Two years old and so grown all of a sudden. It’s like we woke up one day to find this strong willed, articulate, little boy in your bed, and then, when we tried to get you up and dressed, we realised none of your clothes fitted anymore.
Your legs have got longer, your feet have grown bigger, your messy hair has made a comeback. And more than just physical changes are the emotional ones… your language has taken off, proper sentences flow, new words are acquired daily. You are growing in confidence and bravery in the playground too and ask to be taken to the park most days. And then of course there is your instinctive handling of Elsie which has truly taken my breath away. I never imagined you would love her so wholeheartedly and unconditionally from the start but you dote on her. You place your favourite toys in her moses basket, love to hold her, stroke her, put your arm around her. You ask me constantly “where’s baby?”and giggle when she yawns. Yesterday when she was crying you brought her comforter over and placed it next to her cheek, she is so lucky to have a big brother like you Raff, we’re all so lucky to have you darling.
You love to use your imagination in play. Role playing in your little kitchen, with your train set or car garage, and with little animal figures. You’re also getting more physically confident - wanting to practise your scooting and getting out in the garden or park at any sign of sunshine.
Your second birthday was very low key as Elsie was only 11 days old so I wasn’t up for throwing a big party. The night before, we blew balloons up, (you thinks balloons are the bees knees), and decorated your playroom. Daddy, Elsie and I sung happy birthday to you in your cot when you woke and then the four of us got into our bed for tea and milk. We thought we’d brave lunch out - our first trip with you both. It was a huge success, Elsie slept and you ate every morsel on your plate. Your eyes popped out of your head when the chocolate ice-cream was placed in front of you.
I remember the day I met you so clearly Raff. Its hard to believe how much you’ve changed since then. I could not be prouder of the boy you’ve become - you make me smile every day and are the most loving kiddo I know.
Happy two years Roo!
Love mama xxx
ps… Two weeks late to put your birthday post up - not too bad all things considering. These pictures were taken the week you turned two.
On Monday 3rd March, you turned one month. I’ve no idea how a month has passed already. Certainly the first weeks of Rafferty’s life went much slower, but I guess there is less time to dwell with two kiddos and so the days zoom by in a flash.
We have developed a lovely bond you and I. I can soothe you easily and I am much more instinctive and in tune this time around. As a consequence you are a dream, so easy, so content, very chilled out. I was expecting you to be tricky as your brother was such a relaxed baby but somehow I lucked out and you have surpassed even him.
The early days of feeding were the toughest but through perseverance on both our sides we have managed to stick at it and I am starting to really enjoy that precious time with you.
This week you started to wake up a little, to enjoy quiet contemplation lying on your mat or a blanket. Your eyes look about the room trying to find something to focus on. You have just started to find your hands.
Your witching hour starts at 6.30 and lasts an hour or so. It’s the only time you grizzle and its due to hunger so I give you a top up from the bottle and you settle.
I feel I have known you forever. I study your face, your body, marveling at your tiny fingernails and long eyelashes. Your snuffle sounds hit me right in the heart. I can literally feel my love for you expanding each day we are together. And I know the best is yet to come because we have so much more to learn about you as you grow and develop.
Happy one month sweet Elsie You truly are a joy.
Love Mama xxx
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014. Linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project.
Raff: the most adoring big brother. You like to nuzzle up to Elsie whenever you can and always offer her a hug if she’s crying as comfort. You’re a natural nurturer!
Elsie: my sleeping beauty. You are the most heavenly child, content to lie and watch the world around you during your moments of wakefulness and the rest of the time you sleep soundly. Since the day you were born I’ve had to wake you for your night feeds and as soon as I put you back down in your moses basket you’re out like a light. Dreamy!
These two are highly entertaining. I am bowled over every time I see how Rafferty dotes on his baby sister. Not once since she arrived has he shown her anything but love and affection. He asks to cuddle her countless times a day and I often catch little moments like these - tickling her feet, stroking her hair, kissing her nose. Such sweetness!
A snapshot of our day to day over the past couple of weeks…
1. I bought myself a brightly coloured bunch of my favourite spring flowers just because…
2. Rafferty in his element playing in the winter sunshine
3. his serious food face - don’t mess!
