* written over the month of December.
DOING: sitting in my rocking chair in the corner of my bedroom. A cup of coffee is to my right and Walt is in the carrier, going in and out of sleep. Ben and Joan are stocking up on food for the week at the shops, and I felt like getting some thoughts down.
HEARING: the birds outside.
DRINKING: that coffee. It’s lukewarm but still great. I limit myself to one a day (which is really all I need, to be honest) but if I could, I would drink twenty cups. I love it so.
EATING + COOKING: MY favourite meal this month was perhaps the paella my dad made for Ben’s birthday. Afterwards I served Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake with cream and berries. Day-to-day I’ve been relying on meal prep to nourish myself. It allows me to easily assemble the quinoa and roasted vegetable bowls I enjoy. Otherwise it’s crackers and cheese/avocado/hummus. Or toast. Breakfast is toast or a smoothie - the usual stuff for us. We’ve been eating a lot of freezer meals for dinner - things like beef casserole and dahl. By the time five o’clock rolls around the last thing I want to do is juggle a bunch of pots and pans. It tends to take all the energy I have keeping my baby and toddler from going bonkers. Perhaps the thing I enjoy eating most is my evening snack when Joan is asleep, Ben is finishing up the dishes and Walt is feeding to sleep. It’s MY time of the day - when I can relax in bed with a show on my computer and a big bowl of cheese, sultanas, apple and coconut. Maybe some peanut butter, too. I look forward to it all day. If I don’t assemble a cheese bowl (say if I’ve had cheese throughout the day or I simply don’t feel like it) I will attack a jar of peanut butter with some celery sticks or a spoon. I’ve been eating lots of carob bears, too.
WANTING: Ben’s back to magically get better. He has ongoing issues that are generally well managed but flare up every now and then (usually when he has time off work). I would also love to suddenly come into a bunch of money so that we can go to Europe, financially support courses we are passionate about, re-do our kitchen, buy a new car and send our kids to any school we wish. Lofty dreams aside, I honestly feel like I have everything I could ever want.
LOOKING: forward to Christmas morning. Joan has hit that age where she GETS Christmas, and her anticipation and sense of wonder about it all is infectious. It just feels so magical this year.
DECIDING: what to get Walt for Christmas. I wrote a list and, next to his name, was “breastmilk”. It’s really more for Joan - for her to see that Santa brought him something, too. So I’ve been pondering what can I wrap up that’s appropriate (and doesn’t cost any money). Maybe a onesie I already have in the cupboard that she hasn’t seen him wear before. That’ll do.
ENJOYING: my nights with Walt. I never thought I’d say this in this season of my life, but I truly look forward to going to bed every night even though I know I’m going to be woken up a bunch of times (i’d say it varies from 3 to 7 times at the moment). Giving myself permission to bed-share (safely) from the get go with Walt has made such a difference to my wellbeing. It just works for us. I’ve also been enjoying my one-on-one time with Joan. We get decent time together when Walt naps, but because he’s mostly napping in the carrier or sling he’s always between us, so to speak. So, when Ben is home, I make time for just us two. We went to the arts centre the other week to see a kid-friendly ballet (seeing her face light up when I surprised her as everything) but mostly we do small dates at home, like our breakfast date below. Just the two of us sitting and chatting outside with blankets, eggs and hot drinks (coffee for me, chocolate for her).
WATCHING: I’m currently into season two of Transparent and loving it. It’s a fantastic show - one I’ve been wanting to watch for years, so was thrilled to see it available on Prime Video (which Ben recently signed us up for). Also on prime I’ve been watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which is a hoot. Her wardrobe!
READING: cookbooks. That’s about it. Joan and I will flip through a cookbook every other day in search of inspiration. I’d like to start a good fiction book (an easy read), but I’m just loving my shows at the moment.
WEARING: leggings, jeans or shorts; tops that can be pulled down or up for easy access when breastfeeding; and summer dresses.
BUYING: presents online for Joan and other family members. We got Joan these magnet tiles after seeing them around a bunch (they are amazing). At the shops we always seem to be buying stone fruit and wine - the fruit is for Joan and I, and the wine is for celebrations and family dinners. I’lll occasionally have a quarter glass of wine or champagne but that’s it. I’m sleeping with Walt, you see, so I don’t let myself have more. But I also just don’t feel like it at the moment. A sip or two suffices.
CRAVING: coffee, chocolate, stone fruit, avocado, dates, smoothies - none of which is surprising, given the sleep disruption that’s happening. I want and need energy-rich food.
LOVING: my baby. I’m obsessed. I totally forgot how obsessed you can get with your newborn! I also love seeing Joan talk with him when she thinks I’m not watching. She copies me in saying “I hear you” when he coos at her and it fills up my heart completely.
PLANNING: Earlier this month I planning what cookie to make as presents. We ended up making shortbread (this stellar recipe). Joan LOVES shortbread (because butter) and they ended up being easier than I imagined (I’d never made them before).
PLAYING: Joan is really into playing doctors at the moment. Walt had a blood test (skin prick) to confirm breastfeeding jaundice a couple of weeks ago, and the nurses gave her some blood test goodies to take home. Most days Dr Joan will test us all once or twice, and during the test she asks me to pretend to be “Jenny Whickett” (?!?!)
SAVOURING: the moments when it’s just Walt and I. I adore Joan, obviously, but it is SO nice to stare at Walt freely without interruptions. I’m super conscious to look Joan in the eye when she speaks to me and not be distracted by Walt, but sometimes all I want to do is stare at his little face.
FEELING: Grateful. Grateful for my two beautiful babes; for my husband who comes home from work in time for dinner and cleans up afterwards, and is generally the most supportive and loving man; and for my mother, father and mother-in-law who have been outstandingly supportive of me and my work these past eighteen months. G R A T E F U L.
I hope you have a lovely Christmas break, dear readers. I’m grateful for you, too.
Happenings posts inspired by Pip.