I just don’t know what to say…

Living in a different country from where you grew up is without a doubt difficult at times. No matter how hard you try, you will miss birthdays, weddings, parties, summer bbq’s and afternoons of endless cups of tea with your sister or best friend. No matter how big or small the occasion, it’s hard.

It is most difficult though when something bad happens. When disaster strikes either your family, friends or your fellow countrymen it is extremely hard to not be around.

The airplane disaster from last Thursday is without a doubt the worst thing that happened to my home country since I left it. Flight MH17 was shot from the air and there were no survivors, 193 of the victims were Dutch. Reading about parents who waved bye bye to their children never to see them again makes me so sad it is hard to keep back my tears. The words: “The death count has risen by 3 because 3 babies didn’t have their own seats” saddens me to the core and make me cry every time I think about them.

The stories about how the site has not yet been secured, how the bodies have been man handled and how the victims possessions have been looted are infuriating. The thought of children’s and babies bodies being out there, being treated in this awful disrespectful way is leaving me speechless and tearful. Not being able to mourn with my fellow Dutchies has never been harder.

Please spare a thought for the victims and their families.

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Almost six months…..

In 11 days time Jacob will be six months old and even though it has been hard work and difficult at times there have been many wonderful moments. I wanted to write more often during the first few months but have not had the time or peace of mind to do it. So instead, here are some of the things I have really enjoyed.

* The bonding. After an insanely quick delivery, Jacob and I had to stay in hospital for a few days. It was extremely hard only seeing Elisabeth briefly during those days, especially as I knew she was struggling with me not being there, but it was nice to have that time with Jacob. It really gave me a chance to bond with him without having to worry about doing anything else.

* The love from sister to brother. From day one it was obvious that Elisabeth adored Jacob, she loves giving him cuddles and kisses and tickling his little feet.

* The sleep! To say that I was concerned about sleep is an understatement. It was hard enough looking after just Elisabeth with practically no sleep for about two years, having both a baby and a three year old to deal with on no sleep filled me with dread. You can imagine my surprise and delight when Jacob started sleeping through before he was even four months old! He goes to bed just before seven and most nights he sleeps until six. Of course there are nights when he wants his dummy plugged back in every five minutes, or he can’t get to sleep on his own and needs me to cuddle him until he drifts off, or when he thinks 4am is a perfectly acceptable time to wake up, but most of the time he sleeps amazingly well. It is very very nice indeed. Although saying all this, the last week sleep has not been good and I can feel the ever so familiar effects of my old “friend” sleep deprivation. All I can say is that I hope it will pass soon.

* The quiet moments. I love playing with Jacob and Elisabeth, singing silly songs, doing crazy dancing and trying to keep up with Elisabeth’s never ending imagination. Sometimes though I really enjoy the quiet moments. Times when Elisabeth is sitting at her little table drawing and Jacob happily watches her from his little bouncy chair, both completely content leaving me to get on with the endless amounts of washing and other chores. Those moments stop me in my tracks and make me take a moment to truly appreciate my two little superstars.

* The eating. Watching Jacob eat is an absolute delight, when Elisabeth was the same age she was just starting to have little bits of baby rice, Jacob is on three meals a day already. He is a real hungry monster and loves pretty much everything I give him, and he makes yummy noises with every bite 🙂

* The differences. Elisabeth and Jacob are different in pretty much everything. It’s lovely to be surprised by things that Jacob does or likes that Elisabeth didn’t do or like. Certainly keeps things interesting.

* The love from brother to sister. The way Jacob watches Elisabeth is something I can watch all day. As soon as she walks (or often runs) into a room his eyes light up and he starts kicking his feet. If she comes near he tries to grab her and pull her close. If he struggles to nap when we’re out, all Elisabeth has to do is sing him ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and he nod off. Last night we were all upstairs in our bedroom, I had bathed Jacob and was ready to go downstairs when Elisabeth jumped on our bed and started being silly. The next thing we hear is Jacob bursting out laughing every time Elisabeth makes a silly move. Proper belly laughs, the best ones yet. It was amazing, Elisabeth kept being silly and Jacob laughed and laughed. There is some proper brother- and sisterly love growing here. We are very lucky to have them both.

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