Monday, June 23, 2014

that's my body

nb: this post contains a photograph that is nsfw, as well as discussion of body image.





so tall, i block out the sun

i've had this on my mind for a while now, and haven't quite been sure how to frame it in terms of a blog post. i'm not sure how it fits in with the general scope of what the crowned finch is about, or whether it's too personal, too navel-gazey, or too something else. but because i'm me, there's been an inevitability about my jumping in and saying it all anyway. just bear with me.

i've been doing a lot more thinking than usual about my body lately. i'm in the process of actively trying to make it fitter and healthier and that's had me looking at it, embodying it, and thinking about it in new and different ways.

i'm starting to like it more than i ever used to, and feel more confident in what it can do. i'm taking lots of selfies (sorry, instagram followers...), and standing in front of the mirror naked a lot more than i ever did before, and this has all been part of a project - trying to get to know this body, and fit inside it.

but here's the thing. i have never, ever felt like my body is beautiful. not ever.

since i can remember, i have always been told that i'm a "big girl". which is true - i'm tall, i'm broad, and i stand out. and i have always felt like this was a bad thing, like being female and large is somehow rude, excess to requirements, and even a bit grotesque.

now, i know that expectations around women's bodies are socially constructed by a patriarchal society that wants to monetise and control us, but for me, understanding the root of my sense of offensive gigantism doesn't change the feeling. it's so long held, and deeply rooted that i've incorporated it into my identity.

then, the other day i was talking with a friend about game of thrones, and how amazing brienne of tarth is, and isn't gwendoline christie incredible, and he gave me a link to this photoshoot she did a while back with polly borland (before clicking that link be advised that many of the portraits are nsfw).

and as i scrolled through the images, this one appeared, and it kind of winded me:

from 'bunny' by polly borland, 2008.

this is my body.
i mean, i have a caesarian scar, some stretch marks, and a lot of tattoos, but the size of it, the shape of it... that's me...

and i think this image is strikingly, arrestingly, breathtakingly beautiful.

i'd like to say that seeing gwendoline christie's beauty has convinced me of my own, and that i'm now walking around in a glow of self love and acceptance, but i can't honestly do that. 

i can say that i'm really glad these images exist. 
i can say that i feel a complicated set of conflicting emotions when i see them. that they've had me feeling, thinking, and reacting over and over again every time i've looked at them.
i can say that a little bit of something has shifted in my head, and that i'm still standing naked in front of the mirror.

i don't know if i'll ever feel like a beautiful woman, but there's a beautiful woman out there walking around in a body just like mine, and somehow that's weirdly excellent.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

a paper flower bouquet

it's winter here in melbourne, so our garden is not at it's brightest. arty and i love to go out in the yard to pick a little handful of whatever's blooming, but right now there's really not a lot to harvest.

so today i decided that we would take things (literally) into our own hands, and make some blossoms to brighten the house as we approach the shortest day of the year.


a paper flower bouquet

what you'll need

coloured paper
a greylead pencil
assorted buttons
pipe cleaners
scissors
a single hole punch





what to do

  • before sitting down to start the activity with your child, use your pencil to draw flower shapes onto your coloured paper, cut them out, then use your hole punch to make a hole roughly in the centre of each flower (if your child is competent with scissors, you should obviously involve them in this step too, but at 2.5, arty's not yet up to that, so i just cut out a bunch while he was napping, and had them ready to go for afternoon crafting).
  • now with your child, take a pipe cleaner, and help them thread a small button onto the end of it, roughly 1.5cm from the top.
  • then thread one of the paper flowers onto the pipe cleaner (children who are only just beginning to develop their fine motor skills will find this step easiest, so it's the best step at which to introduce them to the activity).
  • choose a bigger button, and thread it on top of the petals.
  • bend the end of the pipe cleaner over, and carefully poke it through one of the other holes of the button.
  • repeat until your kid's had enough, or you run out of pipe cleaners!

this activity is great for:
  • fine motor development - arty found threading the paper onto the pipe cleaner a little tricky at first, but by the time we'd been at it for a few minutes he was poking the pipe cleaners through the much smaller holes in the buttons with relative ease.
  • concentration - this requires a bit of focussed attention, which is always good for toddlers to practise!
  • learning about colour - we talked a lot about colour while we did this. sometimes it'd be as simple as him asking for a yellow button, but other times we would have discussions about which colour button would go better with a particular colour of petal. it's definitely helpful for consolidating a toddler's understanding of colours.
  • giving - by the end of this activity you've got a beautiful bunch of flowers that you've made together. at least some of them will be going to school with sj tomorrow to brighten up her desk.





