This Moment

I never even realize how much time has passed between blog posts until I receive an email from WordPress telling me that it’s been while since I put fingers to keyboard, and typed away. So much is happening, time is never enough and posts which I write in my head just before I go to sleep, somehow never make it here.

The girls are growing up fast and quick. Bettina is now six months old, she just cut her first tooth and is still learning how to sit up unaided. Cesca will be four in three months, she is a human radio and never EVER stops talking (she even talks in her sleep), and has found the perfect role in being a big sister. Bettina is her doll, her property, the recipient of her songs and conversations, mannequin for hair-bands and clips, and just her’s, plain and simple. And even though sometimes I pity little Bettina, who is never left alone when Cesca is with her, I look at them both and my heart fills up with so much love and joy. Because from the very moment we found out that we would be having another girl, today is exactly what we wanted from both girls. We wanted them to be each other’s world, we wanted to give each other looks of unconditional love, secret smiles and giggles. I smile when I see Cesca fiddling around with Bettina’s ear, and Bettina in turn playing with the other ear (it seems to be one of the many things they have in common). My heart warms up when I hear Bettina laughing at Cesca who pretends to gobble up her toes, or play hide and seek with her. Bettina doesn’t move or cry whenever Cesca surrounds her with soft toys and whole regiments of animals, whilst playing. She just looks at her sister, studies her and smiles at her whenever they catch each other’s eyes. For Bettina is a smile-r, she smiles, she laughs, she’s a sweetheart. And Cesca, who sometimes plays up and can be a proper pain, is deep down the most sensitive and gentle girl I have ever seen. Her transformation around her sister is amazing.

Yes, two children are hard work. The days just fly by, our time and energy is consumed by these two little angels. Weekend sleepovers are over – by 7.30am, our bed is normally hosting the whole family. We have to sometimes schedule time for ourselves, because the parent-mode switch is never off. But we would not have it any other way, not for a second. Seeing the girls so much in-sync is our greatest gift as parents, hearing their laughs coming from their rooms is a blessing, and we only pray and hope that this bond which is so beautiful to watch forming between them, lives on, grows stronger and survives all.

Nineteen Days In…

Nineteen days into this new year, and I’m finally writing my first blog post for 2015.

About time.

Since the last time I wrote here, we finally had our first holiday as a family of four. We had both sets of grandparents on board with us for some help, and they were a godsend. Trying to get ready by a certain time with two kids is not easy, nor do-able. Someone always needed to pee, or poop, or change, or eat, or cry, or bring up milk, or sleep. But we managed to have four wonderful days of food, small Sicilian villages and driving round new places. Cesca had a day of fun getting wet in the snow and Bettina watched from her car-seat. Both behaved very well and I am proud to say that we are not traumatised beyond repair to the thought of travelling with them both again. Having said that, a trip for the two of us is in the pipelines 😉

Driving around ;)

Driving around 😉

The time of her life!

The time of her life!

Barely able to move. Poor B.

Barely able to move. Poor B.

Two years after having a hairdresser touch her hair, Cesca finally got her hair properly trimmed. And she has bangs, which I love, love, love! Although she does need to trim it every couple of weeks.

A proper haircut, with bangs and no knots!

A proper haircut, with bangs and no knots!

The beginning of school brought with it a new set of persistent germs which meant that Cesca has been off school for this past week, and little B is now sniffling :/ I’m hoping that tomorrow C will be back to school, for all our sanity’s sake because after staying indoors for five straight days, she is now fed up of all her toys, television shows, books and any activities I can do with her and a three-month old.

Both girls are now settling in lovely. The hardest part of having a sick Cesca was trying to keep her away from her younger sister. She could not quite understand why she could not hug or pat Bettina, and was getting quite upset when I tried to explain it to her. The upside of this all was seeing how much she adores her little sister. And bother her as much as she does, it is heartwarming to see how Bettina’s eyes already light up whenever she hears Cesca’s voice singing “Jingle Bells” to her.

Nearing The End

2014 is nearing its’ end.

It couldn’t have been a more eventful year if we wanted it to be.

We got pregnant.

We had our little Bettina.

We started building our future home.

Cesca started school.

