Dear Alex, Month 1

Dear Alex,

Lightning. In the same place twice.

Hello my girl, look at you, what an angel, what a thing for us to have gone and done, again.

I try to write down some things about what’s going on in your life, for documentary purposes, so in years to come you’ll know what was going on in your life, especially these early days whilst you’re clueless. I’ll try to write monthly during your first year and quarterly thereafter. And I want you to have a hint of a smattering of an inkling of an idea about what and how much you mean to us.

You were due to arrive on the 10th, I was thinking the 8th (my birthday) would be nice, but if it wasn’t then or the 10th then when? So when you landed on December 18th though, it was obvious: I met Mummy in a pub near the Barbican after meeting five days earlier online (no I’m not joking) on an 18th; your sister was born on an 18th. And, if you don’t include my big toes, I’ve got 18 digits.

Kate felt something was afoot the evening before so cousin Don and Helene came round for a game of pictionary. We’ve kept the badger that Don drew that night. It doesn’t look like a badger. At all. Then a couple of hours of nothing happening with you, they went back to their place just a little further down the Roman Road and we went to bed. A couple of hours later and you’d grown enough for your amniotic sack no longer to be able to contain you. Mummy’s waters were breaking all over the shop, I was grabbing the camera (well I’ve never seen broken waters before), Helene came back to look after sister, we got our shit together and headed down the road to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel. Only at 1am, in their wisdom, it was locked, because people only need hospitals 9-5. Teetering around the building on the icy ground, we found our way in via the side door, went up to the labour ward, some nurse who looked like we’d woken her pointed us in the wrong direction but eventually we were in the correct room, the room you were born in. Walking along the corridor to get to your room, we passed the screams of the house of horrors and a few hours later Kate was joining in, exactly the same. You’d dumped a load of meconium inside Mummy so there wasn’t going to be any hanging about like we did last time with Frankie (and this also meant we were less inclined to keep the placenta as we did last time). The contractions starting getting worse and scheiße mein alter schtiefels, it was a hard thing to watch the pain that Mummy went through. There was no time for any pain relief other than ‘gas and air’, no time for that planned epidural. “I can’t do this” I remember Mummy saying. 5 hours after arriving at the hospital, at 06h18, you came through. 7lbs 10oz. Bloody nora, birth is an emotional thing.

The Naming of #2
What a bloody farce that became. We must have had a hundred conversations with friends and family over your gestation period that went something along these lines:

Them: “You got a name for her yet?”
Me: “Nope. Got any bright ideas?”
Them: “Amelia?”
Kate: “Grow up.”
Them: “Sophie?”
Me: “I like Sophie but it’s a little too princessy maybe.”

or

Me: “Any suggestions as to what we might name our daughter?”
Them: “erm”
Us: “no, neither have we.”

You get the idea. At some point over the 9 months the following were shortlisted, but none cutting the mustard as Alex has: Layla, Sam, Sami, Ana, Sophie, Sophia, Bow, Cat, Ali, Charlie, Beth, Izzy, Scarlett et al.

Don suggested the name Alex, whilst we were sat around the table playing our board game and twas agreed there and then that that was your name. The morning you were born I checked with Mummy that we were going with Alex and so it was. A day or so later the name Sami came up again and we were back to square one, still at a loss as to what your name was. There was also a bit of pressure on us deciding as we needed to register you in order to get your passport applied for in time for your upcoming first flight to South Africa. So on the 29th December we registered you at Bow Registry Office in the name of Sami Alex Lowry Spratt. A week later we went back to the office and reregistered you, this time lopping of the Sami, which I just couldn’t dig.

And don’t start me on the – “Alex” “Oh, Alexandra?” “N’no, Alex.” What is it with people.

For the record

  • Your body can seem a little uptight, like you’re still that foetus, all balled up. Your hands won’t uncurl, I don’t know what’s going on there.
  • You’re nocturnal, mostly sleeping during the day only to be up for attention at night. You real funny.

I must warn you – you’ve got this sister. Her name is Frankie and she is a complete fruitcake. She’s been very excited, waiting for you to “come out of Mummy’s tummy”. She currently calls you baby and the pair of you are extremely cute together although right now she can be rather boisterous but she is all good. You guys are going to have so much fun together.

Twelve hours after being born, home

If I had my way (if we had the money), we as a family would spend the rest of our lives travelling the world. Currently though, my job is taking me away a lot and this is far from ideal, leaving you guys behind. I left for Jordan on the 9th January and am due to be there for 3+ weeks, then you guys are off to SA soon after I get back, in time for your Uncle Edd’s wedding, I’m off to Mumbai first then I’ll see you out there. So these first few months we’re not going to see a great deal of each other. I know this isn’t cool, I hope you understand.

Don’t go changing,

Daddy X

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