Saturday, June 7, 2014

six days of green smoothies: the good, the okay, the bad, and the undrinkable (a wrap-up)

my green smoothie experiment has been an educative and edifying experience.
i set out with grave suspicion, and was, more often than not, pleasantly surprised by the flavours i encountered.
they were certainly not all winners, but on the whole, i think i've started to get an idea of what i like in a green smoothie, and what i'm best off avoiding.



in order of yummiest to most disgusting, they went like this:

  • day two - banana, raspberry, spinach, pear, coconut water
  • day six - banana, kiwi, pear, spinach, water
  • day three - kiwi, apple, spinach, raspberry, coconut water
  • day one - spinach, blueberry, pear, kiwi, coconut water
  • day four - cucumber, kiwi, spinach, strawberry, peppermint tea
  • day five - spinach, parsley, blueberry, apple, coconut water


like i said in a previous post, i was really glad that i bought ingredients in advance and froze them. not only did this make the daily preparation a lot more straightforward, i think i prefer the texture of the blended frozen fruit.

they also filled a nice niche in my daily eating plan. i find that i have trouble resisting unhealthy snacks at around 3 - 4 pm, when my energy is running out and i still have a lot of day left.
i've found that having a green smoothie at lunchtime, and then having a more substantial lunch in the middle of the afternoon (instead of reaching for snack foods) has been a really positive change for me, so i think i'll keep that up.

i can't honestly say that after six days on these things i suddenly have a whole lot more energy, or that i'm glowing with a green light from within, but i do feel good about upping my fresh fruit and veg intake.
arty's currently sick with a virus, and i haven't come down with it yet, so maybe they're giving my immune system a boost? who knows? i don't think i can reliably give them the credit for that, but they can't be hurting!

there are a bunch of things i'm yet to try including in my recipes - adding seeds to the mix, using different green leafies instead of spinach, etc., and i'm looking forward to experimenting with a wider variety of fruits when spring and summer arrive.

at the end of the day, while they should definitely be healthy, for green smoothies to be something i make part of my daily routine, they also have to taste nice. i won't be adding powdered cow poo, or fermented kelp to my smoothies if they become the next big thing in healthy eating (what? weirder things have happened!). i will keep sticking the spinach and the berries in there, because they are both nutritious and delicious. it's as simple as that.

i honestly didn't think this would be the conclusion i'd come to, but i think i'll be having at least a few of these a week for the foreseeable future.

maybe i'm more of a hippie than i thought...

Friday, June 6, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day six

it took six goes, but i have finally achieved a GREEN green smoothie. i had kind of stopped expecting it, to be honest, so this verdant little number was met with genuine surprise.



ingredients

1 cup spinach leaves
1 pear (cored, but unpeeled)
1 kiwi fruit (peeled)
1 banana
1 cup cold water


method
  • place all ingredients in blender, breaking the fruit pieces up as much as possible as you do
  • blend until smooth
  • you mat need to poke the fruit pieces down a little bit with a wooden spoon to achieve an even texture. turn the blender off before doing this.

this one was yummy, and has confirmed my suspicion that bananas are one of the key factors in making green smoothies essie-friendly. they make everything seem that bit sweeter and creamier, and pull things together into a more pleasing texture. i think they'll feature prominently in future blended adventures.




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: days 4 & 5

so, you know how i said these green smoothies were more delicious than expected?
spoke to soon, y'all.
spoke too soon.

day 4's smoothie was... odd. i decided to try using some peppermint tea for the liquid (instead of coconut water, which i have been using so far), on the assumption that it would compliment the cucumber that was also going in.

peppermint tea brewing

it certainly accentuated the cucumber. but it turns out that wasn't such a good thing.

green smoothie: day 4

ingredients

1/2 cucumber
1 kiwi fruit (peeled)
1 cup spinach leaves
5 large strawberries (hulled)
1 cup peppermint tea (chilled)

method

  • place all ingredients in blender, breaking the fruit pieces up as much as possible as you do
  • blend until smooth
  • you may need to poke the frozen fruit down a bit with a wooden spoon to achieve an even texture. turn the blender off each time you do this.

minty fresh


this smoothie tasted... fresh? but it has an off putting sludginess to it that i didn't enjoy.
it wasn't yummy, but it was drinkable.

i drank it.

which is more than i can say for day 5's.


