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The Hope effect

April 2, 2012

One of Hope’s Godmothers (to be) came to stay this weekend .. she’s amazing. She lives in California and is beautiful, funny, talented and has the most wonderful sense of style … most of the time I live the glamour vicariously as I hear about trips to Palm Springs, to the Hollywood Bowl and all over the world. This weekend she bought extra colour to Cambridge with her sweet, loving and very mischievous observations on the world. It was the second time Hope had met her Auntie Clare, the first was 6 weeks ago … and she adores her.

It was so wonderful to, yet again, see how happy Hope makes other people … and also how happy Hope is when she’s loved and chatted to given tummy massages. The three of us spent alot of time having girlie gossips, but we also had to do a few chores. I’d had my mobile phone stolen on Friday (I dropped it and someone took it … HUMPH), very annoying, but I had backed up all the photos, it made me sad though as all the “Hurrah Hope’s here” text were on it and I had meant to print them out for her book. Anyway, I thought it would be a quick job to nip into the phone shop and report it to Orange and get a new handset, 2 days later and 3 hours in phone shop it is only just activated … the temporary phone I’ve been given is fairly useless but I have to wait til Tuesday for the new one to arrive. That was all very stressful, especially with poor Hope hanging over my arm thinking, “this isn’t fun”. Luckily for Hope, her Auntie Clare was on hand and whisked her off to a little Italian bistro, coffee shop type place … I walked round the corner about an hour later to find Clare feeding Hope a little bottle of milk, and chatting to the beautiful waitress having had lots of customers come over and admire her baby… that made me smile … they are similar colouring. Anyway, I joined them, we had a glass of wine and were given a whole platter of ham and wonderful cheese and some pesto it was gorgeous. The wine was so good we decided to buy a bottle to take home to share with Granby, at which point the lady there said something in Italian and pointed to Hope and said ‘bambino’, and just gave us all the food we’d eaten and the glasses of wine and the pesto for nothing as a present to welcome Hope. It was lovely… the Hope effect and their generosity set Auntie Clare and I on a great  beginning to the weekend.

Out with Auntie Clare

After the phone debacle, I wanted to get a new camera charger for my old camera, so we went into Currys … a huge barn of a place full of purple people descending on you to offer you great deals on iPads and fridges … I tried to get the bit for the camera and again Auntie Clare took little Hope for a wander to look at the spin dryers … I lost them in the aisles and eventually found them sitting on an electric massage chair, both looking blissfully happy. There was one free just beside them so I sat down too and then, when Hope awoke from her reverie, I breast fed her in it. Yup, my most glamorous friend comes to Cambridge and what made us laugh the most? Sitting in electric massage chairs in an electronics superstore me breast feeding and her beaming in contentment as the chair massaged the lost phone tensions away from us both. It also stopped the flow of purple people coming to ask about buying fridges … another example of the Hope effect … first free drinks and generous gifts, then offering a way of warding off sales people.

We also took Hope to two farm shops where she was loved and fussed over by all sorts of people and had our shopping carried and enjoyed samples of cheeses (banned during pregnancy) and drank hot chocolate. Hope decided she needed a nappy change, and then a matter of seconds later another, and then another and then another … she was a little fractious after that, but people still wanted to hold her and chat to her and tell her how hungry she was … they didn’t realise she was just cross that she had to have 4 nappy changes in under 10 minutes.

On Saturday evening we had planned to take Hope out, we didn’t, we sat in and lolled about chatting more and gazing at Hope … totally relaxed and very happy the three of us. We talked about the future, what might lie ahead for Hope and we reflected on our own lives and how our mother’s must feel about what we’ve done … it was a very special time and we all slept peacefully and happily afterwards … another outcome of the Hope effect (after a relaxed evening she slept over 7 hours). Oh and before you worry about the wisdom of drinking wine while breast feeding, don’t. I had one glass, pretty much the only glass I’ve had since having Hope .. and I really enjoyed it … and then another at home later and Hope had a bottle of formula rather than breast milk … I’m still being very diligent with all that … even if I’m eating much more chocolate than I ever have before and do feel the need to eat almost incessantly!

Blissfully happy baby

Earlier in the week, I had a meeting with a colleague who has become a friend, she kindly gave Hope some beautiful new clothes, and then as she watched Hope over the top of her cup of tea and the lovely little heart shaped biscuits we’d been served, her eyes welled up with tears of joy. I felt so touched then and realised yet again how important Hope is to my friends and family.

Tonight I took Hope to the theatre, not front of house, but back stage to meet a friend who was performing locally, up from London for the evening. He looked tired when we saw him at the stage door, he took her at once whisked us back stage to the scruffy dressing room, and held Hope in the crook of his arm and smiled and chatted to her for almost an hour. She, realising she was in the presence of greatness, rose to the occasion and didn’t cry or murmur, she looked up at his wise face in wonder and hung on his every word. It was wonderful … and by the time we left and he had to prepare himself to go on stage (or gargle or something) he was glowing that same happy calm that Auntie Clare and I had felt the night before.  Again, the Hope effect…

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say really other than that Hope brings out good in people and helps them to relax. She’s given me confidence, and also, of course, the realisation that she matters above all else … and that when she’s hungry I’ll feed her just about anywhere… even in the demonstration massage chair in Currys! It’s been fun having an indulgent weekend… next week we’re back to normality, me with an echogram and Hope with her injections … but right now I’m definitely feeling the need for sleep … another side of the Hope effect!!

Hope and the heart shaped biscuits (thanks to Mary McKenna for the picture & the tea party)

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