Weeknights

We’ve had a couple of nice evenings this week. Nothing spectacular, but nice all the same. It’s dark by 5 o’clock. Felix has found a bit of a groove cutting things up and colouring them in. He showed me how his friend taught him to draw a snake. Last night we got the craft box out and he made a helicopter and a boat out of egg cartons and paddle-pop sticks. All the while Antonia bumbled around on the floor reading herself books and building towers. Felix asked when he could learn to knit, so I made him a tomboy knitting thing out of a toilet roll. Tonight the glue was dry so I taught him how to make the stitches, and he could do it! I’m so proud of him. He’s pretty pleased with the grey and blue snake he produced.

I’d been worried about how much screen time he was having, but for some reason it wasn’t difficult to reduce it this week, and it appears to have paid dividends. Probably he’s just in a good mood but I’ll take it!

I’ve been reading up on eco-criticism and writing a conference paper on my latest literary crush – Kathleen Jamie. I have so many ideas, though writing is, most of the time, a slow slow thing. But honestly, do yourself a favour and get a copy of Sightlines.

Antonia has settled again at the barnehage this week which is an enormous relief. They told me she’s really getting into the music.

Domestic life between the adults in the house has been pretty harmonious too. There’s lots of good stuff coming together at M’s work.

Felix is learning about planets and solar systems in the barnehage so there are lots of discussions about how the moon relates to the earth, and which planets we could travel to, and how long would it take to get to the sun, and are rockets really clean, and what button do you need to press, and what about the other solar systems. Antonia is enchanted with the moon. ‘Ball!’ she declares enthusiastically whenever she sees it.

 

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Felix hanging out with one of his best buddies and one of mine at the fortress playground on Sunday afternoon.

Antonia wobbling towards me.

I didn’t get a photo of the two of them painting together on Tuesday morning (Felix was home with a fever) but it was very sweet. Felix wanted to paint and as soon as I got the paint and brushes out Antonia was pointing at them and tugging her highchair – no chance of her getting left out of the action!

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

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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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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Summer holidays (29/52)

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I’m not sure why traveling around the UK with the two of them is relatively easy, even fun, but staying at home for a week with them feels, at times, like sticking pins into my eyes. Well, I sort of know. The travel thing is exciting and novel and there’s always lots to do. Here we do stuff in the mornings and I spend the early afternoon trying to get Antonia to have her nap, and the late afternoon letting her have it, and Felix gets a bit overwrought despite trampolines and craft supplies. But today we had a very nice morning in the newly upgraded playground in town, and on Monday (when I took these photos) we enjoyed going out for a piece of cake at the bakery in the shopping centre.

Michael couldn’t understand why I found the above photo so amusing, but for me it sums up a lot of my days. Antonia: what have you go there, Mummy? Can I have it? Felix: Twirling about in his own little world, covered in cake crumbs, planning his next antic/question/project/point of discussion. The other day we ended up talking about what people looked like in the nineteenth century, because he wanted to know. (He doesn’t know about the nineteenth century, really, but he knows about ‘when there were steam trains’).

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Today Antonia got a huge bruise on her head from falling off Felix’s wicker chair, and Felix had a massive melt-down at dinner time, exactly as Michael walked in the door, because he couldn’t stick together the little sticks he was pretending were logs in exactly the way he intended. Good thing they are cute.

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The secret path (20/52)

walk Okay it’s not really a secret path, it was only a secret from me, not being a particularly avid map reader. I am in fact a terrible map reader, to the great and recurring frustration of a certain nearest and dearest. But Michael got a book of family friendly walks for his birthday, and I am determined to use it. The first one starts a mere five minute walk from our door, and follows a hidden valley down into town, so we can end up in our favourite cafe. I had never noticed noticed the beginning of the footpath sneaking past a garden, although I have walked past it so many times. walk2 After initially being nervous that it would ‘take too long’, Felix thought ‘oh, come one’ (his words) and decided to join the adventure. We first walked it yesterday and got drenched by a sudden downpour half way down (part of the adventure, I assured Felix). We spotted the waterfall but couldn’t walk past it, as the path there was steep, narrow and muddy, and I had the stroller with me. Luckily there was a way out back to the main road at that point. Today we walked it again, taking Antonia in the ergo carrier instead. walk5 Felix was impressed the stream criss-crossed the path via a series of pipes. walk6 I couldn’t believe this was all just here, so close to the road we drive up and down daily. It felt a little bit like I’d stumbled through a fairy door to a magical forest. Which is romanticising things considerably, but, well, that’s me. walk3walk9 We nearly didn’t take the steep muddy path after all (I had visions of one or other of us tumbling down the slope, and how was I to rescue Felix with Antonia strapped to my chest), but after Felix’s howl of disappointment I thought why not give it a go. It wasn’t as bad as it looked and the scary bit didn’t last for long. We were very proud of ourselves to come out the other side. I can’t wait to explore some more! walk4

Barnas Dag II

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Looking back on this post from last year made me so nostalgic. Who is that little boy clutching his raggedy bear, nervous about meeting the police? Bear still sleeps with Felix but he is not essential and never leaves the house. Felix wears the same overalls but we don’t need to roll them up any more. This year at Barnas Dag, we met up with some friends and had a gorgeous day. Felix played the piano in our favourite cafe, examined the tulips, bounced on a bouncy castle, got to try a fire hose, and queued impatiently to sit in the fire engine.

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Once it was his turn he efficiently tried every switch he could get his hands on, until he actually managed to turn on the siren! Luckily he managed to turn it off again just as fast.

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We didn’t succeed in getting a fireman’s hat this time as we were at the shopping centre at the wrong time, but Felix did spot two men dressed as what he assumed to be ghost-busters, and as we walked back, he didn’t stop asking me what the ghost-busters were doing there, because he thought ghosts didn’t come out during the day. Maybe ghosts are real, Mummy, he said.

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My boy, bearing a gift. Felix loves flowers. A couple of weeks ago, when we were in Fredrikstad, he picked six different kinds of brand new spring flowers on the way from the park to the car, and was devastated that they had mostly died by the time we got home. Just under a year ago in Fredrikstad he managed to badly cut his finger on a rose thorn, and still talks about how some pink flowers are spiky.