green smoothie: day 5

ingredients

1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup continental parsley
1/2 cup blueberries
1 whole apple (cored, unpeeled)
1 cup coconut water

method

(as above)

is it green? i think it's green!

this concoction was the greenest of my smoothies so far, so i felt pretty positive about it until i put it in my mouth.
then my face went like this:


and then i tipped it down the sink.

i felt bad wasting the fresh fruit and vegetables, but i honestly couldn't make myself drink it. that shit was nasty.

with only one day of this project left my fragile optimism has taken a severe beating! hopefully the next one will redeem the green...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day three

after the success of yesterday's smoothie, i was positively... positive in my approach to this one.

this morning i did a 10km walk with friends to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, and half way through i started looking forward to the smoothie i would drink when i got home.

what is going on here? have i turned my brain into a sloshy brownish greyish pulp after drinking only two of those buggers?

our team at the halfway point.
soggy, but happy.


i tottered through the door, all damp, soggy, and covered in mud, and went straight for the blender (mentally high fiving past essie for her foresight in preparing and freezing portions at the beginning of this experiment).

muddy.


ingredients

1 kiwi fruit (peeled)
1 apple (cored, but unpeeled)
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup coconut water


method

  • place all ingredients in blender, breaking the fruit pieces up as much as possible as you do.
  • blend until smooth.
  • you may need to poke the frozen fruit down a bit with a wooden spoon to achieve an even texture. turn the blender off each time you do this.

this went in:



and this came out:



kind of brown. and kind of delicious!

again, the fruit completely masked the taste of the spinach. this just tasted sweet and fruity. i really like the way the frozen fruit makes it icy and thickshakey. 

i gave katie a taste, and even she agreed, so i can't be hallucinating, right?... right?

Friday, May 30, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day two

day two of the great green smoothie experiment. what excitement! what trepidation!

i would have sprung out of bed in my enthusiasm to continue to do science to the vegetables this morning, but i totally munted my back assembling ikea furniture with sj last night, so my kitchenward journey was more of a determined hobble than anything else.

when in pain, tweet.


freezing the ingredients was a really good move in light of my current incapacitation. i didn't have to stand at the bench chopping things up, i just emptied the contents of one of my little baggies into the blender, added liquid, and smoothied. here's what they were:



ingredients

1 banana
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup spinach leaves
1 pear (cored, but unpeeled)
1 cup coconut water


method

  • place all ingredients in blender, breaking up frozen fruit as much as possible as you do.
  • blend until smooth.
  • you may need to poke the frozen fruit down a bit with a wooden spoon to achieve an even texture. turn the blender off each time you do this.

still not green

i hope you won't think i've been nobbled by the green smoothie marketing board when i tell you that this one was genuinely yummy.
if i'd ordered this at a cafe, i wouldn't send it back, which is more than i could say for yesterday's.

the banana made it creamy, the berry and pear made it sweet, and the spinach's presence could only really be discerned by that vaguest leafy aftertaste.

the fact that the fruit was frozen gave it the consistency of a thickshake, which tricked my brain into thinking it was having some kind of indulgent treat (how much of a spoiled, first world brat am i not to consider fresh fruit and vegetables a treat?).

verdict? would nom again.
i swear i'm as surprised as you are.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day one

look, i don't want to come across as a total sheep, but i spend enough time on pinterest to have become curious about the current mania for green smoothies.

they seem to me like a very efficient way to get a lot of fresh fruit and veg into you in one go.

i'm sceptical about how good they can taste, how realistic it is to prepare them on a daily basis, and whether they can honestly make me feel as good as all the girls at yoga class insist.

the only way to find out is to try!
on the deeply flawed assumption that eight million hippies can't be wrong, i'm going to have one green smoothie a day for the next 6 days, and see how i feel at the end of it.


six days of (green) smoothies: day one

today i went to the market, picked up a whole load of ingredients, and divided them up into different combinations. i've put them in zip lock bags and stuck them in the freezer so that i can make a smoothie every day without having to stress about having fresh ingredients.

in the process i put one lot of ingredients aside for immediate preparation. it went like this:



ingredients

1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup blueberries
1 whole pear (cored, but unpeeled)
1 whole kiwi fruit (peeled)
1 cup coconut water


method

  • place all ingredients in blender
  • blend until smooth(ie)


the first thing to note about this concoction is distinct failure to be green.
i am putting this down to the blueberries.

this smoothie exceeded my expectations simply by not being the most disgusting thing i'd ever put in my mouth. i'd go further and say that i actually didn't mind it. i wouldn't prepare one of these to drink just for deliciousness' sake, but as a healthy tonic it was more than palatable.

is that damning it with faint praise? maybe.
all i mean is it wasn't too bad.
as i drank it, i made this face...


