Walking down the street on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it surprisingly took me a good ten minutes to clock Charlie’s latest outfit choice…
Returning home, he then broke his mother’s heart by attempting to cut his own hair..(you can imagine..I’m still recovering)..but strangely enough, he found out exactly where the sartorial boundaries lie…
Laters, Kate x
Inevitably, in Edinburgh we went shopping – not so much for me mind you, but for the kids..and in particular Charlie..
Our first stop was Zara – Eagle-eyed Bella spotted a dress there..and given she’s a girl that never wears dresses it was nothing short of a miracle and a slam dunk purchase; Grandma said she’s buy it for her birthday in October but she was allowed to wear it to the party. Then she spotted a sky blue cardigan and matching hat..I succumbed in a hazy cloud of steam train nostalgia……she looked like something straight out of the Railway Children..
Then Charlie piped up…’But I want a fluffy cardigan too’ ‘Do you really?’ I asked, ‘Shall we check out the boys department?’..’But I want that one’ he said, pointing to a girl’s navy blue version…so I thought, why not?
And he looked so fab! It’s not like he’s effeminate – I couldn’t care if he was – but the truth is he makes these choices (necklaces, rings..and neon pink toe nails this summer complete with gems!) and is still masculine which is part of what really makes me smile..it’s his ability to happily go beyond societies invisible boundaries and just not care.
We walked into another shop – and Charlie made a bee-line for a pink faux fur coat with grey leopard print…there are many times in life where you really have to think about what you want for your kids. My golden rules is I want them to have the confidence, freedom – composure even, to be themselves and follow their own path no matter what..
So I told him to try it on…and hand on heart – he looked edible (I have no picture – I had no batterie left. It’s a regret) – but more men need/should wear faux fur – yet I knew there was an invisible line that would be crossed if we purchased it, and I had to make sure he was up for it – the last thing you want is for your child to be ridiculed, particularly for being such a sparkling treasure….I pointed out the coat had a hood – and the hood had bears ears..was he happy with that? He seriously considered the matter and then said he felt the ears were a bit childish…
Was I relieved? No – because he did look inherently cool – I would’ve bought the coat for him; his little sips of rebellion are like a glowing light. My only real worry is that I have to celebrate this flamboyance now. I’m realistic: Peer pressure and life will do it’s best to temper and conform his eccentricities. My wide-eyed five year old may proudly wear a fluffy girl’s cardigan or a fur coat that my worldly-wise ten year old son might not..
So for now, I’ll revel in the confidence he has to be himself – I’ll treasure his energy: smart and unique with a chameleon mind and no pigeon-holed attitude that I just wish I could bottle forever.
The truth is I can only hope with all my heart he continues to have fun: I can’t care if he sings like a bird of paradise or becomes defiantly average because ultimately it’ll all be his choice…but I’ll always have the memories of the day in Edinburgh when he tried on a girls pink faux fur coat with grey leopard print..and we both clapped with glee…
It makes you think: Just imagine what the world would be like if we weren’t all so afraid…
Laters, Kate x
Today is Charlie’s fifth birthday and running underneath his uncontained excitement and joy are my own feelings of relief and wonder. His birth represents the end of a close on ten year hard fought for battle to complete our little family.
It took us a long, long road to have our Bella (over 6 years, 7 miscarriages and after all that, she was an IVF baby) But when she arrived we were finally given the mantle ‘parents’. To have a second child would be the final icing – if there was any possibility I wanted her to have a companion, someone to spread and share the love, to be there with her when we became old, someone to love her like we did.
When she reached 18 months nothing had happened pregnancy-wise (we had hoped her birth might kick things into gear again..I was sure I stopped falling pregnant because of the psychological kick-back of the losses) so we made plans and turned to IVF again. I still remember feeling like a fraudulent leper walking into the Infertility Clinic holding hands with my toddler. I desperately wanted to hang a sign around her neck saying ‘IVF baby – honestly, I’ve earnt her’.
The Gods were smiling – despite a small number of eggs yet again, all were good quality and the treatment worked first time. Much to our astonishment and delight I was pregnant with twins. We were ecstatic. Except it wasn’t meant to be. Despite being on the magic cocktail of drugs that gave us Bella (Heparin, aspirin and steroids) when we went for our next scan, there were no heartbeats. I’ll never forget the the nurse saying ‘This is so rare. It really shouldn’t happen to both, they’re in separate sacs.’ I had to go into hospital for a D&C. I remember they wanted me to take my wedding ring off. I refused saying they were taking enough and just to cover it with surgical tape.
I was so utterly devastated. It was one of the lowest points I can ever remember. You’d think we’d be used to it, but coming after Bella, it was such a body blow… IVF takes such time and emotional commitment – the whole process is so fraught with dangers and knock backs that it seems as if you’ve been pregnant for months rather than weeks. We really thought we’d cracked the miscarriage problem and had prayed we’d never, ever have to face the trauma of it ever again.
Holding a glass of ouzo the day of the mirror
The following month we headed to Greece to get away from everything and have a holiday. And then something truly incredible happened: I fell pregnant naturally – and literally knew straight away. But how could I? I gave myself a strong talking to in the bathroom mirror – stop grasping at straws, don’t ruin the holiday for the others, stop dreaming, your cycle’s up the creek, move on – Whenever I’d been pregnant (Sooooo many times before) I’d feel sick after one sip of alcohol..but look, I could still drink ouzo… The first weekend after we got back to the UK we travelled to see the in-laws. I was handed a glass of white wine…and I knew it was true.
(Photo by the wonderful Alexandra Joseph)
It was such a bitter sweet time…I hadn’t fallen naturally pregnant in over five years…the joy of hope..the trauma of fearing the worst again. I went back on the drugs as soon as I could..and then it was a matter of waiting. All I can say is that to reach 12 weeks the seconds ticked by like hours..
(Photo by Alexandra Joseph)
But Charlie was meant to be – though he didn’t make it easy..I had notches on my umbilical cord so I remained on daily heparin injections until my 30th week – I looked like a regular abuser. Then I got pre-eclampsia so he was finally delivered 2 weeks early by C-Section at what seemed a tiny five and a half pounds..but he was with us, he was alive – he was an absolute little miracle.
And now to see us as a family together, you’d never know..you’d just think..my….they’re lucky…
(Photo by Alexandra Joseph)
And we are.
Laters, Kate x