Hannah here: I record sweet moments with Frankie on a note on my phone. It was started initially due to my hideous memory with the idea that I’d print them out some day to prompt my ailing mind. I haven't (YET!) printed them but I treasure scrolling through them, marvelling how i’d totally forgotten something she said, or did only 6 months previously. They are also invaluable to read on The Bad Days.
I use a note on my phone because I always have my phone on me and it’s consequently easy to record those “I need to write that down right now or I’ll forget it” moments. Because, man, there are so so many of them. And they are shockingly easy to forget in the next wave of “omg she just said this” moment. Wave after glorious wave. There’s an argument to just get soaked in those waves (one analogy too far?!), trust that you'll remember the important stuff, and not fret about recording it all, an argument I totally get. But I know my memory is a bit crap, and I already appreciate my recordings of her new born days, days that now seem generations ago. So I continue to tap away, a sentence or 2 a week.
If you’ve always intended to write those things down, It’s never too late to start, and it doesn’t matter if you record 4 a day or 2 a year. Even if you only end up with 2 notes of 2 sentences each year, I’m sure you’ll love reading them back when your kids are grown, it’s amazing how quickly you forget.
I’ve shared a few of these memories on the blog since I was pregnant, then a couple of times a year hence, to record Frankie growing up. Here is the latest instalment, all taken from the last 6 months or so.
She is 3!
She is like a Catherine wheel fizzing around the house, always moving, sending sparks of joy wherever she goes.
“Look mama the cars are nice and meat! “(Neat)
She was staring out of the window and telling me a long protracted story that involved the following nugget: “Dadu came out of Father Christmas' bagina” .
She teaches me so much. How to state clearly what I need. How to simply ask for help when I need it. Knowing when to stop and sit under the blanket and read a story. The joy of stopping and admiring the leaves. How to not care about what I'm wearing. How to not care what anyone thinks about my behaviour! How to listen; How to enjoy finding the exact pitch of the whistling Kettle, the noise of the coffee grinder or the correct note of a ‘lorry reversing’ warning beep. I now know the joy of stopping EVERYTHING you're doing to dance.
She has taught me to go slooooow. (A hard but necessary lesson for me)
She has taught me to always stop and show empathy and care for others. "Why is that kid saddin?"
‘B’coz' in every sentence at least twice.
“I need you to get me a biscuit b’coz I'm hungry b’coz you need too”
Gah! Her tiny face and massive eyes and blond curls! Her baby soft kissable cheeks! I STILL WANT TO EAT HER CHEEKS.
Dave- 'please don't pull my beard'
F "waaall, I need too bcoz ozzerwise it will get mouldy"
I’m reminding myself constantly that she hasn't woken up with a mission to wind me up and test my boundaries. Everything she does is communication. THIS REALISATION HAS CHANGED MY PARENTING. If she is being wild or waking through the night- I’m no longer just royally pissed off and exasperated (welllllll, ok, a bit) but concerned- what is going on for her? What need is she trying to get me to meet? From Playful Parenting; rather than thinking about their wild mood changes, think about their 'cup' being at varying levels of ‘full’. I have found this analogy always works. If Frankie is being sad or wild, its always because she is either sick, teething or her ‘cup’ is empty and I need to spend some time with her.
Reading back to my one year post, I described the love as almost like a tangible object: a solid husk sitting in the pit of my stomach. Still true.
The concept of adultism is transforming our parenting. The radical notion that kids are people! That they have as much right to get their needs met and their desires fulfilled as us. That just because we don't understand their desires doesn't mean they’re not valid. That forcing clothes on their bodies or coercing them to eat or bribing them to sleep just isn't cool (still guilty of lots of that- but working on it!)
This girl still loves dancing. I love her moves so much! Asks for music frequently at home and at friends houses and then just goes for it.
Lots of “come and see my tiny little baby” (x a million every 5 mins) “He's smiling at you!” in the strange effected voice of a granny. Makes me wanna poke my eyes out with a spoon but I smile and say for the millionth time, “Yes! isn’t he so cute!”
I’m in the process of culling her toys in the name of simplicity. She hasn't noticed.
We were talking about a photo of my mum, and I told her she isn’t here anymore, that she died. (we want to be totally open and honest about death- there is a lot of it in our families) She looked at me quizzically and asked:
F: ”Do you love her very much?”
Me: “Yes. Yes I still do”
F: “Would you like to go to her house to see her?”
Me: “...well, actually, yes I would dearly love to do that, but…” (sudden lump in throat)
F: “Ok. well, lets go to see your mama, come on!”
(I had to go upstairs to sob)
"Good my gaseous, the book fell off!” (Goodness gracious. Bahahaha!)
I wish I could record the sound of her eating an oat cake and make its timbres into a symphony.
F: “I’m sorry mama, for jumping on your hair lots of times. Shall I kiss it better?” (Just started with sincere unprompted apologies)
“I’m sorry mama for spitting in your ear. I’ll wipe it off.”
“I’m sorry for wiping my bogeys on you….. Haha! Look mama, there’s millions of bogeys on you!!”
F: "A dog barked and it gave me a fright! It was not not my best favourite."
F: “I don't want you to go, you're my best favourite mama!”
Me, shopping in Frankie’s shop.
“How much does that cost”
F ”a hundred a milk" (the price of everything, apparently)
Me: “Hmm ok. Thanks.”
When any 2 things are stuck together "aww look! They're giving each other a cuggle!”
Me: “Frankie, ok now I really need to go, I need a shower”
Me: “Because I'm smelly smelly” (true)
F *big sniff* “No you don't, you smell of mama! Play with me!”
Eye cuddles are totes a thing. As are chin cuddles, ear cuddles and, err, bottom cuddles.
I try to keep calm when she’s really angry with me, honour her feelings, and talk to her about why she feels sad (I kinda hate the word ‘tantrum’) but, for all my efforts to be respectful and calm, I can’t help guffawing when she shouts at me “GO OUTSIDE, IN THE BIN, IN THE TOILET”. (“Oh baby! You feel so angry” *hides face behind book*)
Mid baking, she looks at me seriously and says:
F “So, how was work?”
Me, a bit taken aback: “Fine, thank you very much, thanks for asking. I sent some emails last night when you were in bed and did some writing this morning when you were with Sophie. How was your work?!”
F: (without missing a beat, 3 going on 30) “Oh, yeah, fine, thank you very much. My baby was just so sad and so she booshed her head! So I kissed it better and then we rode on a horsey and did loadsa dancing.”
Me: “Wow, that sounds productive.”
All the photo’s were taken on her birthday, a day in which all three of us went to our local farm to eat cake and see the just that minute born lambs (amazing! Pretty visceral too) and smell the apparently honey scented (according to F) daffodils. Oh man. Spring babies. The best. (not biased at all!)
All photo’s by lovely mister, aka Wild Fox Portraits. , who would love to come and take similar pics of your family, if you'd like.
P.S If you want, you can catch up with the rest of the pregnancy/parenting blogs here: My first trimester pregnancy post , second trimester update, third trimester update, Introducing Frankie-Rose, 6 months, one year, 18 months, and 2 years.