We took his bike into town today and he rode around the harbour, like this time last year. After a cinnamon roll at our favourite cafe Felix rode around and around the harbour – it was a golden, expansive, perfect five minutes and he picked a flower for me. Then he realised the outing was not going to include a toy shop and suddenly he ran out of energy and the ride back to the car was not so relaxing. But you get to choose which five minutes to hold on to, right?

Dear Antonia. The photo I wish I took of her happened yesterday: Antonia sitting in a tiny island of space in the midst of a sea of ALL the wooden trains and train tracks strewn about her, grinning up at me, cheerfully chewing on the tail of a plastic stegosaurus. Felix had decided to tip all the trains out while we were busy packing a picnic lunch (and to visualise this properly, you probably need to be familiar with quite how many trains live here), but we couldn’t be annoyed – the two of them were so delightfully content, sifting through the trains and tracks together.

But the camera was not nearby. So here is my darling in the cafe at the harbour today, just before we went out there with Felix’s bike. Some of my friends have said all along she reminds them of my Mum, and in this photo I see it.

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

And now I have to show you all the other photos I took of Felix, because they are just too adorable. The dandelion is now wilting in my bag, after I rescued it from being eaten by Antonia in the park. But who could resist?

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Happy Easter!

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We normally go away for Easter, and so, for that matter, do most of our friends. This time, we all stayed put, and it has been so nice. I’ve made hot cross buns (twice), done Easter crafts with Felix, lit candles, chilled out with the family, dressed Antonia up like a little bunny, and taken the kids on a walk to look for beavers. And today we went around to our friend’s house for an Easter egg hunt – four little boys careering round the garden collecting their sweets were a sight to behold. Happy Easter!

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Spring

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It feels a little cheeky, having entirely skipped the winter, but I am marvelling at spring all the same. The bulbs in the park in town are piercing through the earth, nothing can stop them.

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The buds of baby pine cones on our tree are barely visible, but they are there.

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Felix picked handfuls of the old pinecones yesterday as we picnicked in the garden.

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It was the first time we’ve got out there this year. Antonia slept.

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Whitby came to join the party.

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Felix was so pleased when Antonia woke up again, wearing his old red coat. I thought of all our other springs in this place. Baby Felix peering up at blossoms. Toddler Felix helping build the sandbox. Or playing with the pinecones. Three year old Felix cycling round the deck, thinking about the baby inside me, telling me he missed me before he was born. And now there is another spring, a new one, and I am glad.

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Back

I need to write some of this down before it fades. The flight back went very well, despite some anxiety about boarding passes in Kuala Lumpur airport. The kids slept well and played well and were generally agreeable, and did not get sick which was appreciated. I got some motion sickness tablets for Felix and who knows if he needs them or not but every other long haul flight over the past two years has ended in vomit, so I’ll definitely be packing them from now on. Felix was a little bored sitting around on the plane but he entertained himself admirably. I didn’t even have an ipad for him. He was absolutely gorgeous in the airports, insisting on walking himself and pulling his little suitcase, but quite happily going as fast as I asked him to in order to find our gate. In Doha airport by the time they announced boarding for families with small children and business class passengers, everyone else had already started queuing, so I decided to barge past them all. ‘Excuse me!’ I said. Felix piped up gleefully: ‘Coming through! We have a baby and a little guy, coming through!’

We were all so happy to see Michael again. We arrived at 7.30 in the morning and Felix did not stop talking all day, not even napping in the car on the way back to Halden, until he crashed into bed at 6pm. Antonia chuckled and wriggled whenever Michael looked at her, and when we went to our favourite cafe in the afternoon, was only interested in tasting Michael’s bun, not mine.

Driving into Halden felt so strange. Michael said it had felt strange to him to – in your mind are still all the roads and paths and light and routines of the place you have left, and you have to let them go and replace them with those of this place, but you are reluctant at first, you try to hold on. Norway has obliged by making it as easy as possible for me with a week of cold sunshine and frosted grass. Yesterday morning I looked out of the window and there were four young deer stepping carefully across our lawn.

Our friends are eager to see us. We feel welcomed. Felix has slotted back into barnehage life without a hiccup. I haven’t quite got enough winter things for Antonia to wear, but we are getting by. The days are light-filled. It was very clever of me to skip February.

When I walked in the door to our little house I thought – how is it possible to live in a house so small? It is perfectly possible, of course, and very lovely even, as long as you stay on top of all the cleaning and putting stuff away, so I have been attacking those things with gusto, making the small changes to our living space needed for a nearly seven month old baby instead of a three month one. An extra box of toys on the shelf instead of the box of changes of clothes we had down here before. The difference in Antonia and in the shape of our family after a space of three months is significant. She sits at the table with us now in her highchair. We need four glasses for water at dinner, so I pulled out a jug for water for us all, and it felt special. Antonia loves to drink water from a glass – she flaps her arms out wide with excitement, then grips the top of the glass and takes a couple of sips before blowing raspberries in it. Soon the novelty of all this will collapse into the every day, but I hope some of the specialness can stay.

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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Family

selfie-5We took this on Saturday at an autumn festival in town. Six weeks as a family of four, and one week successfully balancing the needs of  two children all by ourselves. Michael’s also very pleased with this one – two cheeky monkeys. The pair of them have exactly the same sense of humour involving nonsense and wordplay – I can’t keep up.

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Six weeks with my Mum

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Mum left yesterday. It is always sad to say goodbye. Felix says, paraphrasing one of his favourite books: ‘we are sad when the dawn comes and we have to part. But we can meet again.’ The book, which is about the friendship of a duck and a mushroom creature who lives deep within the earth, goes on to point out that even when we are far apart, sometimes just thinking of each other makes us happy. Thinking about my Mum makes me happy.

We had the most gorgeous six and a bit weeks together. Two weeks before Antonia was born of long evening walks, playing with Felix, visiting Stromstad and Fredriskstad, and frequenting of coffee shops. And then an whole month following Antonia’s birth, involving baby cuddles, more playing with Felix, picnics in the forest and by lakes, adventures at the fortress, clothes shopping for us and the children (how much fun it is to buy baby girl clothes!), returning to Stromstad and Fredrikstad with our babe, and many, many more coffee shops. Mum also helped with cooking. washing, waking up early with Felix nearly every day, and completely sorted out some very messy patches of our garden, taking away a dead bush, planting trees, shrubs, and spreading pine bark.