(and other ‘minor’ episodes I won’t bore you with…)

The timing of some events could have been better, granted. But we somehow managed.

We learnt that bit more about ourselves and are better for it.

2014 was a tough bitch at times. It was full of change. It brought us the greatest happiness ever in the form of our little angel Bettina. It taught us hope and persistence, and the amazing power of prayer and positivity. It presented us with our greatest fears, brought us to tears at times, and made us question what we thought we knew. We progressed in some areas, regressed at others. It made us bang our heads against the wall one day, but made us cry with laughter the day after.

We will end 2014 slightly bruised perhaps, but stronger than ever.

So 2014, thank you. I can’t think how 2015 will top this year, but knowing the little I do about life, I’m sure it will.

Dear friends, seasons greetings to you all! Blog-wise, 2014 was a testing year at times. You all helped me along the bumpy path life led me to at times, and you all cheered our happy events with your sweet words and messages. So thank you friends, all of you near and far, friends and practical strangers. I wish you all the best of the festivities to come. Stay safe x

My sweetheart turned three!

My sweetheart turned three!

The Bump

The Bump

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy :)

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy 🙂

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Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

She's changed so  much in the seven months it's been since the photo's been taken x

She’s changed so much in the seven months it’s been since the photo’s been taken x

The definition of love.

The definition of love.

No Other Way

If I ever thought having one child was time-consuming, I must have not given a thought as to what having two children would be like. Saying that the days are rolling by is an under-statement. My days are starting earlier than usual and from the moment we wake up, the hours just fly by. Between waking C up, preparing her for school, feeding and changing B, taking C to school, taking B out to run errands and shop for the basics (i.e. food), picking C up from school and then handling two children till A comes from work, feeding and washing them and putting them down for naps and sleep, I hardly, if ever, find a moment for myself. Some days are really good and make having two children look like a manageable job. Others start off bad from the morning and go downhill from there. Let’s just say there is no time to get bored in this house.

Cesca seems to have finally settled down. She seems to be enjoying school, she does not stop narrating her whole school-day when she’s home, and she’s learning her first words of Maltese. Her pronunciation is funny I have to admit, and I have to stop myself from laughing when she starts sentences with ‘Ara mama’…’ Luckily she loves her teacher and seems to have found her group of school-friends whom she calls ‘my cousins’. Her ‘best friends’ are Karolin, Giulia and Gabriel, and every morning she wants to wear a hair-band like Giulia, and she wants a Peppa Pig back-pack like Karolin. Yesterday she spent a whole evening laughing about a “Miss Vanilla” and “Megan” Gabriel and herself talk about at school. She has a wild sense of imagination and makes up the most believable of stories, which I only got to verify last Friday when I had her first Parents Day. It seems that Sister Elsa did not cry all morning long because she wanted her dummy and Sister Stella did not want to give it to her. C made that one up.

Bettina is a little blessing. She’s 8 weeks old now and now smiles and makes the most adorable of noises! It seems she already reacts to C’s voice and turns her head whenever she talks to her. Even though she’s young, you can see the connection these two have. I have to hold C back from hugging her too tight, and poor B gets tens of wet kisses every day. Whenever I bathe B, C has to be there, rolling her sleeves and asking for soap. And when she starts crying, I always find C covering her with a blanket (because according to her she’s feeling cold), and asking her ‘Why are you crying Bettina?…Mama’, Bettina wants milk!!’ I can not wait for B to be a bit older only to see them playing and interacting more with each other. And of course, fighting…

On crazy days B will be crying for milk, I will be trying to feed her while taking C to the bathroom. I have become an expert at one-handedness. I can cook, clean and dress with one-hand, whilst holding and feeding B with the other. We have taken both girls to Malta three times, and each visit had its’ own set of stories. A and myself joke that each trip would qualify as an episode for ‘The Crazy Family’ show…somehow always with a happy ending and the four of us all still alive and in one piece.

We are extremely lucky that Cesca has taken to Bettina from the moment she first laid her eyes upon her. So of course, we praise C, we give her rewards, we try and spend alone time with her even though it’s hard with a newborn. But the weather has been good so far, so we take her out for walks with her scooter, we take her out for lunch at her favourite place and we always read her her favourite book, even when we’re dead-tired after a long day and just want her in bed to enjoy some quiet. Because quiet time with two children is practically non-existent. As is a tidy house. And my reading time. And my Bucilla.

