It was just Ewan and me here that morning. The sun shone warmly.
I sat outside by myself, allowing the sun to warm my legs. Ewan slept. The washing dried itself on the line in a satisfying manner.
When I looked up into the sky, there was a mass of fairies flying around. (You know, those dainty, flossy, spherical seed carriers). I counted fifty, then stopped as more kept coming. Sometimes they were hard to see against the blue sky (being so dainty), but then the light would catch them and their bright whiteness shone out. They flew surprisingly fast, catching an updraft which seemed to be located directly above our back lawn, or streaming southwards over the house.
Ten minutes later or so, they had mostly disappeared.
A puff of energy in the hottest part of the day - and a very efficient distribution system.
Ewan has now made it to 6 weeks - being 6 weeks early, he is now just past his due date. At almost 3.3 kg, he is a bit bigger than Aidan was when he was born.
Ewan is acting more like a newborn now - waking more often for feeds, starting to fix and follow.
It is a bit odd - you have started something, reached a certain point, then the clock is set to zero and you start again.
Today we went for our 6 week check - all is well. The doctor wrote "thriving little boy" in his Plunket book. (I love it when they write nice things in their books!).
And then there were the injections. Ewan got his done while the doctor was checking me over. He seemed to take it in stride and the only reaction seems to be a bit of lethargy this evening. Aidan had his four year old injections immediately beforehand. He seemed to take this in stride, but one arm has been sore this afternoon and he is a little out of sorts. This is despite Isabelle's lurid descriptions of her injections: "I felt as if the needle went RIGHT IN to the bone, then out the other side!". Afterwards he got to choose a treat. He chose a chocolate "N". Why the N I'm not entirely sure, but he did say that it was the letter at the end of his name.
This was also the first time we had left the house (except for a couple of walks to the post box down the road for me) since our return from hospital. It was good to be out again (although opportunities are slightly limited for a family of six with a five-seater car).
A couple of days ago, I finished reading Charlotte's Web to the older two.
I read to them from my old copy that Mum brought up with her recently. It is battered and old, and the pages are falling off the spine, but no pages are yet missing!
The story was as good as I remembered it. The children seemed to genuinely look forward to the next chapter, and paid attention throughout.
I did wonder how they would cope with the ending. It is probably the first story they have read that doesn't have the all-happy fairytale conclusion. I was interested too to see Aidan's take on it (he is curious about death at the moment, an interest which many four year olds seem to share).
They were quiet as I read the passage about Charlotte's death. Although well foreshadowed, I guess it is hard to imagine that it is actually going to happen. Even though the final chapter lifts the mood, Isabelle said at the end that she felt like crying. Aidan said "Poor Charlotte!". I found it hard to read without my voice wavering.
A day after we had finished, they still couldn't quite believe that Charlotte had died.
This is probably the first time I have read the book as an adult, and as a mother (which makes Charlotte's living on through her children even more poignant). I can now appreciate the skill of the writer on a different level. The theme of death and renewal is throughout the book - from Fern saving Wilbur in the first chapters, through Charlotte saving Wilbur from the reality of life as a farm pig, through Templeton's philosophy of live well, die young, and Wilbur's saving of Charlotte's egg sac (and through these offspring, saving Charlotte herself). Fern grows up and leaves childhood (and her place in the narrative) behind. This is all against the backdrop of the never-ending changing of the seasons, and the resulting farm routines.
It's interesting too that religion is absent from the circle of life and death, possibly because we are dealing with animals, and partly because it is not necessary to understand the key messages and themes. Charlotte lives on because she loved and was loved. That is precious enough.
(I googled E B White after writing this and was interested to see that he also wrote Stuart Little, which I thought was just a movie. The entry on Charlotte's Web is interesting, but just a once-over-lightly).
A child of beauty is a joy for ever: His loveliness increases; he will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A hope of quiet for us, and a sleep More than two hours, with health, and quiet breathing. Therefore, on every morrow, are we feeding In cycles that we’ve done each day from birth Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth Of noble slumber, or the gloomy days, In hospital and o’er darkened ways Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, The child of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. The sons, the daughters Both older, younger, playing in water And mud at home; and then the time will come When baby too will play; and yell for Mum When for themselves a dispute or fight make ‘Gainst one or other; next they then will play Rich with a sprinkling of creative bloom And such too is the grandeur of the rooms We have imagined for our growing crew; All lovely tales which may yet just come true: An endless fountain of immortal love, Pouring unto us from heaven above.
I'm finding it easier now to just forget about sleeping before midnight - it seems worse to turn out the lights, lie down, just get comfortable...then have to get up again three minutes later! Last night wasn't so bad for settling though. Ewan remains unconvinced of the merits of leaving more than three hours between feeds.
Aidan has improved, and is almost ready to resume normal activities.
I think Ewan finally settled for the night at about 4.00 am. I think I may have got about an hour's sleep before this - hard to be sure. And then another three or so before he woke for his morning feed at seven.
Meanwhile, in the room next door, not everything was quiet. Poor Aidan was vomiting in the night. These are the times when I am immensely grateful that there are two adults in the family. Brendon and I would occasionally meet in the hallway or bathroom at some early hour in the morning, one clutching a vomity cotton flat, the other a little bowl of water for nappy changes.
So Orla went to Playcentre by herself this morning with no blood relative (just her nominated caregiver Susan, as she is too young yet to be officially dropped off). She happily said goodbye to me and eagerly trotted off with big sister and Daddy. Apparently she settled well and had a good session. She is now sleeping off her exertions.
Aidan is lying listless on the chair, having had a good sleep. Ewan is also sleeping peacefully (and will probably have to be waken for his next feed!).
Ewan has now reached a mighty 2.7 kg. We have two more weekly weighs with the midwife, then, all going well, we will be transferred to Plunket.
We are now allowed to leave him for one four-hour period at night without waking him for a feed. A three-hour unbroken sleep was much anticipated last night. Ewan settled for the night at around 11.00 - and woke two hours later, then three hours after that, then less than three hours after that....