peas on toast

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Updated: 9 hours 50 min ago

sam & finn

Tue, 2014-09-09 09:39
I am battling a bit today and last night.

I don't cry everyday anymore, but a cry does build up. I can feel it. Then one little thing will set it off - a conversation, seeing twins, or something I read.

I saw a set of boy/girl twins on Sunday, hugging and playing with each other. They were so close and shared such a special bond. Then I go to the Dark Place and start thinking about the days leading up to her death. How she was breech, how I fell, where I fell, the scan following, how she then turned and then that fateful day. 18 March.

I am sitting here, tears streaming down my cheeks as I saw the most beautiful little book created by a twin mum as a tribute to one of her twin boys that died.
She lives in Cape Town, and posted on the Twinless Twins forum.

It's so touching, and so apt. Finn, her survivor, was always active and kicking, while her other boy, Sam, was more restful.
It was exactly like that with Sebby and Molly. Sebby was constantly kicking me and moving, while Molly kicked softly and at different times.

Here it is.

We are going to Cornwall for a few days on Thursday. This break has been planned for a while, as we are going with other couples and their babies. Our first baby holiday.

I can't wait to see Cornwall. It's where my English ancestors come from, and my dad says there is a cemetery in one of the towns near to where we are staying, filled with Clemence's.

super juice

Mon, 2014-09-08 13:37
Wanted to share my Super Juice recipe with y'all. Someone asked for it the other day, so thought I'd share.

It's actually a smoothie, but for the purposes of looking trendy, let's called it a juice. Everyone's juicing. Even poor old Joan Rivers is juicing still.

Every morning, I make this juice, by hook or by crook. It's more a smoothie, to be fair. It has the skins and piths and all other bits in it.
It keeps me:
1) awake
2) regular
3) not ill ever.

I can't afford to be sick, er, constipated or sleep walking at the moment, so I drink one first thing every morning. It also conveniently packs in my 5 a day in one fell swoop. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit ordinarily, but this ensures no matter what, I get it all.

You can mix and match the fruits to your liking, but I tend to mostly use this combination - it's not too sweet and not too tart.
It's best taken first thing before any cereal or breakfast so that it blasts your system awake and all the nutrients are absorbed on impact.

I also tend to choose fruit and veg that are alkaline and high in anti-oxidants, to stave off things like cancer and ageing.
Fruits are high in sugar, but pear is great for fibre and banana is brilliant for energy.

I also use organic produce - especially the ones without hard skins, so that less pesticides and rubbish are absorbed.

To make one pint glass:

1) To start, grab a fistful of fresh baby spinach leaves; grab a fistful of curly kale leaves.
2) Cut up a ripe pear.

3) Chop up a banana
4) Grab a fistful of fresh blueberries

5) Chop up three slices of ginger (very important! Also helps for milk production if you're breastfeeding...)

Your concoction should look something like this now:

This will make about a pint of smoothie.

6) Add about 100-150 mls of filtered water
7) Whack a hand blender in there. (Or stick it in the blender/food processor). Hand blenders are the business, FYI.

You will want to put soft fruit at the top if you're hand blending, and the leaves at the bottom with the harder stuff in the middle.

Give it a sippable consistency.
You should end up with something looking like this:
Doesn't look helluva appetising, sure - sort of looks like dish water, but it tastes yummy. The ginger gives it a bit of a kick too.
If you have any, add ground up flax/linseeds, in the oil form. Good for the old brain, they say.

Otherwise like me, use the smoothie as a chaser for all the supplements you take.
(Viz fenugreek for breastmilk, vitamin d, flaxseed, multi-vitamin.)

You should be ready to do cartwheels after this.
Or just about.

borrowed time

Fri, 2014-09-05 11:55
My child has started to not sleep at all at night.

A few weeks ago, he was sleeping through. The Brit and I were waking up somewhat refreshed.
Slowly but surely the little scamp has started to wake at 3am. Then it was 1am and 3am.
When he didn't wake up at those unforgivable times, I fucking started waking up then, expecting  him to wake up.

Fast forward to three days ago, when the Brit went to Germany for work. That's when Sebastian decided to open a can of I'm About To Ruin Your Shit and now he wakes up every hour on the hour.

Other mums are all, 'It's teething!' 'It's a growth spurt! 'It's the famous Four Month Regression!'(Famous? How come I don't know about that? And my son is 5.5 months, so does that still make it the Four Month Regression?)

Either way, I'm beyond catatonic. Beyond, because I've almost done a 360. I'm so tired, I'm hyperactive.
I know if I sit down and chill for one second, I'm going to fall asleep for eight months.

So I got up, put on my granny jersey woollen dressing gown (it's a phase), and sleepwalked my way around Clapham. I was proud of myself for managing to dress, brush my teeth and feed myself and him in a somnambulistic state.

I did, however, spread Marmite over my peanut-butter sandwich thinking it was jam.

I took Seb to the library for Rhyme & Story Time. While he listened intently to the songs, stories and general child chaos around him, I sat sleeping with my eyes open. Like all the other mummies in there.

I started to feel panicked and very sad last night. Even amongst the sleep deprivation, there's a blip that's surfaced on my horizon.

January. The cold, dark, hands-down worst month of the year is on my radar. It's coming. It's when I go back to work, and it's when I leave Seb.

It means I'll see my son from then on out maybe two or three hours, if I'm lucky, a day. It means I won't be able to go to Story Time or swimming with him anymore. I won't be able to take him for walks in the middle of the day, except on weekends. I'm hiring someone else to do this for me.

And already my heart is starting to break.

(Also, will I even be able to do my job anymore?)

I have little time left with him. Three and a half months. So even though he is perpetually driving me insane by keeping me awake, I am trying to savour every, single minute I have with him.

I will drag my body to every class or walk or appointment I have with him, despite how much we slept the night before, and I will enjoy it. Because I have only one chance to do these things with him. And I am now running on limited time.

PS: This time last year I was riddled with morning sickness. I was smashing fish fingers every supper time for seven weeks. It's the only thing I could stomach. It was also around this time that I found out that I was carrying twins....

24 hours

Tue, 2014-09-02 20:52
One thing new mother's find simply infuriating (besides the constant swathe of unsolicited advice), is the fact that people think that they basically sit around all day.

Hell, maybe they do. Maybe if they have maids/nannies/au pairs/grannies/siblings on hand, they do get a few hours a day, just to themselves.
Certainly in South Africa, this is more the case. Some of my motherly friends might as well live in a completely different world to me, nevermind country. Hired help and proximity of family members is easy to come by there, and don't think for a second that I don't think about this all the time.

I'm fully aware that my life would be a lot easier if I was living in South Africa now. It would be sunnier, I'd have more support emotionally and otherwise, and my son would probably have a large garden to crawl around in.

But that's not the purpose of this post, actually. I live in the UK (and to remind myself why: it's safe, the politics are somewhat orderly, it's cosmopolitan, it has real seasons, first world, close to the continent and therefore travel, beautiful, cultured, and we live in a lovely period Victorian conversion on the foot of one of London's best commons.)