4. I love these feet, but they suddenly seem so big
5. somebody turned two
6. my loves
7. the posey my mother picked for Elsie - she calls her our little snowdrop
8. somebody is getting to be more alert with each day
9. holding her daddy’s finger
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014. Linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project.
Rafferty, never happier than when using his imagination in play. He is particularly fond of making me cups of tea or lovely things to eat.
Elsie, my sleepy babe. Those rosebud lips and the way they quiver when you’re in a light sleep. So delicious.
I’m getting to know my daughter a little more with each day. She loves to be held close, to hear my voice, to be stroked. She hates taking a bath, sleeping anywhere but on me or in her moses basket, getting undressed and being fed from a cup.
Her cry is like a bleating lamb. Her head is as soft as velvet. Her tiny fingers are always curled tightly shut. She crosses her feet one over the other. She smells of sweet, warm baby skin and parma violets.
We spend much of our days nursing. Much to my dismay breast feeding has been an incredible struggle and at times I have felt like giving up. But so far, day 18 and we are still persisting despite the pain, the frustration, the hour upon hour of feeding. She was diagnosed with posterior tongue tie and a weak and inefficient suckle. The former we had treated, the latter may improve over the coming weeks as she perfects milk extraction. It has cast a shadow over these early days and that weighs heavily on my heart. I feel as if it has been one thing after the other since I discovered she was breech but I am trying to stay positive and will do all I can to give her the best of me. It has been made harder by the fact I feel trapped inside this house - I am not allowed to drive and the weather has prevented many outings on foot, plus I’m too weak to walk far. I long to take her out, to get back in the land of the living and feel strong again. Hoping next week will be an improvement.
For now though we’re just taking things slowly a day at a time. Lots of tea, cuddles, skin to skin. Every day I marvel at how beautiful and perfect she is. So lucky she is ours, how did we ever exist without her?
A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014.
This week my biggest turned two and my littlest, two weeks. Mama’s heart is breaking!
After the wettest start to the year on record, we’ve been taking advantage of any bursts of sunshine we can get… Here is Raff playing in our garden and Elsie sunbathing on mama’s bed.
Linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project.
Elsie’s nursery is one of my favourite spots to sit in in our house. It’s a teeny weeny room next to our master bedroom and until the Xmas holidays, had been completely untouched since we’d moved in a year and a half ago . The walls and ceiling were originally discoloured white - it must have been years since it had last had a lick of paint, so it was quite exciting to pull together a transformation.
I chose a warm buttermilk colour for the walls to help give a sense of space, air and light. I then added touches of femininity through the use of fabric and individual pieces without going cliche pink pink pink…
The hanging wardrobe was inspired by ones I had seen on Pinterest and works brilliantly for a room that has no space for a fixed cabinet. I love that her prettiest clothes are on display adding touches of colour, texture and pattern - it has utility and style which is crucial when every inch of space matters.
I painted a basic IKEA cot by hand in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Nancy’s Blushes’. It took hours and involved an artists paintbrush and a steady hand but I love the finished look. The bedding is all handmade by me - a cot bumper sewn with a selection of vintage 1930s fabric and a patchwork quilt I made using the loveliest combination of material including my favourite Liberty Betsy Tana Lawn.
The change table is from IKEA and is topped off with a simple change pad - the cover was from The Land of Nod via a friend in America. A Shanna Murray decal floats above her change table - one of the few things I bought from new - just because I couldn’t resist.
The little wooden display house was an ebay find which I painted Eau de Nil. My dad received the Fortnum and Masons hamper as a gift from a client and gave it to us to use as a toy chest. It’s the perfect size for the space. I handmade the cot mobile by sewing individual birds with fabric scraps left over from the quilt I’d made. Then I added antique lace to give a streamer effect and create more visual interest when it is viewed from below. The pom pom rug adds a touch of fun and colour to the floor. I’ve also made some pretty embroidery wall decorations but they need finishing before I can hang them.
As excited as I was at the prospect of having a girl, I didn’t want to create a cliche girl’s room. I’m not a fan of baby pink but I do love florals and lace and a sense of vintage charm that, if used in the right doses can feel feminine but not sickly. I think we’ve achieved this. I really love how Elsie’s nursery turned out, especially as so many things in the room were made or upcycled. What was once a small, dark space now feels bright, warm, welcoming and whimsical - the perfect combination for my little birdie.
