from mother to daughter

Dearest Hannah – Happy 6th Birthday!

To my dearest, darling Hannah,

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The cold days of Winter have come to an end and with them so has your birthday. My winter blossom, already 6 and growing up magically before my eyes, blooming into a young girl with her own ideas, thoughts, questions and wonderings. You are creating your own story Hannah darling, and I am so grateful to be on this path with you. Even though you rarely reach for my hand anymore, I hope you always know I am here for you today, and every day, forever.

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You’ve matured so much this year. There have been many changes and adjustments to make, from welcoming a new sibling, to moving house and you have accepted it all with an understanding and wisdom far beyond your years. You have been helpful, considerate, patient, kind, loving and thoughtful when I needed you most. Being the eldest is not the easiest of roles Hannah – believe me! – but just as I know you chose your birth order, I know that you have the ability to make the most of this time, even when it is challenging. So thank you, for being my most devoted assistant and responsible leader of the pack with Blake and Daisy. I hope in the future, these character traits will serve you abundantly.

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This year, we walked the talk and committed to unschooling. We went against the grain – as we’re prone to do – and you have flourished. Watching you learning every day, delighting in all the wonders of life, humbles me. Your dedication to yourself, to your own learning adventure is inspiring and seeing you confidently attempt and succeed in all manner of tasks is pure joy to your Daddy and I. We love seeing you so comfortable and free. Free to be yourself, to make choices, to take risks, and to begin to navigate this journey of life.

I thought I’d add a list of things you’ve been interested in and/or learned to do this past year for you to look back on. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, you do this and much more every day but these stood out –
learning to blow up a balloon; teaching yourself to hula-hoop;  horse-riding; taking a term of gymnastics classes; learning about countries and flags and general geography; teaching yourself to tie knots; choosing to have your ears pierced; so many home science and art projects; learning circus skills; attempting crochet; a deep interest in evolutionary theory, what happens when people die and the wonders of the universe; gardening; your ever growing interest in the human body; you lost your first tooth; your passion for writing has only increased and your mathematical skills are growing ever sharper; you participated in a television commercial and you spent more time immersed in nature than ever before.  You’ve covered this and more and wow, we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

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Your star shines bright Hannah. It’s obvious to me that your purpose here is beyond anything I could have imagined, guiding us to think about our lives differently than what we did before. You inspire me with your passionate nature, your willingness to jump in and give everything a go and even though I try to think of words that perfectly describe who you are, I just can’t. You can’t be put into a box or a category, you’re above that. My whole world changed during my pregnancy with you and the last 6 years have spun me 180 degrees. Life is different for us because of you and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re truly a beautiful soul and I can’t wait to get to know you even better in the coming year, and hear more of your thoughts on this wonderful world we live in.

Hannah. I love you. I hope your 6th year is just as amazing as you.

Love Always,
Mama xx

Naming Daisy

Daisy was never in my fantasy childrens names list. I would have been really surprised if someone had told me five years ago that I would have a daughter named Daisy one day. Not because it’s not a beautiful name but just because it had never spoken to me in a way other names did. But just like when I dreamt about Hannah before she was conceived and when I knew Blake was a boy even though the ultrasound said he was a girl, Daisy made herself known to me and worked her way into my consciousness a long time before I felt her sweet kicks and bumps in my belly.

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It all started in January 2012, when quite literally the name Daisy just popped into my head. We were trying for another baby and thinking about baby names is a favourite pastime of mine but this seemed a bit too girly and sweet to me. I decided to see what Brian thought of it – completely assuming he would dislike it – and I hoped his reaction would dissuade me. Straight away he said he it was a great name.

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Soon, I began noticing signs… little things that made Daisy a prominent feature in my mind every time I tried to put her to the back of my mind. I began to imagine that I would have another little girl, that this was the spirit of that baby making herself known to me. I began to feel comforted by these little signs and know it was her way of saying to me she was getting ready to come into our lives.

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I began to see the name Daisy in department stores, in movies, photographs and linked in blogs. This happened over and over for a couple of months in mid-2012 and then it seemed to slow down. Around the time of Blake’s birthday in October we decided that since we hadn’t fallen pregnant we would go overseas with my family and we started to make preparations for that. Literally that same week, I had a dream that I was 3 weeks pregnant with a baby girl after not having a baby related dream for a long time. My heart began to ache for this new baby that I now had to wait many more months to meet as I knew we would not be trying to conceive again until we come back from overseas.