So yes, we’re living crazy days. But I can not imagine life being anything other than what it is today. All that makes this life crazy, is what makes it worthwhile and precious.

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“Mama’, I’m stuck”. Again!

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Yes, they’re all sweets!!

Trying to find some frogs.

Trying to find some frogs.

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The baby gym is out! (Remember this Clare?)

The baby gym is out! (Remember this Clare?)

We've started decorating!!

We’ve started decorating!!

Beginnings

We welcomed a new member into our family on the 30th of September. Bettina Lucia was born at 7.50 in the evening, all pink and cuddly and full of that scrumptiousness that newborns seem to have. Just like her sister, she came quick and fast. Actually she came much quicker than her sister, and I’m lucky that A made it to my side with just a couple of minutes to spare before her arrival!

That Tuesday was one of those days where I had a million and one things to do. The day began like any other day. We all woke up, my mother picked C up and I left for work. Since the Friday before we had received some last-minute school news, I had to pop by a school for a meeting after work, and had stationery and shoe-shopping planned for the afternoon. At four I left home to start my errands, and by five I only had C’s shoes left on my list. I agreed to meet up with C and mum at a local shopping centre at 5.30pm, so after pencil and file shopping, I left to walk my way there.

Every pregnant woman imagines what her labour will be like. Will it be short and swift or dragging and painful? And perhaps with a second pregnancy, it is less and more scary at the same time. I knew what was going to happen yet a part of me clanged to the hope that it would all be as fast as C’s birth was. At the same time I knew that this was not necessarily the case. I know of friends whose second labour was nothing like their first. Thoughts of 12+ hours of labour would flash in my mind, and I’d enter into a mini-panic zone. What kept me sane was the thought that God would not give me more than what I could actually handle.

I now laugh at the following part. You can however imagine my embarrassment, panic and shock at having my waters break in a public place. In a shop in a local shopping mall, which is always full of locals. Perhaps it was sheer luck that the shop happened to be nearly empty at the time, and the only witness to my ordeal was the panic-stricken shop assistant who was in a worse state than me and continued asking me whether she should call an ambulance or not. I was in no pain whatsoever and my thoughts were all over the place. Cesca was running around the store totally unaware of her mother’s crazy state. My mum who was waiting for me outside came to ask me why I hadn’t come out yet, and only realised what happened when she saw my face. I was thinking how we were going to get C’s shoes, whether my dress held any evidence of what had just happened, how I had to call A asap and how I still had to label and mark Cesca’s newly-purchased school items. And most of all how I would probably miss C’s first day at school the following day.

The walk to mum’s car seemed like an eternity. I waited there while she took C to buy her shoes. We went home, I had a quick shower, grabbed my things, headed to the hospital and then the pains started. I was super-dilated (8cm by the time the midwife checked me), and by 7pm was ready to start pushing. But I held back, waiting for 7.30pm because I wanted A by my side. Things happened so quick that Bettina was born twenty minutes after he arrived. Two hours after everything started. Talk about fast and furious.

We are now slowly settling in. Life with two children is so different than life with one. There is always someone to check on and always something to do. I am so so lucky to have help from my mother and in-laws. I honestly don’t know how I can do it all alone, and have so much gratitude towards them. I am pleased to report that Cesca is totally besotted with Bettina. From the moment she first came to visit her at the hospital, calling out for ‘my sister’, she has been a real trooper. She helps me with the nappy-changing, sings to her and ‘plays’ with her – though I am super-vigilant with the latter. However as expected, she is playing up at times. She had a tough couple of days dealing with all these changes, and at times blatantly challenges me and her father and does the exact opposite of what we tell her to do. Sometimes she ignores us completely, and thanks to school now comes out with these phrases she never said before. Right now her favourite is calling people ‘silly-Billy’. I bite my tongue and try to be the most patient I can be with her. But exhaustion and impatience do get the best of me at times, and after I sometimes shout at her, the guilt feeling sets in. The guilt feeling every mother seems to be burdened with, even though she tries her best and is always looking out for her own. Whatever I do at times, however I deal with her, I always end up feeling as if I’m lacking her and as if I could do better. I know it’s early days still, and I really can’t complain overall. I just want to be sure and certain that I’m doing the right thing, and, most importantly, that she knows it too.

