Well, then. This isn't going too well. I am itching to write something, anything, but every time I sit down and actually have the time to do it, I am overwhelmed by how much there is to say. So I say nothing at all. Not that I have any particularly exciting news, or any groundbreaking discoveries to share - quite the opposite. Aside from the fact that July involved a lot of travelling, my life still revolves around the usual things - providing Esther with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, clean clothes, warm baths, and an assortment of fun and interesting excursions and play opportunities. The usual mothering things.
Nevertheless, every day is filled with little moments that I really don't want to forget. So for now, I want to make sure I share seven of them with you - whoever you might be.
1. We've done a lot of flying in the last month. London - Boston - Chicago - Boston - London - Helsinki - London. That's a lot of airmiles, and jet lag, for anyone to deal with, never mind a two-year old. But Esther coped beautifully, thanks to an assortment of snacks, a DVD player with Peppa Pig and seven hundred trillion little animal stickers which she stuck to any available surface. I was proud of her. But the moment that stayed in my mind came just after witnessing her squeal with delight as the plane hurtled down the runway, shuddered and groaned and finally lifted into the air ("What's THAT!!!???", she giggled.) She peered out of the window as we climbed higher, and higher, and higher. Eventually she turned around and looked at me. "Mamma," she said, "look. The clouds have fallen down!".
2. When we were in Finland, we had a lovely time, as always. My whole family was there - parents, brothers, girlfriends. Everyone is crazy about Esther and there was always someone there to read a book, kick a ball or play a confusing toddler version of of MasterMind. She had all the love and attention that she could possible want, and she enjoyed it - but she missed her dad. A lot. I'm ashamed to say that I was surprised, initially. I hadn't really thought about the fact that it had been a year since she was last apart from Dave for more than a night, and I must admit that it hadn't occurred to me that she would feel so strongly about it. I know she loves her dad, but I figured that she'd have me, and the rest of my family, and so she probably wouldn't even notice. I was wrong.
The first three days, she asked after him every morning, and here and there during the day. "Where's my daddy? Where's Esther's daddy? When's my daddy coming?". On the fourth day, she must have decided that I didn't understand who she meant, because she shot me a somewhat stern look and said "Mamma, WHERE is the one whose name is Dave?"
Luckily, we were able to Skype every day, and she spent those sessions in a somewhat manic state of delight, attempting to show off her piano playing skills and her very fast running, simultaneously. If I tried to get a word in, she would suggest that I go and sit on the chair "over there" because "Esther's talking now, NOT mamma." Aha.
When we got back, she was literally running next to the luggage trolley, and threw herself into Dave's waiting arms in what can only be described as a classic airport tearjerker moment. I fully expected all the grumpy taxi drivers, sour-looking girlfriends, swarming Sikh families and bleary-eyed airline crews to break into a unanimous AAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!!! but of course they didn't. Bastards. They clearly don't recognize a Kodak moment when they see one, but I did. And I was delighted that my little girl is so besotted with her dad.
3. Esther has been out of nappies for a good few months now, and it's going well. Even with jet lag and travelling, we usually manage with just one accident a week, or less. Having said that, we experienced a bit of a set back a couple of days ago, when we suddenly had four accidents in 24 hours. Unpleasant. I assumed it was because we'd only just got back from Finland and Esther was feeling a little unsettled, so I decided it was time to provide a bit of an incentive again. I brought out the chocolate buttons, but then I also told Esther that it makes me very happy when she wees on the potty. For some reason, this seemed to stick in her mind. She sat down, and when she had finished she grinned at me. "Now you're happy!" she declared. I hugged her and said that yes, I was very happy. "Me too!," she smiled, with her big, toothy, exaggerated todder-grin. "We are both happy now!". And we were.
Yawn. I am tired now. The rest of the seven will have to follow tomorrow.