Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another trip around the sun

Young Eleanor Veatrice-with-a-V is two today. Two years ago she was born, on the night of the season return of The West Wing. I spent the evening standing behind the couch, with pains coming fast, sure that I was not in labour because the book said they were the wrong kind of pains, and I am all about the book learning. And then, when I was hurting every three minutes for about two minutes at a time, Al convinced me to call the labour ward instead of watching a couple of episodes of Scrubs. The midwives thought sooner, rather than later, would be a good idea. Ninety minutes after I got into the car Nell was born in a tub, to the music of Paul Kelly, with Al dozing on a stool, almost out of his mind from fatigue after a day spent chopping trees. And so Al's great fear of delivering his own child in an elevator was avoided. And so Nell-Nell was born. And so it began.


Nell-belle, Belly-belle, Best Belle, Sweet Nell, Baby, Little Bird, Dear Love - what a delight you are, what a joy, what a challenge, what a gift.

When you were in my womb I couldn't see you in my mind's eye. You came to us fresh, with nothing expected, and it's been a wonder to watch you grow into the person you are. How could we have made it up before you did? You are a dancer, a singer, a twirler. You drawl. You say 'no' with hurricane force. You love babies and Dora the Explorer (Dodo), Lola (Lolo) and puppies who lick you. You like pink. When we role-play Skippy you choose to be Mark, the ineffectual older brother, and you spend the game riding on horses. You love snakes - every picture you draw is a snake, and one with eyes - you are very clear about the eyes. You eat beaked beans for breakfast and peas for dinner, you can't get enough yoghurt but you're not keen on salami or pickles. You like the yoga balance poses: vriksha-asana and a modified utthita hasta padanghustasana. You cuddle and kiss and push your sister.

We treasure all your details, boring to anyone else, because together they make you our baby/girl Nell. At the end of each day we sit on the couch and share out our memories of you and your sister, and wonder at the delight and hilarity of having you in our lives.

Happy birthday, sweet little one.