... a sort of trepidatious curiosity. quite far from all out disgust.

i made this at lunch time, and after drinking it i'm too full for my actual lunch, so i can definitely say that these things are satisfying. i also feel kind of virtuous, which is always pleasing. hopefully i don't tip over into smug, because that's not a look that suits me at all.

i'm approaching the next one with cautious optimism.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

family noms: lentil and corn soup

in this cool, autumnal weather, i'm starting to crave warm lunches, and soup is hard to go past as a quick and satisfying option.

this particular one is ridiculously easy to make, and yields four servings, so i can freeze portions for days when i don't have much time or energy.


lentil and corn soup


ingredients:

2 anchovies (and a tiny drizzle of their oil)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
400g tin corn kernels, drained
1 cup water
1 tsp stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 tbsp dried italian herbs
freshly ground black pepper to taste


method:

  • place anchovies, oil, and garlic in a medium saucepan, and stir over a medium heat until they begin to reduce and form a paste (approximately one minute)
  • add all other ingredients, bring to boil, cover, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes


that is literally all it takes.

if you want, serve it with toast, spread with goat's cheese or ricotta, but honestly, there's enough going on in there to make it filling just by itself.

Monday, May 19, 2014

a tattooed mama's advice to her son

what do i want to tell my son about tattoos?

arty unconsciously dressed to match my latest tatt.

i want to preface this discussion with some general principles before going into specifics.

we believe very strongly in giving arty age appropriate bodily autonomy. to the extent that he is able to manage and understand the care of his body, it's his to do with what he wishes.
right now that means things like: he gets to wear nail polish if he wants, try whatever clothes appeal to him (regardless of their assigned gender), have his 'no' unquestioningly respected when we're playing rough and tumble or other physical games, et cetera.

as he gets older i imagine the ways in which he'll want to use and embody his body might get more challenging for us. maybe he'll love wearing clothes we hate. maybe he'll want to get piercings that we think don't suit him at all. maybe he'll take risks in sport that scare us a little.

respecting his autonomy means letting go of a lot of this.
yes, it's our job to keep him safe, but apart from that, he gets to make his own choices, and we have to be ok with them.

that applies when it comes to tattoos as well.
both sj and i have tattoos. both of arty's oddparents have them too. in fact, i'd go so far as to say more of the adults in his life are inked than not.
even if we wanted to, we'd be pretty massive hypocrites if we tried to ban him from getting any of his own, or got preachy about what he was allowed to get.

he knows my ink so well. 
his cheek is pressed against it when he needs comfort or affection.

as his tattooed mama, i see it as my role not to dictate, but to offer advice based on my experience. he can take it or leave it, but hopefully, if i do my job properly between now and then, he'll feel that i'm wise and trustworthy enough that my advice is worth factoring into his decision making processes.


so, arthur, here is my advice to you about tattoos...

1. wait.
wait until you're at least 25 before you get your first tattoo.
your teens and 20s are about finding out who you are, and who you want to be. your identity is so very much in a state of flux at this time, that i think committing to something as permanent as a tattoo is unwise.
you will feel your loves and your passions so deeply as a teen and young adult, and that may result in a desire to have them etched on your skin, but trust your old mama when i say that i know for a fact that i would now regret anything i thought was an awesome idea for a tattoo when i was 21.

2. wait some more.
when you do have a great idea, sit with it. then talk about it a lot with people whose judgement and taste you trust.
if after a year it still seems like a great idea, then you're probably onto a winner.
i love all of my eight tattoos, but the ones i don't love as much as the others are the ones that i didn't sit with and plan over long periods.

3. think about your career
yes, tattoos are everywhere. i can only assume they'll be even more common by the time you're old enough to get one. their social meaning is changing by their sheer ubiquity - you can no longer assume the things you used to about a person by the fact that they have words or pictures on their skin.
that said, it's likely there will always be some professions where visible tattoos are frowned on. if you want to keep your options open, just be cautious about placement. for example, your mummy is making sure that she gets her tattoos in places that are easily covered by clothes. she wants to keep her options open when it comes to the kinds of schools she'd like to teach in. i, on the other hand, am pretty sure i only want to teach in public schools. they're more lenient, so i don't have to be as careful.

sj's work clothes cover her tattoo

4. meaning matters
your body is an ever changing organism. your skin will age, and your tattoos will change with it. they will not be as beautiful when they are 20, 40, 60 years old as they were on the day you got them.
for this reason, choose images and words that mean something to you. that way, even when they're not as crisp and bright as they were, they will still be lovely to you.

this tattoo will always be precious to me because it symbolises the two men arty was named after:
a finch for atticus finch, with a crown for king arthur.

