6th October 2017

Love used to be about kisses at the station in the morning…

Love used to be about kisses at the station in the morning when you said goodbye, lazy weekends together on the sofa, booking last minute trips to Paris on a Friday afternoon, taking selfies where only two of you had to fit into a frame, date nights that lasted until the morning, wearing lipstick and pretty underwear and still thinking it mattered, holding hands as you strolled through villages, and feeling flutters of butterflies before they got home.

Love was new, exciting, passionate, and romantic. And you thought it would always be that way.

But then you became parents and it changed.

Slowly at first; feeling a fuzzy warmth when you realise the baby has her eyes and his feet, seeing each other at your least glamorous and most vulnerable, watching them cradle a newborn and wanting to capture it in your mind forever, saying ‘no, I don’t mind!’ when it definitely isn’t your turn to do the nappy, trying to squeeze more faces into those selfies and suddenly realising they are the best selfies in the world.

And as the years ticked on, love became different again.

It was about going on family adventures, about sandy trips to the beach and muddy trips to the park, about waking up early at the weekend and heading downstairs with sleep still in your eyes, about doing things together that might not be new, exciting, passionate or romantic, but that something made your heart sing with joy.

It became about knowing somebody so well that you could can tell in one glance how they are feeling, about booking date nights weeks in advance because it all got so complicated, about getting excited about buying furniture or upgrading the family car, about seeing the best bits of them in your children and knowing you made the right choice all those years ago.

And it became about making decisions that might not be best for the two of you, but are best for those little people – and knowing hand on heart, that those decisions were still right.

Love changes.

It isn’t always better – and there are arguments spat with sleep-deprived anger in the kitchen and glares shot across restaurant tables when one of you knew eating out with kids would be a bad idea .

It isn’t as pretty, or as spontaneous, or as passionate, or as exciting.

But it’s just right.

And if you’re lucky – if you’re very, very lucky – you still feel flutters of butterflies before they get home.



17th September 2017

Dear Mabel, today is your first birthday…

Dear Mabel,

Your story started on a warm September day, a week after my due date. Just like your brothers, you were far too comfy to make your entrance on your own accord – but 15 hours after Daddy and I had walked through the hospital doors, you were screaming loudly in my arms.

I remember staring down at you on that hospital bed, taking in every inch of you. Here was the little girl I’d been trying to imagine all that time. Your button nose, chubby cheeks, and red bow lips. Your dark hair, dark eyelashes, and milky white skin. Not exactly how I’d imagined you – but so very perfect.

I lapped up those first few days in hospital. Just the two of us, quietly bonding in our room. Your brothers visited a few times and stared down at you with smiling eyes, barely able to fathom that they’d got the sister we promised.

We went home when you were two days old – but not before we had to swing by school to collect your eldest brother. And so began the life of a third child; always having to fit around your siblings, not even getting the honour of going home for the first time without your brother piling into the car seat next to you and talking nonsense the whole way home.

I knew that you were more than likely to be my last baby – and I didn’t want to rush it. So those first few weeks together were lazy. With Granny and Grandad there to help with your brothers, we spent a lot of time in bed. Feeding, cuddling, and sleeping – and then doing it all over again. I knew only too well how quickly it would pass. You’d wake up from your sleepiness, uncurl, and start to focus – and it’d happen in the blink of an eye. And when it happened – and of course it happened – I was ready.

I was ready to find out exactly who you were.

You were such a quiet little baby, watching the craziness of two older brothers around you with inquisitive eyes. You slept like a dream, rarely cried, and fed well. Everywhere we went, you came along too, without a single complaint.

I loved our family as a foursome – and when I was pregnant, I worried it was all going to change. And it did Mabel, but only for the better. You fit into our family so perfectly and neatly that we could hardly remember a time when you weren’t with us. We never even knew you were missing, but it all made sense as soon as you were here. Our final puzzle piece, the final pea in the pod. You were always meant to come along and complete us.

Yes, you were a quiet baby – but you eventually found your voice. And my goodness Mabel, you made sure that we heard it. You have become a gregarious, cheeky, determined little girl. Still so much calmer than your brothers ever were, rarely venturing too far from my feet, but intent on making your own mark. Intent on being your own person, with your own personality and your own demands, and not just the little sister!

