On Thursday 26th March at 6.39am, we welcomed little Jacob Peter into our family. He was 40 weeks and 4 days when he was born and weighing a very healthy 9lb 2oz.
Jacob was born in the first week of lockdown due to the Corona virus outbreak. It has been so strange that no-one outside our family has met him yet and he is already 5 weeks old! We are trying to focus on the positive side, like not having to leave the house with a newborn (especially for the school run!). It has been so nice not to have to rush anywhere and just be with Jacob and enjoy him. He is getting so many hugs and kisses from Benedict, Rose and Clara. He is incredibly loved!
We were very blessed to have my sister stay with us while we were waiting for Jacob’s arrival – this is becoming a tradition when I am about to give birth… and we are so grateful!! The schools closed the same week Jacob was born and so my sister took it upon herself to homeschool Benedict and Rose – how lucky we have been!
The Covid-19 outbreak also meant that Eoin wasn’t allowed into the hospital until I was in established labour. So from 2.30am until 5.30am, I was alone in a hospital room and Eoin was sitting outside in his car in the hospital car park while I called him on FaceTime. It was the most surreal experience. Once I got into the delivery suite, everything went fine and we had the nicest midwife who reminded me of Miranda Heart! We left the hospital that evening and Jacob was greeted by some very excited siblings.
Clara is 10 months today and this picture sums her up completely…
She is so full of life, fun, happiness and smiles. I love how at 10 months she’s managed to form beautiful relationships with Benedict and Rose. They can’t get enough of her – Rose knows to get Clara a rattle when she’s tired of being in the car, and Benedict knows exactly what faces to pull to get a giggle! She fits in so wonderfully with our family and I can’t believe we’ve only known her for 10 months.
I have been decluttering my phone and sorting out my notes and reminders ready for a new year, and I came across a bible verse I’d saved on my phone in August 2014 – Matthew 25: 35-36 (the corporal works of mercy)
I’d saved it in my notes under ‘motherhood’and it was something I really needed to be reminded of I think:
I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to see me.
So fitting for us mothers; for us to be reminded that every ‘task’ we do for our little ones is a work of mercy… Also very fitting for this year of mercy!
Rose will be four months on the 8th December… already! The time has really flown by and yet it is as if she has always been there.
I have been very lucky with this one – she’s been one of those easy babies that I used to envy when Benedict was a baby! She’s a good sleeper at night and she spends most of the day either in her bouncy chair or kicking away on the rug. I’ve been there with the difficult baby so I know how lucky I am!
Her relationship with Benedict is really growing too. Benedict is so fond of her and he copies the way we speak to her which is really cute. He teaches her things too, for example he’ll turn to her in the buggy and say: “Look, Rose – a nee-nah car!” The funniest one which made me laugh out loud was when I was changing Benedict’s nappy, and Rose was lying nearby and he turns his head to her with all sincerity in his voice and says: “Look, Rose – poo” and he points to the nappy I’m changing! So that’s what big brothers are for…
He loves having Rose in the bath too… I’ve found its a really good way for them to “bond”.
I think Rose will learn pretty quickly how to be a tough cookie as Benedict is not the most delicate when it comes to babies… But then what 2 year old boy is?! He wants to play rough and tumble with her on the floor, and I sound like a broken record when I hear myself say “she’s too young for that!” over and over again.
I’ve found it’s a real balancing act knowing when to let him “show his love for her” and when he might actually hurt her. I don’t want to be always hovering over the two of them telling him to be more gentle! So I find myself watching from a distance out of the corner of my eye. But it’s so nice to know he’s actually interested in her, and to see him interact with her in a real older brother way.
I was at Mass with B last week, and it was a rare quiet occasion where I could stay for a bit of Adoration afterwards. Benedict joined in happily singing “O sacrament most holy” and then carried on walking up and down the pew (I’ve started to take his shoes off in Mass because he enjoys the loud noise his shoes make on the wooden floor far too much!).
After a while, B was increasingly getting louder and more adventurous, so I thought it was probably time to go. I went to pick him up and as we were leaving the pew, he said so clearly and out of the blue: “bye bye Jesus”! My heart just melted. I realised at that point that Benedict already has his own relationship with Jesus, and that the Mass isn’t just something for me that I bring Benedict to, but the Mass is something just as much for him too! I also realised just how precious Benedict is in God’s eyes and how much He longs for Benedict too.
Eoin, B and I spent Easter this year with my parents which was really special. We saw Good Friday through to Easter Sunday at their parish where dad deacons, and the Triduum was really beautiful there; it could never get old or tiresome!!
We had just come out of the Easter Vigil and Eoin whispered to me that his sister Maria had just gone into labour – her due date was 10 days after Easter! We were so surprised and excited – what better time in the whole year than to give birth at Easter! Baby Francis Joseph was born rather quickly in the early hours on Easter Sunday.
