At 8.05am today I was up, getting my girl dressed, and thinking about how at that exact moment three months before, her little body was pulled out and suddenly appeared on my chest. How can it be three months already? In some ways it seems like I’ve known her much longer, and I suppose I have. She started kicking and pounding me back in September and thankfully never stopped.
I still feel like the luckiest mama in the world. Obviously I am biased, but I am in awe that we made something so beautiful and perfect. I grew a person…the human body is so amazing it blows my mind. But then I am still amazed by the telephone…
Alana is such a good baby, and a good night-time sleeper, now. She smiles at everyone, especially older people and laughs at our silly faces. She likes to move and dance and chatter away to us. I feel like she’ll be an early talker, she will have a conversation with anything. She loves to look at the books we read to her, and splash me in the bath. So far I’ve only found three things she objects to – the baby seat trolleys in the supermarket, being squirted in the face with milk, and putting her arms in jackets. That all seems reasonable to me.
And because lots of people asked on twitter, yes, the quilt is handmade. The pattern is Storytime Squares Quilt by Made by Rae. Fabric is lots of random bits. Cardigan is ravelled here.
How can it be Friday already? It’s been a good week, and what feels like a productive one. Alana is sleeping well at night so I no longer hunt and hope for a afternoon nap, and a nice daytime routine is forming. The weather is lovely today so we took Penny for a surprise lunchtime walk. Its so nice to be on these same paths as always, pass the same dog walkers and even walk past the tree I held onto while feeling the first contractions of labour. All is the same, but now there are three of us breathing the spring air. Walkers I haven’t seen for a while come rushing up to meet our girl and tuck money into her knitwear, a local tradition that I find bemusing, but sweet.
Friday is becoming a day of quiet here. I was thinking today about what how different it is, going from spending my days with only my pup, to having another tiny human at home and always with me. It’s a wonderful adjustment, but an adjustment all the same. And so we are enjoying it today, with baby naps and snuggles, and our new trick – feeding in the sling, on the move, and taking pictures of it at the same time! (the last photo). We’ve been trying it at home this week, and when Alana got thirsty on the walk, she just latched on and we kept on going. Penny was grateful, Alana (and her mama) were happy and none of the other dog walkers looked twice.
Few words today, Alana is having a post-nursing snooze in my arms. But I sewed this little dress up over the last couple of evenings. So sweet and lovely. As is her new dress.
She seems to find it (or something) funny. Today has been filled with grins and baby laughter, and some very contented napping. All is good.
Pattern is here, by Leila and Ben. I am on the hunt for more sweet baby sewing, so let me know if you have suggestions. And that was more words than I thought I’d manage!
Three of the four little girls I mentioned in my last post have a quilt of their own, made and gifted in time for their arrival into the world. Of course there were plans for little Emily to have one too, but her early arrival combined with not just another baby to make one for, but one that I had to actually look after too, meant things got a little behind.
It started off with a pile of 4 inch squares, as many as I could cut from the fabric scraps I’d chosen. Piecing began, but soon I realised that an actual plan was going to be required. I did a little drawing and kept on going. It’s a little bigger than I imagined, more of a first-bed size than baby shaped. Hopefully that’ll just mean that it’ll be in use for longer.
And it feels so good to be back at my sewing machine! I’ve accepted that I enjoy patchwork and quilting so much more than garment making, and I’m going to stop feeling guilty about it. There’s no rule that says that because I sew, I have to make clothes…
Finishing knits takes a little longer these days, and is likely to slow up even more now I’m back at work. But luckily Alana likes to sleep in the evenings, so after a few chores are done I usually manage to squeeze in a few stitches. I knit a little in between crocheting the odd granny square and looking in at our sleeping babe, and still not really believing how lucky we are.
I’m thinking of starting a new tradition. Springtime cardigans for our extended family’s little ones – four girls. This seems like a great plan when the oldest is just two and the littles still have no say in what they wear, but probably not so wise as they get bigger with opinions, and knitting involves a lot more yarn.
First up was a wee Liesl. Kindly modeled by my girl but actually for her little second cousin Emily who was born just ten days after Alana but quite early, though healthy thank goodness. It took less than one 50g ball of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4ply (yum).
Second was a Rock Rose for her other second cousin Shannon, a completely delightful almost 3 year old. She has a mother who loves handknits. A lovely little pattern which I came across thanks to the Ravelry advanced pattern search, knitted up in Pure Merino from James C Brett. I even enjoyed the bobbles. And the icord edging. Honestly.
Two more to go – a Heartrose Cardigan for Alana and then a Little Trellis for her cousin Lara. Except I got distracted by new yarn and cast on for a Semi de Printemps instead. Whoops.
We headed outside today. The vegetable garden is a bit like a time warp, exactly as I left it back in July when pregnancy symptoms were in full force and I was so scared that something, anything, could cause things to go wrong. I remember so clearly this time last year, when I was venturing into the garden for the start of new season and being so unbearably sad that I was doing these little springtime tasks alone, rather than with the child that should have been there with me. Of course this year it is all different. Alana slept in her sling as I cleared away a few old pots and planted some seeds. My vegetable gardening plans this year are pretty tame, just lots of potatoes and a few things in the greenhouse. I think in the past I’ve been a bit ambitious and it all gets a bit overwhelming. I hope she loves being outside as much as me. I want to her know the smells, and the feel of the earth. Is it selfish to hope that your children love the same things as you? I want her to love what she loves too.
But anyway. There are lots of dead vegetables. Some gigantic weeds. The kind so big that if you dig them out you leave a huge, clear patch of earth. A couple of weeks ago we had some tall, wobbly trees cut back and my lovely inlaws have chopped and cleared the wood while we were up north. The chickens are as cheeky as ever. They gathered at the gate while we explored and I swear they were whispering excitedly to each other ‘the lady is back growing things, sure, the man build a new fence but we will find our way through!’ Sure enough, I turned and when I looked back Scarlet was pecking about on the wrong side of the fence. I have no idea how she did it. She looked pretty proud of herself, as if she just wanted to show me that she could.
Little Alana Charlotte finally arrived six weeks ago. We are in love. Her arrival took a very long time and was a little traumatic, but of course I’d go through it all again and many, many times worse to bring her home. We were so well cared for during the days leading up to her arrival, and for the birth itself. The names Donna, Karen and Jane will forever make me think of the wonderful women who helped Alana into our arms. I still can’t believe she’s here, she is perfect. Even the sleepless nights are awesome, mostly. Insomnia kicked in early in my pregnancy, and now I have a tiny human to share the awake with. We chatter and read stories and rock and sing back to sleepiness, and I feel grateful for every minute.
Before she was born and I was blogging a little I was careful to keep mention of her separate, knowing how difficult sudden mentions of pregnancy on blogs that weren’t usually about such things can be for some, including me. I’ve been thinking about how to go on from here, maybe to create a separate blog for motherhood posts but I’ve decided against it. So much of my crafting now (and I am still crafting!) is for Alana that splitting things up would be hard. But I do want to talk about our adventures together.
I know that some have found their way here because of similar journeys with loss. No-one who has lost a child, or doesn’t have a child while wanting one, for whatever reason, wants to hear complaints about motherhood. Negativity will not appear here. Just as every niggling pregnancy symptom made me think ‘yay!, this means my baby is alive and growing!,’ every nappy change and cry has me thinking the exact same thing. I am truly grateful for it all. We feel so lucky.