Your determined little character saw you say your first words at 10 months and walk at 11 months. You are always in the shadow of your brothers, laughing with them, playing with them, and following them. Seeing your relationship and bond grow with them is one of the best feelings in the world.

A little girl born in Dubai, but now growing up in the English countryside – so much change in your life, but you couldn’t care less as long as you are with your family. Our cheerful, smiling, sweet, cuddly, gregarious, funny little girl with dimpled cheeks, big blue eyes, and strawberry blonde curls.

A year later, this September day isn’t nearly as warm – but we feel just as lucky to have you in our lives.

Happy birthday little girl.

We really do adore you.

Love from Mummy x

 



13th September 2017

Dear nomad children,

Dear nomad children,

It was only a few weeks ago that we told you we were going to stay in the UK. That your lives were changing forever. That you’d never head back to the bedroom you knew, nor the pool we visited every evening as the sun set, nor the school we all loved so much.

We waited until we were in the car, on the way to visit your new school for the first time. Daddy told you in the end, because my voice kept breaking as I spoke. His tone was animated and excited – and as I listened to him announce the news, tears welled in my eyes.

I always knew you’d find it hardest Stanley – and I wasn’t wrong. My sensitive little thinker, with such good friends in Dubai that you were so excited to return to. You were happy at first, exclaiming ‘We’re staying in the UK? Forever? We’re staying here forever?” When Daddy told you that was the case, you smiled broadly. But as the car wound down country roads, the sun flashing through the trees over our heads, I could tell your mind was whirring.

So we’re not going back to Dubai? What about my friends? I don’t want to stay here. I want to go back!

Oh we’ll still see them!” I managed to pipe up, as my heart shattered into a million pieces inside my chest. “We’ll be going out to see Daddy every school holiday. It’s just swapped round, so we’ll live in the UK but we’ll do our holidays in Dubai.”

You didn’t reply, deep in thought. But I could tell the faces of your friends were bright in your mind.

Wilfred, you were silent. You stared out the window as the fields and hedgerows flashed past.  “Are you excited, Wilfred?” I asked, twisting to look at you from the front of the car.

Yeah,” you said, without looking away from the window. I wondered what was going through your mind as you watched the countryside zoom past. I wondered if you were still too young to feel sad about it, whether you were imagining your bedroom in your mind, or your friends at nursery, or the fact that you were about to start school.

We didn’t say much more as we continued that journey. We were all deep in thought – half sad, half excited.  And throughout it all Mabel, you slept peacefully in your car seat, completely oblivious to the news that your life was about to take a completely different turn. That your sun hats and rompers would be packed away in boxes, replaced by knitted cardigans and tights. That your mornings being pushed along in the sunshine in your buggy would be replaced by strolls covered in blankets. That you’d no longer have to sit still while I smothered you in sun cream every morning and instead you’d have to learn to tolerate rain covers, waterproofs, hats and gloves.

Later that morning, we walked around your new school. We listened to stories about lessons deep in the forest. We imagined you climbing in the playground in the rain and the snow. We were told about nativity performances and trips to visit animals on farms. We were shown the swimming pool and I imagined you swimming in it in winter, shivering as you climbed out of the water.

Writing this letter to you today, it seems surreal that morning was only a matter of weeks away. And whilst I still feel pretty shell-shocked by the speed of it all, I could not be prouder of the way the three of you have adapted, accepted, and embraced your new life in the English countryside.

You have had your wobbles – of course you have – but you have walked into new classrooms with a bravery that has made me swell with pride. You have made new friends, played new games, and worn new uniforms – and you have taken it all in your stride. I know that you’ve found it hard at times, because we talk about how you feel every evening, but your courage never fails you the very next morning.

My little nomad children, it will always read ‘Dubai’ on your birth certificates – and I hope you always remember that life in the desert. I hope you remember the burnt orange dunes, the smell of jasmine in the air in our garden, the feeling of pink shells underneath your feet on the shore, the different nationalities that surrounded you in the classroom, and the comforting sound of the call of prayer in the afternoons.

I hope you remember all that.

It’s part of you.

It’s part of us.

But here comes the next chapter – and your courage, your adaptability, and the smiles that have rarely left your faces are just the beginning of the story.

