Before you have a baby nearly everyone says, “Enjoy every minute, it goes so fast.”
It’s a cliché because it’s true. At the weekend, our son had been in the world for a month. Already.
Sometimes savouring the moment is hard. Days can be filled with nothing much. His feeding and sleeping habits are pretty much everything in my life at the moment.
Recently a friend shared this article on Facebook, about the writer getting a reminder that despite the daily, relentless juggle of parenting, these are the days that one day we’ll look back on nostalgically. (I add here that although having a newborn is hard at times I imagine it gets a whole lot tougher when you have more than one child, and they’re actually mobile).
I’m surprised by how consumed and fulfilled I am with the banal tasks involved in bringing up a baby. This and other signs mean I have officially entered ‘mum’ territory, that it has changed me and I can never fully go back.
- I now spit on a cloth and wipe his face with it.
- I arranged to see a work colleague yesterday and, while we were making plans, she had to remind me it was election day. Normally, this would have been my focus at work for several weeks or months, but now I’ve completely switched off from the 9-5 and I’m not missing it at all.
- I have no idea what day of the week it is.
Being around other people is usually a good exercise in reminding myself that these are the days. For a start, other people tend to take the baby off you which means you can take a breath and actually stretch your arms rather than holding them in a permanently cupped position, or use them to do other things like brush your hair and go to the toilet.
Other people also look at the baby with excitement, awe and adoration, fawning over his tiny, perfect, pink features. I still do the same, sometimes, but seeing other people’s enthusiasm and wonder makes me check myself, and whether I’ve counted my blessings recently.
Parenthood overall, I think I’m doing pretty well. There have been times, say around 3am, when I have inwardly screamed those immortal words of a mother: “Go to sleep. Pleeeaase.” I have had moments of despair and despondency when I’ve watched him screw up his face and cry again and I just haven’t known what is wrong.
There was a day like this a few days ago when he simply wouldn’t sleep and couldn’t spend a second away from me. But then we had a fairly restful night, and he napped and was content the next day. In the morning I laid in bed, listening to him farting and cooing in the crib alongside me. For a couple of hours, we fed and dozed, fed and dozed.
It almost goes without saying, but those are the days. They are when it is the very best thing, being a mum. When he seems happy and at peace and that must mean I’m doing an OK job.
Even after a bad day, a couple of hours’ sleep is enough that when he wakes me up I can’t get enough of him and his wide open blue eyes. I probably kiss him a hundred times a day, on average.
Every day, he gets stronger and he’s starting to show personality traits that might come to the fore later. He seems very determined; I can see that biting us on the arse in a few years.
Uh-oh, he’s awake. I must go :)