The intention here is to describe exactly, in excruciating detail - as much as my sleep-deprived brain may allow - what an average day is like. As a mum, on maternity leave, in London. Today was an average day, perhaps Sebastian was grumpier then usual- now crescendoing his usual cry to a further louder rasping effect, which I believe is teething.

So without further ado.

6:15am - The first mewlings, fast escalating to yelling. He wants milk this very second.
Leap out of bed, stumble around bashing things on the way to his room.

Feeds for half an hour.
Gulp a pint of water to wake up and help my milk flow.

7:00am - The Brit wakes up, Sebastian turns to him and plays with his face. By 'play' I mean grab his nose and try to rip it off his face.

Play with him.
Leave them there to go and pump the remainder of milk into a bottle.

7:30am - Brit showers and gets ready for work, I make a super juice.

Put Seb in his bouncer.
Seb is moaning. His toy fell off the bouncer.
Hand it back to him.
Attend to juice and vitamin supplements.
Prepare his breakfast, by mixing pear, cereal and some of my milk in a bowl.
Shit. He's seen the bowl. Starts to moan for breakfast.

8:15am - Feed him breakfast.

Clean his face, hands and surrounding area where splat-a-thon has occurred.
Finish my juice.
Put All Bran in a bowl.
See that he has done a pooh.
Take him to changing mat and wipe his bottom, affix new nappy.
Change him out of pyjamas, wipe his face, brush his hair.
Find dreadlocks in his hair.
Appears he is picking up lint and getting it entangled in hair.
Cut the dreads out. Leave gaping holes in his hair.
Starts crying.
Is overtired, was already meant to be down for his nap, like half an hour ago.

9:00am - Rock him to sleep, put on white noise app.
9:10am - Exit room on tippee-toes, trip over the belt of my dressing gown that is trailing behind me.

It's now a race against the clock. I have about 40 minutes, maybe an hour if I'm lucky.

Attend to All Bran.
Add up WeightWatchers points.
Finish breakfast.
Go back to kitchen, can't put dirty bowl in dishwasher as it's full.
Unload dishwasher.
Make cup of tea.
He cries.
Go to his room to put his dummy back in.
Make mental note of figuring out how to lose dummy for good.
Forget about tea, is now cold.
Reboil kettle.
Answer three emails that have been needing a reply for four days.
Reply to a text.
Forget about tea, is now cold.
Go and wash face.
Put on clothes.

10:00am - He wakes up
Check nappy.
He's done another pooh.
Oh look, the consistency and colour of this one reflects the avocado he had, how interesting.
Answer Skype call from mother
Chat to mother
Put him on blanket on floor on his stomach so he gets Tummy Time
He cries because he has managed to push all his toys away from his body
Rearrange toys close to his hands and face
Go back to couch to continue conversation
He cries because he has vomited on himself
Get up to wipe his face
Where's the fucking muslin?
Who took the last muslin out of the fucking lounge?
Oh. It was me.
Go to his room to get a new muslin.
Wipe his face.

10:45am  - set about breastfeeding.
Start on the boob he prefers (the left, which is therefore a much larger breast as it stands, now that's embarrassing. Especially for those who see both of them at once and can actually compare.)
Move him to the right breast while he is half asleep, hoping he won't notice.
He doesn't notice. For three minutes.
He notices. Puts his head back and screams in disapproval.
Move him back to the right breast.
He is distracted by the Bauhaus print behind us on the wall. He is always distracted by it.
Gets upset and starts to roar.
Sit him up to burp him.
Burp him.
Try the left breast again.
Screams and thrashes, legs go round like a bicycle.
Give up. Hope that 13 minutes of breastfeeding will be enough.
Fetch milk pump spout from kitchen.
Arrange Seb on couch in sitting position, using cushions.
Put toys around him.
With one eye on him, attach boob to breast pump.
Watch him. While pumping.

11:30am - Starts to niggle.
Go to his room to prepare him for his long lunchtime nap.

Race against the clock. An hour and a half (always interrupted). If lucky, two hours. But this has only happened twice.

The tablet on which the white noise app sits, has low battery.
As I turn on the soothing sound of waves, the only thing that helps him get to sleep, it stops.
He gets annoyed.
Take tablet and place it on charge.
Find the Brit's tablet and turn on white noise app. Battery is also low.
Go to kitchen to prepare some food
Switch on baby monitor
Peel three sweet potatoes and two courgettes
He starts crying.
Head to his room.
Give him a jiggle.
Go back to kitchen.
Put peeled vegetables in the steamer.
Prepare to make a sandwich.
Butter bread.
He's mewling.
Go to his room.
Give him a jiggle.
Return to kitchen, put ham on sandwich.
Starts crying.
Grit teeth and try to ignore for an additional 2 minutes while I chop a tomato.
I WILL finish making this fucking sandwich.
Crying gets too loud.
Head to his room, give him a jiggle.
Head back to kitchen. Place the chopped tomato on the sandwich.
Cut it up. Finish making sandwich.
Eat sandwich.
Mash up courgettes and potatoes, dispense into ice cube tray and put in freezer
He's finally asleep.
Make a cup of tea.
Realise I have to pay for his swimming lessons.
Head to computer and log onto internet banking.
Forget about tea, is now cold.

12:45pm - The Brit phones. Pick up call.
End call abruptly, as realise I haven't brushed my teeth yet.
Head to bathroom.
Brush my teeth.
Start to prepare to put some makeup on
Start brushing on some foundation.
He wakes up.
Is talking to himself, not crying, so continue
Do I have time to put on some blush, or should I skip that and brush my hair?
Fuck the blush.
Brush my hair.
He's chortling to himself.
I have time therefore to do a wee.
I do a wee.
He's starting to get impatient.
I wash hands
Apply hand cream
Put on wedding rings. Been forgetting to put those on when I leave house, which isn't good.

1:15pm  - Pick him up
Put him on changing table
Change his nappy
Put a cardigan on him
And his shoes
Realise I haven't drunk enough water
Fill up water bottle
Down a pint
Refill bottle
Set about breastfeeding.
Start on the left boob
Move him to the right breast while he is half asleep, hoping he won't notice.
He doesn't notice. For three minutes.
He notices. Puts his head back and screams in disapproval.
Move him back to the right breast.
He is distracted by the Bauhaus print behind us on the wall.
Gets upset and starts to roar.
Sit him up to burp him.
Burp him.
Try the left breast again.
Screams and thrashes, legs go round like a bicycle.
Give up. Hope that 13 minutes of breastfeeding will be enough.
Fetch milk pump spout from kitchen.
Arrange him on couch in sitting position, using cushions.
Put toys around him.
With one eye on him, attach boob to breast pump.
Watch him. While pumping.