And you have made me so proud.

Love Mummy x



8th September 2017

We’re coming home…

I remember the day that my boyfriend announced he had been offered a job in Dubai so clearly. It was a sunny evening in June 2009 – and I remember sitting there, listening to the excitement in his voice, and wondering whether he realised the world as we knew it was about to end.

In the end it was a mutual decision that he should take that job. Career wise and financially, he’d have been silly not to. And just a month later, it was time to say goodbye.

I’d had tickets booked for months to see Take That The Circus in concert at Wembley the night before he left – so I decided to still go with my sister and cousins. There was Mark, Gary, Howard and Jason dressed as clowns with their faces painted in their make-shift Big Top – and there was me sat amongst thousands in the crowd with a big lump in my throat, knowing that my world was going to change forever.

But as the boys sung out the lyrics to The Garden as the concert closed “This is the life we’ve been given. So open your mind and start living”, I made a vow to be brave and get on with it.

I haven’t been able to listen to that song or those lyrics without that same lump appearing in my throat ever since. But eight years down the line, I couldn’t be more thankful that I took that leap of faith and gave Dubai a chance.

And now here I am, as a mother of three, doing the move the other way round.

And honestly, this way is much harder.

Back then, my heart belonged in the UK. I was passionate about it. I’d have moved back to the UK at the drop of a hat, with a gigantic smile on my face. For the first few years, I hung a sign in my kitchen that read ‘When you are tired of London, you are tired of life’ – until we moved to a new apartment and I never unpacked it from the box.

My love for Dubai grew slowly, but steadily. I remember one trip home for summer in the early days when I was on a train back to Kent from London late at night. I picked up a magazine that was lying on the seat next to me and flicked through it, coming across a page with a full page glossy advert for holidays to Dubai. Real tears welled in my eyes I realised I felt homesick for a place I never even realised was home.

Over time, I built a home in that city. I grew three babies without ever having to step out of my summer maternity dresses and flip-flops, I decorated apartments and villas with framed pictures of desert dunes, and I filled my work days writing about what a fantastic place it was to bring up a young family.

And it was. It really was – and if I could’ve moved all my family and friends over to the desert and fixed the climate a little, I probably would’ve stayed there forever.

But forever isn’t happening – and we are now home to start a new life in the UK. Not all of us, admittedly – as that boyfriend who was packing his bags back in 2009 is now my husband. And he’ll still be based out there in the desert (for the meantime, at least), flying back and forth when he can.

We always intended to come home soon – but admittedly it happened much quicker than we had planned. As the summer ticked on, a few things made us realise that now was probably the best time. At the beginning of a new school term for Stanley – and before Wilfred had started full-time education and we ended up paying for a new villa contract without wanting to be there. There were hours of discussions, plenty of tears, moments of excitement, and a heavy dose of ‘what the hell have we done?’ as we signed the kids up to a new school. But with that, the deal was done.

On Sunday afternoon, we decided to take the boys for one last treat with their Daddy – before he packed his bags and flew back to Dubai. I had spotted that the circus was in town and hastily booked tickets to the afternoon performance. It didn’t even occur to me that we were going full circle, until I was sat in the audience watching those clowns in the Big Top.

Back to the circus, with a lump in my throat – waiting for my husband to head to Dubai.

All over again.

I know we are going to OK here in the UK, but it’s going to take some adjustment. I’ll miss my husband all the time he’s away, Ill miss my friends in the desert, I’ll miss our nanny who had become part of the family, and Ill miss the weather as it starts to cool down for winter. But seeing my children exploring the countryside, running around in the fresh air, getting to experience the seasons for the first time in their lives, to kick leaves, to feel snow fall on their noses, and to head over to their grandparents houses whenever they are missing them. This will make it all worthwhile.

And the rest? I have high hopes that it’ll fall into place.

After all, this isn’t the first time I’ve left a place that I love.

And this time, we’re coming home.



25th July 2017

It’s my life – and I’ll pick up my phone if I want to…

I’ve felt the pressure for a while now. People going on Instagram strikes, others blogging about the virtues of a digital detox, the constant reminders that too much screen time is bad for us, the rants about mothers picking up their phones in the park and ‘neglectfully’ ignoring their kids…

The pressure to put down my phone and ‘reconnect’ with the real world has been ever present in my mind for a while now, making me feel like a bit of a crap mother whenever I scroll through my Facebook feed or upload a photo to Instagram during their waking hours.