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A second baby does not enable the same quiet cocooning that I experienced with my first. Everyone told me a second baby is easier, and this is true and not true – yes I already knew how to look after a newborn, but looking after a newborn AND and an exhuberant, curious three year old at the same time is a new adventure. Adding to the excitement, Felix had not one but four medical emergencies during Antonia’s first month home! Two asthma incidents requiring ventolin inhalations at the emergency department in the middle of the night, one tick bite behind his ear which got infected and neede two weeks of strong antibiotics, and to top it all off, a pea getting stuck up his nose. The whole family (apart from Antonia and me, thankfully) also had terrible colds for the first two weeks of Antonia’s life, so energy levels suffered. The lowest point was two days after we returned from my hospital, just as my milk was coming in. I was exhausted, in pain (those who told me breastfeeding wouldn’t hurt a second time were wrong indeed), Mum and Michael were sick and Felix was coughing up a storm and getting more and more distressed. I sat on the toilet sobbing, while Michael took care of Felix. Mum asked if I was ok. ‘No!’ I said. ‘Everyone’s sick. I’m going to get sick, and Antonia’s going to get sick, and I’m going to get mastitis.’ ‘It will be ok,’ said Mum, ‘just remember it’s your hormones talking.’ I had a shower, and felt better. Antonia and I didn’t get sick, I didn’t get mastitis, and the cold going around was just a cold (despite Felix’s asthma), not some lethal virus which could hurt my baby.

Two nights before Mum’s departure Felix’s asthma saga reoccured (he gets it every time he has a cold). Michael was away for the week. We had two trips to the emergency department over night (first Mum, then me), then at 9 in the morning Felix was still in terrible form so I took him to his normal doctor who sent us on to the hospital. Luckily he stabilized on the way over, but we still spent the day there, having tests done and getting another inhalation for him. I was so, so pleased Mum was with me. As Felix sat in his bath after we got home that evening, he said – ‘but we didn’t have an adventure!’ ‘Oh’, said Mum and I, ‘I think we did.’

But the rest of the time was truly lovely. It was wonderful having Mum with us during the first weeks of Antonia’s life. Four weeks is long enough for a little personality to emerge. Rare smiles and long serious stares and little ‘hnnnnn hnnnn’s. Long enough for a baby to grow round and soft. Antonia squeaks with delight as she lies on her change mat and looks across at the picture of the baby on the pack of diapers. Over the past week, she has been genuinely pleased every time she sees my Mum – she smiles, and looks intently, purses her little lips, and coos.

In less than three months we’ll be in Australia for an extended holiday, so Felix is right when he says ‘we can meet again’. But I’ll always remember this special, special time of Mum being with us as we became a family of four. A time, after all, of quietness, love and adventures. As Mum’s stay drew to a close, we found ourselves consciously repeating things we’d done before, to close out the circle. On Tuesday, on Antonia’s one month birthday, we went back to the very same cafe in Gamlebyen where we had eaten lunch the day of my overdue control, just hours before Antonia’s birth. And yesterday, we took Felix back to the cafe in the harbour where we had taken Mum the day she had arrived, and then we all walked her across to the train station together. I cried. I feel so very looked after.

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A walk

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Last weekend we had the most gorgeous picnic and walk around a little lake. It was so sweet watching Michael and Felix race ahead of me, ‘discovering’ engines trapped in the ‘mines’ under the big rocks, and ringing the rescue service to come and save them.

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I’m 37 weeks in this photo, but you can’t see much cos of what I’m wearing.

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It was a truly perfect outing, topped off by plenty of blueberries.

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Summer holidays

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It’s really hot here at the moment and Felix and I have had the most gorgeous time this week – mostly down at the lake. The past two days I’ve even been swimming myself in the freezing water. And I don’t have a lot of time or energy to write much now but I wanted to write something, before it evaporates. Most evenings I’ve been going for long walks alone along the dusky summer streets (it’s light till 11). It’s my favourite part of the day. I’m pretty active chasing after Felix all day, but there’s something so incredibly lovely about being able to walk at your own pace.

Today in the kitchen, Felix said – ‘The baby is very round, Mummy. Will it be round when it comes out?’

And yesterday, stark naked astride his bicycle in our lounge-room, he said: ‘Some people speak Norwegian. Mummy speaks English. Daddy speaks German. But I only speak… nonsense!’ Which, given the exuberant mood he’s been in for the past two weeks, is about right.

Though today he offered to put sunscreen on my back for me. ‘I may not be as fast as you,’ he said, ‘but I’m very strong.’ That’s a quote from Thomas the Tank Engine, but incredibly sweet. ‘Do you ever run out of steam, Mummy? What happens if you run out of steam at the shops? I could pull you.’

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A boy and his bike

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Felix spends hours on his tricycle every day. When we pick him up from the barnehage he is always completely shattered from riding his friends around on the double tricycle for three hours straight. This afternoon all he wanted to do was ride his trike to our friends house, so I rallied my non-existant third trimester energy and followed him over there. When we got there they were out. ‘But where can I ride now?’ he asked. ‘I know,’ I said, ‘we’ll go to the harbour.’

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After a quick stop for buns and a latte, after which I felt much better (Halden now has cafes open on Sunday afternoon!) we were off. ‘It’s so lovely!’ he said.

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He rode through as many puddles as possible all the way to the train station.

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He was a bit annoyed I wouldn’t let him get on the train,

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but rode all the way to the end of the line.

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When we got back to the harbour I collapsed onto a bench and let him ride laps up and down both sides. If you look very closely you can just make him out on the other side of the water. Even when we got home again he wasn’t finished – eating bites of spaghetti between rounds of our deck. Such a special afternoon.

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Barnas Dag

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Had a gorgeous day with Felix in town last Saturday. They had all sorts of activities on for children, including  a firetruck, police cars and an ambulance to climb in. Felix was very excited (and nervous) about meeting the police. One of his favourite things to say to us right now is ‘tell me about jails!’ In the photo below he’s telling me there are going to be two policemen, and it turns out he was right.

