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that wild road_mommy travel blog_project 52 2017_1
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.

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"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!

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lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 47_hugo
lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 47_lyra

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

Okay, so, apparently taking photographs of thrrrreeeeeee whole people once a week is a bridge a little too far? Hence iPhone mastersnaps? Sigh. 

Stella: You've told me that Lyra thinks you're the mummy. 

Hugo: I know this change is hard for you, sweet Bear. I'm trying to keep as much of our normal routine as possible, and so everyday at midday, I'm lying down with you, reading stories, and snuggling up while you fall asleep.

Lyra: Have we hit the newborn jackpot? You sleep so well, giving us a few stretches of five hours! And with all the chaos of the last few weeks, you've totally taken it in stride, sleeping when we need you to so that we can get the moving and packing done. 

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lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 46_lyra

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

I'm finally catching up on this project! I'll tell you, pregnancy knocks the stuffing out of my. And newbornhood, well, you know. Although, strangely I do find it marginally easier to have an outside baby than an inside one. I might be tired but at least I can walk places, bend at the waist and, you know, not feel sore after five seconds of sitting down.

Stella: You've taken to your new role as big sister to two. It's no surprise really, considering how much you love babies. You are absolutely captivated by your sister, and want to hold her all the time. Now you're stated life plan is to be a Nanny (also a singer, and a front desk attendant in a hotel.)

Hugo: It's been muuuuuuuch less easy for your to go from being the baby of the family to being the middle. Which is also not surprising. You and I were a unit, and now, that time together has been disrupted by a tiny human. Anyway, you're grasping for control in any way you can find it, and that's manifested in the refusal to wear shoes, opting instead for cow slippers, everywhere.

Lyra: Oh sweet girl, welcome. We're so glad you're here. You're pefect. 

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

Stella:  You really showed your appreciation for art, admiring the sculptures. Especially the ones you could climb on.

Hugo: You were 100 percent taken with this art instilation, and showed everyone who would watch your "bum bum dance." 

We took a break from unbelievable stress and hung out with some friends at the Shanghai Sculpture Park. I recommend! It was a lovely way to pass a few hours on a gorgeous autumn day. 

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

Stella: Due to super high levels of parental stress, you've been given free reign of your drug of choice. All screens all the time.

Hugo: You too. Pasci pasci pasci.

We moved into a temporary apartment because of an emergency housing situation that rendered our apartment unliveable. Let me tell you, amongst the list of things you don't want to do when you're like 36 weeks pregnant, this rates in the top ten, I'd say. We had about 24 hours to get sorted and move. And we don't know when our original apartment will be declared habitable again. Hopefully before our temporary housing becomes unavailable, a whole two days after my due date. :/ Sometimes expat life is just really not a bouquet of gin and tonics. 

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

Stella: There's a lot of big feelings going on around here: a new baby on the way, chaos at our apartment, parents stressed to the max. This is your way of dealing with them.

Hugo: You're also feeling these big feelings. But thankfully, you mostly are agreeable with your sister's way of processing them. 

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

Stella: You're really into making wishes these days. A friend of yours told you that wishes must be kept secret. So now, you're convinced that if you speak your wish out loud, it won't come true. This means that the expression, "I wish...." has been banned from our family lexicon. I tell you what I wish though: perhaps you could listen as carefully to your parents as you do to the consul of your friends? Maybe? Yes? 

Hugo: You so want to do whatever Stella does, even if it does kiiiiiiiiiiiiinda scare the pants off of you.

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

Stella: It's been  a rough couple of weeks. But I can't really say enough about how flexible you've been, how, after all the changes of this past year, you're just handling things.

Hugo: We've been taking lots of naps together. It's probably one of my favourite parts of the day. It's such an indulgence for me, lying down in the middle of the day, made justifiable by the fact that I'm eight months pregnant. And it's also such a sweet time for us together. I did this with your sister when I  was pregnant with you, and now, I'm so glad to be able to share this time alone with you, just the two of us. 

 

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that wild road_project 52_china blog_week 39

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

You know when all of life's minor and largely insignificant problems conspire to drop in your lap all at once and knock you flat on your face for a few weeks? Yeah. That. Suffice to say, it's been a hell of a few weeks round here with super fun exotic Asia problems like BUGS and also a side helping of pregnancy worry and various other issues that have kept me from being a regular person on the internet. And likely, these issues won't be resolved for another while yet, but we're just trying to carry on regardless. So, in the meanwhile, here's a project 52 update.

Stella: You've made a couple of really good friends these past few weeks. You've got your school bud who rides the bus with you and plays cat and spies together with you. And, now you're forging a friendship with a group of german kids, a couple of whom speak good English. After a lonely summer it's amazing to see how you're able to make friends across cultural and linguistic boundaries, how brave you are socially, and how much happier you are with a couple of proper friends to call your own.

Hugo: This bike, man. You're all about it. It's the first thing you ask to do in the morning, and you're basically on that bike until evening. Any time we leave the apartment you plead to bring your bike along. Now with the days being a bit cooler and the weather so fair, you're outside almost the entire day making circles around the playgrounds on your bike, faster than I thought was possible for a little guy like you to travel. 

 

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that wild road_project 52_china travel blog_38.52.16

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

 

Stella: You’ve been so helpful this week. Since I’ve been on “bed rest” (which I’m defining pretty loosely by the way), you’ve been reminding me to sit down, rest, and not to carry heavy things. Instead, you’ve taken it upon yourself to transport your brother here and there, particularly across the sandy playground because woe is everything if Hugo’s feet touch sand.

 

Hugo: This week, I could not get you inside. You’re out on your bike each morning at seven to drop Stella at the bus. You do a few tours of the complex with Papi and then it’s back in for a short post-breakfast snack. By 8:30 you’re ready to go out again with Ayi  and I don’t see you again until lunchtime. As soon as Stella comes home from school we’re riding bikes, playing on the swings, and running around the playgrounds together.