So this holiday, I had a plan.

I’d have a digital detox.

It would clear my mind, make me feel like a good mother again, and I’d come out the other side feeling much better for it. It would be the digital equivalent of heading to a strict Thai detox resort for a month – and whilst I wouldn’t have the skinny thighs that living on a liquid diet under palm trees would bring, I’d be glowing from the inside like the virtuous, digital-free, totally-present mother I’d become.

I couldn’t wait to feel smug about it.

But when I got here, holed up in this beautiful Umbrian villa for two weeks, do you know what?

I didn’t want to do it.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised the pressure had got to me. I realised that I’d started to believe that those moments of ‘time out’ scrolling peacefully on my phone when the kids were happy playing, or scoffing their tea, or watching an episode of Peppa Pig made me a bad mother.

Other people’s opinions had got to me – because whilst I knew I wasn’t neglecting the trio at my feet, I couldn’t help feeling like I could be doing something more productive for their wellbeing. Perhaps preparing a craft activity or organising a drawer of clothes. Sitting lazily on the sofa with my phone felt nothing less than naughty – and if anyone had walked into the room unexpectedly, I’d probably have hastily dropped my phone behind a cushion and adjusted my face to a fake smile that said ‘oh look at the little darlings – I’ve been simply sitting here and watching them for hours!

But having given it all some thought out here on this Italian holiday, I have realised it’s all utter nonsense – because when you work a 24-hour shift as a mother (and some days, I really do attend to their needs every hour of the day and night), it’s OK to have some escapism. It’s OK to have a moment to connect with friends, to check what is happening in the world  – or even, god forbid, play a bit of candy crush on your phone.

I’m pretty sure mothers throughout history have had moments of escapism, well before the days of social media. Reading papers, picking up the phone to give Aunt Susie a call while the kids play, watching an episode of Neighbours during nap time, getting stuck into another chapter of that Jilly Cooper novel while their kids ate dinner, or having a good old chin wag with friends over coffee at play dates. There have always been ways to zone out and get through the day – but I bet none attracted the wrath of the sisterhood quite like a mother scrolling on her phone.

So now back to my holiday – and the very nature of two weeks in the sunshine means that I’ve looked at my phone 80% less than I usually do, but I’ve enjoyed those rare moments of solitude. Having a browse when I’m sat in the passenger seat of the car, lying next to Mabel at nap time in a cool, air-conditioned room and picking up my phone for a while, or scrolling through pictures and videos with a glass of wine every evening before dinner and sending to family and friends.

It’s not cool to admit that your hobby is scrolling through social media on your phone, but I am going to say it.

I enjoy it. It helps me to escape for a while. It keeps me in touch with friends. And sometimes it’s the only thing keeping me sane when there is play dough all over the floor, untouched dinners on the kitchen bench, and a baby refusing to sleep unless I’m lying alongside her.

And I’m not going to bow to pressure to stop.

After all, it’s my life – and I’ll pick up my phone and scroll through social media if I want to.



3rd July 2017

Eight years ago today, my boyfriend left

I waved him goodbye, walked up the stairs, and sobbed big heavy tears into my pillow.

We were 26 and 28 years old then – and we had been living in Blackheath in London with our 10-month old puppy. Our weekends consisted of walking across the heath to the farmer’s market with our dog on a lead, stocking up on food from the various stalls, nipping into the village store for the papers on our way home, and then sitting in front of a roaring fire as the hours passed slowly and lazily. In the evenings, we travelled into London and met friends, laughing, chatting, and drinking wine and cocktails early into the next morning.

We were happy – and I was sure my soul belonged in London.

But he worked in finance – and with the ‘credit crunch’ paralysing the financial industries in the UK, we both decided it was a sensible decision to accept a job he had been offered in Dubai.

It was a mutual decision – and in hindsight, it was the right decision. But I still felt like the world had been ripped out from under my feet on that warm July day back in 2009.

