The End

This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.

Thank you for reading.

A Story of Nines

Today is Emily's 9 months in, 9 months out day! (Simply put, she's 9 months old.)
So, to recap, because 9 is one of those numbers that seems important in a baby's life...

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...here's a glimpse of Emily (then known as Bean) 9 weeks into the pregnancy...


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Then suddenly I was 9 months pregnant.
(No, not the most flattering of pictures, but in my defence, this was precisely 7 days before Emily was born...)


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And this is my little Bean today, 9 months old.
My headstrong little smiler. She's suddenly craving independence in every way.
Hates that she can't yet crawl. Hates being fed. Hates being strapped into her pushchair.
Loves music and her daddy. And banana and bread and anything she can eat with her hands really.
Desperately trying to speak to fellow humans but for now makes do with speaking to her toys.
Everyday I think I can't love her anymore than I already do.
Everyday, I do.


Emily is "wearing pink" in support of Breast Cancer Campaign.

My First Birthday

...as a mummy that is.

I turned 29 over the weekend. (Although I still think that someone miscalculated something somewhere along the way and I've only just turned 20 really.)

I'm big on birthdays. October is always an exciting month for me, even if just because towards the end of it, nicely enveloped in beautiful autumness, is my special day. But this year, it almost escaped me. October hasn't been that great and my birthday almost seemed to surprise me. Suddenly, there it was, a few days away. So there wasn't a huge build-up. I barely had any time to plan anything.

This year, a tiny person is more important than my birthday.

So it arrived, a plain day with the potential to be as plain as every other. But instead, it was a magnificent day. Over breakfast, David and Emily gave me my presents in the form of a treasure hunt and had me running all over the house eagerly looking for gifts cleverly disguised in different wrapping paper and hidden under or beside everyday objects. One was even buried inside Emily's toy basket.

Then we went out for an early lunch. We had friends coming over later to join us for some champagne tea ;) Oh yes, are we posh or what?! After which, we went for a walk in the perfect October weather (this week has been nothing short of glorious), and then stopped by the swings. Emily had a go on the baby swing (have you seen her very first time?) while one of our friends and I had a go at the see-saw.

Nothing like acting like a 5 year old on your 29th birthday.

Oh did I say 29th? I meant 20th.

By the end of the day, I just wished it didn't have to end.

And if anyone's curious, this was what my real first birthday looked like...

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Ah, the eighties. Check me out in my knee highs.

[Special thanks goes to my Daddy (now sans huge specs) for scanning these in for me over the weekend :) xx]

Autumn Leaf Testing Procedures

We went for a walk through the park the other day and I was thrilled to see the ground covered in shades of rust.

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I handed Emily a leaf to feel and touch.

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The leaf was then put through a series of rigorous tests.

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Overall, our tester was very pleased with the quality of Autumn 2011.

The Gift of Language

Malta is a bilingual country. The national languages are both Maltese and English. And despite it being a very small country, there is somewhat of a divide - the people who primarily speak Maltese and the people who primarily speak English. This is often down to schools attended. Some teach in English, others in Maltese. If I'm honest, it is slightly confusing and messy, but that's the way it is. Most people are perfectly fluent in both. Personally, while I adore languages, I'm not very good at them and having been brought up speaking English, my Maltese has suffered slightly along the way (though ironically it seems to have improved since I left Malta).

David on the other hand is perfectly fluent in both, as well as in Italian. He can also communicate well in French and Spanish to an extent. He is one of those lucky people who is amazing at languages. My mother is similar (imagine her disdain when I turned up!!).

Enter Emily, who was born in the UK. She is still Maltese (although we intend to get her to dual-citizenship status at some point) but has very limited exposure to the language. We know that the best way to raise a child to be bilingual is for each parent to speak a different language to the child. However this works easiest when the parents are actually from different countries. With David and myself it feels unnatural as we speak to each other in English (with the odd Maltese word thrown in... it's a Maltese thing!). So what to do?

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I could be wrong, but I have a funny feeling Emily takes after David in this respect rather than me. Her understanding of most of what I tell her is already very clear. She has known what "milk" means since she was about 5 months old. She also knows what "sleep", "nappy" and "bath" mean. We communicate well: I say the word (within a sentence) when I think it's time for whichever and she will smile or snuggle if she wants to sleep, for example. If she is not interested, then there is no reaction. It's a system that works well.