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He was much too terrified to go anywhere near the policemen or the police car. He peered at them from the safety of the fire station across the road, and eventually built up the courage to climb up into the fire engine.

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We picked up a free fireman’s hat at the shopping centre, had another coffee and bun stop, then strolled along the river.

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In the harbour, Felix discovered the best thing ever – a big slide! I was amazed how brave he was. It was really hard to peel him away.

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November

Each November since I defected to the northern hemisphere has been a struggle. Things seem to lift in December, strangely. But November is the drizzly tail-end of autumn and the beginning of the dark and you are tired. The unpleasantness of this particular November is amplified by the stacks of marking which have to be done on top of the already more than full time teaching prep. But each week passes. Tonight Michael was in Oslo for the evening so I took Felix out to our favourite cafe for dinner. I had a salmon burger; he had a bun.

‘It’s all dark here!’ He said as we walked back. ‘We can’t see very well! It’s all dark! And there are lights! This light and this light and this light!’ And I paused, and looked back at the little golden lights of the main street, glowing in the chilly air and on the cobblestones. And I thought – this is November’s gift – the new dark and the little lights.

Yesterday Felix boycotted Halloween. He’s very fussy about clothes and there was no way he was wearing a costume – not a black cat for me, nor a pumpkin for Michael. He was the only child in the barnehage who wasn’t dressed up. In the evening, we talked about Halloween, and he said – ‘I like Christmas. Shall we make a star for Christmas? Shall we do that now?’ So we did.

Friday Evening

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Yesterday afternoon after a long week I looked up from my books and my computer screen to realise the sun was shining though my brain was like sludge, so I picked up Felix half an hour early and we went to our favourite cafe for tea – mushroom soup and cheesecake for me, and an I-can’t-be–bothered-convincing-you-to-eat-something-else-first bun for Felix. Then we walked out to the park and the sun and the leaves.

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Felix collected a lot of chestnuts to post to Grandma. Grandma will like them? Very pretty for Grandma? I want to post lots of them to Grandma. I’m not sure what Australian customs will say about this, but I decided not to mention it. Then it was on to the leaves.

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It was exactly what we needed.

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Sunday Week

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Well that week went fast. Blink and you miss it. I can’t believe this was a week ago. Last Sunday Felix and i went to the fortress twice – the first time just the two of us, the second time to meet a friend.

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These days it’s impossible to take photos such as these – I’m too busy making sure the boy’s not about to tumble off a cliff.

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But there are compensations. When I asked Felix was his favourite part of the day was, he said the puddle.

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Family in Halden

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I’ve decided I have to retrospectively put a few of these photos in – otherwise it looks like the past few months never happened, or were merely a blur of lecture preparation, which isn’t quite true…  These photos are from the week after we returned from Austria with my parents and grandparents.

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An impromptu trip to the lake. Not a problem for Felix who told us to ‘take off all your clothes and come in the water!’

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Beautiful May

Today was filled with sunshine and parks and little boys running, laughing, laughing, shouting, climbing, poking sticks in fountains and stones through holes, giggling, munching, singing, counting. In the morning Felix and I went to the park in the centre of town, and he hooked up with a noisy three year old chasing the pigeons. They had a ball following each other around. In the end the other boy followed Felix to the fountain and they poked it with sticks. ‘En, to, tre!’ they counted, then flung their little stick-boats in the water. The mother of the other boy came over and we had a lovely chat in Norwegian. It cheered me up enormously after my stressful spoken Norwegian exam yesterday. I had felt so stupid and incompetent, but it turns out I have enough Norwegian to chat with a patient mother in a park, after all.

In the afternoon I met up with two fellow foreigners who have boys just a little younger than Felix, and we went to a playground by a huge lake and had ice-cream together and just the nicest time imaginable. Now I have to tidy the kitchen again (Michael, my trusted kitchen cleaner, is away), and learn some more Norwegian verbs before bed (written test coming up on Tuesday), but sunshine pretty much makes up for everything.

So tired

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Ugh. I am exhausted. Just two days away from the end of a busy busy fortnight. Last night instead of preparing my teaching I had to take Felix to the emergency doctor because of compromised breathing. Luckily after getting some medicine and inhalations he improved so much that I could take him home again, and he’s ok now. Here is a picture of my favourite coffee shop, where Felix and I spent a lovely quiet hour this morning. (I took the photos moments before the place started filling up with happy customers.)

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36 hours later

We are back in chilly Norway. The house feels small. The snowy expanses were very beautiful when we came in to land. Felix was an absolute darling throughout the whole trip. He slept quite well and the rest of the time was cheerfully occupied observing and commenting on everything that went on. He loves planes. He loves airports. ‘Lady make it dark!’ he declared when they switched all the lights off for landing. When we finally arrived in Oslo after stopovers in Singapore and Frankfurt, he said ‘more plane! More in the big plane!’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘we’ve had enough of planes now.’ He looked out of the window. ‘More plane! Blue one!’ ‘Do you want to go in the blue plane?’ ‘Yeah!’ He was so excited when we got off the plane that he ran all the way to the luggage belts with only one crash. He was still talking about the planes on the train home.

Our good friends picked us up from the train station and cooked dinner for us, which was about the nicest welcome back imaginable. Felix finally and comprehensively conked out about an hour before we arrived in Halden, so we laid him down on their sofa and he didn’t make a sound.

Now we are home and the fire is burning. It is hard to say goodbye to the beautiful light-filled love-filled days in Adelaide. Having a toddler to supervise on the long journey back, I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on it. And here I must hit the ground running. I have a Norwegian test on Wednesday and another one next Monday; I’m back at work on Tuesday, and on Thursday I have four hours of tutoring at Oslo University, with some preparation still needed. (I’m tutoring an introduction to British literature subject this semester, which is exciting.) When this crazy fortnight is done and dusted, I have a meeting about some other possibilities for the autumn. I take a deep breath. I will do my best.

Water, fire

Felix loves the fountain. He tries to climb in. Failing that, he sits on the edge. He throws leaves in and fishes them out. He walks around the side of it, holding our hands.

