Friday, November 21, 2008

15th NOVEMBER 2009 - A visit to Greg's

Hello little Em,

Mark and Tammy brought you to Greg's new simplex for a braai last night. It was so sweet to see you again. Every time I see you  have changed. The reddish/yellow colouring that you came home with from the hospital has gone now and you are a beautiful, pink and roses baby.
Tammy looked tired. It is exhausting looking after a new baby. You are so small but so helpless and very demanding.
 People say, "Oh, if the baby is fed, warm and dry, they will sleep all day." Well, I know and you know - and Mark and Tammy now know - that's not true! Babies like to air their lungs. You aired your yours for about half an hour and then you slept for the rest of the night. Greg was a niggly baby. He screamed for nearly three months until I was so exhausted I could have smothered him! But, mothers don't do that. Mothers have these murderous thoughts and then when the baby is sleeping, they look at their sleeping child and melt inside; and feel so guilty for having had bad thoughts and just want to hold them and hug them - but they don't want to wake them up either!
One day you will understand because you will be a mother and you will remember what I have written here and you will know that you are normal!
Sleep tight little Em,
I love you,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

6th November 2008 - Your great-grandmother

Hello little Em,
I was cleaning the spare room this morning - I am doing the whole house, one room a day - and happened to look at the photograph of my Mom on the wall.
I said to her, "Hey Mom, what do you think about Emily Ann?" She is smiling in the photo and I know that she would have loved you - very much. It gave me a lump in my throat to think that she will never know you or hold you.
Let me tell you a bit about your Great-grandmother.
She was born on 1st August 1921 - the 2nd youngest of five children - and lived most of her childhood outside Dundee on a farm called 'Dawn'.
Her parents named her Jacomina Magritha Johanna Moolman (quite a mouthful hey?) Her family called her Mina but later on in life she became known as May. Your Dad and uncle Greg called her Gogo-May.
The other children were - in order of age - Alida (Tannie Ali), Hansie, Thys and Wessel. The first daughter in all the families were given the name Alida (which was her mother's name). Patty's second name is Alida and Oom Thys' oldest girl is Alida.
I never met Wessel because he died when I was 17. I went to the funeral in Johannesburg with my mother and that was the first time I'd been on an aeroplane. Passenger air travel was still young in 1964 - the first jet airliner, the Boeing 707, was only introduced 5 years earlier in 1959. So, it was very exciting for me to fly on an aeroplane.
Tannie Alie was married to Piet Lombard. They couldn't have children but they adopted Oom Piet's nephew, Leon.
Aunty Hansie married a Van Wyk and they had three children, two girls and a boy but the boy, Boetie, died when he was child. I think he was what they used to call a 'Blue Baby' - he didn't get enough oxygen to the heart. The first operation to correct this was only done in 1944 - too late for poor Boetie.
Thys had 5 children but I have only met three of them - Alida, Hannetjie and Marina. I think the other two are boys.
May married Albert Dodgen, and had Patty (1943) and me (1947). He had been married before and had a son from that marriage. We never saw him when we were children. He was older than us and he stayed with his mother who wouldn't have anything to do with Albert. May and Albert divorced and May remarried in 1957. In 1958 my young half-brother (your uncle Jeff) was born. May's 2nd husband Les Leaver, my step-father, died 3 weeks before Greg was born in May 1975.
May was a wonderful person. She had to work hard all her life and did her best to raise Patty and me when she was left on her own after Albert left. She doted on her grandchildren and loved your father very much. I think she would have been tickled pink to have seen him with his own daughter!
She was artistic and loved to dance - I think Patty gets that from her, although Albert was a musician so he must've been artistic too. She loved walking (perhaps I got that from her) and played bowls until her health deteriorated. She loved to cook for her family (now Patty has taken over that role) and we went to her every Sunday for years.
I really miss my mother. When Mark was at school I visited her four times a week and near the end, every day. When she became almost housebound, we had time to speak about a lot of things and there was no unfinished business between us. It is good to have that kind of relationship with the people close to you. Once they have gone its too late to say the things you wanted to say.
I wish you could have known her Em. She raised two girls so I'm sure you and she would have got on well.
Next time I'll tell you about your other Great-grandmother, Granny Annie (Gumpy's mother).
Take care little Em,
Love you lots,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

5th November 2009 - two weeks old

Hello little Em,
Today was your actual expected birth date. They were going to do the caesarean on 27th October (just in case you had fragile bones) but you arrived on the 16th October - so even though you will be 3 weeks old tomorrow, you are only full-term today. You are still tiny Em. I feel like we must enjoy you as a little baby because you are going to grow so quickly and we will forget what you were like as a new born.
Tammy said that you are having a growth spurt. I looked it up on the Internet:

During the first year of life, your baby will grow at an amazing rate. Your baby will grow the most during the first year of life than she ever will again. Most babies will have tripled their birth weight and grown 8-10 inches during the first year! It is common for a baby to experience his first growth spurt by 7-10 days after birth and again at 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. A typical growth spurt can last anywhere from 2 days to a week. Go with the flow and follow your baby's feeding cues. Allow her to eat as often as she needs to meet the needs of her growing body. Because your child will be awake more often to eat, it is common for them to be fussier than normal due to lack of sleep.

On Saturday night we went to your home for a braai. It was the first time I had a good chance to just sit and stare at you. You are a little miracle and you don't even know it! The fact that you are a perfect, normal baby is a miracle. There was a 50/50 chance that you would have OI - like the toss of a coin: heads you have it and tails you don't. We are all stunned and relieved and so thankful that you don't have it.

It was such a lovely surprise yesterday afternoon when your Mom and Dad popped in here unexpectedly - your first visit to your grandparent's home. Mark and Tammy had been to collect your birth certificate. You are now officially a person - with an ID number.
You were so alert, turning your head to the light and to the windows. I watched you as Mark was holding you and whenever he spoke you turned and looked at him intently.

It was unreal to look at my son - my baby - sitting there holding his baby daughter! How can that be? Who are you Em? Where did you come from? What I mean is, where did 'you' come from? Where were you until now? You seem to have a personality already and I hear Tammy say, "She likes her white blanket", or "she doesn't like the blue dummy." Can you have likes and dislikes at three weeks of age?
In this short video, you can see that you will have dimples like your Mom and Granny Laura.