1:48pm  - Realise him I'm super late
Bring buggy from his room to the door
Load him in the buggy
Find keys. mobile phone
Exit door
See postman has delivered package
Reopen door
Drop package
Realise I've left water bottle
Swear loudly
Apologise for being such a bad example
Race down the street
Stop to put his dummy in
Stop to find sunglasses floating around the depths of his nappy bag
Cross main street
Enter building where a class is being held (we sing and do baby activities in a big circle)
See other mums, make some polite small talk about Bugaboo buggies and weaning
Wipe drool from his face
Realise the class instructor is still on fucking holiday
Leave building exasperated

2:15pm - find a coffee shop after walking to the high street
Order a massive Americano with milk
Find a table where there is  space to slide a buggy in next to it
He starts to whinge, it's nap time
Coffee shop is quiet, save two important-looking novelists tapping away on laptops

2:30pm - He starts roaring
Panicked, I shush and jiggle him to sleep
Finally he drops off
Drink coffee
Order a slice of cake. Fuck it.
Read a few blogs, message a friend who thinks I'm dead, respond to a WhatsApp
Take a picture of my coffee
Put a filter on it
Add some hashtags
Upload it to Instagram
Pay for coffee

3:30pm - Exit coffee shop
Walk home
Find keys

4:00pm - Enter house
Lie him on his activity play gym
He lies there and swats the toys
Down a pint of water
Give him a breastfeed, this time just one breast

4:30pm - Entertain him. It's now officially Witching Hour, anything can set him off
Stand him up, swing him around, wave toys in front of him, sing to him, get out the nursery rhyme book
Realise haven't checked nappy in a while
Change nappy

5:00pm - Get potato cube and carrot cube out of freezer
Put in bowl
Heat in microwave.
Add some breast milk.
Put him in bouncer chair, put bib on
Feed him his supper
Clean his hands and face
Put dummy in, as hates having hands and face wiped
Put him back under play gym

5:30pm - Prepare his bath
Run the water, check it's the right temperature
Fetch bath support seat, put it in the bath
Get towel and sponge, baby shampoo out and ready

5:45pm - Put him bath
Wash his hair, extremities, play with him

6:00pm - Get him out of bath, dry him, take him to his room
Get out baby oil and give him a baby massage
Brit is home early, comes in to give him a kiss and cuddle
Dress him in his pyjamas

6:15pm - Draw the curtains
Take tablet off charge, get his bed ready
Take him to our bed, open up a book
Read him a short story
Short, as he is properly niggly now
Attach him to preferred breast
Change him to other breast when he is half asleep. He stays there.
Breathe a sigh of relief.

6:45pm - Take his comatose little body through to his room
Tuck him in
Switch on white noise app

Eat supper with the Brit.
Hope he doesn't wake up, but if he does, it will be just as we are about to tuck into a giant bowl of something delicious.
The Brit will go and attend to him.

7:30pm - Have a bath.
Close the door
Put on a candle
Put on my iPod and speaker
Sit and think. Often about Molly.

8:00pm - Write a blog post.
Watch something on TV with Brit.
Drink a cup of [warm] tea.

9:15pm - Pump milk into his bottle

9:30pm - Brit gives him his dreamfeed, either the bottle if its full or as recently, formula.

10:00pm - Go to bed.

Somewhere around 3:00am
He might wake up. Often he does. Brit or myself puts him back to sleep.

This took me three hours to do. It's pretty much taken up all my spare time, so I do hope you read every. single. word.

In conclusion. If there's one thing I have realised it's this: No office job is as difficult as being a full-time mum.
Mark my words. NO OFFICE JOB.
There are lull periods in any given office day. You can drink a hot cup of coffee. You can stare out of a window for more than 12 seconds. You probably had at least 8 hours sleep.

* I had to dedicate time to write this. Once the Brit was home so that I could really concentrate. And not have to write it with my teeth whilst doing 109 other things with my fingers. And toes. At the same time. 
* Haven't included cuddle time in here. Assume I cuddle him pretty much every twenty minutes of the waking day.
* Make no mistake. I love being a mum. I wouldn't have it any other way.

slippery nipple

Tue, 2014-09-02 12:17
It's ironic really. A Slippery Nipple cocktail would've gone down nicely on our returning flight from Portugal.

Now, boarding a flight with an infant garners a number of things.
1) people who like babies and coo and point;
2) people who are scared of babies and look visibly relieved when you pass their seat; and in a mixture of horror and revulsion when you arrive at theirs because you're sitting right next to them.
3) the parent(s) walking on 8 million eggshells as they tentatively make sure their little bundle is going to not lose his shit.

We were the last to board the plane, now having mastered the art of colapsing and putting back together our 'tarvel system.' The Travel System is our buggy, which has been pimped especially for this trip. It consists of a basic buggy bracket, wheels and the car seat.

On the flight in, we kept an entire busload of passengers waiting while we tried to desperately put together the fucking Travel System on the runway. The car seat would not - so God help us - click onto the bracket. We pushed, we shoved, we sweated, we tried everything, only to throw everything, in pieces, one by one, onto the heaving, crowded bus because they were going to leave us there.

It was at that moment, I also remembered that I had forgotten to put on deodorant, perhaps as we had left at 4am, but by now, my odiferous pits were the last of my worries.

Anyway, where the fuck was I.

On the plane, leaving to fly back to the UK. Sebastian had been brilliant on the way here. Lying sprawled across our laps, sleeping with his doudou over his face like an Arab as usual (got more than a few raised eyebrows on the flight, let me tell you), I even managed to leaf through the Duty Free magazine with the Brit. No crying or loud baby noises to cause anyone any alarm.

Exhibit A:

We were particularly proud of the fact we managed to stick to basic airline standards as well. Via the channel between our seats, we cunningly (while he was asleep, mind), ran his seatbelt through and over. And there he lay, quite blissful and Syrian-like, for a good hour and a bit.

We tried the same tack for the return journey. Parents do this. If a method works once, you try it again and again - but most of the time you realise it just worked once, even though you keep banging away at the one method.

He was finicky and started wingeing and moaning. I was sitting, this time, next to a very hairy young woman. She had Amy Winehouse eye makeup and was sleeping sitting up. Which makes me believe she was just trying to sleep. I can sleep sitting up anywhere these days - seriously, try me - but that's because I am 8 years in lieu of real sleep and counting.

Planes make me tired too. It must be the cabin pressure or altitude or something, but all I deperately, desperately, wanted to do was get Sebastian to sleep so that I could sit back for even TEN MINUTES and catch some flies. My husband had already started, and was catching an assortment of flying objects with his wide open mouth rather nicely.

A ha! I put him on my boob. It wasn't feeding time, but the nipple worked as a lovely little plug and stopped his niggling and wingeing. And after about 3 minutes he was beautifully sound asleep. Latched onto my nipple.

Great. I was sleepy too. Ah look at the little bugger. All curled up against my bosom, just like when he was a newborn. Eyes closed, mouth on my nipple, snuggled into me.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.

A few minutes later, he slid off the nipple, just enough so that it now rested firmly in his eyeball hole.

The nipple fitted cosily and quite firmly in what was his eyeball socket, so I thought, the same.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.

Fast forward, I dunno, ten, twenty minutes?
 Husband and wife, now both with heads thrown back, mouths agape, possibly with a trickle of drool descending down the jowls.
Hang on, what is this?
Mother has infant in her arms. Infant's head has appeared to have slipped off nipple entirely, meaning mother's bear breast is just sort of hanging there. In mid-air, at 33 000 feet, while mother and child and husband slumber.