Michael took these photos last Saturday, and already today I saw council workers getting ready to board up the fountain for the winter.

There are quite a few photos here but I want them all: I love the light and the water and the leaves and Felix’s concentration.

19 months

I wrote the bulk of this post several weeks ago when you actually turned 19 months, but it is only now I’ve managed to slot in the photos, courtesy of my Dad.

This month has been all about talking. And buns from the local cafe. You love your buns. You’ve taken to parroting what we say, and you have really a lot of words now: ‘blue bus’, ‘big tractor’, ‘dinner’, ‘warm milk’, ‘Mama more cheese’. And when my Mum was supervising you climbing the stairs yesterday, you pointed to a little crack: ‘It’s a hole! Bit dirt… bit dirty.’ (!!!)  You’ve started saying people’s names: Dama (Grandma), Poppa (what you decided to call my Dad – we were saying Grenville and Granddad but Poppa it is), you say the names of all your carers at the barnehage and insist on saying goodbye to them when we pick you up. You’ve also half toilet trained yourself this month and do most of your poos (at least when you’re at home) on the potty now.

You have reveled in having my parents around and were pretty excited to visit your Oma and Opa in Kassel again, too. Unfortunately this time we didn’t get many photos.

A couple of weeks ago an old friend of mine from Australia visited with her husband and two year old son and you had a fabulous time playing with him. On Saturday afternoon your friend Linnea came over, and the three of you bounced and flopped and scampered over the trampoline while we stood in a ring around it to make sure you didn’t tumble off. It was just about the sweetest thing ever, but we couldn’t get a photo of it because we had to keep catching you!

You spent the first few days of being 19 months in a hospital in Kassel. You were terrified of the doctors and nurses but liked the cleaning lady. ‘Floor’, you said, ‘clean floor’. It was a bit scary but you coped really well and now even remind me to give you your ‘special air’ (ventolin puffer). I so loved having my parents around to share in your antics and your language explosion. You’ve also been pretty obsessed with slides this month. There were some rather huge slides in Kassel which you flew down fearlessly on your own, over and over, but here you are in Halden before we left, warming up.

Summer holidays

The past few days the sun has even decided to come out, and Felix and I have been having the loveliest time hanging out with friends and playing outside. On Tuesday I took him to the forest (just a five minute drive from our house) where he played with a super-duper wooden car.

Yesterday we went into town and I let Felix wander around for a bit. When he discovered a locked door he demanded the keys out of my pocket and promptly tried to open it.

This evening it was warm enough for a paddle in the lakes, but we didn’t manage to get any photos. On Saturday we leave for a week Austria, with a few days in Germany either side. We’ve been looking forward to taking Felix to Austria pretty much since he was born. I think he’s going to have a blast.

In the park

This is the little park in the centre of town. We walk through it to get to the main street. The windows of our favourite cafe face onto it. When I wrote this post, when Felix was a tiny babe, I was looking out onto the rotunda covered in snow.

We stopped in the park to let Felix run around a bit yesterday, after he’d been so good sitting in the stroller looking at all the boats.

Felix loves to climb up the steps to the rotunda and swing its gate open and shut.

But I think this picture of him riding the wooden pony with the wind in his hair is about as sweet as you can get.

Mat- og Trebåtfestivalen

Today we took Felix out to the food and wooden boat festival down at the harbour.

The weather was perfect for fluttering flags.

There were plenty of other food options, but Michael had to take a photo of the ubiquitous caravan selling hotdogs.

We went for fish soup. Felix insisted on feeding himself whilst sitting on my lap. The results were … interesting. Here he is tucking into passionfruit panna cotta for dessert.

It was fun to get out and see other families enjoying the first day of the summer holidays.

Toddler’s day out

On my day alone with Felix, we normally go out in the morning, but last Friday he was slightly feverish in the morning, and I was tired, so we went out after his nap instead. We parked at Michael’s work. ‘Dadda!’ he said. ‘He’ll be back tomorrow’, I said. We walked over the bridge over the road. ‘Brrrrm brrrrrm’, he said. We walked past our favourite cafe. ‘Da!’ he said, pointing at it desperately. ‘No, I said, we’re going to the library first today, then we’ll come back’. When we walked through the park he wanted to get out and run around. ‘Ne, ne!’ he said. (I think this might be a version of ned, Norwegian for down.) ‘Later’, I said, ‘after the library, it’s going to close soon.’ ‘Du, du!’ he said, pointing at the pigeons.

We made it to the library. I went to the counter to get myself a library card. I practiced my Norwegian and felt very proud of myself for understanding the librarian with no problems. ‘Ne ne!’ said Felix. He sat patiently for a while but after a while I let him out of the stroller, and the first thing he did was rummage through my bag to find a pouch of fruit smoothie. ‘No,’ I said, you can’t eat that here.’ We chose some books and left as it was nearly closing time. I wish I’d got a photo of him carrying his first ever library book out the door.

Then he saw the fountain. After I surreptitiously changed his diaper on the library lawn and ascertained that it would be difficult for him to climb into the fountain, I let him run around it. I didn’t factor in the wind gusting up, splashing in the water, and soaking his t-shirt. I changed him into his hoodie and went back to the park, where he climbed some stairs for a while and tried to get to an old cigarette packet. Then he played with another toddler for a bit. She dumped handfulls of dirt all over him as he sat on the wobbly horse.

We went back the the cafe and I practiced my Norwegian some more, and ordered myself dinner to celebrate surviving a week on my own. Felix raced up the stairs, straight to the place where they normally kept the highchairs, but they’d moved them. I found him one, and he drank his fruit smoothy and didn’t deign to look at his sandwich or his grapes, then went down on the floor to play happily and quietly with the trains. Ah, I thought, bliss. One of those perfect moments. My food arrived and Felix wanted to come back up to the chair. I had hoped he would like some of my salmon burger, but he was horrified, and made sure that I (and the rest of the cafe) knew it. ‘Please, please, Felix’, I said, ‘I want to eat my dinner’. And then I realised he was incredulous that we didn’t have our normal cinnamon bun. I wanted to eat my salmon burger. So I went and bought him a bun.

As we walked back over the bridge I felt so tired I could barely move.