5. if in doubt, go classic
by which i mean, if you want to get 'mummy' and 'mama' inside a heart on each bicep, that's totally fine with me.

the take home message, is: do what you like with your body, my love. beautify it in whatever way you see fit. but, as with anything else, exercise your common sense.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

tenth anniversary

sj and i celebrated our tenth anniversary this week.
it was going to be our wedding day, so there was a little sadness mixed in with the joy, but we still had a lovely time together.

we exchanged the rings that hanna made us over a very special dinner, drank champagne, and talked about all the things that we've loved about the decade we've spent together so far.



i'm not going to try to summarise what she means to me, the way our relationship has changed and strengthened over the years, all the things we've been through together. it's just not possible. 
but i do want to share a poem that our beautiful, and immensely talented friend anna wrote for us.

Sonnet 
(for Essie and Sara-Jane)

Among so many  voices in one sound
two women sang and quite before they knew
a seedling song popped up above the ground,
a garden flowered in her chest: they grew.

A lover’s knot that there someday would meld
a golden boy whose heart in every weather
would bring a loving throng of folk to weld
their hands in strength above the shit together.

The years unfold by miniature reveals,
the common places where we leave our love:
in cakes and patchwork quilts and Bucky feels,
til every day life fits us like a glove.

So kiss will lead to kiss as night to day,
reminders every hour : each one will stay.


we're lucky in each other, and lucky in our friends. the luckiest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

family noms: fig, banana and honey smoothie

we went to the market this morning, and i was very excited to find some figs. i wasn't sure arty would be crazy about eating them whole, so i thought i'd try giving them to him in a smoothie. he loved it!


fig, banana and honey smoothie


ingredients

1 frozen banana*
2 whole ripe figs
1 cup milk
2 tsp honey (or however much you want, really!)


method

  • place all ingredients in blender
  • whizz until smooth
  • serve immediately


this makes about one grown-up sized smoothie, or two kid-sized ones. it's a great way to get some fresh fruit into kids who might be a little reluctant to try new things.

* i really don't like bananas when they start to get overripe, so we peel them and put them in the freezer. sj uses them to make banana bread, or i use them frozen in smoothies like this. it makes the drink nice and thick and cold like a milkshake without having to add ice cream.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

starry collage art for toddlers

this week, my friend talia tried some collage art with her son, and it got me thinking about having a go with something similar for arty. we had glitter in the craft cupboard, and i always have little offcuts of coloured paper from my scrapbooking, so i thought we'd start there. here's how it went:


what we used:

clear craft glue
paint brushes
blue and silver glitter (ours is in handy shaker bottles, but you could easily put glitter in bowls, and sprinkle it with your fingers)
pieces of coloured paper torn into small pieces
large piece of black cardboard




what we did:

  • poured some glue into a bowl to make it easy to dip a paintbrush into.
  • splotched and splodged glue all over the cardboard
  • sprinkled glitter liberally over the cardboard, shaking the paper around to allow it to stick to all the gluey bits.
  • stuck pieces of paper on the gloopier blobs of glue.
  • sang 'twinkle twinkle' the whole time




suggested variations:
  • use a die cutter to cut actual star shapes out of the paper scraps (if i'd thought of this in advance, i'd've done it, but this was an off-the-cuff activity that i didn't want to lose momentum on)
  • find some star-shaped glitter to go with the plain glitter
  • with bigger kids, try to make actual constellations, or even a map of the solar system




arty was so excited to show this artwork to his oma and his mummy this afternoon. he had a great time making it, and he's proud to see it hanging on the wall.

