I was such a scruffy little girl. I felt my sense of unbelonging keenly and I wore it in my unbrushed birds-nest hair, dotted amongst the dirt and freckles on my nose. New clothes embarrassed me; who was I to wear something so shiny, so fitting and clean? Other times, I wore new clothes like costumes, like excess skin; draped over my mother’s stolen bra, swollen outward with a pair of satsumas wrapped in socks. Once, in the middle of a meal at a Chinese restaurant, one of those satsumas plopped out of the neckline of my dress, rolling once before sitting, fat and undeniable, between my half-glass of wine and my aromatic duck. I was prepubescent and mortified; a flaming mess. I might, I think, be ready to laugh about it. It’s taken almost twenty years.
So it’s come as much of a surprise to me as to everybody else to find myself writing about fashion, with a tiny tribe of well-dressed little humans running up ahead of us in their new shoes.
I think that I am ready to own that I am a kids’ fashion blogger. I have a keen interest in what my children are wearing, and I try to allocate our finances in such a way that gives me maximum choice as to what they wear. My children wear everything from Next to Mini Rodini, brand doesn’t matter to me as much as style; my preference is for their clothes to be comfortable, aesthetically pleasing (to me and my partner and, at least where the boys are concerned, to the children) and fun. My sons take an interest in their clothes these days; they are delighted by new garments and will admire them on themselves, each other, their sisters and us. They are overenthusiastic shoppers, stealth shoplifters who cuddle transport-themed t-shirts all the way out of the shop until, mortified at the security alarms, I’m forced to make a snap decision: put the clothes back and leave, or buy them. We buy them. Those are the clothes that they wear to bed, and, refusing to derobe and change the next day, smother in Weetabix in the morning.
They love to wear animals, bright colours, patterns that they recognise. They scuff and ruin everything that they own in minutes, smear food down their tops and grass-stain their knees if they so much as look at a park – and yet we all have so much fun with their clothes that we can never resist purchasing far more than they really need and coordinating the four of them so that when they walk out, they look like tiny, living art.
When my boys were babies, I used to laugh that dressing them was my hobby. I love that now, it is a hobby that we share.
A home in London, even if it is rented, a beautiful family, ‘play money’ for frivolous things like fancy clothes. I never forget how lucky we are.
Alex and Alexa, one of my favourite ways to blow a ridiculous amount of money in a very small space of time, have released an interview with me today on their shiny new blog. Explaining motherhood from our perspective was an interesting assignment for me; it took a few days to complete and submit my interview answers because the questions really made me think. Sometimes I think of motherhood as a marathon for which I didn’t train enough, and all of the other mothers are so far off in the distance that I can barely follow in their footsteps (and, naturally, my iPhone has died and I’ve forgotten to print a map). Other times, I am so grateful and glad that almost everything I’ve enjoyed most as an adult has been shared with them, peeking from the carriers, dawdling behind us and looking at the sky or racing ahead, arms outstretched to embrace the world.
My children. My four.
They have reached the most glorious ages, all of them, and are even more of a little group than before. Balthazar is the tiny ringleader, first to invent any mischief – but Lysander sees it through. Olympia is all heart-on-her-sleeve, and she thinks she’s a triplet, and little Embla, baby girl, is suddenly catching up. Her first word was ‘wibble wobble’, said: bibba bobba. Her first word was to Lysander; the two are spectacularly close. He calls her ‘my baby’ and refuses to fraternise with Polly – but she doesn’t mind, because she is typically Balthazar’s tiny accomplice in crime. It is almost enough to make me want to stop at four. How could we ever improve upon this?
Shoreditch. A trip out for cappuccino and cake, to dash off excess energy before bedtime. I knew that we would come here when we dressed them for this feature, that they would stand against this wall. They stood against the wall better than I had ever imagined they would. Taking them out at these ages is such a joy; the boys are so excited to go anywhere and do anything, and they can always be coaxed into good behaviour with the promise of cake. And the girls? They are our sunshine.
Balthazar, affectionate and mercurial as a cat, always wants to hold his brother’s hand. Lysander hates it. He is so gentle, so tactile and keen to play with our hair, but he hates holding his brother’s hand and he hates his brother’s kisses. He does love his brother though.
I think this shoot made it into a DITL for YouTube – but I haven’t put the clips together yet! Bad vlogger…
“Take a picture of my tummy!”
Follower, but Lysander sees it through to the end. Balthazar gets bored, but Lysander is inexhaustible.
Embla, unhappy to be put down – girlfriend sits on a mummy’s lap. And Olympia, mischief written in that smile, already halfway down. Oh, my little Puck!
Emmie doesn’t ‘do’ floors and no amount of if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands will ever change that!
I love that we document it all. This blog took a hit with the birth of my second set of twins, and I regret not recording more from their first year, but the important bits are here. And I think that I am finding the fun in writing again, and in chasing my toddlers about with the camera. I’m sorry that you’ve seen more advertisements on this blog recently and less spontaneous writing, but I’ve had minimal time and most days I haven’t felt up to more than an instagram post. I think that you can really see how much our daughters have grown of late in this blog post though, and how much character all four have – and how different they are!
They are so much more than I ever dreamed that they would be. They are so loved.
I hope that you enjoy my Family in Focus feature with Alex and Alexa. Thank you, Alex and Alexa for working with us and for dressing my children for the feature.
What do you think of our clothing choices?