Huge thanks to my long suffering husband who painted the walls, ceiling and floorboards over his Christmas holidays. xxx
Our sweet daughter, Elsie India Rae was born on Monday 3rd February 2014 at 10:35am. She weighed 8lbs 4oz and was lovely and pink. She had our hearts from that first hello and the few days since then have been filled with joy and wonder as we get to know the littlest person in our fam.
We learnt a few days before Elsie’s birth that she was footling breech and I was sent in for a growth scan to determine whether we should try to turn her. The scan showed she was a good size but it also flagged a possible problem with her oesophagus and stomach. We spent 4 days agonising over whether she’d have to be whisked off in an ambulance to Chelsea and Westminster to have an operation. So many thoughts and fears whirred around and around inside my head: firstly for her well being, then concerns for things like how long it would be until I could hold her, feed her, would she end up formula fed, would the separation affect bonding and so on. Despite the low risk odds they placed on her having this issue with her oesophagus, that seed of doubt had been planted and weighed heavily on my mama heart. I tried to think positively but at the same time attempted to prepare myself for what could be, even if I didn’t like what I saw. We decided not to try turning her as we wanted to minimise any distress in case she did need an operation. Footling breech is feet first rather than bottom first (standard breech) and is more complex when it comes to turning. My caesarean section was booked in for the monday morning and we had to wait it out.
Mum picked up Raff on Sunday afternoon. I’d packed his things - enough for a few days just in case. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him. It felt like the end of an era in some way and the responsibility I felt for him was huge. As we said our final goodbyes, tears streamed down my cheeks. He is still little and I felt in some was guilty for bringing such a huge change into his life in the form of another baby. But I resolved that siblings are a wonderful thing and that I had only gained from my brother and sister being in my life. I held him tightly one last time. I’d only ever spent one night away from him before so not knowing when I’d be able to see him again was torturous. He skipped into granny’s car and off he went,
That Sunday evening we had a nice meal, I had a long bath, we watched a film and talked about what exciting things our future held. I went to bed that night with a bubble of excitement in my tummy.
Come Monday morning we were eager to finally meet our girl and put an end to the agonising wait. I got up really early so I could take a long shower and wash my hair. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do so in hospital so I lingered as long as I could under the hot water flow and stared down at my enormous 41 week belly. We’d come this far, now we just had one last hurdle to jump.
We arrived at the hospital at 7.30am and very quickly changed into our robe and scrubs. Before long we were going into theatre. At this point fear took over and my body shook violently. The anesthetist tried to soothe me whilst getting me wired up and putting the spinal block in. Soon my legs went hot, then dead and I was lain down while the sheet was fixed to prevent us seeing any of the operation.
There were a lot of people in the room. Everyone busy and bustly. I felt a pressure on my tummy as if they were pushing down and I could hear the consultant saying stuff to his team. Our baby girl was out quite quickly and taken to the table to get her breathing, which thankfully didn’t take long at all. Oli cut the cord and called back across the room that she was beautiful, pink, lovely, tiny, perfect… We both choked back tears of happiness. They brought her to me wrapped in a towel and lay her high up on my chest so I could only just see her sweet face. She looked so lovely. I couldn’t hold her and she was quickly whisked off for the oesophageal test in the special care baby unit. What I had seen of her was wonderful. Once she was gone I realised I was empty, lying on an operating table with no baby to hold. I suddenly became aware there seemed to be panic in the room. Talk turned to blood loss and whether I needed a transfusion. I felt my consciousness slipping and a sleepy wave wash over me. It’s all a bit of a haze now but eventually they finished the operation and wheeled me through to high risk where I was given 2 units of blood. I was told I had lost 3.5 litres of my body’s 5.5 litres. It had been very serious. I was really out if it by this point and Oli and I decided he should go to be with our daughter so off he went. I lay in that tiny recovery room watching the transfusion go into my body and praying that our girl would be ok. The wait went on and on but thankful I was very dozy. Almost an hour and a half after she was born I saw Oli walking towards me with his thumbs up. He mouthed she’s fine and tears were flowing down his cheeks. I started to sob huge gulps of relief. They placed her naked except for a nappy on my chest, skin to skin. Finally I could hold her, look at her, smell her, whisper to her “happy birthday darling”. She latched on perfectly and I nursed her for the first time. Her eyes remained tightly closed, her body rising and falling with each breath, her tiny weeny hands and feet wiggling. I took every last bit of her in and gave her my heart right there.
