Eight

A portrait of a happy red head girl smiling by Kuala Lumpur based photographer, Erica Knecht

She turned eight yesterday, my baby girl. This unknowable force of life who I did knew even before she was born is eight years here. I'm eight years a mother. We're eight years a family.

 She’s tender, my girl; the underside of a dove, but tucks it away, cloaks it in iron, in fire. She’s steadfast in her wants, wild like the ocean. She wants to be a fashion designer, and artist, a singer. She has perfect pitch, and she sings at the top of her voice. She moves with the grace of a dancer, but prefers kung fu lessons. She comes alive in the water. She’s sure and unwavering. She’s a deep feeler. She has the best social radar I’ve ever known. 

This past year has been one of bloom. The more space I give her, the more she shows she’s capable. She gets up on weekend mornings and listens for Lyra to cry out. She lifts her out of the crib, and carriers her into the living room. She changes Hugo out of his pull up. She fixes them breakfast and entertains them till the grownups rise. She apologizes unprompted. She offers to read to her brother. She looks for Hugo over the gate at school, and gives him her snack when she sees him at recess. 

She’s weathered this move mostly effortlessly. She has been braver than I know how to be. She went to school, gulped back tears, and entered the classroom without me. She came home with two new friends, and about three centimeters of hight.

I dreamt this child before she was born, hair flames of curl and swirling with energy. She came into the world an enigma, and has puzzled me ever since. Of all my children, she’s the one over whom I’ve fretted most, never sure what was going on inside her mind, always worried I was failing her in some capacity. It was this girl, her fire and intensity that pushed me as a parent, forced me to begin thinking outside existing paradigms of childrearing. She drew me to question and wonder and consider and think deeply about what she needed, and what I needed to parent well.  She taught me patience. She taught me stillness. She taught me curiosity. She taught me and is teaching me non-judgment. She brought healing of old wounds because she more than my others has needed a whole and present parent. 

The older she gets the more interesting she becomes. And I look forward with my ribs wide open to who she'll grow into.

A red head baby on a white bed in Fukuoka, Japan, by Kuala Lumpur family photographer, Erica Knecht.
A young girl with red hair swims at the W hotel Nusa Dua by Kuala Lumpur Photographer Erica Knecht.
A young girl in at the pool at Grand Hyatt Jakarta by Kuala Lumpur based photographer Erica Knecht.
A little girl runs on the beach near Lovina, North Bali. Photograph on Portra 400 film by Erica Knecht, a Kuala Lumpur based Photographer.   
A little girl stares out at the ocean in Lovina, Bali by Kuala Lumpur photographer Erica Knecht
A girl wades into the ocean near Byron Bay, Australia by Kuala Lumpur photographer Erica Knecht
A reflection of a girl running on the beach at twilight near Byron Bay, Australia by Kuala Lumpur family photographer Erica Knecht.
An artistic black and white portrait of a little girl by Kuala Lumpur based photographer Erica Knecht

Ten on Ten {September}

Here's another trip back in time as I catch up on my ten on tens for this year. Annnnnd also a confession: these are cobbled together from actually THREE DAYS because I couldn't keep my attention long enough to actually finish ten pictures in one day. I blame jet lag and post-summer reentry. 

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05:35 // Everyone is still up at the crack of dawn, and everyone piles into my bed. The first part I'm not that fond of; the second part I live for.

06:00 Morning rituals part one.

06:22 // Morning rituals part two. Stella reads. Hugo plays cars. Lyra gets in the way.

06:24 // Hugo says, Hey Lyra, get off my road, okay?

07:30 // I have a brilliant idea to keep Lyra contained while I shower: High chair and cheerios. 

07:40 // This idea did not go to plan.

09:04 // Hugo's preschool routine.

09:19 // I found this interesting back street that's devoted to pets and animal shops.

10:31 // Trying to get things done.

12:48 // Trying to get a baby to sleep.

12:51 // An awake baby.

 

 

Ten on Ten {August}

Let's all get into the wayback machine, shall we? Zhooo zhoo zhooo (<-- ps, the sound of time travel) AUGUST!!!

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06:18 // Morning through my bedroom.

06:37 // The kids get up before me and hang out with Papa in the livingroom.

06:38 // They do play quietly and independently when I'm not around. 

06:43 // We eat blueberries for breakfast every morning.

08:15 // Time for a reluctant morning nap.

08:16 // The big one sure does love the little one.

08:26 // The water was really still this morning.

11:16 // We had a visitor in our livingroom. Island life, right? Hugo gave it a name. But because this is coming at you three months late, I've forgotten it. But it was something like Herbert.

12:45 // She wants to swim all day every day even though I'd say it's barely warm enough for bare legs. But then, I remember being the exact same way.

16:22 // Our daily trip across our tiny bay to Uncle Emmet's house, Hugo wearing a "boat coat" that used to be mine.

17:02 // The little ones swim while the grownups talk nonsence, drink beers, ad hang out int he sauna.

17:47 // Ready to go home. Hugo will drive. :)

 

17/52

 

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

Stella: You got a fever this week, and booooooooy, fevers do a number on you. You slept for about 16 hours straight, which is almost unheard of. But, as quickly as it came on, you were well again and ready to run and play and never ever stop.

Hugo: You had fever too and were too tired to even play. I read you poetry on the couch, hoping for a moment to fill the memory banks, but then you said, Stop reading, now. So.

Lyra: What is even going on? You're too busy grabbing your feet to sleep. You won't nurse. I'm sure you're hungry. Has my milk production fallen? You are crying more than I remember. You can't settle for naps. You wake frequently overnight.  

16/52

 

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

Stella: It's been a honeymoon week with you.

Hugo: You've grown into a real boy since I've been gone. You're taller, your hair is longer, your speech is clearer, and you're play is different. You've been driving your cars around like usual, but now there are stories, and narration, and you're always having your cars engage in conflict, and then work things out peacefully.

Lyra: You little imp. You're much more awake these days. You're grabbing your toes, and playing with toys, and you sure do love to pull my hair. You drink milk, smile bashfully, sleep poorly at night, and delight us all.