1. Hairdresser (it had been a fair while)
2. Pharmacy (Mr O’s list of goodies)
3. Leaving dinner for a close friend (Jaipur obviously)
4. Ed Sheeran (!!!!)
5. Icecream (duck island obviously)
6. Shopping (because – had baby, for some reason not at previous clothing size ??)
The six times I have left Oliver since bringing him home.
This most recent time I went shopping with a friend as I had a voucher to spend for myself, but I also wanted to get Oliver a sunhat. We don’t go out often, and when we do, its short due to our feeding regime and he’s generally hidden away in his pram because, like pregnant belly touching, people have this thing about touching babies.
Now, I love pregnant belly touching. People would always be cautious and ask me, but seriously, I loved that you loved to touch my belly and chat to our boys.
I don’t love baby touching.
You all know how this mumma feels about hand washing and touching our baby. So I tend to hide him away to avoid having to suddenly tug him closer to me as someone I don’t know reaches out their probably-unwashed-after-working-with-an-advanced-strain-of-Ebola-virus-hand.
But I know this isn’t good for him, or for me, so I’ve decided I need to take him out more, and for this he will need a sunhat.
I found the perfect one; snug fit, full circle brim, chin strap, grey (we love grey), oh and $7, need I say more??
The brand of this hat? Charlie&me.
I’ve never heard of this brand and it gave me a fright to see it on a hat that seemed to be the only right one in a bin full of hats.
So I bought it, came home, showed it to William.
We shared a quiet look and then I said I think I’ll take the label off, and he said I think that’s a good idea. And we continued with our day.
There’s a constant balancing act we have discovered. Between needing to keep Charlie present in our lives and needing to make sure Oliver knows he’s perfect, that he’s enough. One thing we know we do not want is Oliver growing up with a shadow over him, feeling that his parents ‘never got over my brother’, that we wanted more than Oliver. And the tough thing is that we do want more, we want Charlie so damn much. I want to be even more tired than I am now, with double the feeding and changing and smiling and little nudey bottom. But we know it wouldn’t have been like this, Charlie would have been a different kid to Oliver even if he looked exactly the same. We would have had much more than ‘just’ feeding issues on our hands. And so as much as it feels awful to say it (more than awful, it makes me feel sick because it doesn’t mean we loved him any less) we want Charlie, but we want the Charlie he could have been. So we walk this line with Oliver, of having Charlie alongside him and we hope we can keep it healthy and happy, so that he never feels sad or alone, as the boy that lived (HP reference noted, and consciously left in, because, you know).
I want the world to know that Oliver isn’t an only child, but I want Oliver to know that he is. That yes, he has a twin brother, and we miss him, and as he grows bigger he will understand it more, but that he is enough, that we don’t wish it to be different, except in the way that we wish life had just dealt us a perfect hand straight off instead of making us lose the first million rounds.
Even as I write this it’s hard to make it come out right, but I guess we want Charlie present without him being a burden on his brother. I hope that because we are aware of it, intelligent, insightful human beings we will be able to find the balance in everyday life and it won’t seem too hard.
But I have a firm belief that children should never feel the worry that their parents do. Yes I want to teach Oliver about money and being kind and relationships, but I think it’s important that he never feels the worries that are an adults domain. He shouldn’t feel stressed if our money is tight, because that’s our job as adults, he’s got so much time to stress about it when he’s grown up, so we will work hard to make sure he doesn’t see it. He shouldn’t feel hurt when adults do or say unkind things because he should see us only being kind in front of him. He shouldn’t have to worry about his mum and dad and if they are happy, because he will learn when he meets someone that’s it’s hard work sometimes, so we will show him how much love we have for each other and keep the tough times to ourselves.
I don’t think this isn’t preparing him for the ‘real world’. I think the damn real world shoves it’s nose in perfectly fine on its own and as a child you deserve that time to just be, be happy, be trusting, be young, believe in magic and the goodness in everything and everyone. There are years of the real world for him once he’s grown up, why does he need to be shown it now?
So we will have a brother for him that he knows about, that he can ask about, see pictures, and hold his feet if he wants to. And he will feel sad that he doesn’t have Charlie to play with. But he won’t feel like his parents wish things were better, he won’t feel like his mum cries all the time or his parents love Charlie more. Because it’s our job to show him that he is loved. That he is more than we ever thought we would have. That he is perfect just the way he is, all the time.
So while it felt a little special that he could have walked around with a hat the said ‘Charlie&me’ it’s not okay for him to do that. He’s Charlie’s identical twin, yes.
But he’s Oliver.