Monthly Archives: May 2009

Happy Birthday, Peanut!

One year ago, at this very time, my midwife was in my home, confirming that I was in labour, that yes, my membranes had certainly ruptured, and I was most certainly having our baby that very day.

One year.

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How can it be, my darling girl, that it has been a year? Wasn’t I carrying you within me, next to my beating heart, only last week? Didn’t I only breathe you into this world on a wave of compulsion and agony and ecstasy only yesterday? Did my ears not just ring at the sound of your first cry, before you were even fully born, only moments ago?

I remember so clearly holding you to me, as you first nursed, and you wrapped your tiny, hour-old arm around my side, gently brushing my skin with your tiny fingers,discovering your new world, your new mother, this new love. I will cherish and remember that moment, that sensation, for the rest of my life. So tender and precious, so new and foreign. So mine.

Twelve months of growing and trial and wonder and learning and amazement as you’ve grown to be your very own little person. You have thoughts, likes and dislikes, you play games and have a sense of humour, and are one of the sunniest, most darling children I have ever met.

There are days when I wish I could stop the passage of time so that I can just keep you as you are today, so small and cuddly and full of discovery and others when I wish I could go back to when you were so tiny, when things were so difficult, and appreciate you even more, hug you even closer, and know with surety that everything would turn out well.

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You are astonishing, dear child, and as great a gift as any could be.

Happy birthday.

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Two days, or, Spring!

The weather this week has been exceptional. Warm, but not too hot; sunny, but with a soft breeze, and with grass and leaves and tulips springing up all around. Peanut and I have taken the opportunity to be out enjoying the season.

On Monday, we did a certain amount of ‘playing tourist’ in this capital city in which we make our home. We wandered up past Parliament Hill, and discovered that it was Music Monday, a day on which school children across the country hold small concerts. A large choir was singing on the steps in front of Centre Block. We listened to the end of their singing, then walked on, across the grass of the lawn, past university students enjoying a post-exam laze-about, and some kids playing ultimate frisbee. This happens on the lawn all the time. It’s a truly public space, right amidst the workings of our government, and Ottawans make use of it. I’m not sure that’s something you would see in most capitals. There’s even noon-hour yoga on the lawn during the summer. I’m sure Peanut and I will have pictures of us participating to share once that starts up.

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We walked down Sussex, where the high-end shops in Ottawa are located, and up to Major’s Hill Park, hoping to see some tulips. This week marks our annual Tulip Festival, a tradition dating back to 1953, and one which is of particular importance to our church congregation, as it was our church that the Dutch Royal Family attended while in exile in Canada. Princess Margriet was baptised at our font, the same font where Peanut was baptised last August.

Unfortunately, there weren’t as many tulips at that park as I’d hoped, but we did spend some time in the grass.

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Today was another lovely day, so we walked for hours again. This time we headed south from our house. First we hit the natural supply store for some baby-friendly sunblock (Peanut was a bit ruddy when we got home yesterday; she’s inherited my exceedingly fair skin, so it needs protecting!) and then stopped off at a coffeehouse for a sandwich. Peanut entertained everyone who walked by, grinning at them from her armchair.

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Onward south we walked, through the Glebe, past Lansdowne Park and over the canal. We walked through Sunnyside, stopping in little baby and child shops and consignment shops, and generally just wandering. We found a pet food shop which sells the brand of food we like for Wembley (it’s harder to find than, say, something like Purina) and checked out the new Milkface location. Britt was in, so we got to say hello to her, and she got to exclaim over Peanut and how sweet she looked wrapped up in our babywearing wrap, Ulli.

Then back towards home. As we crossed the bridge over the Canal, I noticed how beautiful it all was: the grass and trees against the water, and all right in the middle of the city. And I thought, why would I ever want to leave? Some days, my heart fairly aches with love for this city, with all its grass and trees and water and arts and music and festivals and old churches and politics and activism and history.

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