He told me he would give it 6 months and we’d see where we were. I moved in with my parents – furniture in the top of their garage, dog running a-mock in their house, and clothes crumpled in several suitcases. I flew out to Dubai to visit him every other month – and he returned the favour on the ones in between. That six months passed slowly and difficultly – but he didn’t return. I forgave him when he proposed on a sunny day in Greenwich Park with the sparkliest diamond and a view over London that will forever be etched in my mind.

That 6 months turned into 18 months – and we got married on a December day, with our beloved London blanketed in snow. And as January ticked around, I packed those belongings in a suitcase once again, kissed goodbye to our dog on my parent’s doorstep with tears pricking my eyes, and made my own way to Dubai to begin our life as husband and wife.

That was 6 and a half years ago now – and 3 kids and 6 homes later, we are still here.

I often think about our life in London – and my heart aches. But I don’t think it’s aching for ‘home’ – I think it’s aching for the simplicity of life before kids, when my skin was glowing with the benefits of regular sleep, when friends answered pleas to meet up within minutes, and the buzz of London living perked me up far quicker than a mug of strong coffee.

I adored that city and I adored that life – and if you had told me that I’d be living in the Middle East as a mother-of-three in eight years time, I’d have laughed until I was on the floor, then thrown a bowl of cold water over your head to sober you up.

I never had wanderlust. I never travelled the world after I finished university. I never wanted to live anywhere else in the world. Each to their own, but the idea of being an expat just wasn’t appealing to me – so I am as surprised as anyone that I am still here in the desert, bringing up my kids in a 45’C eternal summer and barely stepping out of my flip-flops in nearly a decade.

But I don’t regret the move we made for a second – and whilst my love from London has never waned, my love for Dubai has grown strongly and steadily alongside it as the years have passed. The city that embraced me as I grew three children in my belly, that has given me friends as close as family, that has offered us opportunity after opportunity, and that truly is ‘home’.

The pang in my heart I feel for the London skyline is still there – but now I feel the same for burnt orange desert dunes, for palm trees swaying the breeze, for silver skyscrapers jutting into a flawless blue sky, for starfish and pale pink shells on the shore, for the smell of jasmine in the air on a warm evening, for the sound of crickets when I head outside to my car. And for the people, every colour and every nationality, living shoulder-to-shoulder alongside us. Two cities and two homes.

Eight years ago today, my boyfriend left.

And I will never regret letting him go.



13th June 2017

On the subject of sharing photos of my children online…

19190877_10158867362955607_782359639_nIt happened this morning. I had five minutes to sit down on the sofa with a mug of coffee before the school drop – and I clicked onto Instagram to have a scroll. The fact that I was browsing social media while my kids watched a cartoon before school will have the judgy mums spluttering into their homemade oatmeal – but bear with me, because I’m only just getting started.

Because then I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks. A post from a fellow writer  here in the UAE telling other mothers why she never shows photos of her children on social media. I won’t be sharing the name of the writer, nor the website as this isn’t supposed to be a ‘name and shame’ – but I will say that the piece was titled “I know where your children are and what they are up to.” Woah. But it certainly made me click, which I guess was the intention.

So I did click – and I started reading. Apparently by sharing photos of my children online, I preventing them from living ‘virtually freely’. I won’t go into the rest of the article, but it follows a very similar tone. And the line that really threw me was: “You may choose otherwise and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are fully aware of the consequences.”

And that’s the bit that made me stop in my tracks.

Because we are the very first generation of mothers that has raised children in the world of social media. It didn’t happen when I was a child in the 80’s, nor when my parents were growing up in the 60’s. It wasn’t something that my grandparents or my parents had to worry about.

A little like deciding how your baby will be fed, whether you use a dummy or not, how you will discipline, whether you will allow screen time, where your kids will go to nursery or go to school (and the list goes on), choosing whether we share the faces of our children online is now a decision that every parent has to make for themselves.

And the truth is that nobody knows the consequences of choosing to share our children online. Nobody has ever stepped down these virtual cobblestones before.

We are all feeling our way in parenting as best we can – I’m a true believer that there are very few ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – and criticising or scaring those that choose a different path is only going to make other mothers feel incredibly judged and filled with self-doubt. And I don’t think this is remotely helpful

But I digress.

