Gone, Baby, Gone

 

My baby is gone. And I only realised this after watching this little film of O in her Tiny Trike  (which was kindly sent by the toy wizards of Galt Toys), and realising she’s slightly too big for it already.  It leads me to the rhetorical question of the day: How can she outgrow things? SHE SHOULDN’T. SHE CAN’T. I haven’t had time to have enough of her as a baby. She loves the little bike so much that when she wakes up, she jumps on it and cycles to the living room for her milk. At least that, she still has some of her baby habits: milk, dummies, nappies (yes, not potty training yet. SUE ME.) I can’t help by being nostalgic. I wonder if it’s always gonna be like this? Constantly pining for the fleeting moments that make up a childhood. There was a time in my life when I used to miss my own childhood. Now I’ll be missing hers too.

I know what you’re thinking. And NO, I’m not having another one. Not now anyway. Thanks for asking.

2 Years Old

And she’s two.

TWO.

A little girl, who speaks two languages (okay, sort of), who’s got her own friends, favourite books, films, shoes and toys.

SO WEIRD.

What happened to my baby?

You see, new mums out there: when people tell you not to worry too much about it – whatever your concern is – because soon it’ll be over, and you’ll be fighting other battles like brushing hair and teeth and picking film options because you bloody memorised all the lines from Finding Nemo, it’s true. People told me about the infamous terrible twos, and now I totally get it: it’s like having a very small teenager at home. The fights and tantrums are all about her trying to establish her independency while suffering from severe bouts of PMT – or in her case, growth HORMONES or something – and me trying to get us to do stuff on time while looking mildly presentable and healthy. No biggie. To be honest, I think it’s great that she WANTS to do stuff by herself. That I just have to put a bowl of (decent) food on the table and she’ll feed herself with considerable skill (and mess, but whatever), that I can pick a spot on the grass and just watch her sing to herself from afar, that she can navigate the kids section on Netflix and pick her favourite episodes of Barney, that she wants to wear the same beat-up pair of shoes everyday (and by that I mean CROCS. YES, I GAVE IN. SUE ME) so I don’t have to worry about what outfits to choose.

So what that her hair is all over the place most of the time and her clothes are constantly dirty from playing outside and eating cherry tomatoes with her hands? So what that I’m lazy when it comes to buying toys and I never seem to remember to take them anywhere, so she’s got no option but her own resources? So what that she’s not in bed before 8pm sometimes, if it means she’ll wake-up 8am and get everyone late?

I think on the whole we’ve been doing alright. O (they call her Mowgli at nursery when she’s in her nappies. I think that’s hilarious) is becoming an extremely happy, loving and bright little girl, with a temperament alright, but then fierceness and assertiveness are extremely valuable personality traits in today’s world. I wish I was more like that.

I’ve started writing this post exactly a month ago, and as regular visitors to this blog must have noticed, I’m not very good at updating things quickly… So at the time I started, her favourite things were the following:

– Singing. All day long. I remember going to a few baby classes when she was a couple of months old, and being embarrassed at not knowing the words to ANY nursery rhymes (I’m Brazilian, remember. Wasn’t brought up in this country.). Believe me, I know them now. Learned them all through OSMOSIS.

– EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM, the book. Memorised all the words, and can point all the hidden characters, even though she doesn’t know the background story of any of them (Tom Thumb? Bo-Peep? Mother Hubbarb? Who ARE THESE PEOPLE? I LOVE them.)

– Nemo. The one from “Finding”. Watched it 849 times, and still gets apprehensive during shark scenes. Also: BARNEY, the Dinosaur, which initially annoyed me tremendously, now I think it’s cool. Bit of an old-school, 90s vibe in the house.

-“Parkie.” The playground at the end bit of London Fields. Lately, quite good for celebrity spotting, I must say. AND next door to E5, the best Bakery in the whole of the UK. Win-win situation.

– A doll version of Jesse, a stuffed Cookie Monster and Charlie The Bear

Now, a MONTH later, which is the equivalent of 10 light-years in toddlerhood, I can safely report that her current obsessions are:

– The Wizard of Oz: which she refers to as “Dorothy” or “Tin-Man”. I’m quite glad she got into it through a book that our cleaner gave to her (bless her), and it made me finally watch the DVD that’s been sitting in our shelves for the past decade. It’s really sweet, isn’t it? I can even skip like Dorothy on the yellow brick road while walking to Dalston Junction. There’s no place like home indeed.

– Blueberries: will eat a bowlful like popcorn. Convenient, as they’re in season and don’t yet cost £4 a box.

– Trains: will say “Choo-choo” at least 25 times a day, because of Dora the Explorer, not freaking Thomas The Tank Engine, thank god.

– Crocs: Did I mention I gave in? Yes. I’m trying to claw my way back in her shoe closet by pushing the Vans and Jordans, quite unsuccessfully. She will partake of Converses once in a while though, which brings me great relief.

– Pushing Toy buggies (not hers though – other children’s, a cause for endless tantrums from everyone), Cookie Monster and Charlie the Bear (Jesse has fallen on the train tracks at Marylebone station, my fault. I had to tell her she “escaped” to go home earlier. She hasn’t questioned me about it yet.)

