I'm sitting at the kitchen table in the sun. The dog's nearby, draped over the doorstep snoring gently. Apart from her I'm on my own, for the first time in weeks and weeks, or months even. Carla and Olivia have gone to play with friends, Travis has braved the vagaries of Dunedin's topography and the difficulties of right-hand driving to go look at cars, Petra's napping.
It's lovely to have some alone time. I haven't written or read anything or had much of a chance to catch up with myself since we arrived in New Zealand and I'm getting a little stir-crazy as a result. I'm more of an introvert than an extrovert so I get uncomfortable when I don't get to be by myself regularly. That lack of space is one of the toughest parts of being a parent. I now hanker after time by myself doing nothing in particular the way I hankered after sleep when Petra was first born. We co-sleep with Petra and I have only been away from her for more than an hour or so a handful of times since she was born. As she gets bigger and more independent that will change (and I'll miss her as she moves away from me), but to this point we've had very intensive mother-daughter time. I'm grateful that I've been able to be with her so much, but there's no denying that it's a huge change from my former life.
The dog has snuck in through the door and curled up on the other side of the table, just out of my line of sight. I think she thinks she's fooled me. Because I'm a soft touch, I'll leave her be for the moment.
We had a wee party for Petra yesterday afternoon. Olivia was very excited about it all. She had trouble sleeping the night before because she knew party-day was coming. And she was a very eager helper when it came to unwrapping the gifts. Petra was a blase one-year-old, however. She sucked on her gifts, played with the boxes they came in, hung out with her rellies, and was generally a mellow baby. She's tired today though. As am I. Both girls had trouble settling to sleep after all the excitement. We were all out driving around Dunedin at 10 last night, trying unsuccessfully to knock them out. Petra finally passed out around 11 and Olivia (who is usually the world's best sleeper) wasn't much earlier.
Petra's just woken up – time to go.