So why do I share photos of my children online? For me it isn’t a blogging thing, as I only started this blog when my second child came into the world – and his brother had already been starring on my social media accounts for two years. For me, social media is a way of sharing my life with the world. And if my children didn’t feature, it honestly wouldn’t be my world. It would be an edited version.

And I’m not the only person that chooses to share their children online. Millions of other parents choose to do it too – mothers and fathers around the world, bloggers, photographers, celebrities, politicians, even royalty. I personally take steps to protect my children, such as never revealing their schools, nurseries, where we live, or the location of our regular activities. That makes me feel more comfortable with my decision – but I wouldn’t dream of judging anyone who didn’t follow the same steps.

Of course I have had moments when I’ve wondered ‘is this the right thing to do?” –  but for me, that moment of doubt is what makes me a mother. I had the same thoughts about breastfeeding, the same thoughts about giving my child a dummy, when choosing a car seat or a stroller, when wondering whether it was too early for my child to start school. We are natural born worriers – and I think that’s pretty much the definition of motherhood.

I am pretty sure that when my children are older and they look back at their life through the pictures and videos I have shared online, they are going to realise I made the decision purely through my love for them. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to judge me for not being able to live ‘virtually freely’ (whatever that means).

And if you choose not to share your children online? I absolutely, wholeheartedly, enthusiastically respect you for that decision. Your life, your children, your decision.

There is no manual for motherhood, after all.



1st June 2017

When two become three…

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 21.17.04Mabel was sat on the living room rug today, surrounded by her toys.

She can crawl now.

Slowly, unsteadily.

But she can crawl.

And her brothers are suddenly fascinated by it. They laugh hysterically from the sofa, jumping down to copy her, hand her toys, or (in Stanley’s case) cuddle her until she flops down on her tummy.

I watch them – and I am suddenly struck by the fact that I have three proper children.

Not two brothers and a baby.

Three actual children.

But it’s more than that. Because as I stand back and watch them, ready to pounce if she’s in danger of getting squashed or she approaches a toy that definitely isn’t baby friendly, I am suddenly struck by the fact that the boys have a sibling.

Not a little baby, to tickle or coo at in her cot.

But a sister.

To play with, to laugh with, to argue with over toys, and to bond with.  And as I watch them together, playing on that rug with sunlight dappled in their hair, my mind skips forward.

And I think about the future.

I think about three children together on the beach, playing together in the sand, fighting over who gets the orange spade. I think about three teenagers in the house – two older brothers, keeping an eye on a younger sister, no doubt arguing over who gets to go in the bathroom first. I think about weddings, I think about big family gatherings, I think about a troup of cousins, I think about family holidays on mass, I think about Christmases years in the future. I think about the fact there are five of us now – and these flashes forward all seem very real.

And I know it won’t always be harmonious as they grow up together – but they will have one another.

When I was heavily pregnant last year, I worried a lot about how a new baby was going to change the dynamic of our family. I couldn’t wait to meet our baby – but I didn’t want her to change the relationship between the boys. I was pleased when I found out she was a girl, as the boys could still be brothers and nothing would touch their bond.

But watching them play together today, with the sunlight dancing in their hair, it suddenly became very clear.

I didn’t need to worry

Because they are working it all out for themselves.

And how beautiful – totally, gobsmackingly, tear-inducing, wonderfully beautiful – it is to watch it all happen.

Right there on the living room rug.



31st May 2017

10 things to expect when your baby learns to crawl…

18902645_10158801528805607_1012090826_n1. Coffee shops will not be your friend for a while. Coffee is still wonderful – but learning to enjoy it at home / at other people’s houses is recommended. Remember; practice makes perfect – and if your now-moving baby still isn’t a fan of sleeping (yawn), you will have plenty of opportunity to nail the perfect cup at home.

2. Baby toys will no longer be interesting. The best things ever will now be the remote control, your mobile phone, the cat, the dog, anything that belongs to an older sibling, glasses of water, glasses for your face, and old raisins / biscuits that fell down the back of the sofa a few months ago. Hide everything. Or consider investing in a baby cage.

3. Any feelings of broodiness for another baby will now disappear for a while. Consider a crawling / walking baby as Mother Nature’s natural contraceptive. If you are already pregnant, it is very normal to have nightmarish visions about being stuck on the sofa feeding a newborn, while an older sibling wreaks havoc on the house. And nine months later, that is exactly what will happen.

