The End

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

Thank you for reading.

Newborn (and Big Sister) Photoshoot

My cousin, Louisa - who is also expecting - came over a few weeks ago to take Adam's Newborn pictures. While we were at it, she also took Emily's Big Sister photos. We had a laugh and enjoyed ourselves, and the result was beautiful. Here are a few of my favourites.







I am utterly in love with the pictures. Emily was 2 years and 2 months in these photos, and Adam just over 2 weeks old. He is now one month old. Not quite sure where the time's gone!

My cousin's website is here: LouisaTonna.com

All images in this post are copyright L. Tonna

Beach Babes

It's not all bad. Last weekend was awesome and saw what was possibly the beginning of Summer. When our plans for a Malta-style "road trip" to Gozo fell apart, we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and drop by the beach instead and introduce Emily to the sand.

I say "introduce" because I refuse to accept that that time at Camber Sands was Emily's introduction to sand (See Disillusioned Med Girl, Meet Sand). It just didn't count.

She loved it. It's the "seaside" to her (how very British), and apparently, we were there with Peppa and George, though she was the only one who could see them.




Adam was less impressed. Especially as it was windy and he just wanted his milk.


We treated her to a new bucket and spade set (seeing as how we'd forgotten to bring one)



 #disgruntled3weekold
#littlegremlin




Soon it was lunchtime which brought about the task of convincing her we had to leave the sand behind. What ensued was a neverending conversation that went like this:

E: I want to play with the saaaand! *whine* *pouty face*
Me/D: We'll go back next weekend, I promise we will. You can play in the sand then.
E: Ooooookay. I happy now. 
Breathe. And repeat (x 9865436)

Naptime didn't come a moment too soon.

Save as Draft

I try not to let much negativity into my blog. I like to look back on posts and have them make me smile, not drag me down. But there is negativity, of course. No one's life is perfect and anyone who tries to say theirs is is just plain lying. So here I am writing this, knowing there is a very good chance I will never have the courage to publish this post, knowing it may be banished to Drafts, that graveyard of blog posts where so many others like it have never - and will never - see the light of day.

There have been bad days lately. Bad, bad days. Days full of short fuses and resentment.

Resentment of Adam for upsetting the perfectly balanced life we had with Emily, for making me feel trapped within these four walls and therefore unable to entertain Emily (and myself) in the way she's used to. Resentment of Emily for acting up every now and again partly because she's battling for my attention and partly because of her age, for her loud and constant voice when she wakes Adam up and disturbs the peace and quiet I've worked so hard to achieve (often in order to be able to give her some attention).

And of course, resentment of myself, for resenting them for simply being themselves.


Resentment of Malta for too many reasons to ever begin to list.

And to top it off, so much loneliness. The feeling of being surrounded by friends who, although they try and are patient, can't quite understand the place I'm in at the moment. Knowing that the two or three people I really would be happy to while away my days with, who really would understand me, are miles away in England (and ironically, Gozo).

Wondering whether I've jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Wondering whether it will all settle and whether I'll ever feel sane again.

"Little cupcake for you"

We made fairy cakes this morning. Emily's first ever baking experience and she loved it. I predict there will be several other baking sessions and lots of weight piled on.

The fairy cake mixture we used (I wasn't about to bake them from scratch, her attention would never have lasted long enough) was a Morrisons one that somehow made it all the way over to Malta with us.

Take one cooperating baby and a very excited, aproned toddler...


And a bowl. A big bowl.




Lots of fun mixing.


Some waiting.


Then a spot of lunch for us all (baby included), some funny faces for the camera
and some big sister attention while the cupcakes cooled down.


Then finally the bit she'd been waiting for all along. She got to sprinkle the flowers on the icing. 


"Pretty flowers for Mummy," I was told. 



She was talking about the fun she had making cupcakes with Mummy for ages afterwards. And she can't wait to give Daddy a cupcake when he gets home from work. And I had to explain that, no, Adam wouldn't be having one this time, but maybe when he's older.

We'll be doing this again, and soon!

The Doc is in

Emily's bedroom door must be closed at all times. If it is open, then she won't be able to burst into the room while dramatically declaring "Doc is IN!"

In our house, we love Doc McStuffins. When it first appeared on TV months ago when we were still in England, I never imagined it would have such a huge impact on her life. A friend had pointed out it was a good show to expose her to - it empowers girls and is racially unbiased. I hadn't even realized these things when I first watched it with Emily but after that comment, I felt a little bit less bad about letting her watch it so often.

There's no two ways about it: Emily adores that show. The Doc is her absolute hero and she has already informed us that she will be a doctor when she grows up (just maybe not in so many words). Her current favourite toy is this medical carrycase which she spends literally hours playing with every day. Of course that means that David, Adam and I all must endure several check ups (originally referred to as "ketchups") every hour, but how else would we be so sure we're all healthy and doing well?