Make note that we were positioned near the back of the plane near the toilets, so the foot traffic in that area consisted of frequent loo-goers and air hostesses. And my boob, was exposed to all, throughout that time.

Now. Here's the thing. I couldn't give more of a fuck. 

When you become a mother, your boobs are no longer objects of sexual and private nature. Your boobs are public property. They're feeding machines. Milk outlets. Udders.

From the moment he was born, I've had midwives, nurses, doulas, doctors, neonatologists, hospital staff squeeze, touch and see my boobs. Helping me to breastfeed.
I've whipped them out in front of my father-in-law, brother-in-law, his wife, the Brit's entire family. My step-dad, the Brit;s best friend, my friends.

Everyone I care even slightly about, has seen my tits. Performing the rudimentary function of procuring milk.

I remember my 28th birthday - surprisingly, rather vividly. I was in Johannesburg, at a Greek restaurant, and we were all dancing around, absolutely steaming.
At one point, my boob fell out of my dress, right in sight of Poen's [now] husband.

I was mortified. As I didn't realise it had fallen out, so I was happily continuing my conversation with my boob poking everyone's eye out.
("You might want to pop that back in, Peas.")

Now? So a bunch of people I don't know saw my boob. My naked, nipply breast.

If my vagine was out, then I'd have something to be embarrassed about. But having my boob out on a plane where a throng of strangers could look really doesn't bother me at all.

Must've looked pretty funny though.


Mon, 2014-09-01 12:22
It's been a long time since my dormant travel bug tickled my toes.

And Lisbon, what a lovely city! You don't hear much about Lisbon in the grand spectrum of European cities. Most people go to Barcelona or Rome or Paris for long weekend breaks. But the Portuguese capital started to make its way onto the pages of travel magazines a year or two ago.

It is the most underrated city I've been to. I think. It's not completely overrun with tourists, the avenues and streets are wide and walkable (all covered in white cobbles - not a street or pavement is without the smooth cobbles. I did trip and fall on face, sure, but whatever), and the people love children.

Women, men and children would swoop in and touch Sebastian wherever we went, and were so accommodating in restaurants and while we travelled. We walked with him everywhere, up and down streets, all over town basically. My little boy was a (mostly) lovely traveller - very relaxed, even stretching across our laps during the flight there,to sleep.
(Beginner's luck?)

The flight back deserves its own post.

Anyway. The weather was perfect. About 28 degrees, stark and sunny - about the average temperature I enjoy most. Sebby could wear his summer clothes a bit longer, while me and the Brit ran around scantily-cladded.

I managed to reverse all the work I have done on my diet, via the medium of 'pasteis de nata', those criminally-good custard tart thingies the Portuguese make so well. We went to the original cafe where the initial recipe was sown by nuns. Seriously.

We slotted them like biscuits, fresh and crispy from the oven. I can't really describe how tasty these were, so I won't.
But I will say this: never in my life has I tasted something so crispy and crunchy, and yet so buttery and smooth all at once. Dusted in cinnamon, warm from the oven's embrace..... No wonder Cafe de Belem sells 20 000 of those bad boys a day. (And at 1 euro a tart, they're dong OK....)

We ordered Portuguese food in, loitered by the pool on top of our apartment, meandered through gardens and tiny streets.

We took Seb on buses, on the metro, everywhere. The little lad's mind must have been blown a few times.

Anyway, enough talking, more pictures. Lisbon is hands down a wonderful city, well worth a visit. It's small enough to walk around over a few days, the weather is amazing, there are beaches nearby and I believe it has a cracking nightlife.
(One area we couldn't partake in, was the night vibe in Bairro Alto where I was told that the streets become awash with bucket-sized mojitos. Next time.)

 Many buildings are covered top to bottom in tiles.
 Arco de Augusta
 The secret-recipe pasteis de Belem in process.
 Look at this thing.

 Oh ja. I bought a new set of 'fun' shades. They're red velvet Ray Ban reflectors, cue right. I haven't been in a duty free for a while. It shows, doesn't it.
 The Cafe de Belem hall - filled with snacking tourists!
 My heart melts.
 No trip to Portugal would be complete without a dish of grilled sardines.

 Portuguese windows My sunglasses can reflect everything within a 20 mile radius.
 Standard pavement view.
Mother and boy child statue.
 Our pool with Lisbonic [sic] views
 Seb's bath time in the sink. Not overly impressed.
 Husband and views

 Ifound an old friend - at a 'museu de cerveja', a 'beer emporium' basically. Mozambique in a sip.

 Them tiles.
 It's not quite's more sort Atlanticanean.

 Bougainvillea eeverywhere....
 Dried fish. Not keen.
 Warm in Portugal. Keen.
Our first family trip.

It was lovely to spend four glorious days, just me and my little family. So good for all of us.


Wed, 2014-08-27 19:35

Tomorrow we going to.......

{first real trip as a family}
{first city break for a long time}
{first flight since October last year}
{first flight with an infant. Eeeeeeeek}
{a two and a half hour flight with an infant. Eeeek.}
{first mini-break since our babymoon in France.....when I had twins :(}


We are going to Portugal for 4 days.

Why Portugal (you ask? Or maybe you don't?) Well, why not really?

We have been before, but to the Algarve on the south coast. This time we are taking in a city, and one which comes highly underrated I believe. Great food, vibe, and as someone pointed out today, "The Portuguese are very family-oriented."

We are Air b'n b'ing it, so that we can make Sebastian's food and lounge by our own pool. Grab the last of the European rays before Autumn well and truly hits.

We are packing as we speak. Well actually, I'm typing this blog post and my husband is fiddling with some technical virtual reality gadget in our lounge.

But we have been packing for almost two hours now and still not quite there. Packing for a child is a monolithic task, let me assure you.

Travel cot, muslins, toys, enough nappies, formula just in case, milk pump, clothes, wipes, bibs, spoons, bottles, swimming trunks, suncream, hat, car seat to be attached to pram, Calpol, a towel.

And that's just his stuff.

It will be a good practice trip for when we head to South Africa in December, nonetheless. Christ only knows how much we need a change of scenery/holiday around here.

Anyway, we are looking at this as a bit of an adventure.

I just hope it's an enjoyable adventure.

the cornershop

Tue, 2014-08-26 11:06
It was a bank holiday yesterday in the UK, and even though it was chucking it down outside, we thought we'd go and do something cool.

One thing a new parent in London doesn't have much time for: London. The galleries, the museums, the markets, the shops, and the popups.

Popups are one of the best things about London, and even though it's a very 'East London' thing, back before we had a child, we'd make the trek over there, simply because one does that.

Popups come in the form of restaurants, shops, stalls, galleries or exhibitions. It's simply a space that someone will rent for only a limited time, so when it's up, best you go before it's closed again. Apparently popups became a 'thing' not because it's hipster, but because of the recession. People  - and especially struggling artists - can't afford to rent a space permanently, so they do so for a month or two in hope they get their big break.