By Wednesday evening, a week ago today, we were allowed home. Raf showed great delight when he saw her and asked for a cuddle. He likes her very much but is less keen on daddy holding her. That appears to be his touchy point and we are being sensitive to it where possible for now.
We’ve been settling into life with Elsie at home by taking things slowly. My body is recovering and we are adapting and adjusting. Food has never tasted so good - the joy of breast feeding! Most of my days are spent establishing my milk supply and nursing Elsie. It’s bittersweet she is already one week old but I really have been soaking in every bit of her newborness as I know she will be my last and therefore each milestone feels so precious.
Our family feels complete, I feel complete. I could want for nothing more in my life than all I’ve been blessed with today. Welcome to the family sweet daughter. We have some adventures ahead xxx
A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2014
Quite possibly the most magical week of my life. I brought our daughter into this world to complete our family.
I’ve watched in awe as my littlest became my biggest and been totally bowled over by my heart’s ability to keep on loving more and more.
Despite feeling incredibly vulnerable these last few days, Raf has shown such resilience, such tenderness, such sincerity that my heart has exploded a million times over. It’s been such a wonderful privilege to see Raf’s transition into big brother. He showed genuine excitement and delight at the sight of his sister when we introduced them for the first time. He shows such tenderness in the way he handles her, kisses her head, strokes her hair asks to hold her. Upon waking, the morning after we brought her home from hospital he asked us ‘Where’s bee-bee?” We took him into see her and he cuddled her in our bed while we drank tea and dragged ourselves out of our sleepy state. That moment was quite defining for me as a mother and I will treasure it for the rest of my days.
And my sweet girl, my beautiful daughter Elsie. Your first portrait in this space. You’ve brought us such joy and light, you complete us perfectly. I could not have imagined a lovelier baby, so content and placid. You’re utterly delicious with your creamy complexion, long fingers, deep bluey green eyes, rosebud lips, velvet soft skin and fair hair. You’re everything we dreamt of. I am so excited about the relationship we have ahead, at getting to know every bit of you and loving you deeper and deeper with each day.
Linking up with Jodi for the 52 Project this year.
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.
A slightly belated 52 project post for week 5 - but for the best of reasons as I have been a little preoccupied with our newest family member since she arrived in a blaze of glory last week (more on that to follow shortly)…
The most huggable, loveable child I’ve ever known. I so enjoyed my time with you while I was on maternity leave before your sister came along. You kept me smiling when I felt uncomfortable and were very patient with me this week as I waddled slowly about the house full of anticipation.
Linking up with Jodi for the 52 Project this year.
There is something pretty special about grandparents. I have such fond memories of my relationships with both my nanas over the course of my childhood. And so it always warms my heart to see Raff with his. Here he is with Omi, being the cheeky chap we all love so much.
4/52: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014
My last full week with just this gorgeous boy so I have savoured all his affection, soaked up every bedtime ritual, read even more stories to him and stroked his freshly kinked curls for as long as he’s let me. We’ve had countless baths together during the day when my back has ached and I’ve needed to rest, it seems to be the easiest thing to wile away half an hour together. His obsession with cleaning the shower door continues - he is already a little comedian and plays the cockney odd job man perfectly saying ‘ello!’ through the glass door and puckering his lips up to give me a kiss!
My heart is heavy this week after learning our baby girl is breech and I have to have a c-sec on Monday. We will soon meet our lady and in doing so kiss goodbye to our life as a 3 and welcome in the newest and littlest member of this family. I am full of anticipation and excitement.
And on top of all else, this beautiful soul is becoming more and more of a little boy right before my eyes. It seems those legs get longer with each nap. He says the funniest things and pulls the best faces. We spend a lot of time with the giggles.
Linking up with Jodi at Practicising Simplicity for the 52 Project this year.