Sixteen months: brought to you by balls, bubbles, puddles

In a couple of days, my darling, you will turn sixteen months old. You amaze us every day. You make us laugh. A couple of times this week you stretched your normal 6am wakeup to 4.30 am, which we weren’t exactly thrilled about, but as you smiled at us sweetly, your father had to ask ‘could you be any cuter?’ You took your first steps over a month ago but it has only been in the past couple of days that you’ve been comfortable just walking around everywhere without having to think about it too much. I think it’s made you much more relaxed in general. Today you were running in circles around your father in the kitchen, giggling.

Your latest words are ‘shut’, and ‘keys’. You are quite frustrated when doors are shut, but at least you have a word for it now. You are pretty much obsessed by songs with actions, and there are several we watch together on youtube every day, in addition to songs that go with your boardbooks, songs you learn in barnehage, and songs we sing in the car and in the bath. Some of your favourites right now are ‘Down at the station’, ‘Insy Wincy Spider’, and a very silly one on youtube called ‘Uh-huh’ (actually you really like all the youtube clips from Super Simple Songs). You adore your books and have taken to toddling off to pick the one you want to read next and bringing it back to me. Your favourites at the moment are any with flaps to lift, and any about trains. You love pointing out animals and practicing your animal sounds.

This weekend your parents were a bit grumpy and tired, but together we turned it all around. As it was raining today and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, we went across to the big shopping centre in Sweden again. Your father bought you hundreds of balls. When you discovered them after your nap, you couldn’t believe it. ‘Ba! ba!’ you said, tottering over to them and plonking yourself in.

Later I made us a cake. I turned 33 this week and took two of these cakes to work on my birthday, but I decided we needed one all to ourselves. It turns out a family of three can demolish a sponge roll in one sitting, even if one family member is less than a meter tall. (It’s also probably time a sponge roll featured on my blog again. Our new oven is better for baking than our old one. I’m always tempted to try out variations such as chocolate and raspberries, but I will record here for posterity that you cannot beat a sponge roll with strawberries and cream.) You insisted on eating your piece with a spoon. Mermos was also impressed and snuck in through the kitchen window to lick up the cream.

Just before your bedtime, the sun finally came out, so we headed into the garden. You ran around the trampoline for a while and had a poke in the sandpit, but got frustrated trying to walk on the lawn in your gumboots so I took you over to the driveway. Oh my. We have the best puddles. The cats couldn’t quite work out why you wanted to stand in the middle of them.

I remember a card my Mum had sent me half way through my pregnancy, with a photo of a little boy toddling down a lane. And it’s hard to say exactly what I felt, except that it was somehow momentous, seeing you stamp around your very first chain of perfect puddles, and pick yourself up when you fell.

Ducks!

Well, close. I took these photos two weeks ago. Last week we went down to the harbour again, and I told Felix we’d look at the ducks. But there were no ducks, and no swans, and no seagulls. It didn’t stop him pointing repeatedly at the water, saying ‘du! du!’ On the way back through the park, though, we saw pigeons, which also count as ducks in Felix’s book, so it was ok after all. And tomorrow is Wednesday again, hurrah.

17 May

It’s that time again. The day when Norwegians get dressed up in their gorgeous bunads, watch their children march down the street waving flags, buy them an overpriced balloon, eat copious amounts of ice-cream and hotdogs, and complain about the weather.

It’s also the only day of the year when you will see this many people in the Halden town centre. Michael got some great photos back in 2009, when not only was the sun actually shining, but Norway had just won the Eurovision, so everyone was on a high.

The bunad tradition is apparently based in nineteenth-century romanticism. I’m a fan. As I had to look after the little guy, who was more interested in walking around in circles and poking his little flag into the holes in the park benches, I didn’t get a very good view of the parade. It didn’t matter, because everyone who walked past me was wearing something like this, so I had plenty to look at. Secretly I’d quite enjoy wearing a dress like this. One little girl we met was wearing a beautiful dress that her grandmother had once worn.

No photos of us, because although we learnt our lesson in previous years and did not turn up in jeans, we can’t really compete with the natives. You do feel conspicuously non-Norwegian on the 17th of May. We were invited to a party in the afternoon, and Felix ate a hotdog in lompe (a kind of potato pancake), tasted jelly for the first time, and generally had a ball playing with other kid’s toys and trying to keep up with the big kids. So despite the fact that we are all really very tired just at the moment, it was a very nice day indeed.

Here

I’m afraid I’m going to regale you with yet more pictures of you know who. We’re going to Germany next week so maybe we’ll get the inspiration to take a photo of something else. Michael took these in the garden on Saturday. We were out there for hours, on Sunday too. You can follow the progress of the weather by the gradual reduction in Felix’s outdoor wear over the last few posts!

It’s pretty fun watching Felix gather up the courage to explore the garden. It reminds me of watching our kittens discover it, nearly two years ago. By Sunday he was crawling all around, pulling the little pine cones off the sticks, turning around to check whether he was allowed to eat them or not. His favourite thing is to crawl up and down the stairs to the deck. He’s getting pretty adept at it. He’s also pretty happy with the swing that Michael strung up on our tree.

I think all the sun we’ve been getting lately has done something funny to my head, because despite the even more dreadful than usual night’s sleep we got last night, I feel so happy. I have been enjoying work lately and Felix has really adjusted well to being in the barnehage. I often get to see him during the day for short periods, and he’s even beginning to get used to that, and is not crying quite so much when he spots me.

In other news I recently had an article published in Bøygen, a journal put together by some Masters students at the University of Oslo (ooh, and I just discovered that the title refers to a great troll-snake, from the Peer Gynt story). It is a really beautiful little journal. The theme of this issue was ‘place’, and they have essays in Norwegian and English about the role on place in literature in places as diverse as Norway, Israel, Australia. The essays are interspersed with black and white photographs, mainly of Oslo. It really is lovely and it’s a bit of a thrill to be a part of it.

