Belatedly, here were my reflections as the clocked ticked over into 2011. Just getting it all written down before the end of January (p.s. for those of you wondering if our Christmas card to you got lost in the mail...erm, no, it didn't. We just didn't manage to do them this year!)
I have really felt quite sad to see the end of "twenty-ten"; for me 2011 signals my return to the corporate world, and I guess I feel a bit shocked and saddened to say goodbye to the year "my little baby" was born. I know that one of the things I was quite worried about with having a second child was being able to love him or her as much as I did Blake. Incredibly, it's just nature's way that you muster up more love than that you thought you could give, and I've acutely felt that Noah is "my baby" as opposed to "the baby", and that now that we're into a new year, "our year" has now ended. The number of times recently where I've just held him really tightly and kissed his downy head...I hope he knows that although I haven't always been able to give him my all this year, I have done my best.
January was cold, and even colder in our new but very old house. We got snow which was fun to walk around in; we explored our new neighborhood amidst the white stuff. We had the heating on almost constantly, which was particularly useful at 5:17 in the morning, which seemed to be Blake's preferred time of day to wake up. We wondered and wondered about how to make him sleep later, but finally we gave up and were grateful when CBeebies finally came on air at 6:00 am.
In February we celebrated Blake's birthday with a trip to the Transport Museum. He was two, and he was often quite terrible, but was generally charming, very talkative and funny. I got bigger, and more tired, and I was sometimes relieved to back into the office after my day "off" just so I could recover a bit from the physical exhaustion of chasing after Blake for an entire day. In the meantime I was trying to get into a hypno frame of mind related to my upcoming labor; we were too tired in the evenings to do the exercises, and the relaxation cd fulfilled its purpose - although basically it just made me fall asleep while listening to it.
Anna and I compared notes in the early weeks of March, and we were thankful and happy for the arrival of Joseph toward the end of the month.
April finally came, and I finally felt as ready as I'd ever be to be a mother of two. Good thing, since "BLT" made his way into the world on the 9th, one day past his due date and playing the leading role in the drama of his birth. And what drama it was, but a glorious and wondrous day; the soundtrack to which would be Blake's excited shouts when we brought the baby home: "That's my brother, that's my brother!" as both Grannies were there to greet us. For several days after his arrival he was just "Brother Lyons," but eventually he became Noah. Bet they could use him out in Queensland right now.
After I finally stopped saying, "He just flew out," I couldn't believe that our order for a "sleeper" had been received by the powers in charge of these things. He slept so much, that I eventually started to get a tiny bit worried. He wasn't sleeping through the night or anything like that, but I did manage to paint a small bedroom while he just snoozed in his bouncy chair. Given that it was the first time I'd ever painted a room, it took me a while; it was an awfully long snooze.
I got used to living life on two floors. It was quite different having to go up and down the stairs in the house after being on one level in our flat. I tried to stay positive and told myself I was grateful for the exercise. The ol' bod wasn't quite the same after baby number 2; probably never will be, in all honesty. I made the classic new mother mistake of thinking I could fit into my normal jeans sometime around June. Mmm, waistband says no!
I felt guilty about sending Blake off to pre-school while Noah and I larked about, but I told myself he needed the routine and that he needed me to not have them both for 5 days in a row. I'll always be grateful that I had some time with Noah to myself; and I'll equally probably regret not having Blake around more during such a unique and special time in his life. I've now learned that I can never win. My friend Mel had told me that having two children was easier in some ways, because with two they would definitely have to share your time, and you could lose that feeling of needing to be everything to one person. I get where she was coming from, but it took me many months not to feel like I had to still be everything to everyone. I'm still working on that one, in fact.
We celebrated Bishy's 70th birthday in May, and the cousins enjoyed meeting each other. Although we missed our flight, we eventually got to Clinton in June, and Blake had a ball. With Granny Karla and Grandpa John by his side, he became the most frequent visitor to the Clinton Beach playground - "Shall we go to the swings, Granny Karla?".
The summer here was lovely and hot, and we got to know our new neighborhood and all the parks and things to do in it. We made lots of new acquaintances, some of whom turned into friends. England's World Cup campaign was a pretty big disappointment, and the US didn't win either, so it wasn't a great result for any of our nationalities. I loved the summer, and having our outdoor space, because it meant my laundry dried more quickly. I sometimes wondered if I might be the first person to drown in laundry...
All the while, Noah just loved watching what his big brother did, but he stopped watching when it came to the lessons about sleeping through the night. He just wasn't interested in that, evidently. I kept thinking that we should have cracked it much earlier, but Noah turned out to be as bad, if not worse, than Blake in terms of sleep. The little monkey!
September saw the first of hopefully many "urban family" holidays, when we headed off to the south of France with Teams Anderson-Kilner, Cook and Pendse. It is fun to think of the kids growing older, more aware, and crucially - more independent and able to play in their own company! - in the years to come. It was very relaxing, but also tiring; I'm not used to staying up so late during our vacations, and the kids saw no reason to sleep in just because we were on a break. No doubt we have some fun holidays ahead with them and other urban family members.
Noah was baptised in October, at our new church, All Saints. He was a little saint during the service and made us so proud. Blake and Emma attempting to sing along to the hymns with hymnals in hand was also pretty sweet.
In November I learned that I would not, as I had at one point in my life previously harbored secret hopes to, become the future Queen of England. I quickly got over it as I learned that we would get an extra day off this year for the wedding. I do think that Kate Middleton is very beautiful and totally deserving of the role, so I wish her and William a very happy life together.
December brought more cold weather, Blake's first nativity play, and of course, more sleepless nights for Noah. The poor kid hasn't had curtains in his room since we had the windows replaced in August, and I have spent many nights staring out of his window on to our peaceful little street at stupid-o'clock in the morning. The neighbors across the way had a baby in September, and since then I've at least felt some comfort and solidarity when I see some of their lights on at 2:30 in the morning as well. This time of course I know the sleepless nights will - eventually - end. Please let them end. Soon. Tonight, even?!
We spent a white Christmas at Bishy's and then soon after the countdown to the new year was on. Part of me thinks, "Where did the year go?!" and the other part of me reminds myself, "Don't you remember, you were doing laundry."
I'm sure my memory fails me somewhat and that the above snippets hardly do justice to the year. Along the way we thought about our plans for what we'll do to the house, we celebrated weddings and birthdays and new arrivals, we (ok, Matt) worked in the garden, and I among other things, tried to remember to enjoy the time with Noah and Blake. After all, I'll never get time like this again, and there will always be laundry to do. Happy New Year!