So we’re all taking it in small steps and one day at a time. We have alone moments with Cesca. We take her to the playground, we read books to her and we dedicate moments to her alone. I don’t want her to feel as if she’s the ‘extra one’, the odd one out, not ever. It is harder than it sounds, especially since a newborn takes up so much of my time. All mummies know how time-consuming babies are, it’s all about them and you spend every minute they’re awake, with them. So it only figures that having a newborn and trying to spend equal if not more time with a young toddler is quite challenging.

But I’m looking at it all positively. We will manage just fine. It’s all about surviving these early days with a positive outlook, and living peacefully with the knowledge that you did your best with love and more love. And believing with hope that those around you, who are closest to your heart, recognise this.

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister :)

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister 🙂

Nesting

I’m in the last days of this pregnancy. I have to say that everything is that bit harder to do now. Getting up off the sofa requires some to-and-fro rocking to gain momentum to raise my bottom upwards. Finding a comfortable position anywhere is impossible and the baby’s kicking-force is something I don’t remember experiencing with C.

I’m think I am now nesting. The baby clothes are washed and ready. C’s school things are nearly done as well. Both events are happening at around the same time, so I’m doing all that I can right now. But I’m a procrastinator, so my hospital bag is not yet done and there are many things which need doing eventually. I’m not stressing myself. Everything will happen, sooner or later.

I can’t promise more regular posts for the time being. If this baby is anything like C, it could arrive next week! I’m just praying that it sees this week out so that A who is away, will return back to The Rock just in time.

Who knows? We were extremely lucky when C arrived, maybe we will be this time also.

In the meantime, thank you everyone for your warm wishes and kind words. This blog has helped me reach out to other mummies, and find comfort in their words, and hopefully they in mine.

Thank you again x

bdaybbq

Last photo of us as a family of three?

Sea-Blue Calm

I have approximately eight and a half weeks left of being pregnant. Maybe because it’s a second pregnancy, maybe because it’s summer and maybe because this time round I’m much more busier than three years ago, the weeks have just flown by. I’m in my third trimester and bar the back aches and swollen ankles (hello cankles!) I am in a happy, serene place. My days are overall calm, my spirit is high and thankfully (for the time being) my nights are serene.

Four doctors and five visits later we have a confirmation about the sex of the baby. This time round the baby was not as co-operative as C was and it took lots of visits and weeks to get a confirmation. With C, we knew as early as our 14-week visit. This time round the baby waited till it was 30 weeks old. Better late than never I guess for someone who likes to plan and organize everything beforehand like me. Don’t go thinking we’re anywhere near ready though. Oh no. We still have no names ready, no hospital bags, no baby apparel, nothing. It may be a repetition of C’s story again. C was born, in my arms and we were still undecided about the name. It was only when we were put on the spot that we made a split-second choice, and luckily enough it was one we never regretted. Her name fits her to a tee.

I’m enjoying this third trimester. It may be very hot and I’m practically energy-less but I’m in good spirits. I’m trying to enjoy C as much as I can and her company is the best one out there. She’s hard-headed and stubborn yet it is what makes her who she is. There’s no beating round the bush with her. If she likes you she will talk to you willingly and happily. But if for some strange reason she does not take a liking to you, she will tell it to you as it is. It is very embarrassing having her tell my friends and strangers alike “I don’t like you” or “I don’t want to talk to you”, but there is nothing I can do. I’m sure every mother out there will understand this. She looks at people and loudly says, “Mama, why is the lady sad? She’s not happy”. I have to then explain to her that just because someone is not laughing out loud does not make them sad. But that is the way her three-year old mind works. When she is happy she giggles, laughs, dances to Mickey Mouse songs and jumps into our arms telling us “I love you” over and over again. When she sees us quiet, she approaches us and asks us “Are you sad mama’? I make you happy?” A yes prompts her to hug us and literally lick our faces off.

She is my happy bunny 🙂

 

It's these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

It’s these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there :)

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there 🙂