In the small pockets of time between child-rearing, working, and folding laundry, I have been reading Anne Enright’s Making Babies, a very beautiful collection of essays, recommended by Blue Milk. And I have been knitting. I’ve started one more vest for the little guy. It’s quite addictive. It was in this cabin, just outside the Glacier National Park in Montana, that I decided I absolutely needed to learn to knit. It was something about the self-sufficiency of the little cabin in the woods that didn’t even have electricity, and seeing Felix wearing a cardigan knitted by my Nanna. I thought it would be a satisfying thing to do. I was right. It has exactly the right balance between challenging and soothing; it is heartening to see your progress even if it is slow, the texture and colour of the yarn between your fingers is lovely, and there is something entirely wonderful about seeing your own child all snug in a jumper you made for him.

Wednesday

I was going to write a post entitled ‘slog’, and it was going to be about how hard we have been working. Clearing out the spare room in the evenings once Felix has gone to sleep (after we have worked all day) has been tough. There is still more to do, but we have cleared out enough now to get him in there. And then of course the poor fellow starts teething again, so settling him into the new sleeping arrangements has been more difficult than it otherwise would have been, and we are still not getting nearly enough sleep. So we are tired. But I have changed my day off from Friday to Wednesday, and that is better, much better. This afternoon the sun shone and Felix and I had a picnic on the lawn.

Lying for half an hour in the sun with my favourite boy and my favourite creatures was more than enough to restore my spirits.

Also I’m very proud of myself because I knitted the little vest Felix is wearing, all on my own. The pattern is here. I started it a few weeks back, when I had my ear infection, at which point I knitted all night because I was in too much pain to sleep. It took me a while because I had to undo bits when I did them wrong – if I do another one I’ll be much faster. But isn’t it great! I’ll try to show you some pictures sans bib another time.

Felix chased the cats around for a bit, bounced on the trampoline with me, then made some calls. It was a very nice afternoon indeed.

A good day

Sorry about the text-heavy blog lately. If I had remembered to take my camera with me today I would have taken a photo of Felix in his pram, with his matching Norwegian hat and mittens and velvety black coat, beaming at me.

This week was my fourth week back at work, and the first week I managed to work a full four days (the other weeks Felix or I or both of us had been sick). Spending so much time away from him is tough, even though I work in the room next door to him. When I leave him the image I feel in my heart is that of a small tree being ripped out of the earth, its roots dangling. I am not sure which one of us is the tree. And then when I pick him up at the end of the day, I feel a constellation springing back into life within me – stars lighting up, as though someone re-connected the electricity.

(Mind you, at 9pm, and 11pm, and 1am and 3 and 4 and 5am I am not so pleased to hear from him.)

But today was our day together, and we spent the morning in town. Felix was his sparky, charming self for the first time in weeks – I think he has been feeling quite under the weather until now. He pointed excitedly at all the children we passed; he showed the shop attendants his mittens. When we went into the wool shop, he exclaimed ‘ba! ba!’, excited to be in a shop filled with balls.

We stopped for a coffee in my favourite child-friendly cafe. He ate a fair portion of my cinnamon bun, and then played happily, first with a toy microwave and then with some tiny wooden cars. ‘Brrrrm, brrrrrm’, he said as he pushed them across the floor. Watching him, I was so happy I cried. When I drove him back up the hill, he sang ‘Mama mama mama’ all the way.

A little birthday party

Today some close friends came over and we had a little birthday party for Felix. Good friends are so precious. In this photo you can also see: Felix’s lion, which was a hand-me-down from a very lovely lady in Idaho Falls, who has a son a couple of years older than Felix (Felix adores this lion, so my cake was an attempt to approximate it); the curtains my Grandma gave us; the coffee cups and milk jug my Nanna gave us for our wedding; tulips which reminded me of the ones you can see here; a vase which was a birthday present from the barnehage; a delicious cheesecake made by my lovely Norwegian friend; a colourful bowl that my parents gave me when I moved to York; a candle holder that Michael acquired many many years ago, long before I met him; and the gorgeous cardigan that my Mum knitted for me while we were in Australia, shortly after these photos were taken. So although we are a long way away from our families, we were pretty much surrounded by love. And Felix seemed to like the cake.

The little guy had a good time playing with his birthday presents and his new friend Pearce.

In the background in this one you can see the walker that we spied in a shop in Adelaide, but Michael’s parents bought for Felix in Germany. It was a happy day. Surrounded by love, indeed.

Spring

We took these photos last weekend at the fortress. Three days before this, when I had been up there with my grandparents, there was scarcely a hint of green anywhere. Now, a week later, nearly everything is green. Our grass has turned green and grown several inches and almost needs a mow already. Spring always seems to turn up when I’ve just about given up on it, like a wayward lover appearing at your doorstep with flowers, two weeks too late.

And then all of a sudden its as if it’s always been here. It’s so warm and lovely here to day I even had a bounce on the trampoline. This place really seems like a different country once the warmer weather sets in. Too bad we’re off in less than three weeks. But I guess it will be spring in America too!

Generations

My grandparents left yesterday. They caught the bus up to Oslo, for a night there, before flying back to Amsterdam, from whence they are hopping on a boat which will meander down various rivers all the way to Budapest. They truly are world travelers! I was sad to see them go, but the memory of those few days we had together here in Norway will be precious to me forever.

As we were walking through Gamlebyen on Thursday, Grandma said if anyone had told her several years ago that she would one day be walking through Norway with her great-grandson, she wouldn’t have believed them. It would be better to live close to family, but one gift of living so far away is that it makes the time you have together so special. And we are planning to visit Australia in December, so we look forward to seeing them then!

The evening before they left, Michael’s parents arrived! It was only a little chaotic having everyone here at once, and they were very pleased to meet each other. Michael’s parents don’t speak much English, and my Grandparents don’t speak any German, but they managed to understand one another ok. Anyway, says my Grandma, there’s always the international language of smiles.

It is a very nice thing to share a child, to watch others loving him. Especially as I have absolutely nothing to complain about regarding any of Felix’s grandparents – you hear stories of mothers receiving unwanted advice, but there has been nothing like that coming my way. Michael’s Mum, Moni, said she likes my Grandparents very much, and wishes she had had such nice Grandparents. It doesn’t matter, I tell her, because you are a most wonderful Oma.

