"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017."

Stella: Just when I think I'm back to be with you and your brother at home, I'm off again with Lyra in the hospital. You were so concerned about your sister though, eager to understand what was happening to her in the hospital, what the machines and screens were for. You celebrated along with me when her IV was removed, when she was taken off continuous monitoring. And you were so glad when we finally came home.

Hugo: Oh Hugo Bear, I did miss you when we were gone at the hospital with Lyra. Somehow all the bum bum jokes, the constant wrestling, and your insistence on putting all of your food into your water cup become so much more charming when I'm away from home.

Lyra: You spent nearly all this week in hospital. You picked up RSV during one of our many doctor's visits last week, and it developed into pneumonia. My girl, you were so sick you could barely stay awake. You were being constantly poked and prodded; between blood tests, nebulizier treatments, eye drops, and medicine shoved down your mouth, you hardly had space to call your own.  You were weak and tired, barely able to stay conscious, and totally unable to drink milk. But when you did have the strength to be awake for a moment, you always tried to give a smile, even as we were sicking you with yet another nedle.   



"a photograph of my children, once a week, every week in 2017."

Stella: I was away from home all week while I was tending to Lyra in Hong Kong, but sweet girl,  you did so well. You got bounced around from friend's place to friend's place, your routine got disrupted, and you ate a whole lot of pizza for dinner. You told me, Mama, you need to come home so that we can eat healthy food.

Hugo: You spent a week away from me, and boy did I miss you. I think you missed me too. I called one evening and the moment you heard my voice, you burst into tears and locked yourself in your room. I'm sorry little boy, I know this week has been hard on you.

Lyra: You took your first trip on an airplane this week. We flew to Hong Kong for what we thought would be a quick, medical appointment. But this quick visit turned into a scary and uncertain eight days away from home where we spent most of our time in doctor's offices or on the phone talking to the insurance company. But through it all, you remained your usual flexible and easygoing self, napping whenever I needed you to nap, and otherwise just hanging out, chewing on your hands, and cooing at me. And you even mastered a new skill: turning onto your side. I guess our days of non-moving babyhood are numbered.


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china expat blog_travel blog_that wild road_project 52_2017_week 7_Lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017."

Stella: You slept in for the first time in about four years. I promised you the night before that if you did indeed sleep past seven, I would say yes to any and every request. So, now, I guess we're in for a day of candy and TV.

Hugo: You can speak French. You're constantly asking me, Est-ce que c'est papasan? Which, for all of you non-francaphones, is 100 percent not French. But I will say that your intonation is pretty good, and you ask it with such conviction and seriousness, you get angry at me when I don't answer appropriately. (PS, I don't know what the appropriate answer is.) You did, once or twice, point at a picture and ask, c'est quoi, ca? And that, Little Bear, is actually French.

Lyra: You've woken up. Gone are the days of the four hour nap followed by a two hour snooze. You're alert, and aware, chewing on your hands and cooing (well, it is more like a bird call, what you're doing.) I do miss being able to rely on that time to tidy up or get a few things done on the internet, but it is really nice getting to know an awake baby.

All in all we had a pretty good week. Well, with the exception of a few minor sleep deprivation lead temper tantrums (*ahem* mostly not of the kid variety.) In addition to Lyra waking up during the day, she's also up all night. Nine times, by my count last night. But the sun has been out, the PM2 levels not too terrible, and there is a new sense of optimism in the air. 


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that wild road_china_expat mom blog_project 522017_Stella
that wild road_china_expat mom blog_project 522017_hugo

“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017.”


Stella: You remember your homework when I forget. You find your lost library book when I can not. You organise your room and separate the toy food from the toy plates. I tell you to hurry we’re late and you say, that’s why we should leave earlier. You’re growing and I’m seeing your light, your special talents, and I find myself wrapped in wonderment as I meet the parts of you that have been hidden until now.


Hugo: We celebrated your birthday part. You spend the first hour hidden in the office watching Peppa Pig. Then you came out and discovered with horror that your friends were touching your cars. There were several hitting episodes. And then you cried when we sang you happy birthday. And yet you still told me that you loved your party. So. Question mark?


Lyra: You’re more in our world these days. You calmly observe the goings on at home. You hear the kids shooting and your mouth quivers and pouts. You coo at me, and it’s my favourite sound. You smile so brightly for Stella, and I’m starting to wonder if she’s your person. 



“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017.:

Stella: You were off school for a week and totally despondent. Your best friend was in Singapore and you were not and you were missing her something terrible.

Hugo: You turned three this week. I don’t know how this went so quickly. As this past year went on you’ve moved manifestly from baby to boy. We celebrated your birthday with a pre-dawn wake up, present opening, burgers, a skipped nap, trains all afternoon, and then spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. You were thrilled by your day, and so gracious and appreciative. And me, I’m so glad I can give you this little day, for you’ve given me so much more.

Lyra: You’ve found your hands. You’ll play for ages bringing your hands together and then putting them in your mouth.  


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“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017.”

Stella: You finally lost your front tooth. It came out while you were eating your bread at breakfast. And thank goodness. The daily tooth drama was getting kinda old. That, and also you have managed to look even more adorable with that gap mouthed gummy smile. 

Hugo: You love to play this game called “Pretend You Don’t Know Me and I am Big.” When we are out and walking around our apartment complex, you ask to play, and I’m required to walk several paces behind you, while imagining that you are a big kid, able to navigate the world without a parent by his side (and preferably also without a winter jacket.)