We went to visit them on Wednesday and wow is he absolutely TINY!! Benedict is definitely no baby now! It’s so easy to forget how small and fragile new borns are; compared to Benedict, holding Francis was like holding air!
It wouldn’t be a real baby visit if Eoin hadn’t put something on Francis’ head…
Such a beautiful new family!
There have been days this winter where I’ve just absolutely longed for the summer again! It seems like a distant memory now; being able to take Benedict to the park in shorts and t-shirt and letting him run wherever he pleased, while I sat with the other mums soaking up the sun with an iced-coffee! Instead, I’ve been putting off “outside-play” because it means chasing after a head-strong 18 month old who would rather wade through deep puddles of squishy mud than play in a nice, dry cornered-off tarmac bit in the playground!
My mum’s advice, after dutifully listening to my moaning over the phone, was pretty much: If you can’t beat the weather (or an 18 month old), join them. So I did… I ordered a puddle suit and some wellies and sucked it up and let Benedict have his fun!!
Unfortunately these photos aren’t great… I think B was just having too much fun to keep still for a photo!
Gleefully destroying a mole hill like a real boy! And beautiful hat too – made by Nana!
Some nicer pictures of the country park
As is pretty normal for me now, realisations about things come to me when I’m doing something with B. Yesterday, we were watching ‘In The Night Garden’ before B went to bed. It’s his favourite programme, and his only one really, which is probably why he gets so excited about it! After his bath, he sings the first three notes of the theme tune! It’s really cute.
I was sitting next to Benedict, head down and busy on my phone, catching up with emails and messages from the day. When B started to make some excited noises I looked up and he was looking at me, grinning and pointing eagerly at Makka Pakka (one of the characters). His face expressed everything, he wanted to share with me the real joy he was feeling; it wasn’t enough for him to enjoy it on his own.
This made me think back to the confirmation session we had in our parish earlier in the week about the Trinity (more in an upcoming post); we talked about how God is three Persons and yet one Being, and that the love they share with one another is so great that it overflows for us to receive it – God wants us to share in his joy. And because God has made us in his image, we have that same desire – it’s not enough for us to live and enjoy our lives on our own.
I know it probably seems like a simple thought, but I think through Benedict’s innocence and purity, it just struck home how much its in our nature to live in a relationship with other people.
How humbling – Benedict, seemingly dependent and helpless at 16 months, has shown me so clearly our likeness to the Trinity!
Its been a long time since I’ve written anything! There aren’t too many changes in our daily life, but it seems like Benedict continues to grow even faster each day.
As for B’s latest craze, it’s books… It’s always story-time these days! I should be over the moon about this, and I am really. But sometimes it can get just a bit too much! After reading the same book so many times you don’t need the book any more to read it, it’s quite difficult to keep up the enthusiasm!
A few days ago, when Benedict was following me around with his book in his hand and making the noise which means “read to me, read to me!” an image randomly came into my head – it was the sign that Fr Alexander had up in his sacristy at St Patrick’s:
Celebrate this Mass as if it is your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass
I think it was Mother Teresa who originally said it. And it really struck me – I know reading a book isn’t the same as celebrating the Mass, but I thought, actually yes – I need to read this book as if it was Benedict’s first book, last book, and only book that I read to him. I know Mother Teresa spoke often about doing small things with great love, and motherhood is slowly showing me the reality of this.
So whether I’m reading to B, preparing his meal, dressing him, bathing him, picking him up, or changing his nappy, I need to stop my groaning thoughts, and see these tasks for what they really are, an opportunity to love.
Mother Teresa and Housewives – The Road to Holiness is a really short but inspiring article for all wives and mums!
Five months have passed since I started this blog, and at that time Benedict had only just started to crawl… Now he’s more active than ever – he tries to climb anything that is potentially climbable; he’ll run for the stairs whenever he gets the opportunity, and the tantrum that follows is inevitable if I dare to take him away!
He’s also just started to walk properly; still wobbly and gets frustrated when he falls (understandably!), but he’ll walk from room to room quite happily. It’s funny to watch him walk out the room as if he’s had enough of our company and has decided to go in search of something more exciting!
6 things B loves doing at the moment…
- He’s discovered how to blow raspberries, and impressively loud and wet ones at that! I think my laughter just spurs him on, so when he’s had enough I’m absolutely soaking!
- He loves playing with his Noah’s Ark figures, and makes noises for them as he moves them along the floor… It is so so cute!!!
- Blowing kisses and waving at passers-by.
- Giving high-fives!
- B’s in the habit at the moment of screaming an ear-piercingly high-pitched scream to get more food… not so cute.
- But he’ll come up to me, tap me on the leg and make a very innocently quiet “tup tup tup” noise to tell me he’s thirsty (I have no idea why he can’t do that when he’s hungry too…).
Very serious business – blowing raspberries:
Busy playing with Noah’s Ark: