Happy New Year!
Since I’ve only been a mom for 3 months (almost), I don’t have a list that’ll knock anyone’s socks off with humour and witty sayings, but the moments I treasure are spread from a few days after my baby’s conception to now. Here’s a list of my top ten mothering moments of 2009:
So there I was, hair done, make-up on, feet becoming reacquainted with heels, handbag at the ready and putting my little girl down from her final feed. Pick up my phone to check the time, and notice a message. Listen in anticipation. Girls’ night out is a bust. