy but some one else, he was happy and content and that showed.

I wore him in his own wrap, so he had the comfort of familiar milk drenched boobies, with the smell of his mummy surrounding him, this is how he slept, covered in his wrap, an inch away from me in our side car, which is usually occupied by my 3 year old, nowhere is strange for the carried baby.

Even I an experienced mummy of 4, woke to check he was breathing through the night.

In the morning I carried on tandem feeding the 2 of them, while my wonderful husband brought drinks and snacks, much awe of nursing mothers of twins, I didn't leave my bed. You could see around lunchtime he was starting to miss his mum, 4 months old but clearly able to express himself.

Thankfully we were off to view a house we are buying so he was entertained by the journey and the newness. Late afternoon he went home to his mummy, who had missed him so - but he was safe, he was happy and he was content, I would have him again in a heartbeat, I couldn't bear to think of a baby sad, and missing the usual comfort of the breast, when I was so easily able to provide that for him and lessen the worry for his already worried mum.

This is the message she left for me on our local gentle parenting group, "I have an amazing friend I met on this very group she had given me lots of clothes ect for X and then the night before last she gave me the most amazing gift ever I couldn't keep X (who is ebf) in hospital with X they offerd me a pump but that would be useless since I don't have a big enough stash for him she came picked him up and fed my baby for me I don't think she quite knows how amazing she is so just saying thank you".

This was followed up by the most beautiful bunch of flowers, timely arriving after I has spent the day in hospital with my youngest.

I don't feel amazing, I didn't need flowers although they are very beautiful, I just did what came naturally to me, there is no "out there" or "controversy" for me, my friend and her baby needed me, and what is more, I enjoyed the time I spent with him, it was a pleasure for me, you forget so quickly how tiny they are and it was a privilege to be trusted with my friends most precious possession, her perfectly perfect baby boy.

Feeding on the Floor

Feeding on the floor outside Door 3 of Harrods to be precise.

Like a vagrant, people walked past me and stepped over me without a second glance, me and my invisible child, the 2 doormen there blindly refused to acknowledge my existence.

But it an was an absorbing place to be - floor level, green shoes, red shoes, studded shoes, diamanté shoes, and that was just the men. The amount of fawning carried out by the doormen seemed to be in direct proportion to the extravagance of the shoes on display.

Door 3 appears to be a semi secret side entrance, there is a yellow lined space just outside the doors, just the right size and length for the steady stream of limos, large BMWs and Mercedes that pulled up outside and disgorged mainly Arab families.

The doormen recognised many of the cars, you could tell who was and was not a regular visitor, a big spender, I guess, by the speed with which they danced attendance and whether 1 or 2 doormen went to the car.

I didn't realise a plain black hijab could be so intricate and so absolutely beautiful, intricate lace of many types and some of the fabrics, plain black but so smoothly flowing, quality shining from every strand.

I could have sat there all day, because the shoes, an array of high heeled, multi coloured, many gemmed shoes, were like a fashion show of the highest quality. I guess when you have a lot of money and the only part of you on display is your feet, you are going to dress them up and put on the best display you can. Like a peacock.

There were jeans, skirts, short and long, but, with my eyes like stalks, I often wondered, how could you walk, never mind stride with confidence in eye wateringly high heels like that.

There were women and children, relatively few men, although one lady strolled past, followed by what were clearly her minders, I have never seen a real life bodyguard before. It was all very exciting, I could have literally sat there for hours, watching the world flow by, the very rich mingling with the average tourist all happily ignoring the breast feeding mother sat on the floor watching the world in minature in the doorway of Harrods.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tiny Toes and Baby Grows

Why I Babywear.

Why I Babywear

Last year my entire world was blown apart, the family and life I thought I had collapsed, our family was in a total state of turmoil and our life will never to be the same again.

I stayed home for a year, only leaving the house with my husband, he was and still is my rock.

We decided to have another baby, because they are so healing, I was total state of shock throughout my pregnancy and towards the end a friend who was concerned about me sent me a link to 2 groups, the local attachment parenting group and the local sling meet and she made me PROMISE to go. These mamas she told me, will be lovely, please go, and she gave me my first wrap.

So heavily pregnant, I swallowed my nerves and went along to a sling meet and the attachment parenting group. I looked at the sling wearers, many people were in both groups, I had never worn a baby, but they looked so close, mama and baby, almost still one.

I had been in such distress through my pregnancy I was terrified of PND, I thought it had to be worth a go, I’d carry the little one after his/her birth.

And so he arrived, my rainbow after the storm and I fed him and I wore him, everywhere, all the time.

I felt his heart next to my heart, smelt his precious baby smell, I kept him sockless and footless, so I could hold his little feet and warm them with my hands, I wore him topless in the house with just a nappy, skin to skin, never apart and constantly together.

I fed him in the wrap, he slept in the wrap, his daddy carried him at times, skin to skin, heart to heart.

And strangers stopped and cooed, in a way they never had before, people I had never spoken to, they cooed on the school run over his tiny head wrapped to me, inside my coat, they showed an interest in the shop,”oh look how happy he is in there”, my wraps became a conversation topic, an opening to speak, “oh look dragons today”, “what a beautiful lizard”, “such a happy baby”, “so content”.

And gradually, with each piece of skin to skin, each conversation I had, while stroking his toes, each new friend I made in this new world he opened up for me, I healed, I didn’t realise I was healing, it happened gradually. As he grew close to my skin, the pain inside me eased.

Spring came, and then summer, and still I wear him, my beautiful precious little boy and now I have a whole new life, I mourn the passing of my old life at the same time as my new life grows.

I have interests now, sling meets and parenting groups and breast feeding groups, I have friends, I am no longer scared of meeting new people or going to new places, because I am never alone, somewhere, there is always another baby wearer, a mum just like me – and with a brief grin, a small wave of the hand, an acknowledgement of each other, no matter how small, I know – I am now a part of this baby wearing community, finally, I have refound me.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

I held him ......

I was lying in the bath, reading Ian May's Guide to Childbirth, when I came across this quote, it may me think of my youngest child.

As a mother to 4 children, I am often subjected to comments about how you cannot possibly love them all the same, or how they end up looking after each other.

Each one of my beautiful children, is much loved, much wanted and much adored.

My husband once told them, "love is like family's, it grows".

I remembered this picture of him a few days old and how much overwhelming love I felt for him, so I thought I'd share it.