Antonia’s autumn

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We talked for months about Antonia being born at the end of summer and she was – the weekend she was born signalled a shift in the weather, and suddenly it was autumn. The summer had belonged to Felix – weeks of visiting the beach every day, elaborate craft projects and eating cherries in the garden. Because this is Antonia’s autumn I am loving even the mist and the rain.

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I remember Felix’s first autumn, complete with an extravagant American halloween and an adorable pumpkin costume. And I remember my first autumn in Halden, wandering along the river, taking photos of the fiery leaves, finishing my phd, dreaming of what my life might hold. I walk the same paths now with my beloved girl, and feel so different, so rooted. My hands are cold but my heart is oh so warm.

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Snapshots of a week

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Felix singing Twinkle Twinkle to Antonia one morning. He loves her but I find myself saying frequently – ‘she’s sleeping, don’t touch her, crash into her, or put things on top of her.’

We’ve been home alone this week as Michael is in America. It has its moments. Actually it is all moments – noisy, calm, sweet, rushed, funny, headachy, whiny, cuddly, snuffly, bouncy… The trick is not to worry too much about which moments are coming next. And if there is a quiet moment to relax into it. Like this one – Antonia entranced by the dryer.

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It has been rainy and the light on the wet leaves made me think of this poem by Clive James.

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With an increase of unsupervised time in the house, strange things are happening. I find the coffee plunger in the fridge. Felix puts the shopping away and his ham ends up in the freezer. He pulls all the measuring cups out of the kitchen cupboard and washes them in the bathroom sink. The scrubbing brush goes missing. I find my boots on the draining board.

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I stuck them both in the bath yesterday. Once Antonia was dry and dressed I raced upstairs to fetch Felix’s pyjamas. Returning, I found he’d squirted her all over with a plastic syringe. Daddy did it, he said.

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I bought Antonia some bright red stockings, and together with a dress from my aunt, a cardigan made by my Nanna, and a bib from Mum, they just make me so happy.

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Right now Antonia is having a long morning nap (the first long nap for a few days) and I’ve persuaded Felix to watch Thomas the Tank Engine so I can write. Folding the washing can wait.

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Beautiful Antonia

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Sunday Afternoon

fred5Michael is away this week and after a rainy morning I decided to take the kids to Fredrikstad for the afternoon. The morning had involved more train tracks and wooden blocks – on Saturday Felix and I made the walls of York, and airport and a ‘battery powered’ wooden aeroplane. On Sunday, at Felix’s request, we made a tank station, a shop, a brocolli machine, an asparagus machine and a bread machine, taking full advantage of Antonia’s long morning nap. dowhatyouloveI was a bit nervous about what could go wrong taking the two of them to Fredrikstad alone, especially as prams are not allowed in the train museum or our favourite cafe. But I’m so glad we went – it was one of those outings when everything works. Felix was happy to have a reasonably short visit to the musuem – ‘I’m bored now Mummy, I want to get something to eat’. (In the past it’s been so painful to prise him out of that place.) And we scored the table with the sofa in the cafe – resulting in possibly my favourite photo ever of the two of them. I didn’t notice the advice on the cushion at the time, but it sums up the day well: ‘do what you love’. fred2After the cafe Felix wanted to find the little bridge with the stones. Eventually I worked out he wanted to go to the little pier we had found last time, to throw stones in the river. This suited me, as we got to walk along the gorgeous earth walls above the moat. (The old town of Fredrikstad has a moat shaped like a star.) In the backpack he has everything short of the kitchen sink, really – a china tea set and his mini pots and pans. It was quite heavy but he carried it all the way.  fred4fred3fred