All posts tagged: the biscuit

The Hare

It’s been a strange week. The Biscuit came out of school last Friday into a flooded playground and rising uncertainty. Despite the amazing efforts of the staff and the wider community, the youngest children now won’t be going back to school until March, and then it will be to a temporary ‘new’ school housed within the grounds of another school. Meanwhile, the waters on the main road to the Moose’s pre-school rose & rose. By Wednesday morning the road was closed and we were becoming rather too familiar with some very narrow single-track lanes, come-streams, leading up into the hills and round. Nearer to home, the water that has flooded the school is now visible from our windows. We’re up a slight incline and safe for now, but at this point it feels like all bets are off. Storm after storm – much like the one I can hear shaking the roof now – is forecast. Whole communities are already submerged. But, for the moment at least, I’m just glad that we’re all safe – …

The stack

A lovely weekend. B’s birthday & we milk it for all it’s worth: dinner out on Friday; the first picnic of the year (yes, really! see the blue sky & sun in the photos!) at an Iron Age hill fort on Saturday; and a trip to a hands-on science centre on Sunday (The Biscuit: “This is the best day of my life. Ever.”). Still with the something small, every day. But the small is starting to get to me. That thread of writing weaving through the days makes me aware of how little I’m doing. What can come of it?, I start to wonder. I know that this is the practice, to feel that and just sit with it. To remember that it may be small, but it is at least something. That one day there will be time for more. Continuing the frustration, I seem to be reading about five books at once and I haven’t finished one yet this year. Meanwhile, both the literal piles of books around the house and the list …

February

I’ve been rediscovering the pleasures of reading over the shoulder of a feeding baby. Daytime feeds may now involve building train track with my feet, but the last feed of the evening is accompanied by short stories (currently the collection Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom, someone I haven’t read since my teens). Meanwhile, my bath-time reading habit – a whole hour of reading in late-pregnancy – has now been reduced to a poem. Patti Smith’s slender memoir Woolgathering may not quite be poetry, but each of its fragments is the perfect mood-altering, uber-concentrated shot of words. Try this from the section titled Barndance: The mind of a child is like a kiss on the forehead – open and disinterested. It turns as the ballerina turns, atop a party cake with frosted tiers, poisonous and sweet. The child, mystified by the commonplace, moves effortlessly into the strange, until the nakedness frightens, confounds, and he seeks a bit of cover, order. He glimpses, he gleans; piecing together a crazy quilt of truths …

Miffy

The biscuity one sat on my lap for her first bedtime story on Sunday evening. We made it into the National Gallery shop the other week and I couldn’t resist buying a copy of Miffy. Reading to her for the first time was such a lovely feeling, but I’m not sure that this is the right message about motherhood to give to my tiny baby daughter If we could have a baby now, how lovely it would be, said Mrs Bunny, I could shop and cook and sew for three! On the other hand, I’m with Mrs Bunny when she tells the chicks that they can’t play with Miffy yet I’m sorry, Chicks, you’ll have to wait, kind Mrs Bunny said Miffy’s too young to play with you babies must stay in bed! and at least now I know how she fits all of that cooking & sewing in. —– Happy 3 month birthday biscuity xx

Reading aloud

When the biscuity one was very small, during the long evenings in which sleep (hers/ours) seemed an impossibly elusive state, we rediscovered the pleasures of reading aloud. One of us would joggle, baby on shoulder; one of us would read, eyes straining against the gathering darkness. B finished his epic reading of Nicobobinus (started last year, but hampered by my habit of falling asleep mid-chapter). I read the The Means of Escape, drawing us into the strange yet complete worlds of Penelope Fitzgerald’s short stories. Both suitably surreal for the endless hours that had once separated night from day. But there was one book so painful and so funny, so connected to us that it appeared to have been transferred directly from life to the page by a process of black magic. I first read Rachel Cusk’s searing account of motherhood in 2002, at a time when, though I knew that I wanted a child above all else, it was still a comfortably distant prospect. I can remember compulsively gulping whole chapters even then, peering …

Falling through time

Of course, you need time to think too. It’s seven weeks since the biscuity one was born (no-one knows how she got this nickname — I can only think that I’m to blame) and, perhaps more fundamental than any of the more obvious shifts, is the way in which time has changed for me. There never seems to be enough of it to get anything done, and yet it pools in unexpected places –an hour’s biscuity nap can seem like an entire day — and loops back on itself through the endless cycle of feeds & changes, so that no one time of the day or night is, in essence, any different from any other. This circularity is something that you have to relax into, to embrace, in order to survive. Once you’ve stopped fighting the apparent speeding of time (‘but it’s only 2 hours since her last feed finished’), its rhythm becomes something soothing, something constant, something to savour. Instead of waiting for it all to end you find the spaces, the time to …