Friday, February 7, 2014

family noms: melon, mint and apple icy poles


in this hot, hot weather, we've been enjoying slicing up watermelon and keeping it in the fridge for a quick cool snack.
last week, as i was doing this, i set aside a little bit of watermelon to make another flavour of icy pole.
the addition of mint made these fruity ices particularly refreshing during the heatwave!


melon, mint and apple icy poles


ingredients

9 tbsp finely cubed watermelon
6 tsp finely chopped mint leaves (we used native mint, but any variety will do)
apple juice to top up


method

  • place 1.5 tbsp of watermelon pieces, and one tsp of mint leaves into the bottom of each icy pole mould.
  • top up with apple juice
  • freeze overnight

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

dear arthur: two years

my precious wee lad,

you are two! wow! and what a big, bright, funny young man you are.


you have a distinct wicked streak, which i recognise only too well from my own nature. you sometimes get a definite kick out of doing things that you know are forbidden or make your mamas cross. and oh, the look you get on your face, and the cheeky cackle that accompany such misdeeds! but you are a genuinely good boy at heart, and almost always just want to make your mamas happy and proud (which you do!).


toddlerhood is tough, and you have the knees to prove it. now that the weather's warm and you're running around in shorts, you often tumble over and get a big grazes. you're very resilient, and a big kiss and a bandaid usually set you to rights, but goodness me you've taken some stacks! you're also very empathetic when other people hurt themselves. you always want to help them feel better if you can, though you don't always know how and this sometimes distresses you. i love you for your soft and tender heart.


you surprise us by talking about your feelings quite regularly. sometimes you'll be sitting in the car seat thinking, and you'll say "mama, arty happy!". likewise, you are able to tell us when you feel sad, shy, or frightened. we've always tried to model this for you, and it's great to see that you've caught on so adeptly. we hope you'll always feel confident talking about how you feel with us, and with the other people who love you.

you're a very polite young man. you almost always say please and thank you without prompting these days. you sometimes, if you're distracted or tired, but on the whole you've nailed this important social convention, and we're really proud of you for it.


please and thank you are just the beginning, really. you're a total chatterbox, and will do anything to get people talking. your favourite conversation starter at the moment is "oh! wossat!?" prompting an adult to talk to you about an object or a sound. sometimes you're genuinely asking, but often you'll be pointing to a shoe, or a pencil, or some other very familiar item, and we know you're just trying to have a chat about something, and you don't care what.
you also love to tell stories. we're constantly surprised and impressed by your ability to remember and retell your experiences, sometimes even weeks later.

music is very important to you.
our habit of singing all the time has rubbed off on you. you often sing to yourself while we're driving, while you play, and even when you lie in bed before you fall asleep. we particularly love to hear you singing to your toys at bedtime over the monitor.
you also love playing with your ukulele, drumming on pretty much anything you can get your hands on, and pretending that other toys are actually violins, flutes, and guitars.
and when you're not playing or singing, you love to dance! it's adorkable.



you also love to read and be read to. you know the text of some of your favourite books by heart now, and you're essentially able to recite them to us while we turn the pages. in some of your other books you make up your own stories to go with the pictures, and enjoy telling them to us.



you absolutely love to help around the house. one of your favourite places to be is standing up on a chair at the sink, rinsing dishes, and washing your hands. you like to help with cooking too, and always do a good job of stirring ingredients when you get the chance. you also like to put things away in cupboards, and sweep. i hope you continue to enjoy this kind of thing as you get older!

as ever, you adore your people. you have some great wee friends, who you're learning to play and share with, and you've got some brilliant grown ups in your life too. we feel so lucky and grateful to be raising you in a loving community, and to see you adored by so many good people.


last time i wrote you a letter, i included a few of your favourite things. here's what it looks like now:


  • the baby's catalogue by janet ahlberg
  • mommy, mama and me by leslea newman and carol thompson
  • my cat likes to hide in boxes by eve suton and lynley dodd
  • spot bakes a cake by eric hill (and several other spot books)



  • porridge
  • weet bix
  • ice cream
  • pikelets
  • yoghurt
  • custard
  • smoothies
  • "squishy fruit" (pureed fruit) 



  • building cubbies
  • painting
  • "tall baby" - i.e. standing on something to make yourself tall
  • playing on the swings at the park
  • dancing



  • darren hanlon
  • luka bloom
  • rockabilbies
  • edward sharp and the magnetic zeroes 



  • bunbun (though you love all your soft toys, and are very sweet and affectionate with all of them)
  • trains
  • trucks
  • stickers
  • the ipad
  • your toy broom



  • peppa pig
  • abney and teal
  • little charley bear
  • mouk
  • play school
  • humf


there's nothing in the world that makes me happier than your laugh, nothing that makes me feel more loved than a kiss or a cuddle from you. thank you for being the wonderful little person you are. i love you more than i could ever say.

mama xxx