When we were in the UK, we went to visit Jess’s aunt, who had lived pretty close to us when we were in London when I was six years old. A couple of years ago, she decided she wanted to downsize, and so David designed and built a house for her on the location of her garage, attached to her now former home. Due to rules and regs, it had to look identical to the structures next to it. It does, from the outside. It is marvelous. Inside, it is welcoming, beautiful, light, airy and cozy all at the same time. Coming in, one is drawn toward the back of the house with the sight through big windows of the walled garden behind the house. There is a big supporting post in the downstairs room which her artist friend decorated with flowers, and so it adds to the magically light feeling of the space. She has grandchildren, and had toys and art supplies out for Hazel, as well as an array of tempting and delicious nibbles for us all. We sat and had tea and talked, watching the birds flying in and out of the garden. Hazel asked for and was given a basin of water with which she washed all the toys. She drew pictures, too, and the clearest example of her name I’ve seen her do yet. It was a lovely morning. Jess’s aunt is called Joanna, and she is one of only two people I’ve known with that name in my life. Having positive associations with it is one of the reasons we chose it for our daughter.
Joanna walked us to the train station, and we waited on opposite sides of the tracks, Hazel and Ted together, and me with the twins. That’s because after our morning all together, Ted took Hazel to visit the Natural History Museum. They saw replicas of dinosaurs, among other things, and got to spend some time together just the two of them, which was great. That was Martine’s idea, and it was a good chance for them to reconnect. Ted and Hazel used to have breakfast together almost every Saturday morning, but it’s been a long time since they’ve been able to do that. We’re hoping to weave some of those Daddy-Hazel, and Mommy-Hazel experiences back into our schedule as we move back into a more normal routine again.
At the moment we’re still in survival mode, recovering from jet-lag and the stomach flu, and I’m feeding the babies every 1.5 to 3 hours at night. This happened when we arrived in the UK, but then returned to normal after a few days, so we have faith it will moderate. The trouble, of course, is that feeding them so often means terribly interrupted sleep, as well significantly less pumped milk in the morning. It’ll take a few days to build up enough supply for even one night, let alone more than one. What I have to remember is that in the UK, after that very challenging start I was producing so much milk that I could pump eight to ten ounces in the morning, one time as many as fourteen, which for me is astonishing. So, it can come back. It’s hard not to worry about milk supply when one is breastfeeding one’s baby (ies). It’s easy to get stuck in assuming the worst whenever there’s any issue, or when they’re fussy. This is something I experienced with Hazel, too. And with her, I ran out of milk at eight months, a lot earlier than I had thought I would. I found that quite distressing. This time at least I have more perspective, and the continued gratitude that I have been able to nurse my babies exclusively for as long as I have, almost six months now. I will always be glad for this time and that opportunity. It feels like an honor.
When my train arrived, Joanna helped me get the stroller up into it, and I went back to the Osorios’ house. They had already eaten lunch and the babies were still asleep, so Martine and I went for a walk straightaway, before they could be woken up by the lack of motion. We went to Bushy Park and had a long lovely ramble in the sunshine. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and sun strong enough to warm. We talked about birds, politics, society, relationships, etc. And the babies didn’t wake up until we were pretty close to home again, so there was minimal crying from that quarter.
That was a great day, full of conversation and connection, beauty, peace, and exercise. A day to treasure and remember.