She could wear her stethoscope all day long. Our heartbeat moves around. It's sometimes in our chest, other times it'll have moved to our stomach, our legs, even our cheeks. Wherever she finds it, we are always given a reassuring "Sounds good!" at the end of it.

We are instructed to take deep breaths ("Deep breaths for me!") while we have our blood pressure tested. We are jabbed in our stomach again and again with the syringe (I haven't yet had the heart to explain exactly what that one instrument is). Our eyes and ears (and belly buttons) are examined with her otoscope regularly. She insists the eye drop bottle is an ice lolly, but amazingly, it also converts into a medicine bottle when necessary (eg, "Mummy, not well?" "No, Emily, I think I'm fine." "No Mummy, you're not well." "Oh ok, COUGH COUGH" "Here Mummy - medicine for you.")

And in the car, we all have to sing the Doc McStuffins theme song, ad infinitum. It's quite adorable really - she knows 99% of the words and is pitch perfect, but a few words elude her so she replaces them with random sounds that she thinks work.

Ah, toddlers. Sudden meltdowns apart, I am quite enjoying these supposed Terrible Twos. She certainly is entertaining!


Home

Since Adam was born, the move has hit me hard. Suddenly, I have found myself missing England more than ever. It has a lot to do with the convenience of things in the UK, the fact that I did the newborn thing there already, with health visitors available to call any time, with follow up visits from midwives and a good all-round aftercare system. 

Here, after two visits from my midwife, it feels a little bit like I've been left at the edge of a cliff to sort myself out. If I were a first time mother, I'd feel a lot more alone. There is a level of assumption here that family will step in and sort you out. And family have done and they continue to do, but I don't always want to turn to family for help. Sometimes I'd like the input of a professional, someone who deals with these things day in, day out. Someone who I don't feel judged by, someone who means nothing to me. Somehow, it makes a difference. I wish I still had access to that.

I also find myself wishing I could casually stroll into the city centre for a spot of window shopping. I miss TK Maxx, I miss the massive local Boots.

I miss pavements that don't have telephone poles and trees growing out of the middle of them. I miss ramps. I miss a society that acknowledges children and buggies. I miss not having to get into the car to go just about anywhere. I miss the local parks and the tearooms and the friendly helpful faces. I miss having the High Street on my doorstep. 

But mostly I miss my friends and my sister. I miss being able to give Emily time with her friends and cousins. I miss the relaxed chats I could have with my friends without the stress of a crappy wifi connection. I miss these friends who have been around since Emily's Day One and know me as a mother inside out. I'll never have that again.

I know we have it good. I stop and remind myself that bath and bedtime with two little ones to deal with on my own would be a lot more stressful than it currently is. I know that there would have been a lot of time where those same friends I miss so much had lives of their own to live and I'd have felt so alone anyway. I am in no way dismissing the importance of having my family around me. 

It's just that lately, I've found myself feeling that sense of limbo again. That feeling of not quite knowing where I fit in... not quite knowing where Home is.


[Emily and friends, January 2013]

Related Links
Josepha talks about something similar in Adjusting,
and What Happens When You Live Abroad

Living a New Reality

[he is quite perfect]



[it's amazing how long a handful of birthday cards can be used for entertainment]


These two are inspirational. They adore each other. They calm each other. They're already inseparable 12 days in.

Emily
She is still very insecure about us disappearing again, still cries out at night for seemingly no reason. She is struggling slightly with the new division of attention but has also recently become very affectionate with us. We are getting some amazingly tight hugs. She loves Adam more than she can begin to comprehend, he is her first port of call every morning, and she finds it difficult to not smother him in kisses every waking moment. 

Adam
He is an amazing baby. We thought Emily was a good baby but he's gone and properly shown her up! He sleeps well, he's happy and is becoming very attentive and alert. He adores Emily and is calmed by the sound of her voice. He is a very cuddly baby, loves being swaddled (as long as he is given access to his hands), he appears to possibly be a thumb-sucker, and already seems very ticklish.

Us
David and I expected that the arrival of a newborn would take our relationship a few steps back but it hasn't. Instead, it's reaffirmed everything and made us closer. There's more affection, more "wow we've done this again," and overall, we're doing good. Having more than 3 hours of sleep a night also helps.

Personally, baby blues haven't hit as badly this time round. I suspect the sunshine has had a lot to do with that. Recovery was longer, all of 10 days of feeling like a wreck as opposed to about 5 after Emily. But we're finally past that. 

Now, if only I can make myself realize that we're barely two weeks in, and I cannot expect to have everything under control quite yet, everything would be perfect. But as usual I'm busy being hard on myself and forgetting how new this family dynamic is, expecting to have perfected every aspect of it already. One of these days I'll cut myself some slack. Maybe.