Henries were here

Summer! Allow me to let you into a secret: when faced with sunshine, my top half converts it all super-efficiently into freckles and third-degree burns, while my bottom half simultaneously takes on a whiteness so blinding all light rays are reflected back into space. This is my superpower, and when I become a time traveller … Continue reading Henries were here

On losing Two, and trying not to be sad about it

He is on the verge of being three. Hanging onto Two by his fingertips. You can see Three coming in those long skinny legs, the bony bottom in little underpants. Three is in his self-awareness, the jokes with a random punchline, the sentences with multiple clauses. There are Threeish days he wants books with more words … Continue reading On losing Two, and trying not to be sad about it

How to listen to Elton John’s Greatest Hits, in ten easy steps

1. You might want to start with Your Song, or you might not. Your Song is as much Elton John as he is pudding-basin haircuts and insane eyewear; it is the only Elton you learned to play and you sing it in your mother's voice and Your Song is in your veins. If you do … Continue reading How to listen to Elton John’s Greatest Hits, in ten easy steps

Flying the flag for date night

Real spouse talk: we find date nights hard these days. Didn't everyone say we would, and didn't we think, all naively, that we'd find a way to work around it? I am in awe of couples who manage to get out once a week or even once a month. Whether you pay someone to come … Continue reading Flying the flag for date night

Slugs and snails: for Teddy

You are one today, little boy. And what are little boys made of? You are made of wrist rolls and chubby feet, big hands and big cheeks. Bounces and cowboy yells on a cot mattress at 6am. Turbo-charged crawling. Clear blue eyes and wide beaming smiles, showing all six teeth, scrunching up your nose. A mess … Continue reading Slugs and snails: for Teddy

Party for one

I have decided that first birthday parties are the best of all possible parties. Really, they are. First, the whole thing is basically a happy celebration of the two of you looking after a baby for a year. He grew some inches, he crawls and he's eating food: you win everything, parents! Second, the celebratee … Continue reading Party for one

Small parks

We drove back towards town and I told them we'd find a playground. Nursery visits are necessary things, but not much fun for either of them: look at all these children and new toys! Nah, just kidding, let's go. We've been doing it all week, and we've still got some to go, and we're tired. … Continue reading Small parks

The bottle-thrower in my head

The other day I was hayfevered up to the max, and found myself in a quandary. Oh gosh, Thursday, I texted Tim in the morning. If we go out the pollen will kill me, and if we stay in the boys will. I mean, what is a girl to do? When I just had Henry, … Continue reading The bottle-thrower in my head

Museums I have known and sprinted in, by H. J.

I am a huge believer in kids and museums. Firstly, because I love museums, and if you can't impose your likes and dislikes on your children while they're too young to roll their eyes, well, when can you, eh? Secondly, because most of them are free, so I can buy us cake on the way … Continue reading Museums I have known and sprinted in, by H. J.

‘I do like your belly, but not right now’: some things I said during Father’s Day photos

'If you sit still and smile for daddy's photographs, you can have some of daddy's chocolate. Do you need a shark for photographs? Ok, alright, hold your shark. No, not in front of your face. I need to see your face, not your shark.' 'Teddy, can you sit back? Teddy. Teddy. Sit back, darling. Sit … Continue reading ‘I do like your belly, but not right now’: some things I said during Father’s Day photos