One (of the admittedly many) things I find challenging in mothering two kids is the competing demands on my attention. Neither Nell nor Lu want to share me with the other and so any interaction with one almost always gets cut short by the other. I'm sympathetic to both: before Nell, Lu was the sole recipient of our almost continual regard and adoration; with Lu on the scene, Nell has to work hard to make herself heard, to get what she desires. We're doing our best to make sure both get equal airtime and special time with each of us, but it's a challenge. I find it particularly hard because I'm away all day - there's an hour in the morning and about two in the evening and even that time is broken up by getting ready for work and cooking dinner. I hear people say it's about quality not quantity but the amount of time is important too, especially for my little kids for whom quality only means 'being with Mum'.
This weekend's been really nice because Al and Lu are in Melbourne, taking in the sights and meeting up with old friends and their kids. I miss them - I'm not a fan of breaking up the unit for even a short period of time - but it's been delightful to spend quality and quantity time with Nellie, doing the things we both enjoy: eating as many raspberries and peaches as we can possibly fit in our bellies; strolling into town to buy books for presents and chutney from the markets for Xmas day; playing with the dog; and lolling about the house.
I love my kids because they are my kids - that chemical connection started when I held them the very first time - but the more precious bond, to me, is the one that grows as we come to know and appreciate each other. Usually, the only Nell-MumMum specific time is the first ten minutes of every morning, when Nell wakes up and we snuggle in bed together. This is very intimate and smoochy but too short to really get to know each other. What's been great these last two days is learning or more deeply appreciating some Nell specific things. To wit:
* Nell can pack away five peaches before breakfast;
* Nell has a modest outie belly-button which pops up like a pompom on a beanie when she eats her fill;
* When she's finished a task to her satisfaction, Nell slaps her belly and then rests her hands there, sitting like one of those fat happy buddha statues;
* Nell practices things - she went up and down the stairs today for half and hour, getting faster and faster and more and more pleased with herself;
* She loves her Jasper-dog;
* She really enjoys picking clothes off the floor and stacking them up on a bed (I know, I'm so lucky!);
* She's a really bossy kid, even with only about ten words and most of them starting with 'b'.
In short, she's quite the perfect Nell for me.