Lyra: You’ve started to figure out your appendages. You love to spend time sitting in my lap, my legs tucked up, you reclined against my knees. You started to realise, in this position, that there were these things below you that you could control with your mind. And so, you sit for ages, moving your toes against my tummy, your lips forming an O of concentration, kicking your legs, trying to figure out how this all works.



"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017."

Stella: You're about to lose your front tooth. It's wobbly and hanging on by a thread. But you won't let anyone or anything touch it. Which means, a toothbrush hasn't passed your lips in several days. Food? forget it. We can't even get you to change your shirt lest the pressure of the fabric passing over your cheeks loosens the tooth from it's socket. 

Hugo: You have a funny relationship with time. You've been spending the last couple of weeks telling me, about how when you were my age. Like, "When I was your age, I used to drink beer." And "When I was your age, I was a grown-up and I drove a car. Isn't that cool?"

Lyra: You had your first round of injections this week. You cried as is normal, but then you calmed easily. You now weigh 5.4 kg, and gained over a kilogram in a month. You've moved from the 50th perentile to the 75th. As usual, all the fretting I've been doing about how much milk you're getting has been for naught. 



"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Stella: Oh my Stella. This week you were trying so hard to be helpful and kind, responsive and agreeable, saying yes, okay Mama, when you'd usually say no, I won't, and hiss like a cat. I worry about how my temper, temporarily shortened by baby and fatigue, impacts you. Life is so much easier for me where there is little resistance, but life for you will be richer and fuller if your will stays unbroken and strong. I want to remember to raise you, my daughter, to be bold, willing, to know your own mind. So I have to remember to accept your 'no' and embrace it as a sign of the strength and power that you will grow into.

Hugo: You are kind of stepping into your roll of "brother". You were wrestling with Stella, somehow intent on trouble and mayhem, and then, a loud crack as your forehead met the floor. You gave yourself two goose eggs. All of this while I was interviewing someone to help us keep a lid on things in the evenings.   

Lyra: You are becoming a bit of a night owl. You sleep all day, cozy in the baby carrier, or nestled in your stroller. Then, evenings, you cry and fuss until you fall asleep for a short nap. Then you're up, awake, eager to grin and coo much later than the latest hour at which I'm able to function. So you lie on the couch next to Papi. He stays up with you until you're finally ready to sleep. 


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that wild road_mommy travel blog_project 52 2017_1_hugo
that wild road_mommy travel blog_project 52 2017_lyra

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017.”

Here we go again! I have big hopes that I'll be able to stay on top of this project in 2017. I mean, we have no plans to move, or expand our family, or have our apartment infested with vermin, or anything like that, so should be doable? (Ha. Fate. I see you laughing.)

Stella: It’s been a bit of a rough week. You’re acting out your big feelings around having a small sister who takes up all my time in the evenings. I’m overstimulated and short on patience and not being my best self. You've born the burnt of this, I think. And the only positive I can see is that you’re getting a pretty good model of how to apologise. 


Hugo: You’re still ambivalent about this whole big brother thing. You’re writing on the walls, trying to throw my phone in the sink, and occasionally trying to poke your sister in the eyes. All this intermixed with requests to cuddle and tender moments when you appear to actually love your sister. The other evening Lyra was squawking to be picked up while you and I were reading a book. I called out to her, Lyra are you calling me? You responded, No! She’s pretending to be an eagle. Ha. 


Lyra: You started taking a bottle! Hooray! As much as I love spending time with you, I’m also very happy to for the chance to have a few hours to myself once in a while.



"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: You lost your front tooth and suddenly look so much older.

Hugo: You're such a dude. You approach everything with enthusiasm. You walk into a room and announce, Hey GUYS! You celebrate the smallest of victories, like hailing a taxi, with an ebullient HORRAY.

Lyra: I'm gonna say you have colic. The hours between about 6 PM and 10 PM hard. You scream as though something is really hurting. I wish I could help. But the best I can do is hold you close and be with you while you're having a hard time. 


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project 52_2016_week50_lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella: These days, I don't see as much of you as I usually do, you're starting to develop your own life separate from inside our family home. You're off on playdates after school, having adventures with your best friend, exploring the world without us. And when you are home, it seems all you want to do is reconnect with us.

Hugo: You're still not really all that sure about your new sister. I'm reluctant to leave her within arms reach of you, as your fingers will find themselves poking her eyes, or stuck up her nose, or rather enthusiastically bouncing her in her chair. But occasionally you two do have a tender moment.

Lyra: While you hardly nap more than 10 minutes in your quiet crib (with custom made sheets I might add!!), you happily and peacefully nap on the sheep skin in front of the heater for hours, despite the chaos of our living room. 


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that wild road_asia mommy blog_project 52_week 49_hugo
that wild road_asia mommy blog_project 52_week 49_lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016"

Stella: You just wanna be with your sister every possible moment.

Hugo: You've been sick with Hand Foot and Mouth disease, and you're getting unlimited pasci + blank time. 

Lyra: You're starting to wake up. Although you do spend most of your time fast asleep curled up in the carrier, for the brief snatches of time you're awake, you're looking around, perceiving the world, and noticing the humans in it.


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lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 48_lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella: You wrote your first email this week. 

Hugo: Poor boy! You came down with a fever, and at first I though, no big deal. That is, until it hit 40 degrees, and I was about to rush you to the hospital. Turns out, you have hand foot and mouth disease.

Lyra: I'm a ball of nerves trying to keep your brother's germs to himself. I do not want your tiny self getting sick!