there’s a new bird in town
So, this happened since I last wrote — I made a tiny human, y’all! Meet the Stewart clan’s newest addition — Wren Skye Claire Stewart.
It’s old news to most of you by now, I know. There have been a trillion photos on Instagram and Facebook and she’s met almost everyone we know on this side of the pond, but few words have been written about the little bird that hatched into this world on a hot summer night in June, changing our lives forever. Mainly because I generally walk around in a sleep-deprived haze, in which I can hardly string together a coherent sentence. And also, as any mother knows, there simply are no words to do motherhood justice. It’s a total mind fuck in the most amazing and most challenging way. One minute you fantasise about leaving your baby in a basket on someone else’s doorstep and the next you are a mama bear and this thing is your cub and you would do anything to keep her safe, so deep is your love for her.
She turned 17 weeks on Saturday, which means I’ve essentially been hung-over for 120 days, 10 hours and 32 minutes. Most days are spent in this fuzzy-around-the-edges-twilight-zone state, the kind I used to feel after bingeing on one too many double whiskeys (Oh! Double whiskey. How I miss you.) No word of a lie, I left the house a couple of months ago and forgot my shoes. Let me clarify. I was outside the door, on the steps, when I realised I wasn’t wearing any shoes. This is how I roll these days. And usually with spit-up down my shirt. And that thing I just did, where I totally switched topics in the same paragraph? I do that a lot too because I often forget what I am talking about halfway through a sentence. Conversational skills? Nil.
Still, however apprehensive and incoherent as I may be, it’s time for me to re-enter the blogging world. I don’t really want to become a mommy blogger but there’s a chance I might be, at least for a short time, until I find my bearings again (apologies to all the single and child-free ladies out there).
Being a mom is all-consuming. Nobody tells you how harrowing the first few months will be. You’ll never have been so tired in your entire life. They tell you to enjoy your sleep while you can, but they don’t say “There is a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Also, your shift never ends. Forget 9 to 5. This is 24/7. You never punch out.”
No one tells you about the witching hour, when nothing you do will console your baby and the very thing that pissed her off in the beginning will soothe her in the end. Also, the witching hour is actually hours, plural, many hours, the hours of many. During which time you will seriously wonder whether she is bipolar and you’ll spend hours on Google searching for “What is wrong with my baby?” This, by the way, is a recipe for disaster and will only serve to fuel your worries.
You will sometimes look at women without children and envy their free time and fresh faces and the tell-tale signs of a good night’s sleep (as in, they don’t have bags the size of golf balls under their eyes… while yours look like the flap of skin under a turkey’s neck).
Also, you will be bored often. And then you’ll feel guilty for being bored. And then you’ll compensate by over-stimulating your kid. And then she’ll get knackered and by the time you try to put her down for a nap, she’ll be overtired and this is when shit really hits the fan and you’ll never be so grateful for a green exercise ball – the go-to bouncing tool for the sleepless baby.
Eventually, you’ll learn to accept that you don’t have one of those babies, you know, those mythical creatures that sleep through the night? Your baby needs all the tricks in all the books to get her to sleep for 25 minutes. It’s not a good investment on your return.
You’ll also learn to accept that the stork ain’t coming back and your old life is gone. You’re going to smell like sour milk most days and probably won’t bother to change because what’s the point? You will get pooped on, your boobs will leak at the most inconvenient time and you will pass gas in front of strangers shortly after giving birth (and if you don’t, you’ve got one mean pelvic floor, my friend). Motherhood is far from glamorous.
And to top it all off, just when you think you have it all figured out, everything will change again.
But then, they also don’t tell you that you’ll have this adorable little cherub that farts in the middle of the night like some old grand-pa, sending you and your husband into absolute hysterics. And that makes up for half of the above.
You will marvel every day at this tiny human that started off as a speck of star-dust and all the things that had to happen for her to come into this world. That exact sperm and egg, for starters — the very genetic make-up that makes her who she is. And then, there’s me meeting Joe, which never would have happened were it not for my ex-boyfriend, whom I wouldn’t have met had I not studied at McGill University, which I wouldn’t have attended had I been accepted into vet school, which I wouldn’t have applied for had I not, say, been born, which only happened because my parents met and their parents met and so on and so forth, and the same for Joe’s side. It’s all too big to comprehend and it makes you wonder how we even dare to take this life for granted? It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are all on this planet, living and breathing. How can we spend so much time criticising and suppressing who we are when there is nobody like us on the entire planet? Dudes, it’s immense. There is only ONE YOU and you are a miracle!!!
I look into Wren’s eyes in the middle of the night and I wonder “Where did you come from?” and in those moments of quiet, at 3am, I feel like I am getting a tiny glimpse into what this life is all about. It’s all there, in that sparkle. And that gives me the strength to make it through another day.
(Also chubby chipmunk cheeks, like perfect little crab apples, and thigh rolls like a Shar Pei’s. Need I say more?)
Sure, I feel broken, but I also feel whole at the same time. She is teaching me so much about myself and I’m finding patience deep within for the first time in my life, in a place I’ve never been able to tap into before (us Caron’s are not renowned for our patience). I think maybe she makes me a better person.
My life feels so much more important now. I want her to grow up loving every bit of herself, each of those little features that make her unique in this world. I hope I have what it takes to simply witness her growth and guide her gently along her path, without shaping her into what I think she ought to be.
And that old life of mine? Sure, it was good. It was bloody great. But my heart is now bigger than it ever was before and each day, it grows a little more. I sometimes wonder if there is enough room in my chest for this expansion.
And this is just the beginning. There is so much more to look forward to. So much.