The last day of September

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It’s høstferie this week, which is basically the autumn school holidays, just one week. There’s no teaching at university either. I had planned to use this time to get ahead on class preparation and rewrite an article, but Antonia has been sick (not dreadfully sick, though but they kept sending her home from barnehage). I couldn’t send her today so I decided to keep Felix home as well. We’ve all been hit by a cold this week, actually, so it is good to have a little pause.

We walked to our favourite cafe in the harbour, and Felix devoured his favourite custard bun. The ritual of the custard bun began when he was barely one, and he hasn’t tired of it yet.

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Antonia doesn’t like buns but she was happy enough drinking the foam from my latte and playing with a fireman’s helmet. They have a few boxes of toys, a play kitchen and a play table, enough to keep the little ones occupied for a while.

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They both pottered around with the toys quite happily for a bit. These are some of my very favourite moments – the sun slanting through the cafe, contented children, mine, a breath, a pause…

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Then we wandered around the harbour before meeting up with friends in the afternoon.

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The clouds and sun were all silky in the water.

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Antonia: walking with her brother. She got so many comments that day on her curls, her shoes, her woollen dress.

Felix: sunglasses and ghostbusters, what can I say. He would only acquiesce to being in the photos because I promised that he could take some himself, afterwards.

I took these at an autumn market in the gardens of a local manor house on Saturday. I only remembered about photos when it was almost time to leave. We’ll have to go back one day and take some more. It was so gorgeous. The light, the trees. The harbour glittering in the background. This time of year is just to very beautiful. It’s getting dark earlier each day and even sunny days have a brisk edge to them, but we have been ridiculously lucky recently when it comes to sunshine. I love the misty mornings too, and Felix has been commenting on the pink, pink clouds on the way to barnehage in the mornings. It is so lovely and so fleeting. One can almost – almost – forget about November.

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And these are Felix’s photos.

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This last one is blurry but I love it anyway – the light reminds me of an impressionist painting, and Antonia is so happy waving her oak branch.

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Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

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Felix: thinking about something, sporting his new cap from the fire station. Autumn is a good time for kids’ activities around here – yesterday there was the annual Høstmarked in town, complete with baby chicks, sheep, calves, plastic tractors for the kids to ride around a make-shift race course (they both had a turn – Felix cycled his tractor himself but I pushed Antonia). The fire station was open too and Felix got to practice with a fire hose and picked up his cap. On top of all that there was a fun fair as well.

Antonia: loving being left to her own devices with her yoghurt.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015. I’m so pleased to have the good camera back in action again.

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Mothering. Friends.

I’ve been on my own with the kids for a little over a week – Michael gets back tomorrow. It’s gone fine, really, though I’m relieved it’s the weekend now and the whole pack lunch-boxes and get the kids to barnehage through the rain in time to get to work and teach thing is over for a while. It’s a bit of a drive out to barnehage and so much nicer when we can take it in turns. I was so tired by Thursday. Restoring the house to order every evening is somewhat gruelling, but I have done it religiously, as not doing it is so much worse. It’s so lovely coming down to a calm clean house every morning, even if it doesn’t stay that way long. It took a bit longer than usual this evening as I had invited a friend over for dinner. Adult conversation is snatched at the expense of toys spreading everywhere…

I’m so very grateful for my girlfriends. These are the friends of my small-children years, and these friendships are so different from that other period of intense friendships, university. Then, time was so stretchy – you could stay up all night, or decide to go camping at the drop of a hat, or talk for three hours in a coffee shop. Now we smile at each other in the playground, or hug briefly at the funfair, or juggle four small people between us as we drink a cup of coffee, or have early dinners at each other’s houses before bath time. It’s easiest to spend time together if our kids get on. And it’s something else we need from each other. When I was twenty, we were seeking the meaning of ourselves and everything, the future was empty blue and promising, we craved intimacy and enlightenment. Now it is good to have friends to share the very particular griefs of motherhood along with the obsessive joys and relentless work, none of which would have made much sense to me when I was twenty. Now I want… someone else with their feet on the ground, as mine are firmly these days. Someone who can meet my eyes through the swirl of activity and say ‘I see you, hang in there, I’m here too’.

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Felix: my dear beautiful talking thinking boy. We went to a children’s festival in Fredrikstad with some friends today. It’s a 50 minute drive. My boy hardly drew breath the entire way, telling me about the robot he would invent to protect himself if there was a crocodile in his barnehage. And how very strong the robot would be, and how he could throw houses and even signs up to the moon, and how he would give the bad guys to the police but if they were really really bad guys he would step on them and just squash them. He asked me if I would be frightened of the robot and I said yes. ‘But you wouldn’t need to be, Mummy, he wouldn’t do anything to you. You’re not a bad guy. We’re not bad guys at all.’

Antonia: walking. Walking! Just a few steps at a time but more every day. And her soft soft cheeks and big cuddles. On Monday at work I ache for them.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015.

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We had a truly gorgeous weekend, but I have been negligent with photos. The only one I have in which Felix makes an appearance is the top one, where he’s scrambling up to the trampoline in the background. It rained on Saturday but on Sunday morning the sun blazed despite a cold wind. The littlest one is just so happy in the sandpit.