We are trying to buy a house. And by ‘trying to buy a house’, I mean that we are trying to afford a house that is sufficient in size for five children, two adults and a part-time dog on what amounts to not a very large mortgage at all.  We certainly can’t afford to buy in London.  At one point, we were literally searching ‘South East England’ on Zoopla, according to our budget (small) and minimum number of bedrooms (four).  It yielded fewer possibilities for location than one might think, particularly with the additional limitation that I will also need to commute into London on a daily basis. One of the options was Folkestone, and the more we have looked into the area and the commute, the more tempted we are by a permanent move to this area of the coast.  We decided to spend last weekend scouting the area… View Post

Oh what a December!  Oh what a Christmas! In December, I turned thirty years old.  That still feels strange to type – ‘thirty’, ‘I am in my thirties‘ – but my twenties were so much kinder to me than my teens and my childhood, and I am hopeful that my thirties will be the best decade yet.  I celebrated quietly and gently; I had asked Kirsty not to make a fuss on the day but my boss and his wife sent flowers and the most beautiful hamper from F&M and we felt so indulged and appreciated.  It was wonderful.  And then at the weekend my mother surprised us with cupcakes and candles, which the children helpfully blew out for me before I had even managed to take a deep breath!  We had an office Christmas party, which Kirsty elected not to attend on account of the new baby and I… View Post

Ever since she was born I have intended to write about the process of choosing Baby Vita’s name. When we announced it initially it inspired a Reddit thread where its members wondered whether we were enormous Harry Potter fans or members of the occult! The answer of course is neither (though I concede that Ms Rowling and I could easily name a few dozen kittens together and I will always be a little sad that she got to the name Bellatrix before I did), but it did make me laugh. I thought I would share with you how we chose Vita’s name and why, and what we would have called a little boy. Kirsty and I have, of course, named four other babies together already and our tastes are quite different. We both like names that have been names for a long time, but if I had to describe our… View Post

Just the other day, they were our babies.  And of course these little girls of ours will always be our babies, but it’s hard to comprehend that they are no longer babies – that to the unbiased eye they are quite definitely toddlers, little girls.  I remember this feeling from when they were born; I remember how my sons seemed to grow by a year in the space of a day, how big their hands and feet were, how loud their voices became when we had a newborn in our arms that stirred every time its sibling laughed.  And now my daughters are transformed in quite the same way. There is a certain stigma about being the ‘middle child’, an idea that the child whom is neither the oldest nor the baby is somehow lesser to the parents; an idea that they are a little neglected.  And I never want that… View Post

My body hoarded the baby selfishly; a dragon wrapped around gold. Or at least, that was how I felt about crawling past forty-one weeks, how my mind tried to smother the anxiety that my body was broken, inert. My babies, I told myself, always go late, and I made myself remember how it felt to creep past forty-one weeks with the girls and the rush of relief that I felt when my waters broke with a reluctant trickle one morning. Still, I was afraid. The final weeks of pregnancy do that to me, strip away my confidence in myself and leave me wound as tightly as my daughters’ musical carousel. Every time somebody speculated as to why the baby hadn’t come yet, I wanted to cry. I felt ready, so ready. And yet there was always a reason to delay: sick children at forty weeks, my own cold at forty-one,… View Post