Big and Little.


I was beyond tired today, of the worn out and grumpy and tearful with it variety.

Fran let me go back to bed. When I woke up, they were deeply embroiled in kitchen stuff.


There was a lot of mess (which they tidied up; result!)

There was a lot of hard work.


There was a very happy little boy who loved every minute and learned to lick the bowl.


And delicious cakes.


I’m a bit of a rubbish mum at doing things like this so I’m extra grateful to big sisters who do. These are the things his memories will be made of.

And I got to giggle at the naked icing that happened – it was a fun body art installation by the end!

Simple Things


We had 3 days apart this week, Bene and I. It was too long really, though I had a marvellous time. And he was fine.

This morning was perfect, him waking up to find me in the bed I wasn’t in when he fell asleep last night. There was pure delight in his eyes. It was a long, slow morning of joyful milky cuddles and an extended lie in.

Then he spent his day like this.


A baking tray full of lentils and split peas, a small bowl, a coffee scoop and a tea spoon. We played for ages together then he played for hours along, pretending to cook, riding horses through it, driving tractors through it.

60p of pulses that are (remarkably!) very easy to sweep up and use again and hours of educational fun. Perfect.

There’s no place like home, as they say.

Bene is in nursery more than I’d choose just now. Depending on how the next few months go, I might soon be working outside the home.

I must remember to make the most of this time.

Too tight to try a tuff spot.


This is what happens when you are doing toddlers for the 5th time.

The girls would have got a tuff spot. Bene gets a cat litter tray and a bag of soup beans.

I really wanted to be be good at toddler stuff this time round. I was going to be all messy play and letting our hair down.

But I’m rubbish. I hate mess. I’ve not got time to set up invitations to play.

Heigh ho.

Turns out a cat litter tray is quite fun anyway.

Saying his name.


The thing about grief is…

The thing about grief…

The thing is…

It’s never over. That’s old, an old and hardly illuminating observation.

Some days I’m almost there.

Some days I’m in hiding. Some days I find I’ve absorbed the status quo so well that I almost believe that I, like everyone else in this house, prefer not to say his name.

Perhaps they think that I prefer that.

Perhaps they keep silent believing that I keep going because of, only because of, silence.

It might even be true.

There are days with peace.


Days when he waves and I’m okay with that. Days when I rage that my strewn seeds fall on barren ground, ears that close and mouths that do not reply.

But we learned the steps of a dance and dance it we do.

Until one day, one morning, just out of nowhere, Bene picked up his photos. He pointed all of us out and then says “Baby?”

We haven’t told him about Freddie. I know everyone does it differently but I didn’t want him to grow up in a shadow, I didn’t want him overshadowed. Perhaps I was afraid of what the shadow might do.

I haven’t even whispered, for fear of him remembering those whispers and feeling second best.


All babies are ‘BabyBene’ to him, because that’s what his little cousins call him. When he sees a photo of himself he knows it is him. He’s clear in that.

He didn’t say Baby Bene, just Baby. And asked.

So we told him, the 3 of us who were there. We told him it was Baby Freddie and let him look at the photos and ask us.

I’ll never forget the moment. We all went quite still, watchful, like animals beneath the hawk, like skiers frozen as the snow slips slightly around them and they wait to see if the world will crash down.

He pointed to us all. And then he pointed to the window ledge with candle, keepsakes and the weight of my love and tears poured on it. There isn’t a photo there though, nothing to tell a boy of 2 that it is a relic shelf of a lost brother.

“Baby Freddie all gone,” he said. Gently, very gently. He’s a rumbustious boy, given to throwing and hurling and fast moment.

He was very gentle. He put the photos back, absorbed the moment, seemed respectful.


And I was wrecked for the day. I was grateful, sad, overwhelmed. And sealed my own fate. If you mention his name, mummy will cry.


He’s come back several time since to ask more.

“Baby Freddie,” he asks, the name particularly spoken in a way that makes me ache to imagine them as brothers, Bene adoring him as he adores his big boy cousin.

And it is done now. He knows. He doesn’t know what he knows, but in our stillness, our held breaths, we told him that Baby Freddie means something he can’t yet comprehend and that he will have to carve his own place into the pain that knitted us 6 together back then.

It was my turn to write at Glow last week. I’ve been finding writing there hard. Bene helped me there. There is still so much work to do inside me.


Busy times.


The summer holidays are nearly over and before you know it, they’ll all be back at school again. It feels like it has been a packed holiday. Last week in particular was crammed with ‘stuff’. We went to visit my sister for the day because (aside from wanting to see them!) Fran had to go to a training day for a rugby event. She has rather impressively been picked to play for the North of England Under 18 side in a Touch Rugby event, which involved a session training in Lincoln and another one next weekend in Manchester. I’ve never even BEEN to Manchester. (I don’t know how we will get there as the car is in limp mode due to an inexplicable fault… waaah).


She’s quite excited about this – as is her Dad – and I’m pleased too as she and Maddy have been playing contact rugby more recently and I can’t say I’m a fan of that. Rather illogically I don’t mind Fran hurtling through the air backwards and upside down but I don’t really like people banging into her :lol:

We had a lovely day with my sister and co too :)

On Monday Fran had her braces fitted, the second to last bit of the cleft intervention she should hopefully need. You might want to pop over to her blog and read about that, since she’s writing again. It’s been a long old road and there is at least two years of this but she’s happy to have it started now and the first wave of it hasn’t been too uncomfortable. I’ve never seen such an odd shaped first wire though – it went in zigzags!

Through all of this Maddy was happily off at CCF camp near Ironbridge; she took part in riots, rifle training, police training, went flying and did a lot of ironing, so far as I can tell. She’s extremely composed about being away from home – my favourite thing was how thrilled Fran and Bene were when we spoke to her on the phone. Was good to get her back and I took her for a quick visit to the baby rabbits we are adopting as a friend has found herself with rather a lot of them by accident!

On Wednesday Amelie needed a small eye operation to remove some molluscum growing in her eyelash line. They’ve been causing enormous amounts of eye itching and refusing to go on their own so surgery had to happen. Was a tedious but very simple day and all went well. I’m having to keep an eye (ha) on it now though as it is a bit crusty :(

Looooooong wait for eye surgery. #meh

Josie and Fran did a few days either at work or at gym as Josie was enjoying some more gym camp. I have no idea how that child can do so much exercise and not completely collapse but she seems to manage.

Thursday was results day as previously reported. Hurrah again :)

I spent quite a lot of the week trying to stop Bene from being so freaked out by spiders and beetles.

After initial anxiety…
To combat an extreme spider phobia we are watching Spider in the Bath on our Apple TV thingy. Riveted #mummywin
…he conceded that Spider in the Bath is in fact a lot of fun.
It was the best kids show ever I think.
Best show ever :)

He’s also really enjoying going to PlayGym at Phoenix, which is good as we need to tire him out a bit more. He’s giving up on naps, which is slightly painful all round!

Boy on beam. #playgym #phoenixgymnastics #peterborough @phoenixgymclub

Along side that I managed to do a phenomenal amount of work on two websites, finish 3 books (the ends of each not all the way through each!) and finish the boarder on my sisters blanket. So it was a productive week, all in all.