dear wren (4 mo)
Last week you turned 4 months old. You are growing far too quickly in my opinion, little bird. I’m scared that if I blink, you’ll suddenly turn a year old. For the past 18 weeks, I’ve wanted to write to you. Every morning, I wake up and plan to do just that before the memory of the precious day fades but if I manage to do a load of laundry or visit a friend or empty half the dishwasher, I consider that a job well done. My standards of productivity aren’t what they used to be. I’ve taken plenty of notes on my phone (that big pink thing that captivates you), mostly in the middle of the night or dictated on the fly and therefore nothing makes much sense (something about dinosaur eggs?). For this reason, I felt it was time that I start writing before I forget everything. And I’ve already forgotten so much and there is so much worth remembering.
Let’s talk about sleep first, because that is an issue dear to my heart. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve come a long way but there is definitely room for improvement. I sometimes get discouraged and when I get discouraged I truly believe that I’ll never again experience the joy of a full night’s sleep for the rest of my life. And when that happens, I must remember the small victories.
When you were first born and I worried about every little thing and spent way too much time on Google searching for “Why does my newborn grunt at night?” and “Is green poo normal?” and “Does my baby have ADHD?” and everyone told me that everything was a phase, I couldn’t have imagined that we’d make it through. That time when your dad and I forged a path from the livingroom to the kitchen and pushed you around in your pram with all the lights off and a blanket draped over the pram for good measure and white noise — LOUD white noise — blasting throughout the entire house in the hopes that you would sleep? And all those times when dad bounced you up and down, and up and down, on that massive green exercise ball until his arms nearly fell off? He’d wrap you up like a burrito — nice and tight so you wouldn’t lose your fillings, as he likes to call those little arms and legs of yours — but you were (and still are) a veritable Houdini and before we knew it, your limbs would be poking out like a pull-string toy and he’d have to start all over again. I couldn’t have imagined that one day I’d lie you in your cot with a dummy in your mouth and a bunny by your side and you would fall asleep within minutes. Not always, mind you. Not usually, actually. But the possibility is now there. Small victories.
We’ve made it through so many phases and we’re now entering new ones and I have to keep reminding myself that we’ll make it through those ones too.
These are some of my favourite things about you. You are like a Maris Piper, your head as smooth as a potato. And you smell of Corn Flakes. And your belly is as soft as a marshmallow, and as tasty as one too. When you sneeze, you sound like Alvin the Chipmunk. Your fingers look like calamari tentacles and you have arms like windmills, constantly turning on their little axes. It’s like you go blind fishing with your hands and are always surprised at what you catch and completely exhilarated at the prospect of tasting it — hands like nets, mouth open wide like a sea bass. I woke up this morning and you’d windmilled both blankets and Mr. Shark around you, like a fort. And you are such a charmer. You could charm bees with that smile of yours. And you do, you go around disarming everyone you meet with your gummy grin, including me. I’ve watched the summer days get shorter, each day the sun rises a minute later. In the quiet of dawn you open your eyes, as big and dark as a baby seal’s, and you greet me with that smile. Every single morning, without fail. And in that moment, it doesn’t really matter that it’s 5am (or 6am, if I’m lucky).
Oh! Wren! I hope I am doing a good job at being your mom. I hope you feel that you’ve chosen well. I hope I’m giving you everything you need to be happy and confident. That is all I wish for you. And a really good sense of humour, because you’ll need that more than anything to get through life (don’t worry, your dad has that side of things covered).
Addendum: Today, you had your booster shots and you’ve been in a state of discontent all day. It looks as though every inch of your small body hurts. You are lying beside me with a fever of 38.5 and your head feels like a boiled potato and your little hands are reaching out for mine in the dark and I just want to take your pain away but all I can do is hold you, through the night if I have to*. Stop typing, save this post as a draft, forget all about NaBloPoMo, nothing else matters.
*Which is what Joe and I did, all through the night, hence the lack of a post yesterday. I felt like I was in one of those adverts where the mom looks after her sick child all night. Seems so sweet on the commercials, there’s always a warm night-light in the corner and the baby is sound asleep and the mom looks like she just came back from the spa. The reality is, it was 3am and I was buck naked except for a pair of oversized knickers (the ones I bought for her birth, the ones my husband kindly suggests I might throw away) bouncing her on the exercise ball and she was squirming like a puppy struggling to break free and then she spit out the dummy and the only light in this house was the harsh glow of the torch on my husband’s phone whilst he searched for the freaking dummy (wish we’d never given her the damned thing to begin with), wearing nothing but his own pair of underwear destined for the bin and by then she was sucking on my bicep, preparing to give me the biggest hickey known to man. And this went on all night long, like a Lionel Richie song, without the fiesta forever.