A perfect day

Something about this photo – the positioning of the figures, our paper cut-outness, and Felix’s benedictory gesture – reminds me of a medieval triptych. Also the overblown sky – just imagine it gilded! I was perched on a little table, which I knew wasn’t a good idea when I’m already so tall. I love the photo anyway. You can tell how happy we all are to be there.

It felt so surreal on Monday night when my Grandparents arrived at our door, and I opened it and said ‘come in’. Just amazing. And then they came in and cuddled Felix, and Felix said ‘ooo ooo ooo’. And now I’m afraid I’m about to bore you with some details but we’ve been having such a lovely time that I don’t want to forget any of it. Yesterday, we wandered around town a bit, had lunch at our favourite pizza place, and walked to the shopping centre to get Grandma a new phone. G&G went back to the hotel for a couple of hours to have a rest, and then Michael picked them up again. We cooked salmon and potatoes for tea, and finished with icecream and strawberries.

Today, I picked them up at 10 and drove up to the fortress, where we wandered around and looked at the view. We then met Michael for lunch at my favourite little cafe in town (a very baby-friendly place with space for prams and toys for older kids to play with and a big stack of high-chairs and surprisingly delicious food), and called in at the other shopping centre to replace Grandma’s handbag. Felix was content napping in the pram and feeding in the cafe before we ate. We drove up the hill home again for tea and easter eggs and a skype chat with Mum and my aunty. G&G went for a little walk (they have more energy than me!!!) while we chilled out a bit at the house. We then had such a lovely afternoon sitting on the deck in the sunshine.

I’m wearing the amber earrings my Grandparents bought me in St Petersburg, when they took me there nearly seven years ago. (At that point I was doing my masters in York and I’d just decided Michael was rather nice and I was hoping something would come of it…)

Granddad read the copy of the Guardian that Michael had somehow procured for him. I cooked dinner – fool-proof spinach and ricotta cannelloni followed by delicious brownies – while Michael helped Grandma install phone numbers into her phone. It has just been so lovely having this time with them, and hearing stories of their children and houses and early life together (next year they will have been married 60 years!).

While we ate, Felix cooed and gurgled. And it was the perfect, perfect day.

A day in the sun

Yesterday when spring decided to show her face again (today is back to dense mist, but at least it’s not snowing), my friend invited me to her mothers’ group meeting up at the fortress. It was still pretty chilly, but we all sat around the fire and roasted sausages! Well, the others roasted sausages, I don’t eat them. But it was all very charming, and very Norwegian – the older kids (3-5 year olds) in the kindergarten do this in the forest once a week. Felix’s gorgeous knitted overalls which were much too big for him a few weeks ago now fit him perfectly. (They’re not too small yet, they’re just riding up a bit here.) We trialled our first outdoor breast-feeding session, huddled in a blanket against the wind, and that went fine too.

Then we went for a lovely walk beside the golf course. Yep that little pond’s still frozen. And there aren’t any leaves yet. But it’s very very pretty all the same. The ground is sort of golden and bare as it emerges from the snow. Some patches are still strewn with autumn leaves which have been hiding there all winter.

And I couldn’t help myself but to walk through the fortress itself to the lookout over the harbour and the town. You can see that the harbour still looks pretty iced over, but that not far beyond lies the clear and shining sea.

Six weeks

Six and a half, actually. Not the best photo in the world but I know my family likes to see his face. Poor little guy’s got a bit of a rash on his neck at the moment, but aside from that he’s doing well. He shrieks for joy now when he’s looking up at his mobile. And shrieks with frustration other times. He can be very very loud! Photos hardly do him justice really, because of how rapidly he changes expression.

Got him weighed yesterday and he’s now 5.5 kilos and 60 centimetres! That means he’s grown on average a centimetre a week, which is pretty incredible. He’s getting a bit more purposeful about controlling his hands and rubs his eyes when he’s tired.

I was down at the harbour today again, and the sun was blazing, but I forgot to put the memory card back in the camera so I can’t show you. There is still ice in the harbour though, and the ducks are still trundling all over it. I walked around and around the river and the harbour and the little town, and went back to the coffee shop and finished reading ‘Five Bells’ which is very beautiful and very sad.

After six weeks the utter absolute newness of the experience has faded a little, but he is still here! How strange! And I thought I would have more to say but I don’t really, not now. Michael goes away for two days tomorrow but I know we will be fine.

Yesterday

I took the little guy on our first solo outing. Drove down the hill into town (when I am very strong and brave and the ice has all melted we will be able to walk down, but walking back will be an effort), got the pram out, browsed some shops, walked to the harbour that was milky with melting ice, and stopped for a coffee and a piece of carrot cake on the way back. Felix slept while I was in the coffee shop, so I had time to write in my journal, and read the novel Dad posted over for me (Five Bells by Gail Jones – I am very much enjoying it).

Walking around town I passed many other mothers wheeling prams. They are everywhere here. It is strange to think I am as inconspicuous as any of them. I see them differently now, and wonder about the little clouds of thought that trail after them, and what whole worlds they are pushing about in hooded carriages.

It was so nice to sit in the coffee shop quietly with my sleeping son. I used to go out for coffee all the time in England, but I do it hardly at all here. It really is quite expensive, but sometimes it’s worth it. I remembered sitting in a coffee shop on my own in Australia just over a year ago, seeing other mothers with babies and feeling shocks of pain and yearning, coupled with a mute and bewildered acceptance. And now here I was, his sleeping face more beautiful than the snowy park outside the window.

I wonder how much my experience of this time is coloured by the loss that proceeded it. If anything it makes me treasure it more, although I could not imagine treasuring it less. I still occasionally feel a weird and uninvited envy towards friends’ uncomplicated first pregnancies. But I do not think of it often. It is like a shadow, a dream. There and not there. Part of the story.

Ready to go

Hat and overalls by my friend Kylie; jumper by his Great-grandma. He has so many great clothes!

Had a trip into Halden town centre today with Mum and the pram. People admired the little man at every turn. He slept through the whole thing save for the last ten minutes. Pizza at our favourite restaurant, and lots of shopping. It is so, so lovely having Mum here; I am trying to savour every minute. That’s why I’m writing this down, as though it makes it more real, our quiet little afternoon outing. The sun shone and shone and the snow was all melty.