Bundles of Joy ( & Thirty Things #9)

A few weeks ago, I boarded the train to London.

The East Coast line between Edinburgh and the Big Smoke is one of life’s great pleasures, but on this occasion I was rather too excited to gaze fondly at the crashing North Sea or the quaint clusters of Northumbrian sheep.

I was en route to see an old friend, one of my oldest in fact.

One of the few people from my hometown with whom I’m still in regular contact, and one of my favourite people on the planet.

She happened to be in London for the day, lucky girl, so I dashed down for a mini-visit, totalling all of 19 hours.

This is us [Anika, me & my crazy hair wings. seriously, what is going on there?].

At the bottom of the frame you can also make out the selfish reason for my impromptu visit.

She’d had a beautiful baby girl last winter and this was my first chance to meet the little monkey.

Hardly a baby anymore, she was gnawing and gabbling and climbing like there was no tomorrow.

I was so happy to meet the munchkin I spent most of the time beaming into her little face and hardly saw dear Anika at all!

Thank goodness I’ll get to see them both again come Christmas.


Now, I love babies. And I haven’t held one since 2003, the year I nannied two adorable tots to pay for college.

2003. That’s a long time in my world.

That’s long enough I get the [admittedly odd] urge to accost strangers’ prams with cooing noises.

Thankfully I restrain myself. I doubt any new parent would believe I’m just some nice kooky lady that likes to hold babies for fun.


I’d normally be quite thrilled to meet any bundle of joy, especially after such a duration, but this one is extra special.

She is so like her mom (yes, already), and thus also destined to be one of my favourite people.

Plus this wee one had a hard time coming into this world, and she is all the shinier for it.

Anika and I had sympathy chats on long winter nights. As I survived my life-altering cyst Jemima she battled the nemesis gallstone Gulliver, a side-effect of a rather arduous pregnancy.

We were kindred spirits in lower abdominal strife.

Though, she got a baby and all I got was a new-found love of yoga.


Now, this noodle and her crazy bows may not know it, but she is also one of my thirty things: Number 9: Hold a baby, at least once. Check and check.

Not that she always liked it.

Well, she liked to pull my hair.

And eat my earrings. [To be fair, they do look surprisingly candy-like in all their vintage glamour]

And spit up cheerios on my dress.

And pick my nose.

It wasn’t all about bodily fluids though.

I taught her kicky feets.

And we did dancing on tables.

And had the odd snuggle.

Someday, when she is a grown-up I will tell her about the time we went walking in the dark streets of balmy London while she threw a raucous tantrum and the policemen all waved and smiled and tried to cheer her up.


I got to see her at the perfect age too.

There is something magical about the transition at the end of the first year for a tiny tot.

They start to be more people-ish. They start to have personalities and foibles and (ahem) diva tendencies.

Her new-found skepticism is priceless.

Right now, she’s just learning to remember.

Remembering where people go when they leave her sight.

Remembering she liked it before, and wanting very much to change it back.

I watched her little cogs turning as she figured out mom went into the bathroom and the scrunchy face thinking “But I want her to come out now” after.

That night in London, after the soft breeze and kind strangers had almost lulled her to sleep, I watched her look up into my face and then look around at the strange streets and the strange policemen.

Suddenly she was in a weird place with weird people and nothing about it was normal [she’s only just getting used to the idea of having a normal after all].

Her little eyes grew wide, first with surprise and confusion and then genuine fear [the weird experience of infant jet-lag probably didn’t help].

She was absolutely terrified, and wailed like a banshee.

Not that I meant to scare her with our little outting of course, or took any pleasure in doing so, but there was something amazing about watching her go through it all.

The real, raw human experience that comes from knowledge. To see her learn so fast and know so much was breathtaking. Watching her little brain racing, watching her make little tiny decisions. It was just amazing.

She is so freaking awesome.


By the time I see her again she’ll be on the move and doing all sorts of almost-toddler things.

She probably won’t remember me, she’s not that big yet, but that’s okay.

I’ll never forget that little face, not in a million years.

One Response to “Bundles of Joy ( & Thirty Things #9)”
  1. Anika says:

    Oh my goodness, this post made me tear up. What a LOVELY recap of our visit. It really is telling what the main attraction is when we end up with only ONE picture together and I have about 30 of you and the munchkin. She loved you to pieces. And she is just getting in that stage of remembering, and I swear she was looking for you after you left. Or at least your earrings 😉

    Miss you and can’t wait to see you in December!


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