Month: March 2014

Last milk

The Pip-Pop has weaned himself. One night last week when I offered to nurse him at bedtime he said, ‘Hot!’ and carefully pulled down the lace of my bra with his fat fist. ‘Hot’ which means both hot, and I don’t like it, or I don’t want it. The next night he just pushed me away. The third night (I know, I know!), he bit me. Perhaps it is me he has weaned. Weaned from the pleasure of holding him against me, of gazing down lovingly at his head. Though, truthfully, feeding him was never wholly a pleasure, never without worry in those months before solids when he lost weight, never entirely comfortable as it was in the end with the others, never without the knowledge that I needed to hurry on to the next thing. But to stop feeding him is to stop feeding forever. I’m not good at endings. Rewind to the Biscuit in those first minutes after her birth – her head almost buried in the fullness of my breast. Those first …

All the moons in one night

  …On the gnarled magnolia, in the fog, the blossoms and buds were like all the moons in one night – full, gibbous, crescent… from ‘Telling My Mother’ by Sharon Olds, in Stag’s Leap It was the most perfect spring weekend. A picnic in the New Forest on Saturday, the sun filtering through the trees into sheets of streaming light.  Yesterday, surrounded by running children in the back garden, I looked up at the magnolia & remembered these lines from a poem I read last week. We don’t quite have full moons, but we have the promise that this will be the magical week.

We love: King Jack and the Dragon

Jack, Zac and Caspar were making a den, a mighty great fort for King Jack and his men. A big cardboard box, an old sheet and some sticks, a couple of bin bags, a few broken bricks. My friend A. (who also introduced our family to Dogger) is a wonderful present buyer. Which, now that I’ve written it, sounds like faint praise. But as anyone who’s as frequently stumped by gift-giving as I am knows, it is (if you’ll excuse the pun) a true gift. Anyway, for the Pip-Pop’s first birthday back in November she sent him the perfect book: King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently. Not only is it a fantastic story, it’s irresistibly illustrated by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury, and one of the characters (the one who looks most like him!) has the same name as the Pip-Pop. See – magical gift-giving powers. The story is magical too. Jack and his friends Zak and baby Caspar spend the day in the garden building a den and fighting dragons and monsters. Cue …

Books talking to books

The characters I’m reading about all seem to be doing their own reading. In A Suitable Boy, Lata is reading Emma and Haresh is reading The Mayor of Casterbridge. Sandeep Lahiri, the young Sub-Divisional Officer of Rudia, is reading Howards End. In contrast to these very English choices, Mrs Rupa Mehra recites a passage from the Bhagavad Gita each morning. Decline and Fall (1928) opens with Paul Pennyfeather looking forward to reading another chapter of John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga in bed. Later, Pennyfeather marks his place in a volume of The Golden Bough by Charles Frazer, taking me neatly back to my other reading, The Waste Land (1922), which T.S. Eliot acknowledges is indebted to ‘a work of anthropology…which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough‘. I love these little sparks & frissons; books talking to books. The Biscuit is making her way through Matilda for about the sixth time, which reminded me of the wonderful list of books that the four-year-old Matilda reads under the ‘watchful and compassionate’ eye of Mrs Phelps the …