Ameli has really been enjoying many firsts the last couple of days!Â Isn’t it sad, in its own way, that we can experience so many new things in such a short space of time, and yet we don’t remember any of the emotions we felt at these experiences? Imagine the awe involved in moving from the confines of the womb to the clear blue skies of the great outdoors, or the sensation of hot and cold after the steady temperateness of their internal world? How could that not fill you with awe? And yet we don’t remember any of it! Is it any wonder that babies sleep so much, what with everything they have to process from the moment they’re born? It would exhaust the best of us!
This morning, Â Ameli had her first trip on a bus. She was a very unhappy, possibly hungry little girl, but I had a schedule to keep to get her to the embassy, so decided to feed her on the bus.Â She whimpered in her extra special â€˜sorry for myself’ voice until the big red bus pulled up. Then she stared, wide eyed for the entire 30 minute journey, totally disinterested in milk or mommy, at all the people and the beeping door!
Upon arrival at Trafalgar Square she promptly fell asleep against Mommy’s chest as we walked towards our destination and just as promptly woke up the moment we stopped to stand in line for our turn. Fortunately I had expressed some milk in to a bottle, which she devoured with her champion appetite!Â Twenty minutes of queuing later, Ameli’s first time on South African soil (albeit there was no actual soil anywhere on the marble flooring) was rather short lived, as it turned out that Martin also had to sign the forms they handed me at the front desk.Â So, back to the bus stop and back on the bus and Ameli again was so excited by this bus business I couldn’t even persuade her to sleep!
Back home, I quickly made a pudding I’d promised a friend for her birthday, and then, having changed my little lady out of a nappy explosion in to a very pretty dress that I myself wore as a child, piled Ameli in to the car. This is her first time wearing a dress, and I thought she
looked ever so pretty. We drove to one of the other sites of my old workplace, (where my friend still works) and she screamed all the way. I promised her that we would just drop off the pudding and go back home so she could catch up on the sleep she so obviously needed after the morning’s exertions and excitements.Â I got out the car, picked her up, at which point she stopped crying and decided I wouldn’t need her nappy bag.Â Well, this is one of those less pleasant firsts that as humans we all experience at some point or other, and I’m just pleased it happened on breast milk.Â Ameli made a funny sound, sort of like a gulp and a gag and a squeal all at once, and then threw up in not one, not two, but three large fountain -like spurts.Â All the way down her pretty dress, my blue blouse, my neck and back.Â So there I was in the parking lot of my old work trying to clean myself with a muslin, and yanking out wet wipe after wet wipe to clean her up. Of course, by now she’s crying again, because really, who likes lying in the front seat of a car, covered in their own vomit?
Well, I managed to get us both to some state of respectability and took her inside where she was fawned over, fussed over and I just nodded and smiled when person after person told me how precious and cute and well behaved, quiet and dainty my squawking, screaming, vomiting little girl is!
She’s finally asleep and I am going to have a shower. I think I still have baby sick in my ear.
People have always moaned ceaselessly about how time consuming having a child is, and people will continue to do so until, well, evolution grows us a third arm, really.Â New mothers, or mothers of more than one child are generally recognisable by the haggard, frazzled, frantic look in the eye, the remnants of old nail polish, the packhorse-worthy collection of bags, carrycots and random toys over their shoulders, hair that no longer sees the ideal 100 strokes a day, and if they’re really organised, hastily applied mascara and lipstick (probably skew as a result of those bags weighing down one side of the body).
People have also always insinuated that new mothers learn pretty quickly.Â Well, let me attest to that.Â In the three weeks my beautiful baby girl has graced us with her presence, I have learnt that:
– Poo can be yellow, green, mustardy or stringy (oh and then there’s meconium – the black tar)
– Poo can stain baby grows and sofa cushions alike
– Poo can run down a baby’s leg faster than you can grab a muslin cloth
– Changing a nappy is like a personal challenge to see how fast it can be dirtied again
– Having a belly the size of a ping pong ball (table tennis ball) means you get gut wrenchingly, raise the roof with my screams, why does no body love me, starving – often.
– Baby clothes take as long to dry in wet climates as adult clothes and just cause they’re small and cute doesn’t mean they don’t fill up a whole washing line
– You can attach a machine to your breast to get milk out, whilst simultaneously reading a book and checking emails
– You learn to check emails at the same time as doing many other things really quickly, or you just forget about the emails.
– Pumping your breast is not sexy. It doesn’t make you feel like the pretty girl your hubby married. You feel more like a cow
– You still love the pump though, cause it means hubby can feed baby while you sleep a little.
and so on and so forth.
There are also many new skills you develop very quickly with parenthood:
– Like going to the toilet, one armed (the other holding baby in mid air)
-Â Having a shower, one armed (the other, along with the frozen half of your body aiming away from the water)
– Washing your hair, one armed (see above for the whereabouts of the other arm)
– Typing, one armed (the other keeping your baby’s head aimed firmly at a nipple)
– Writing, one armed (as above)
– Applying makeup, one armed (the other holding the baby, whilst trying desperately not to poke anything out)
and my personal favourite, driving really slowly, one armed (while the other acts as an impromptu dummy for shrieking infant.)
Yes, my range of skills has increased dramatically. If I was ever to lose an arm, I would survive – so long as I didn’t have a baby.
You looked up and in to my eyes
And in that moment
My whole world changed
Time stood still,
And sped up
I saw your first steps, words, bruise
I saw your first day of school
Your first kiss, tears, disappointment
Your first love, graduation, wedding
I saw your first home away from ours
And your first baby.
I saw a future unfold with unspeakable joys
in which my heart would ache,
My heart would break,
And my love for you would never fade.
I blinked and saw you again, looking up at me
With those beautiful eyes, in full acceptance,
Full appreciation, full love â€“ staring up at me
Unconditionally loving me, as my eyes unconditionally love you back.
You changed me
My hopes, my dreams, my life
By simply looking up at me
And knowing who I am.