Monday, 20 November 2017

Baby Tales // Seven Months

We are now officially in the second half of his first year of life... and it is mind-boggling to me. How did that teeny-tiny, fragile little thing turn into this chubby, roly poly little man?! Ever sturdier, ever bubblier, he is quickly becoming the little ray of sunshine in our home. He really is the jolliest little soul, and I'm so grateful that in the crazy day-to-day of life with four, this last baby of ours has just such an easy-going, sunny nature. He is a joy to have around, and views the world, with three older siblings, as a constant display of entertainment. There is always someone around to jabber away to, or be smothered in love by, or bundled by (name which sibling is responsible for which type of entertainment?!) and he takes it all in his stride.

I was realising the other day, that four children in, this is really the first time I feel I have been able to really completely enjoy this baby season... with Ava there was the constant uncertainty of approaching every milestone for the first time, with Heidi there was the anxiety over her recovery from Kawasaki Disease, Jonas himself faced some health issues when he began weaning and was consequently quite unsettled at this age and stage, and so I'm not taking any of this little period of pure enjoyment for granted. There will be bumps along the road, I am sure of it... but while there aren't I'm enjoying every second.

Elias is thoroughly enjoying solids... I stalled, due to the fact he was premature, and didn't even think about bringing food into the diet until he was over six months... and he has taken to it like a duck to water. Three meals a day, and he devours whatever you put in front of him... from porridge, to toast, to cheese sticks, to vegetable purees. He can't get enough. We had a good old giggle the other night at his first taste of yoghurt - as he gulped down every spoonful eagerly, he gave a little shiver (just out of the fridge! Oops) that made his whole body wiggle. The older children thought it was hilarious, and after a while, he cottoned on, and giggled his way through that shivery yoghurt too.

At seven months, he's not showing any sign of wanting to sit up any time soon. Content with lying on his tummy, and playing with whatever he can get his hands on, I'm not too worried... I'm expecting everything to be a little delayed, and Jonas (who was well over full term!) wasn't sitting til 7 and a half months anyway. I'm learning these boys just aren't in such a rush to do everything as my girls were. On the other hand, once they're up and about, there's no stopping them (Jonas is a whirlwind at the moment!) I think as well, with a big brother around who loves nothing more than to bundle him and clamber over him, sitting isn't such an easy option at the moment. Honestly, I need eyes in the back of my head!

The other day his first little tooth made an appearance. His bottom gum is well and truly swollen, and I can see a dash of white and feel a little point ready to poke through on the other side too, but we're still waiting for the second tooth to make an appearance - cue rosy cheeks, random temperatures and middle of the night wake ups. Teething is something I won't pretend is dreamy and lovely. I won't be sorry to see the back of it!

And then there are the nights, as I wrote the other day, they are still eventful, but they are manageable, and compared to a lot of babies, he's a dream sleeper... he's just been the trickiest of mine, so its all new territory! We have just moved him out of our room and into his own, so we're hoping that will make the nights run a little more smoothly.

So that's our little bundle of seven-month-old joy! I thank the Lord every day for keeping this little soul safe through those scary months. I honestly can't imagine life without him. He is a daily reminder of God's common grace and undeserved mercy to me. How differently everything could have turned out... And as his name reminds me every day...

"The Lord is God"

See you at 8 months!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Preparing our Hearts for Christmas // An Advent Devotional

Advent has become such a precious time for us as a family over the past few years... somehow savouring Advent has put the breaks on the Christmas rush and allowed us a slow descent into the festive season. Taking time to meditate on the arrival of Christ has helped us to refocus our priorities and remember what Christmas is really all about. It was a journey we began back when Ava was a baby - an attempt to teach our firstborn the true meaning of Christmas in an age-appropriate and tactile way, and they are traditions I have come to cherish.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

My Little Evacuees...

I think there will always be something I find very precious and emotive about my children dressing up as evacuees. I remember the same sense of heartache when Ava celebrated VE day in costume three years ago... the idea of packing up my little tribe and sending them off to the great unknown is almost unfathomable. And yet in 1939, over the course of a three day period, 800,000 children over the age of 5 were shipped off to the country to escape London, away from their parents for an indefinite amount of time.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Siblings in November // Dance clubs, discipline and dressing up...


Life with four underfoot is super busy... My days rush by in a haze of washing, housework and repeating myself. Training toddlers is exhausting and relentless, but I look at the girls and remember it's worth it, however hard and neverending it seems at the time. Yesterday felt particularly relentless... Copious trips to the bottom step, hundreds of repetitions of the same instructions, repeated lessons in discipline... But that little face, that looks up at me with those two favourite words "mine!" and "no!" is the same little face that can melt me in a second, and I remember "this too shall pass"...

Monday, 13 November 2017

On Interruptions // Thoughts for a Monday Morning

"All the interruptions - they aren't interruptions after all. They are sovereign deliveries. The unpleasant things are God's perfect plan for our day"
- Carolyn Mahaney -

Friday, 10 November 2017

In the Wee Hours // Midnight Reflections

I have little patience with my children in the middle of the night, my response is all too often coloured by a selfish desire to return to slumber as soon as is humanly possible. Unless illness or nightmares are the cause, I struggle to muster up much sympathy at 2am.

But somehow, little babies are different. It's almost as though a switch clicks in as soon as your baby sleeps regularly through the night, which means if they do wake you from much-needed sleep, you no longer have the patience you did in those regular middle of the night feeds of the early days.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Slow Art of Learning to Read // Life Lessons from a Four-Year-Old

Patience is not my strong point... it never has been. I'm eager by nature, always ready for the next adventure and the next installment, excited by the buzz of something new. Teaching my children to read, therefore, has always been somewhat challenging for me. It is not exciting and fast-paced, it is slow, steady and step-by-step. It takes time and patience, repetition and investment. The rewards are not to be seen quickly, but rather, little by little, step-by-step, confidence grows and effort pays off, until, one day, you discover your first born, under the covers with a torch at well past 8 o'clock, secretly reading just as you did yourself  as a child.