Anyway, you know all this already. Probably. I don't know what people know or don't know anymore, so bear with me.

We scooped up our baby and all visited an absolutely incredible popup exhibition- fuck, if only I'd thought of it myself. Tucked away a small street in Bethnal Green, the Cornershop is a full on off-license where everything inside is made entirely of felt.

Lucy Sparrow, the artist (and isn't that a delightful name?) has been all over the news, and is just so lovely too. Answers everyone's questions as they come in and gawp at the shelves of tins, packets, jars and newspapers, all beautifully sewn together in impeccable detail.

Took her seven months to make (which is kind of quick, given there are hundreds and hundreds of items - and she sells them too.)

I ordered a massive box of Kellogg's cereal, after grappling with choice - do we get a jar of Marmite or packet of Carr's water biscuits? Choice paralysis is a problem when you go there. You want everything.
It gets pulled down at the end of the week, and she then heads to New York to set up a convenience store there.
 A lot of her items have sold out, but you can order what's left online, right here.
I thought the cornflakes would make a nice pillow. For the kitchen. You know, when I need to sleep on the counter.
 The details are incredible - she got the tone and agenda right for each newspaper and magazine.

 If you blink quickly, it looks like a normal shop. Then you look a bit closer...

 Loved this.

 Seb and husband check out the ice creams.

 If I was still a smoker....

Made sure we dressed the part. It is east London after all.

losing stuff

Fri, 2014-08-22 11:53
I think I may finally be losing my mind.

I have lost more stuff in the last 24 hours than in years. And have no idea how.

I had my iPod in my hand in the morning - it never left the house - and I put it down somewhere. By the evening, I had turned the place upside down and nothing.

My iPod has literally disappeared into thin air. There is no other explanation.

I've lost Seb's dummies. A milk pump thingie. These don't leave the house, so where is the massive black hole they're hiding in?

I also exploded an egg. I put one in the microwave, which is always slightly controversial in cheffing circles, sure. But it went and exploded after I prodded it with a knife.

The thing about eggs is this. You have to be very careful with eggs. They're a universally recognised breakfast ingredient, and they're perfectly delicious. But there is a grey, gooey line with eggs, and while they're they're twelve parts great, they're also twelve parts disgusting. Eggs can be dreamy and revolting at the same time.

Anyway, sorry. Where was I after that eggy tangent?

See? This can't be normal. I can't remember anything, I am losing things and exploding things. I know baby brain is bad, but this is fairly diabolical isn't it?

Maybe someone is fucking with me. Maybe someone is entering my house and hiding his dummies, magically making them reappear elsewhere. Maybe someone stole my milk pump breast suction device, and I didn't lose it.
Maybe I threw my iPod in the bin thinking it was something else.

Or maybe I am really losing my mind. Once and for all.

little boys

Tue, 2014-08-19 08:50
Sometimes, we see a snapshot of the future.

My snapshot was yesterday. I saw my child as a little boy yesterday, and I instantly could see what the next five years or so looked like.

I met up with one of my friends from my mum's group, who has a little girl exactly the same age as Sebastian.

Thus far, babies have been babies have been babies.

Babies all do the same stuff; there is no gender differentiation. Sure, I dress mine in French baby clothes Breton stripes and dungarees, while they wear little dresses and frilly nappy knickers.

Other than what they wear, and him peeing on me when his nappy is off, babies are fairly androgynous. They all eat, sleep, shit and repeat.

Until yesterday.
I suppose now my little chap is wearing little mini man clothes, not just babygrows and rompers, so that set the scene, but it was much more than that.

Yesterday, he was a little boy. While his female counterpart sat and drooled serenely at the table, cracking a toothless smile once in a while, she generally sat and gurgled in his direction.

He, on the other hand, squirmed, moved, arms flailing, 'talking' non-stop, bashing my mobile phone off the table, then while everyone was watching, farted really loudly.

He was a boy yesterday, not a baby.

I told the Brit.

"Our son became a boy yesterday. I saw the future. And it looks like a lot of hard work."

Brit: "He's both of us. He is going to be a little terror. Oh my God he's going to be a terror, isn't he?"

Peas: "Luckily I've seen it early on. We might be able to control this. With enough discipline...and making him run around the entire common once a day."

It's cute, but when my child becomes mobile? We won't need personal trainers.

Brit: "What are the chances we have twins again?"

Peas: This is something I ask myself everyday. I would love the chance to have twins again.

Brit: Yeah but surely lightning doesn't strike twice?

Peas: Well, I read something today that said if you've had one set of twins, your chances are quadrupled to have another set.

Brit. Shit...really?

Peas: Plus I'll be over 35. That also means greater chances.

Brit: Watch. We will get pregnant with twins. And both will be boys.

Peas: Three boys? Don't even say it mate.

Back to the present, we also started feeding him this week. With a spoon and everything.
 The boy is being weaned, and he's lapping up the cereal like a hoover. Loves the mush.

Carrots next week. It doesn't look like much, but fuck it's fun. Can't wait to get liquidisin' 'em carrots and 'em pears and 'em parsnips....

things i think of everyday

Thu, 2014-08-14 14:19
They are fragments, like shards of glass that seem to pierce my heart as they pass me, swirling around my mind and body.

My coat. I remember the coat, pants and shirt and the Converse All Stars I wore the day I went for That Scan.
It had my Baby On Board badge on it. It needed a dry clean, but I couldn’t be bothered to walk to the dry cleaners, as everything at that stage was a humungous effort.

Being at home before I left for the scan. Sitting propped up on my bed, lying flat would suffocate me; my back was constantly sore. Everything hurt. I hated being pregnant, it was hard with two.

Oh how I regret feeling that way so much.

How much I could wish to turn back the clock and enjoy my twin pregnancy. It was so special. How I wish I could’ve enjoyed it more, even though everything seemed to go wrong - from incessant itching, piles, not being able to breathe, an infection.

How I cried on the way to the scan on the bus. And I had no idea why I was crying, but it didn’t matter. I always cried; my emotions were everywhere.

How we were talking about the missing plane. Flight MH370 went missing that day. It was all over the news, headlining everything.

We sat in the waiting area waiting for the scan, talking about the news. Not our babies, the hospital, birth, because we had nothing to worry about, remember? I didn’t feel like anything was wrong.

How the lady who did our scan was a young American woman. With freckles.
She said the words that changed my life.

“I can’t find a heartbeat. I’m sorry.”

“I can’t find a heartbeat. I’m sorry.”

Minutes before this, we were laughing, hearing Sebastian’s heartbeat, joking about how they kicked each other all the time.

The room suddenly became very small, I started hyperventilating, everything was a blur, I was grasping onto the Brit for fear I’d fall off the bed, and I just started begging. Please no, please. No. PLEASE.
I felt like I was being asphyxiated.

The other scanner guy who had done all my scans previously came in for a second opinion. By now, I was hysterical.
People were talking to me. Lots of people, then no one for ages. Where was the fucking consultant? Hello, I need a third opinion here, I need to talk to someone with an actual medical degree, where the fuck were they?

