September Review: Hectic Fruitfulness
What a busy month! Join me in my review of it.
I’m absolutely amazed that I have found a moment to write a September review, or to draw in my sketchbook at all. September has been a very busy month. For me, work has been full on (which is great, always grateful for work, especially with things as they are at the moment) which coincided with the baby being unable to sleep in the evening at all without me. That meant I’d lie with her all evening, in the dark, just meters away from the studio and the piles of orders, with no hope of escape. Just these last few days she has started to settle again for an hour or so without me. So here I am, in the studio, writing a blog post about her (the parenting cliche: you ache to be away from them and the moment you get away you ache to be back with them so just scroll through photos of them on your phone instead). Committing to keeping a monthly sketch-journal means that even in the crazy-busy months, I find a few clusters of 10 minutes here and there to do a few quick sketches and to write down some thoughts. Drawing regularly – even just scribbling with Piglet – is what keeps me grounded. I feel myself relax properly. A sinking-into-the-moment feeling that I’d never get from watching telly or reading a book. My mind is free to wander and process and imagine and think, and the muscle memory in my hand does the drawing.
I’ve been doing a daily drawing for Piglet’s nursery lunchbox. It was an idea I nicked from an illustrator – Alice Melvin – that I follow on Instagram. Settling Piglet into nursery was one of the worst things I’ve had to do. Sending a little drawing for him to discover in his lunchbox helped me to feel like I was connected to him during the day. Just tiny, quick, silly drawings on a scrap of paper, with a wee note from me alongside. A rainbow, a train, a bike, a strawberry, an ice cream. I’m not sure if he even notices them! But I’m pleased to report that he now likes nursery. He skips in most days. The relief for Ross and I is huge!
Little adventures after nursery pick-up are my new favourite part of my day. I think the excitement of being back together creates a little burst of energy and sweetness. We’ve had picnics in all sorts of spots, taken stories to read down by the river, chatted on benches, kicked conkers round the streets, followed the neighbourhood cat on very slow walks, pillaged the community orchard. September is a great month for easy seasonal spots for three year olds – bright, red rowan berries (this year seems to be a boom year for rowans), toadstools, brambles, elderberries, daddy long-legs. Most days, the burst of energy is short-lived, and we spend the rest of the day in survival mode, skirting tantrums and muddling through to bedtime.
I stood on a wasp in the living room. An angry, end-of-season wasp, crawling around the carpet. My foot swelled up and got all red and hot and itchy. Wasps. I don’t flap at them when they pester me, I defend them for their pollinator value, I’ve never hit one with a rolled up magazine. But, oh my goodness, I struggled to find compassion for that wasp. The wasps and nettles of September are united in their spite. Extra-stingy, extra-angry, friend to none.
Somehow, the baby is six months old already. We’ve started her on real food. She is no longer fuelled entirely by me. I have very mixed feelings about it. I’m excited to introduce her to the wonderful world of food but I’m a little sad that I can’t claim to be entirely responsible for growing her anymore. I grew her in my tummy, my body fed her, and now there’s mango and banana and parsnip and baby porridge getting involved. Until this point, her & I haven’t really been separate people. This is the beginning of her independence.
Tomorrow is October. October is my favourite month.
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