4. The toilet will no longer be your ‘safe place’. They will follow you.

5. If you ever make the mistake of handing your crawling baby a snack, be prepared to still be finding crumbs weeks later. Alternatively, trail behind with a dustpan and brush / mini hoover. Or just trap them in the high chair – every. single. time.

6. Consider filling a kitchen cupboard with unbreakable objects for your baby to quietly empty on the kitchen floor. And then watch as they ignore it completely and make a start on unpacking your fine china instead.

7. You will seriously consider designing a baby outfit made from bubble wrap. Or covering the floor of your entire home in soft padding. And maybe the walls too. But just as you sit down to start designing a prototype, your baby will take their first big tumble and you’ll realise you missed the boat.

8. You will find yourself shouting ‘Noooo!’, ‘Come back!’, “Stay there!”, and ‘‘Wait!’ more than you’d like to. And if you’ve ever owned a dog, the similarities won’t be lost on you.

9. Kiss goodbye to long baby cuddles in bed in the morning. Finding their way to the end of the bed, in order to ‘base jump’ to the floor will be the single most important mission of the day.

10. If a friend suggests a play date in a park, you will laugh hysterically, ask her if she’s mad, and then promptly suggest an alternative venue with four walls, super safe baby gates, and strong coffee on tap instead. And that is the very point when a wild love affair / absolute hatred with soft play areas begins. And you will stay there for the next 10 years.



14th May 2017

A love letter to my second baby…

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 21.49.51Dear second baby,

You arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

A whirlwind scented like newborn baby, sweet baby shampoo, and whiffs of strong coffee turned cold in my mug.

I thought I knew what to expect. After all, I’d done it all before. But right from the beginning, you taught me that it would be different.

I studied your face, as I cradled you there on my hospital bed. Your face rounder, eyes wider, and lips plumper than I had imagined, along with a shock of dark, black hair. So unlike your brother. So unlike the clone I had imagined growing in my tummy. Everything seemed different – and when you started sleeping long stretches through the night at just a few days old, I knew for certain that you had your own agenda.

It was your brother that made me a Mummy – but it was you that taught me to slow down and try to enjoy it. After all, I couldn’t possibly keep juggling at the pace I had been before. I tried for a while, of course, but I kept dropping balls. That night I plopped the baby monitor in a glass of water in a half-asleep state wasn’t my finest hour. Neither was the time I was running the bath and watching a toddler, when you suddenly learnt to roll – and practiced it expertly, over the side of the bed.

I couldn’t run around any more. Literally. That double buggy took brute force to move from one place to another. But more than that – I couldn’t give you the same things I’d given your brother. Music sessions, swimming lessons, baby massage, sensory classes… All off the agenda, choosing instead to stay at home or join your brother on play dates. His friends became your friends (you barely had any of your own). I felt guilty occasionally – no, I felt guilty most of the time – and I craved some time for just the two of us. I craved the time to cuddle and bond.

But I didn’t need to feel guilty, as I had forgotten you had something your brother never had. You had each other. And when I saw your relationship bloom – like a couple of wild flowers, petals and thorns intertwined – it made my heart jump and sing. Right from that first afternoon, where I watched you crawl after him, howling with laughter as he chased you on his hands and knees – to the little chats you had together as you learnt to babble and talk – to the long conversations you went on to have in your bedroom together as you fell asleep, like two little old men putting the world to rights.

When I was pregnant with you, I worried about my heart being split in two. It didn’t seem fair on either of you to have to share my love. But what I didn’t realise is that the very second you were placed in my arms, my heart would grow again. The same crazy, powerful, unconditional love – all over again, for you.

I don’t know what I expected from being your Mummy – but it probably wasn’t this. I expected your brother all over again. I never expected this little boy, with eyes the colour of a deep ocean, cuddles that wrap right around your heart, a fiery temper, and a sense of humour that has the whole family rolling around the floor. There have been hard times, wonderful times, heart-warming times, and times when I wondered how I was going to make it through until bedtime.

Yes, you arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

And how thankful I am to have been in your path

Mummy xx

Photo by Lidiya Kalichuk – www.lidiyakalichuk.com