Moments of Happiness in August 2015

Discovering on the seventh day of his life that my son is a shower man not a bath kind of guy, something which I was quick to enjoy as I gripped his tiny body to my chest. With the warm water coating his skin and his gentle wriggles against me, it brought back many of the sensations I felt when he first arrived on Earth and lay on me.

Drinking wine again after nearly nine months of sobriety. I have a lot of prosecco to catch up on.

Having two sets of Baby Bird's grandparents meet for the first time and feeling great relief and happiness as they all got on brilliantly.

Being astonished that Baby Bird not only didn't lose weight over the first few days of his life, but actually gained nearly 100g. This amazed us and both our maternity nurse and the midwife. It also set the tone for the rest of the month as he piled on the weight and grew more than we expected.

Using my Lalabu Soothe Shirt for the first time. I really, really recommend this special T-shirt with a pouch for carrying newborn babies around safely and snuggly. If only Baby Bird hadn't outgrown his so quickly.

Going for short and then eventually long sunny (and not so sunny) walks along the Amstel.
Getting back on a bike again within two weeks of giving birth. I was a little sore, I admit, but I was also flying on two wheels again and not getting out of breath instantly like I was at 40 weeks pregnant.

Taking Baby Bird to one of our favourite restaurants twice in one week and also stopping by our favourite brunch spot only for the kind staff there to spoil us with cake and coffee.

Buying a breastpump (!) so NewMan can now feed his son a few times a day.

Buying a sling from Ergobaby to try and keep Baby Bird's evening grizzles to a minimum once he'd grown out of the Soothe Shirt. In addition to less crying, I now get hands-free cuddles for hours at a time.

Watching Baby Bird take naps with his Dad, chest-to-chest, heartbeat-to-heartbeat.

Spending a summer's evening on a boat with friends. It made us discuss, yet again, getting a little boat of our own. Maybe next summer...

Sneaking out for lunch with NewMan while my parents were here and eating far too many mini-sandwiches from Boca's. We went back a few weeks later with Baby Bird and the food and wine tasted just as good. 

Getting cards and gifts from all over the world welcoming our little man to life. People's generosity and kind thoughts floored me.

Discovering the coffee, cake and lunches on offer at Boterham in Amsterdam Oost - a very relaxed, friendly place to pass a few hours.
Sending out birth announcement cards featuring three little robots. Geboortekartjes (or birth cards) are a real thing here in the Netherlands and although we were a little late getting ours out, I love that we did our own design so they're completely unique. It was definitely worth the effort.

Going to Restaurant Merkelbach with all of the grandparents. It was Baby Bird's first journey in the bakfiets!

Hanging out at Pure Markt as a family of three... and those pulled pork cheeseburgers - yum!

Catching up on reading again. I may not meet my 100 books a year target in 2015 but I've already read more books this year than last so I see that as a result.

Getting back to writing again and publishing a short story, Locked-up Lovers, that was really a lot of fun to write. I'm not sure if my enjoyment came from the story's subject - a reclusive woman who is obsessed with books who embarks on a passionate affair with a young male student back home for his university's summer break - or if it was simply returning to doing something I really missed even though I only took a few weeks off. Either way, having a baby has really confirmed for me how much pleasure I get from writing, and how no matter what happens in terms of my books' profitability and success, I will always, always do what I can to write as regularly as possible.

Going out for dinner with some friends from UK who were visiting on a hen do. It was my first night out as a mum without my baby and the good company and conversation was exactly what I needed, although I was itching to get back and cuddle Baby Bird by the end of the night.

Enjoying a late summer Friday night borrel and dinner with two lovely Dutch friends. I talked about Baby Bird far too much but I also remembered that I'm more than just a mum and that felt just as good as our waitress telling my friend after I'd left how well I looked for the mother of a newborn.

Seeing Baby Bird smile for the first time and feeling my ever-expanding love for him start to soothe all the anxieties, fears and sleep deprivation... most of the time. Other times, I just need a nap!

Read my Moments of Happiness from JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay, June and July.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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