Tag: parenthood

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The new normal: coughs and sniffles

After a sweltering heatwave, the weather has hit its seasonal turning point and the first signs of autumn are appearing. In the mornings and evenings, darkness is drawing in, and I am glad to snuggle into my coat. There are chestnuts falling from the trees, mushrooms springing out of the ground, and blackberries ripening in the hedgerows. And, of course, there are coughs and sniffles. Usually just part and parcel of this time of year – but now, in times of corona, they have suddenly become ominous.

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Parental love in the time of corona

When my first daughter was a year old, we visited friends and heard about their plans to leave their son with their parents for a weekend, so that they could go away alone together. I couldn’t understand them – we loved going on holiday with our little one! Years on, and a child further, I […]

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What’s in a name?

Lying on my desk is an item that is completely out of pace with the modern digital age – my address book. It is the same one I have had since I was a teenager. The spine is broken and the paper has come off the front cover, showing the thick cardboard underneath. Written on […]

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Inventing traditions

The Christmas season is full of traditions, and they were particularly strong in my childhood home. Every evening during Advent, we read part of ‘A Christmas Carol’, timing it to finish on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve itself, we ate traditional Finnish food – roast ham, swede, carrot and potato ‘boxes’, and rice pudding. We […]

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The most wonderful time of the year

In the past, I did always think that Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year – and to pile on the clichés, I also wished it could be Christmas every day. Not surprising, really, given how magical Christmas was at my house when I was a child. Candle arches lighting up the windows, […]

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Creative freedom

This was my Easter egg competition entry, age 8. Next to this photo in my album, it says, ‘My Easter rabbit-egg – made by me’. I didn’t write those words – and I didn’t make the ‘Easter rabbit-egg’. It was my mother’s idea, and she was also responsible for most of the execution. I did […]

Flor de Pascua – Madonna – M.C. Esher

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How long can the baby blues last?

Five and a half years ago, as spring was just starting, I was at home on maternity leave with my beautiful baby girl. Early troubles with feeding were behind us, and I could spend my days in a gentle rhythm of feeds and naps. After each feed, I would prop her up on my knee, […]

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Breast is best – or is it?

I firmly believe that breast milk is nutritionally better than formula. It contains natural antibodies from the mother that help the baby to fight infection – something not contained in even the best bottle milk on the market.  I am more doubtful about the studies showing links with everything from increased intelligence to being a […]

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But the second one is easier, right?

These words were uttered to me by a colleague who was shortly to become a father for the second time. His tone was joking, but I could see the panic in his eyes. He desperately wanted – no, needed – me to say yes. Well, on the one hand… The practicalities are certainly easier. Whereas […]

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Cyberchondria

My daughters love to play ludo, but I have learned to dread it. In Dutch, the game has the telling name: ‘Mens erger je niet’, loosely translated: ‘Man, don’t get upset’. It is certainly appropriate, because it almost always ends in a furious tantrum, sometimes with board and pieces flying across the room. One of […]