Seeing as how David was raised in Italy and England as well as in Malta, his parents spoke to him in Maltese to ensure that he never loses his Maltese. We thought it would be fitting for them to continue this with Emily. It's not the same of course but there'd be visits and Skype, and later on, phone calls and overall we thought it might give her more of a reason to want to learn the language. Sadly, it would appear that they'd prefer not to. It seems a pity, but it is ultimately their choice. We will teach her some basic vocabulary and she will have special story books in Maltese, and perhaps when she's older she'll make the choice to pursue it further.

Ultimately I feel it is important to give her at least a basic understanding of part of her heritage. And that much, I will strive to do.

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New Rules

Some things need to change around here. Therefore I am setting these new rules:

No laptop use while Emily is awake.*
All she ever seems to see me do is use the laptop while she plays. More time will be spent playing with her, therefore also increasing the possibility of her learning that there is more to life than a computer. I am a very computery person, but I had a varied childhood and I really don't want her to be one of those kids who only know how to turn to a computer for entertainment. Children see, children do. For this same reason...

Read more.
I was a total bookworm right up until about the 28th January 2011. Since then, I think I may have read one book (I'm not entirely sure) and skimmed through a few magazines. I need to read more for me, because it focuses me and it calms me, and I need to read more for her, because she needs to see that reading is something that's good to do.

Establish storytime.
Currently our most successful storytime is during bathtime and involves waterproof books. I do not think this is acceptable. I need to find a time when she is awake enough to tolerate it, and bedtime is not an option - I am generally yelled at if I dress her too slowly, let alone pause the entire process to read a story. What can I say, the child loves her sleep! So if anyone has any advice or suggestions as to a little storytime tradition I can set up, please share!

Get out every day.
Even if it's just for a walk around the block. I was really good at keeping to this rule until about a month ago when Emily and I were both unwell and I made an exception for a few days because I had such little energy, and since then I just haven't been able to find my mojo again. Mojo must be located. Emily loves being outdoors, the fresh air is good for us both and God knows I need the exercise.


* This rule can be broken under certain circumstances (eg if I am desperate to place a grocery order) but then use must be quick and to the point. Use of my phone is still allowed because I trust myself to be somewhat balanced with that (and if necessary can be hidden behind a magazine...).

Big City Lights

I've always loved a night scene. Something about a lit-up city scene makes my heart flutter. When it comes to the view I'll take a night flight any day - and I'll be taking the window seat thank you very much. I love Christmas for several reasons but the lights are one very good reason.

I don't know whether these things can be passed on, but Emily has loved lights from day one. Her favourite toys mostly involve flashing lights and she'll stare at the kitchen lights for ages. When she was just weeks old, she adored the chandelier in our bedroom. She's a lights baby, there's no question about it.

So when constrained by a mini seat belt (which she eventually gave up trying to eat) on the flight back from Malta on Sunday, as we circled and circled Heathrow, I was dangerously close to losing my voice after singing far too many nursery rhymes in an attempt to keep Emily entertained. She hates having to sit down on us for long periods of time, she'd much rather be bouncing around but the seatbelt sign was on for ages.

And then she caught sight of the lights of nighttime London (the sparkling sight never fails to take my breath away) and there was no need to entertain her any longer.

She stared, mouth agape, transfixed, until we landed.

I can't wait for Christmas now that my little cherub is around to share - and add to - the magic! Just over 10 weeks to go... and I don't expect there's more than about a month to wait until the lights are up! *much excitement*

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Perspective

And just like that, it's our third wedding anniversary. I'm sure David would agree with me that this year is possibly the most special so far. This year, it's not just a wedding anniversary. It's a celebration of all that has happened to us since the day we met: the long-distance relationship, the early engagement, the life move to another country, the crazy wedding planning, the building of a home, the (almost?) perfect wedding day...... fast-forward to the arrival of an amazing little girl who now gets to share this day with us, and is, honestly speaking, the realisation of everything David and I dreamed of since some point very early in our relationship.

Three years ago, my biggest problem was the weather, my dress not fitting well and a certain speech getting out of hand. I'm not saying that those things would not have worried me had things happened in reverse (I haven't changed THAT much!), but it certainly puts things into perspective.

David is still as supportive of me as he was then, still as much my voice of reason as he was when he called me up the morning of the wedding to assure me that from where he was standing, he could see the end of the storm (the black cloud was moving away) while I was still seemingly surrounded by it, pouring my eyes out because I thought my beautiful wedding was ruined.

Sigh.


Here's to many (multiples of three) more wedding anniversaries.



(D, love you & thank you x)

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