Very slowly and very fast. I didn’t look at any faces. I looked at the floor, at the machines, bleeping. Was this hell?
I didn’t want to hear my choices, I wanted to freeze time; I wanted to black out.

I cried so much my face swelled up, so I could hardly open my eyes.

They attached me to a monitor machine. The reassuring sound of Sebastian's heartbeat, one little heartbeat pumping away.

Then someone told me that Sebastian wasn’t doing so well either. And that if his heartbeat didn’t increase within the next hour, they’d need to rush me to theatre.

Turns out he was sleeping.

Tons of that graph paper showing the squiggles, peaks and troughs of his heart.

They took me to a room. Millions of midwives, doctors, conversations, telling me things, I don’t remember.

I’d be in this room for a whole week. I’d be in another for another week.

I had no idea. They said I could go home if I really wanted to. Were they mad? I needed to know Sebastian would be alright, I needed to hear his heartbeat.

The Brit went home to get my hospital bag, that I’d packed two months prior.

There was a tall water bubble lamp in the room. One of those long tubes with bubbles and colourful lights. I stared at it for 4 hours without averting my eyes.

The weeping. It didn’t stop.

There was a chapel in the hospital.
I went in to talk to Molly. And God. An atheist talking to God. Asking that he look after my child.

A homeless guy was in there. I cried openly and then left.

A piano in the main area was open for anyone to play it. People would stop and play tunes. I’d hear it and cry. I didn’t want to let her go. The decision to wait a week until I would deliver them meant I had one week with Molly.

I am glad I didn’t deliver her straight away. I needed time with her. While I would constantly monitor Sebastian.

On that doppler machine, all day and night to ensure his heartbeat was regular. My brave little soldier, so strong, hanging in there, suddenly on his own.

The tussles with his sister suddenly coming to an end.

He is so strong and brave. And now too. He is such a strong little boy.

My husband sleeping in a chair, or on a thin mattress on the hospital floor, every night. Going to and from the hospital to our house twice a day to collect supplies and take a shower.

My mother arriving on an early flight from South Africa.

These moments are seared into my brain, They drift across my consciousness every day.

That lamp, my coat, my maternity jeans, my belly, the chapel, the heart monitor, the tissue box.

And then the day I knew I’d give birth, in the early morning. A flash of excitement, fear, knowing I’d meet my baby.

Crippling sadness knowing I’d need to say goodbye to my other baby. I’d mentally prepared for this day all week.

Being induced. How painful it was. Labour. The Brit leaving to grab a coffee while I was all fine and coming back an hour later to me mid-epidural as I howled and wailed from having full-on labour contractions.

How I still cannot believe this has all happened.

And how I look at my son with admiration. There are moments now, when he talks to himself in the early morning in his cot how I know he would be sitting there with his sister and they'd be talking to each other.

the milk marathon

Tue, 2014-08-12 15:51

I've had such a funny relationship with breastfeeding.

On the one hand, I'm lucky I even managed to do it from the start. With the trauma of losing a twin, and the stress of having Sebby lying under a lamp for much of his hospital stay (not allowing me to feed properly), it's a small wonder I managed to produce milk at all.

It's also strange how Sebastian suddenly overnight turned into a fat, pudgy little baby, pushing against the seams of his clothes - surfing the 97th percentile in weight - all because of my milk!

I've never had tons of the stuff. Some women complain of leaky breasts and have those nipple guards stuffed into their bras wherever they go. (Never used mine.) Don't think my breasts have ever leaked. Sure, they feel like they could explode if I don't do anything for a few hours, but they never do.

So how he got so fat is magic to me. I don't quite understand it, but i don't question it. I must just have enough.

But like this week, it ebbs and flows. Sometimes I have enough to fill a bottle for him for his dream feed at 10pm which the Brit gives him, other times, like now, I have to sit with a breast pump banging away at my nipple, trying to extricate every last drop, and nothing happens. Just me. Sitting on the couch. With a suction pump attached, evocatively, to my boob.

Jesus, you don't know romance until you've pumped milk in front of your husband.  I have a hospital grade pump too. It's not a pump, it's a machine. Sits on the dining room table, on permanent hire.

You get those mums who are like, "Can't get out of bed in the mornings. Real physical struggle. Boobs weigh me down. Too much milk."

(True story.)

Man, what I'd do for some leaky boobies. I am now supplementing his supply with formula.

Now, as everyone says, that's just fine. I've had a good run, right? He's been a breastfed baby for almost 5 months, I surely can't complain?

No. But the UK loves their breast fed babies. It's a big thing here, much like natural birth. But it's not the pressure of breastfeeding that I feel.

I feel like I've gone this far, so why I can't I stretch it that much longer? At least until I go back to work. Or maybe even to 6 months? You kind of get addicted to it. You're in a constant cycle where you have to put down whatever it is you're doing, at any cost, to feed your child. Whether it is in a restaurant, at home, anywhere.

I mean, there was a lady on the train the other day, boob out, going for it. Much braver than I. I have a little curtain thingie that hides my rack. Sebastian doesn't love being stuffed under there, but it does the trick when I'm out and about.

It does mean you're the only one who can feed your child (the Brit does one bottle), and it does mean you are likely to be up throughout the night in the beginning, which I was.
But you batten down the hatches and do it. And it becomes addictive. You bond with your child like no other, as you are his complete food source. And then, when the threat of low supply comes in you panic. But now what, you have to hand his hungry little mouth over to a bottle?

It's been a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, I am excited to start weaning him in a few weeks. On the other, it's nearing the end of a chapter - one that's been incredibly exhausting and difficult, but yet extremely satisfying. Right from when he finally latched on at hospital to now, where he falls aslepp on my boobs as his last meal before bedtime.

The other day I had to duck into Hyde Park, pull out a blanket as all the benches were taken, sit down and give him a quick feed. He was kicking off in his pram, so I pulled into the park to find a stretch of grass.
Two minutes later a mother, wearing a skirt just like mine, also in her thirties, stopped with her baby to do the exact same thing. We both made eye contact as if to acknowledge each other's plight.
Baby crying, hungry, and this is how we sort it out when running around Kensington High Street with a pram.

I hope I last until 6 months at least. It's a marathon. That's what this is. It's not easy, there have been times when I want to just throw in the towel (and nearly have) on several occasions. It's inconvenient when other mum's can pull out a bottle in the bus or in a class, and I can't.

But that's why it's my marathon. That I need to finish, even though it's been tough and I don't know if I have all the resources I need to go the distance.*

* Oh and! V. IMPORTANT. It's helping me shed the weight. I've lost 4 kilos in 4 weeks. Only 6 to go....

parents of twinless twins

Mon, 2014-08-11 11:35
I'm feeling so emotional at the moment. I feel my daughter's presence everywhere.

So I turned to the Information Superhighway (for one always does that in the end), and found an organisation called Twinless Twins.

It has tens of thousands of members from all over the globe; helping twins who have lost twins or parents who have lost a twin(s), cope and share their stories and questions.

