You are six months old already, can you believe it? I can’t – and yet can at the same time. One of the many paradoxes of motherhood. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror with you and repeat ‘you are my baby. I am your mummy’ hoping it will sink in. Other times I struggle to remember my life without you in it – because my whole world spins on a different axis now.
There have been so many firsts since my last letter – first night in your own room, first time in the ‘big boy’ bath, first solid foods, first big belly laughs when tickled etc. There have been some lasts as well –last sleep in your Moses basket, last lounge in your baby bouncer, last time wearing this or that outfit. The firsts are easier to record whereas the lasts slip by unplanned, unnoticed until days or weeks later when I am painfully reminded that you aren’t the same baby that you were yesterday or the day before.
A little insight into you at six months old: you are still sleeping very well (other than a two-week blip we now know was the ‘four month regression’) from around 8pm till 8:30am with one night-time feed. For breakfast you have baby porridge, which you’ve really taken to – so much that you lunge for each mouthful! Feeding can be a bit messy as you like to grab for the spoon and wipe the contents all over your face – to the extent that I often find bits of breakfast caked on your ear or in your hair hours later despite several attempts at cleaning you off! (you are not such a fan of having your face wiped to put it mildly). At lunchtime you have fruit puree, which also seems to go down a treat. You aren’t quite sitting up unaided yet so you dine in your swing, in your bouncer, or in your buggy when we’re out.
You are so aware of your surroundings and we can definitely see your little personality emerging. You actively reach for toys and are quite dexterous at passing them from one hand to the other, bringing them up to your face to study them closely and of course ramming them in your mouth! Teething has definitely begun and it’s been a bit rough – your cheeks go bright red and you can’t see your chin for all the dribbles, poor thing. Sophie the giraffe seems to be your favourite teether to relieve some of the discomfort, although sometimes my finger provides a good alternative.
Your face cracks into a wide gummy grin when I sing… Hello Lewis, Old MacDonald (still a favourite), Favourite Things (from the Sound of Music)… I am under no illusion that this will continue. One day in the not-too-distant future you will beg me to stop singing, beg me to stop kissing your cheeks… until then I am taking full advantage of your squishy, delicious perfection. When I can be your everything.
Our days are quite full – I make sure we get out and about every day. Tuesdays we are still going to Rockstarz sing-along class at the Centre, usually followed by lunch at Costa. Thursdays we go to Baby Sensory in Corstorphine, usually followed by lunch in M&S café at the Gyle (sensing a pattern?) other days we go to Bookbug sessions at the library, go for walks to Morrisons or Dobbies, meet friends, visit Grandma and Grandpa Colin or Carolyn and Chloe. By late afternoon we are home to make dinner before dad comes home. You have a bit of playtime, and then watch some Baby TV together before bath, bottle and bed. Bath time is on most nights a joyous occasion. The house smells of lavender and I can hear you squealing with delight and kicking vigorously when daddy says ‘splash splash splash’! Your favourite bath toy is a big foam crab, which you love nothing better than to chew. On most nights you sail away into the land of nod without a bother and we come downstairs and sit quietly for a little while before saying to each other ‘I miss Lou’…
The physical and developmental changes never cease to amaze me – you are quite literally growing before my very eyes. I am changing too. You have made me a more compassionate person, I suppose because I am conscious that everybody is someone else’s child who came into the world in the same miraculous way and whose mother loves(ed) them the same way that I love you: fiercely, absolutely.
It’s hard to explain the love – a love that is inches away from grief. Why is that? Is it because now that you’re here I have so much more to lose? Is it because one day you will leave home, take flight? Is it because you couldn’t possibly love me as much as I love you?
All I know is that the past six months have been the best of my life and I really wasn’t prepared for that. People are so eager to focus on the negative when you’re expecting your first child– as if they feel the need to warn you of impending doom.
They said “your body will never be the same again” Instead they should have warned me that being able to sustain you for many months on my milk alone would be the most rewarding thing ever. That I would fit back into my jeans two weeks after you were born but the only weight I’d actually care about would be yours.
They said “enjoy the peace and quiet while you can!” Instead they should have warned me that your cries would sometimes grate, sure, but most often prompt me to drop everything and tend to your needs. That every time I managed to soothe you with a cuddle or a soft murmur or a song would feel like a small victory.
They said “you’ll never get a good night’s sleep again!” They should’ve told me that I would sleep – maybe not every night and maybe not all night – but enough. For now I find beauty in the peaceful 4am feedings in our cozy little nursery when the neighbourhood is dark and still. It’s just me and my little boy – the only two people in the world. Someday you will sleep through the night and I will miss those quiet moments when you needed me. These days of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting. I have stopped dreaming of “one day” when things will be easier. Because the truth is, it may get easier but it will never be better than today.