Motherhood Zine is now ONLINE

Hey, you mama: it’s your lucky day. I’ve decided to publish my printed zine Motherhood on issuu.com, so you can read it online. Unfortunately the printing costs were getting a bit high for such a small personal project, and this way you can choose to download and print it yourself, if you wish.

I’ll be working on a second one with friends this time, so keep your eyes peeled for Motherhood #2, coming soon.

If you can’t see the embedded version below, click here to read it.

 

1 and a Half.

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Nearly 19 months has gone by. You know what I’m gonna say, right? Yeap. TIME FLIES. I don’t think I’ve changed much during this time – and I mean PHYSICALLY, because psychologically I’m unrecognisable – but Little Miss O has gone through a world of transformations. Gone are the days when I could calmly make decisions on her behalf without further explanations or the eminent threat of confrontation. As with every toddler in the world, she has a will, and a STRONG one if I can be more specific. She wants it all, and she wants it NOW. Saying like that, it almost feels like I should be proud of producing a little being full of THIRST FOR LIFE, but no, it ain’t that romantic, i’m afraid. If only her requests and aspirations were in synch with mine… then we would have a ball, hanging out everyday reading books, drinking tea, and having anxiety attacks over episodes of Breaking Bad. Not so much. What she wants IMMEDIATELY, most of the time, includes:

– cheese (Babybels. Obsessed with them)

– crackers

– to go out in the cold without her coat on

– to run straight into the middle of a busy road

– the iPad and whatever iPhones are in sight

– her dummies. If she could squeeze two or three in her mouth at the same time, she would.

Peepo! – The picture book, at bedtime. Must be read at least twice in a row.

Re-reading that list now, it doesn’t look like she’s THAT demanding. It’s because that list is about what she WANTS. The list gets a lot more elaborate if we start adding what she DOESN’T want. Which, if I can summarise, is EVERYTHING I WANT for her. That includes:

– Most healthy food groups, specially of the green variety

– Three full meals a day, instead of the two scarce concoctions she normally eats, which are topped up by incessant snaking throughout the day

– To sit quietly in the buggy during public transport journeys

– Hell, to actually just STAY in the buggy for more than 15 minutes at a time without going hysterical

– To use a bib at meal times (I’m a bit tired of removing tomato sauce stains from millions of tiny clothes)

– To get rid of those annoying dummies

Alright, I admit that the list above is also not particularly troublesome either (it’s not like the kid has, i don’t know, BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES), but then what mother doesn’t want their kids to do exactly what they want? It’ll never happen, of course – so maybe I should start listing the good things too. That includes reading in bed (my own books after her picture books. I call that “multi-tasking”), singing nursery rhymes at the top of her voice, going for long walks, learning about animals and the ABCs (mostly through apps, but we try to balance with books and toys), dressing up, dancing in the living room to Bob Marley and Frank Ocean, watching cartoons early mornings, sharing breakfasts, “fake-cooking”, and generally rolling around on the floor and the sofa and the bed tickling and biting each other.

Of course the house is a constant mess, and I never have time or space to do my own things while she’s around (did I say how much I LOVE our nursery? Definitely don’t love what they charge us, but hey, time and trust are PRECIOUS, aren’t they), we can’t hang out in cafés and restaurants yet (not when there are, like, OTHER PEOPLE around anyway), and I definitely can’t conclude a single rational thought whenever I’m in mummy mode, but boy, it’s all worth it. She’s the love of my life – even when she refuses to throw away that bloody dummy. <3

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Talk the Talk (16 Months)

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She’s had another haircut. We’re sticking to the Playmobil look.

She talks now. Sort of. She whines more often than actually babbles, but I do recognise some words amongst the verbal diarrhoea (argh, don’t you hate that word? Reminds me of all the nappies I’ve had to deal with in the past year and a half). Her favourite, obviously, is “no”, which she pronounces the Brazilian way, with a nasal sound (“não”) and I find it unbearably cute. I know soon I’ll find it incredibly irritating, specially as this is her immediate reply to whatever question I ask these days, even if the question itself is “Would you like to have chocolate cake for dinner then go to bed at midnight?” She also says “bye”, “mamá” (not for “mum”, but as a general word to ask for anything, as in “can I have that?”) “vovô” (grandpa), “daddy”…that’s about it. Everything else resembles a South American unknown dialect, a bit like “dode baboom tutetotito nana pipapepe”. It must be quite liberating to speak like this. When I was small and didn’t speak English, I would invent words to sing along to my favourite songs. Once me and my brother actually wrote down in a piece of paper all the words to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song in our own gibberish language, so we could sing along. We knew they didn’t mean anything, but it was so much fun. Hell, I actually do this to this day – sing the lyrics wrong on purpose, driving O’s dad mad. I think one day O will literally teach me how to speak proper English – she’ll just take the piss out of my accent and snigger whenever I use prepositions wrong yet again. Looking forward to it.

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What a predictable child.
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This picture was taken when I completely lost my sense of dignity and decided that baking a cake together would be FUN. It certainly was for her.