I found the forum on Facebook, specifically for parents who have a 'twinless twin.'

It's SO unbelievably sad reading everyone's stories and questions. And yet, I feel like I've come home. These people have sadly gone through everything I have. They have had memorials, have released balloons, and they miss their children/brothers/sisters.

They ask all the questions I ask myself.

I don't want it to become 'my thing' or fixate on it, but every now and then I see something and it all makes sense. And therein, lies small comfort.

Perhaps Seb will find comfort here, and I'll know how to answer all his questions when the day comes when we tell him that he is a twin, he has a sister, but she is in heaven.

what lies beneath

Fri, 2014-08-08 15:00
Sometimes I feel as though I am not coping.

I can be wondering around a park with a friend, watching my child sleep, and everything on surface level is great. It's a small reprieve from my thoughts and worries.

Underneath, there's a wave inside me that peaks and troughs.
Depending on my emotions (and hormones?) the wave oscillates; swinging my thoughts into wild panic and despair, while at the next moment I am seemingly calmer and more positive about things.

Now, this could 'mommyhood' (is it?), or it could just be Me.

Let's take today. I went to meet The Quiet American at St James' Park for lunch and a stroll with Sebastian. The park was filled with tourists, it's a sunny day, and swans were waddling about, there was a live band playing, and the food was fresh.

But before that, and after, my mind churns.
Molly. How UNFAIR it is. How nobody important at the NHS will ever read my letter. How the pain never dulls. I'm alone in the pain, because no one else can possibly feel it.
Why is my baby battling to sleep in the day again? Why is my fuse so short? Why do I feel like I want to run away from this sometimes, then in a second regret I feel like that, and feel guilty that I had such a thought?
How I am terrified Sebastian will die at any second.Constantly need to check, must check, always check. Imagine finding him dead and lifeless in his cot. My mind is plagued with these thoughts endlessly. I panic and rush to his room.

But he won't sleep, and I want to scream and shout, why, why why won't you sleep? And I want to leave him there to cry, but I can't, I just can't.

How our young marriage has had so many things thrown at it, and how I feel it's taken strain. And how I wish for the day when we can hold each other and experience a moment without panic, anger or sadness about what's happened and how it would be nice to feel safe and secure in each other again.

How my milk supply suffers sometimes, and how I desperately want to feed my child as I have been from the beginning. How I try everything to keep it up, even though it's exhausting. And I fight for every drop of milk I produce.

How our families complicate things even further.
How I am scared to go back to work (only in January, but I am starting to fear it immensely), and how I will need to hand my precious child over to a nanny.

How nobody understands or gets what its like right now.

How we need a holiday away; how I miss home.

Then I breathe. The thoughts are only momentary. I savour the few moments of distraction. My bath time, when I can put a candle on, listen to my music and soak. My lovely friends who I talk to constantly. Have a glass of wine. Disappear into a 9pm movie.

But sometimes, I just wish it was us 3 in the world. Just us 3. It would make life and everything else so much simpler and easier. And perhaps we could address everything much easier. And I could address myself. Most importantly.

baby class

Tue, 2014-08-05 13:20
Just took my baby to a class.
There are tons around in my area, and I haven't been able to go to one until now.

It sounds dumb, but my schedule has been nothing short of mental.

Mental I tell you. 

'Yeah yeah,' you chide. 'You mother's spend your days baking cupcakes, cooing and wiping bottoms. You could write a thesis you have so much time.'

Shut it. I barely have time to brush my teeth. Make up on my face is a bonus.

Anyway. So I finally got to a class, where the babies lie around while you sing songs, get bubbles blown at them, feathers thrown, all this sensory stuff, and it's all quite fun and sweet.
Like this:

Then as he slept like an angel in his pram, I thought I'd swan along towards a pavement cafe and grab myself some lunch and a coffee.

See, that's what I envisioned maternity leave to be about. Not classes or around-the-clock nipples out. (Everyone has seen my tiddies in the past 4 months. Including my father-in-law and the Brit's best guy friends. Testament to my tiddies' new role in life, so I couldn't care less.)

I envisioned maternity leave as a cafe crawling mother, pushing along a pram with a quietly napping baby at all hours of the day. Wearing dark sunglasses, drinking a latte, indulging in cafe culture at its best.

I obviously forgot that I don't live in Paris.
Or that babies don't sleep all day.
Or that there'd be times I couldn't leave the house, as I was still in my pyjamas at 5pm.

Today I lived that. Took in a baby class and then ate an omelette on a sidewalk cafe in Clapham Old Town.
While my sweet, balding Arab child slept peacefully with a muslin over his face.

Just pretend you don't see the chips. I'm not allowed the chips on the Operation Get My Body Into A Bikini In December In Cape Town diet.

baby hair

Thu, 2014-07-31 18:52
It's time to face facts.

My kid, (as seen below at a few hours old), losing his hair. (As seen earlier today.)

I've been in denial for a while. He was born with a thick mop of beautiful hair, and it has slowly been thinning as the weeks go by. I see his little wispy hairs collect on his sheets every morning, and the back of his head is totally bald.
He was a little monkey as a newborn, with hair on his back and arms. Soft, downy fur not unlike a tiny creature from the ape world. How I miss his...downy fur.

My question is, when, dear God, does it grow back?

mother be judged

Tue, 2014-07-29 11:45

You never feel so judged as you do running down the street wildly pushing a pram, with a screaming baby inside it.

People without children openly stare as if to say, "Er, what's wrong with you? Make that thing shut up already."
If I could, I would darling, why don't you give it a try?

It's true what a friend says. It's very easy to judge parents (and their spawn) when you don't have children. I can put my hand up right now and admit that I was an extremely judgemental non-mother.

"Ooh look at those children glued to their iPads, I'll never let mine do that."
"Is there a reason she isn't trying to make her child stop crying?"
"Why is that person bringing her three children into a restaurant on a Saturday morning? That's just inconsiderate."

It's so easy to judge when you have no flipping clue what you're actually talking about. I was guilty as charged.

Now I am the one being judged when Sebastian starts screaming in the doctor's room (save two octogenarians who were sitting there like statues, you could hear a pin drop), my baby then decided to start PASSING WIND and screaming. Really really loudly.

(Cue, "Oh I beg your pardon young man!" Blushing like a virgin nun, and then with only pleading eyes begging him to stop screaming...)

I've learnt now, that when my baby needs his nap, he needs it immediately. No fucking around.

At the first niggle he needs his head on his mattress, with his dummy and his doudou. The muslin thing that makes him look like an Arab.
If that isn't happening, he starts having a shit fit.

It happened in Hyde Park a few weekends ago, and it happened today. When he starts winding himself up to a high decibalic wail, whereupon it feels like the world's collective of pedestrians around me stop to stare.

Yes. I KNOW he's bloody crying. No, I'm not deaf, I AM hearing what you are hearing.

Of course, I still judge to a certain degree. When mother's feed their children shit or condone bad behaviour. But chances are one day I'll have to make them a sandwich using [gasp!] refined white bread if we've run out of the wholemeal granary.