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A few days after that dream, we were all getting ready to go out and the kids were bundled in the car with Brian when I went back into our little cottage to quickly sweep some crumbs that the kids had dropped by the doorway so ants didn’t come in while we were gone. As I was doing this, a ladybug landed on my arm. I stared at it and I felt goosebumps. I just knew it was another sign. The lady bug stayed for a minute and then flew off. When I got into the car I mentioned it to Brian straight away, I knew something had just happened . Later that day I opened my Instagram  account and the first photo I saw was of a Daisy flower with a ladybug sitting atop it…

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When we found out we were pregnant less than 2 months later, Brian immediately told me, “Our Daisy is on her way.” and I didn’t doubt it for a second. We just knew this was the child, this was the other member of our family who was coming into our world. I still had hesitations about naming her Daisy though. I felt as though she had named herself instead of us choosing a name for her as we had done with her siblings. I was worried we would make the wrong decision. After another conversation where I rattled off a handful of other names, Brian asked me if I could imagine her name being anything other than Daisy and I knew that I could not. Friends who I had told about my ‘daisy signs’ all had the same reaction when I told them I was pregnant “It’s your Daisy coming to you!” they said and I knew they were right. It was a really nice feeling, like we all knew a little secret that noone else understood.

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When it came to choosing her middle name, for a long time it was going to be Juliet. But our other children’s middle names have a family significance and I knew I wanted to try to find a name for Daisy that did too. Brian’s grandmother, his mother and my mum all have names beginning with ‘M’ so I was initially searching for M names. One night as I tossed and turned in bed with my swollen belly I jumped bolt upright when I remembered  I had always liked the name Emmeline. I quickly googled the meaning and was thrilled to find it meant ‘Hard working’ which seemed perfect as Daisy means ‘The day’s eye’ which always reminds me of dawn. I had a strong feeling Daisy would be born in the early morning so her name meaning hard work at dawn seemed perfect and  the strong M sound worked in with the family significance. I woke Brian up excitedly and let him know I had found the middle name that very moment!

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Each of my children has stretched me and my beliefs and understanding of that womanly intuition. Daisy stretched it the furthest just as she was meant to, and I let her. I let her take me on this journey and I know that her name – although it seems such a small part of her – will always have a big meaning to me and be a part of her story that I will love to share with her when she is grown.

{Photography of Daisy at her newborn photo-shoot at 2 weeks old by Documenting Delight}

Dearest Daisy – Six Month Update

Happy half-birthday baby girl!!!

I’m shaking my head sitting here typing this because I just can’t believe you’re already 6 months old. Time simply MUST slow down!

This month you began rolling straight over onto your belly every time you were placed on your back. For the first week or two you thought this was great and you were kept entertained for quite a while but soon you began to squeal as soon as you went onto your tummy as you had forgotten how to get back onto your back. You were like a stranded little beatle, you lifted your legs and arms up so you were just balancing on your tummy and you screamed until someone picked you up! In the last few days you have become more comfortable on your front again as you have realised you can begin to try to reach for toys and you have attempted to get your knees up in your first tries at crawling. You’re probably still at least a month away from full crawling but that is fine with me – it’s certainly not my favourite baby stage!

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You began having a few tastes of food this past month, simple things like avocado and sweet potato. We’re doing BLW again so although we didn’t intend to feed you puree Hannah expressed an interest in feeding you from a spoon so she fed you apple puree about 2 weeks ago. You ate about two teaspoons worth but then spent the rest of the afternoon chucking up constantly. I knew this was not normal for you and a friend suggested a fructose intolerance so we’ve decided to stay away from certain fruit for another month or so and try again when you’re a little older.

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We finally moved you out of your moses basket (cue tears from me!) and side-cared the cot next to our bed. You transitioned really well and actually began putting yourself to sleep a lot of the time. I’ve written before that you don’t often like to feed to sleep, and either your daddy used to walk you or we used to bounce you in the bouncer but now I can put you in your wrap after your feed into the cot and you will roll around until you fall asleep. That has meant that you’ve found your tummy and you have slept on your belly quite a few times. However you recently had your first illness so all of that has gone out the window and since your nose is blocked it’s better for you to sleep on your back.

You have been waking up quite a bit at night, probably every 2-3 hours on average but sometimes giving you your dummy is enough to get you back to sleep or a quick feed will always do it. You still occassionally do longer stretches so I am confident that in a couple of months when the big developmental leaps of sitting and crawling are out of the way, we can work together to get you sleeping a few longer stretches. Though I know this stage will pass all too quickly as well. It’s nice having you next to me in the cot though. I love watching you sleeping and being the first to see those gorgeous smiles  in the morning.

You’re such a smiley baby, you just love people, and all someone has to do is to look into your eyes and you will almost always give them a big smile! In the mornings when you first see Hannah and Blake you smile as big as you possibly can and you chuckle a little and I just can’t stop myself laughing at the sight of it! It is a really nice way to wake up in the morning. Your bond with your older siblings is just growing stronger by the day. They love talking, playing with and cuddling you and you are really enjoying all the loving now instead of resisting it as you used to do when you were a bit smaller.

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So we are now in the second 6 months of your first year. You are going to get more interactive and more independent and we are going to see more and more of your personality develop. I am looking forward to everything yet to come but I have to admit I am grieving those early baby days and how quickly they seem to have slipped away. You’re just gorgeous Daisy, thank you for the last 6 months of love and joy, we’re incredibly grateful for your presence in our family <3.

Love, Mama xx