I started this blog, three years ago, because I wanted to document everything; to commit everything to writing and to memory. It was a way to hold them when I wasn’t able to hold them, when I felt utterly disconnected from my babies and from motherhood. I wrote, because in the sleep-deprivation and the darkness there was also beauty and I wanted to take it and to own it. And even though everything is so much brighter these days, so light and so easy, I have continued to write the story of our unconventional family, our modern-day fairy tale where two women fell in love and it didn’t matter a bit.
I love to document our family adventures – from the big ones, such as the birth of our daughters and our first holiday as a family of six, to the smaller ones, our trips to the sea side and picnics out in the woods close to our home. All of those magical firsts, and those little moments that don’t stop being special just because you’ve seen them a thousand times over. The things that Kirsty and I talk about, in hushed tones in bed at night, because we are so amazed by these small people and can’t quite believe that they’re ours.
Our sons are changing so quickly right now. At almost three years old, I feel as though they are shaking off the last of their toddlerhood and, in front of our eyes, becoming real little boys. I find myself holding them that bit tighter these days, kissing them more fiercely as they fight me off and run, laughing, to climb up the big slide and whoosh back down it, mischief in their eyes. They speak so clearly these days, full sentences, they articulate their perspective so well and debate their points like tiny lawyers. We share the same joy in adventuring out of the house; they love to come with me to the shops, to walk the dog, or further afield.
This weekend the funfair was in town, in the form of Grove Park Carnival. Chinbrook Meadows, where the carnival was located, is a mere twenty minutes’ walk from us or fewer than ten minutes on the bus, so it was easy to persuade Kirsty with the promise of candy floss to discard her Saturday afternoon plans in favour of a few hours at the funfair.
And what a few hours it was.
Oh golly – these children of mine. It’s the thing that they don’t tell you about children – they grow. Right in front of your eyes.
Last month we took toddlers to Butlins. They were content with the baby rides; the spinning teacups and the cars, gripping the steering wheel poe-faced, ‘driving’ as though their ability to stay on the roundabout rested upon the steadiness of their hand. This month? At Grove Park Carnival this month my little boys wanted the ghost train, and they were unafraid of the dark, the leaping witches, the sheer drop from the top floor to the ground, as I gripped around their shoulders and, with a hissed intake of breath, squeezed shut my eyes.
They ‘yuvved dat ghost twain’.
We rode it thrice. At a cost of £18 and a good couple of months of my life, as we hurtled down the tracks and I remembered every horror story of fairground rides gone wrong, and we all laughed maniacally at the bottom, me from relief and my little boys from sheer euphoria, before they wobbled from the little car and raced around to the front, to do it all again.
“But why didn’t you TELL me that I had lipstick on my chin?”
“Ams, you ALWAYS have lipstick on your chin. And your teeth. It’s authentic.”
“… I had lipstick on my teeth?!”
Candy floss. Lysander didn’t know what to do with it, and rubbed it through his hair. Oh, my silly boy. And my little Olympia snatched a handful and sat, so pleased with herself, cramming pink fluff in her face. I want these moments to last forever. I never thought that I could be so happy and yet here we are – two mothers with a tribe of little ones, lights flashing and music reverberating through our being and my heart beating noisily in my ears because this is it, this is what I always needed and never even knew.
My heart. They are my heart.
Of all of my hopes and dreams, these four are the brightest and most beautiful, these beating human hearts that grew in my body and startling human minds that we nurture and shape. And it seems, these days, that I live for the weekends that I can round up my tiny tribe and be a family together, my hands holding their hands, clutching small warm bodies close to mine, running my fingers through the softness of their hair.
And this is what I thought about at the funfair, riding the ghost train and waving to my sons as they passed us on the teacups, exchanging little smiles with Kirsty that said, wordlessly, that I can’t quite believe it, I still can’t believe that they are mine.
If you are wondering about their outfits, the jumpers are vintage Tootsa – three out of four were bought at a sample sale in Chelsea when I was expecting the boys. The leggings were handmade over at Lottie & Lysh, who chose the prints themselves based on what they thought would suit our family, and sent to us for a feature on the blog. We have been big fans of Lottie & Lysh for some time now – the children already own quite a few products, such as this bunny coat of dreams – and we were so excited to receive this parcel and to style this ‘shoot. Lottie & Lysh products are sewn to last, and we adore the detail on the prints that Lottie chose for us. I have a weakness for animals so I think that the llamas and the upside-down sloths were probably my favourites but really, they are all utterly lovely. No wonder that Lottie & Lysh are so popular, with a whopping 25k followers on insta to date.
Oh, Grove Park Carnival, take me back. I want to be at the funfair with my babies again.