But here and now, suddenly I'm the one with the kid having a meltdown in the middle of the world's most visited park in the world's busiest city. I am aware. And it's EXCRUCIATING.

Well, it was.

Then suddenly you don't care. Suddenly you realise that this is it. When he is 2, he is going to be writhing and crying on the ground having a temper tantrum in a shop and I am going to have to let him do that. And not give a shit what anyone around me thinks. So I might as well start now.

my ten positives, mostly

Fri, 2014-07-25 11:36
Feeling depressed at the moment. (Ref previous post regarding the world going mad), and for some reason this has all really got to me.

Perhaps it's other things manifesting as this thing, but even so I am not feeling good at all.

I had a dream last night that we had Sebastian cloned. So there were two little Sebastian's running around, both little boy twins. I still missed Molly deeply in my dream, but also felt joyously happy that we could somehow just 'recreate' another Seb. And they were at walking stage, running around together in their identical little outfits.
"You lost a twin? No problemo, just bring the one twin into the shop and we will clone him for you for a hefty sum."

Then I woke up. Gah.

I also bumped into one of the twins club ladies at a weaning class. While the rest of the world takes yoga and craft classes; I went to a session to teach me how to introduce solid foods to my baby.

Fuck, he is growing up too fast.

Anyway. She was there, her twins the same age as Seb. It was awkward as she was so lovely, but also aware I suppose, that I had said, "Sure, let's meet up in say 2020 when I feel like spending time near twins again."
Her twins were gorgeous, and she looked like she was glowing and handling everything in her stride.

There's a piece of me that also realises that everyone has forgotten Molly mostly, and that by now they think I should have moved on. I've been told this will happen, family members and even close friends will tell me to stop dwelling on it.

So I just feel a little alone. In my feelings and with whom I can express them.

Now that Sebastian is pretty much starting to sleep through the night (long may it last, God help me), that he is in a routine and that his little personality is starting to shine through - basically, now that I have a little more of a handle on being a parent, I think I could've coped with two now. At the same time. Easily.


Anyway, before I drag down everyone with me, I've seen that lots of people are doing this (frankly, a little twee) "Three positives in my status bar a day" thing.

So. I shall end this post, before the weekend with not 3, but 10! Yes 10! positives to compensate for the sadness I feel right now.

1) It's summer. The days are long and hot, I'm getting my basic quota of Vitamin D. And there's a storm on the way - hooray!

2) I'm getting out more now. But out out. Visiting parts of London I haven't been to since before I was pregnant with them. Like Kensington Palace and Hyde Park with a friend, and another cheeky visit to the baby spa so that Sebby could swim.

3) Sebby loves to swim so far. I was always scared of water as a child, so this has got to be a good thing.

4) Getting a pedicure with She Who Also Loves Tweed, tomorrow.

5) For having such a lovely network of friends and fellow mums around me

6) For my wonderfully supportive mother - even from afar. We Skype everyday

7) For not getting stretch marks on my tummy. I got everything else, but amazingly no stretch marks even though I was the size of a Volkswagen Sharan.

8) For losing 1 kilo. One little kilo. On WeightWatchers. Am back on a diet plan.
High protein, no carb. 
9) For coffee. My one cup a day is my new cigarette. It's my vice and it keeps me awake.

10) Last, never least: my beautiful son. Who is my everything. He is 4 months old today.

the world

Tue, 2014-07-22 12:35
Seems like all people want to do around the world at the moment, is kill each other.

Either by shooting down full planes of people in aeroplanes, or going to full-out war - once again, in its 4 000 year history of conflict - in the Middle East.

And these are just the headline grabbers.

But the thing that really got to me, and made me almost vomit (I haven't been able to read beyond the headline and only know the basic details otherwise I fear I will go mad), is the story about the little boy and the hijackers in South Africa.

It makes me so sick to my core, I want to scream.

Why is the world so fucked up?

Hashtag depressed.

so in other news

Fri, 2014-07-18 10:53
So in other news, we are having a heat wave.

When there's a heat wave in Britain, everything breaks. Much like when there is snow in Britain. Extreme weather turns this place upside down - newspapers create double page spreads showing natural disasters occurring across the country in the form of skyscraper high waves or buckling train tracks from scorching, or an avalanche heading towards London.

"Broken Britain!" the headlines cry.  All because it is 31 degrees today. So drastic and melodramatic when it comes to weather here.

Make no mistake, anything over 28 degrees in London is uncomfortable. It's sticky as fuck, and there's no escaping it. (No backyard swimming pools), and the moment you go outside you turn into a lobster. Just like how people here are inclined to do.

Taking a tube on a day like this feels like what I imagine the fiery depths of Hell must feel like, and I have to take one this evening to go to a birthday party. (Yay!)

Having a child in this weather gives the scenario a nice panicky edge - cot death and overheating warnings mean I am paranoid and constantly going to check on him.

But, even so - a British summer, and a lovely sunny one like we've been having so far is the best time to be here.
I went on a picnic with my mum's group this week to Battersea Park. I used to cycle through this park daily to get to work when my office was closer by than it is now. I haven't been there in ages, and it's only a over mile from our house.
It's still arguably London's best park. Right on the river, overlooking Chelsea, beautiful manicured gardens, a boating lake, and once I saw Rowan Atkinson there.
 Swapped my bike for a buggy...

I miss my bike. But it was brilliant to push Sebastian around in the pram, find a patch of grass and talk babies and pooh with the ladies. The babies lay together on the blanket kind of staring and drooling at each other. 

We had Sebastian christened on Sunday. A formality that actually turned into a lovely day. He was dressed up like a little girl though, which he may never forgive me for. (In which case I'll blame his granny, because the outfit was her family heirloom.)
Herewith my decidedly Amish-looking son:
I just want to EAT him.

He looks peeved. Does he look peeved?

E, a great friend of mine from South Africa, was in town this week too. She hung out with Seb and I, and we went for lunch on the King's Road.
Having a two year old son herself, she let me in on what I can expect.

Apparently, "You now own a hurricane. Boys Do. Not. Stop. Ever."

I am so lucky to have a little boy. They sound like a fuckload of hard work, but also so much fun. Apparently he won't stop grabbing his willy from about now until the end of time, he will pee everywhere but in the toilet,  he will jump, pounce, climb on everything (read: wreck my home), he will play everywhere you are, and he will be an endless bundle of squirming energy. While girls can busy themselves for 40 minutes at a time, boys will do the same for 2 minutes.

But the best part? He will love his mum forever. At least that's what I have read.

I also met a friend who lives close by and works with me, also on maternity leave. Her little boy is 8 months, so is crawling, standing and grabbing things. As fast as a flash, he would disappear past us and into the cafe kitchen.

"He ate a handful of coal right out of the fireplace," she said.

It looks very very exhausting. But I'm still excited he's a little BOY.

It's been four years since I immigrated to the UK from South Africa.

A lifetime has been squeezed into that time, it's difficult to even remember what I was like back then, but I do remember the excitement and sadness of leaving a place I may never return to permanently.

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