So, Ivy and the Mole has finally broken the soil and emerged into the light of day, following its publication in June. It’s a children’s book written to help little ones with their self-esteem and believe in themselves, and their own individuality.
It is also the second title I’ve managed to get into print, and it means I really did turn the Big Issues for Little People concept into a literary series just as I (rather recklessly, in hindsight) claimed I was about to do upon the release of my first picture book, Ivy and the Rock.
At the time Ivy and the Rock, as my debut novel, was published I wrote about its release in comparison to the birthing of a first child – the joy, the pain, the anxiety, the pure elation at having created something so special and unique to you.
Now my next picture book is out there it is, indeed, very much like a second sibling has arrived. The day Ivy and Mole finally dropped on to my doorstep after what again felt like an age in the making was just as awe inspiring, just as joyous, and just as emotional as the first time it happened.
But now I’m a mother of two under two, I’m also finding it hard to divide my attentions between them both as equally as I’d like.
In the beginning I nurtured the Mole as much as I could, I gazed at it with love, and I didn’t feel half as daunted or anxious as I did the first-time round. Meanwhile, Ivy and the Rock is out there, it has established its own life and – in the beginning – it also gained all the attention one would expect of a first-born people knew you’d been waiting to meet for a very long time.
So, this time around I’ve not only got a newborn to think of, but an older sibling too – and one who has just started at school. I’ve had a run of sessions in primary schools across Caerphilly County this summer term which I’m looking forward to taking out to foundation phase kids more fully in the autumn and beyond.
But alongside this I’ve now also got the Mole to look after, who, as you would expect, hasn’t had anywhere near enough attention as its older sibling since it emerged into the world. We’ve had some great coverage and support from local press outlets, including the Caerphilly Observer, South Wales Argus, Wales247.co.uk, County Times and more, for which I am truly grateful. But there is also a lot more to do this time, and the push to get people’s attention was always going to be a harder one.
Already I can’t wait for this little seedling to start becoming its own person though. I can’t wait to find out what kind of a journey Ivy and the Mole is going to take me on, just as I had no idea Ivy and the Rock would take me to the national press, television interviews, virtual grief sessions, a reading by Fergie and Friends, and so much more.
And, I suppose, here lies the rub. Impatience is not a quality best suited to the writing/publishing world. So, I’m making lists, I’m marking the little wins, I’m learning to appreciate and admire the differences between my two babies – and I’m reminding myself of the real-world experience that tells me you can’t expect to parent the second one in exactly the same way as the first.
It’s hard though, when you’ve given over all of your earthly energies to bringing something into the world which you cannot help but feel protective of, and that you are just desperate to see fulfil itself to its fullest potential.
And, as ever, if Ivy and the Mole can make just one little reader feel better about themselves, and understand this world of ours a little more fully in the process, then already it will have done what it came here to do anyway.