I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas / Chanukah / festive season. Please excuse my absence over the last couple of weeks – I thought I would treat myself to a short blogging break over the holidays.
We have had a wonderful few days, celebrating with my side of the family on Christmas Eve, spending Christmas just the three of us, seeing my husband’s side of the family on Boxing Day, and then celebrating my sister-in-law’s wedding yesterday.
With the year very nearly over, I’ve been reflecting a lot on everything that has taken place over the last year. Politically, for our family, 2016 has been enormously disappointing. But on a personal level, it has been a joyful, fantastic year.
Some of my highlights have included:
- My sister having a baby! My beautiful nephew Reuben is such a delight and we are all totally besotted with him.
- Taking a trip to Boston with my parents-in-law in the summer.
- Growing this little blog of mine. It may not be much, but I’m so happy I stuck with it, and am very humbled that people read it.
- My sister-in-law getting married yesterday.
- Quitting my job in the spring so I could stay at home with Frida, retraining as a Hypnobirthing teacher and doula, and joining BirthBliss part-time.
- Going on a lovely long weekend to Suffolk, just the three of us.
- Starting a little outdoor playgroup, and attending a Waldorf one.
- My husband changing jobs, to one which is rewarding and challenging and which offers good work-life balance.
- Adding a kitten to our little family.
But honestly, nothing on that list could trump simply watching Frida grow and develop into the delightful little girl she is now.
When we started 2016 I had a squishy eight-month old baby in my arms, only just crawling, babbling, my beautiful babe. As 2016 ends I have a little girl of 20 months, walking, running, climbing, dancing, eating, singing, playing, and talking talking talking all day long, in long sentences and using correct grammar and astounding us with her vocabulary and understanding and imagination and memory. A little girl who helps me cook, who sweeps and dusts, who paints and draws, who uses the toilet, who makes us cry with laughter, who tidies up, who builds, who asks strangers “what’s your name?”, who radiates joy and delight. A little girl who told my husband today that she wanted to learn to read, who is starting to grasp numbers, who is so full of kisses and cuddles and love. Growing in independence every day, she really is a naturally Montessori toddler!
I feel like this year will always be the biggest leap in her life, the year she went from baby to, well, not a baby. I look at her and find it hard to fathom how much she has changed, as I watch her playing with her animals, her long hair in a pony tail, saying “Daddy horse has a headache! Lie down on your bed daddy horse. Give him medicine calpol – not too much! All better.” That baby seems totally gone.
And yet, as I curl up with her in bed, breastfeeding her to sleep and holding her tiny hand, I am reminded again of the baby she was so recently. Sometimes – not often, these days – I catch a quick sniff of that delicious milky baby smell still lingering, and I am transported. I want her to slow down, and yet am so delighted at her new skills and her language and her confidence and her blooming, charming personality.
As Frida has grown, I feel I have grown too – as a mother, and as a person. I have learnt so much about parenting, about what it means to raise a child gently, with empathy and compassion and respect, for your child and partner and for yourself. I don’t always get it right, but I feel that I’m on the right path. I have expanded my knowledge of different educational styles and concepts and ideas, and end the year determined to home educate. I have devoured books, blogs, and articles, been inspired by comments on this blog and on Instagram, and had long, long chats with my husband.
But ultimately, my best and most important teacher has of course been Frida. So I end 2016 with no new resolutions, or grand plans. I just plan to keep following the child, and see what path she leads me down.
Thank you so much for reading Frida Be Mighty in 2016 – I look forward to sharing our journey with you next year.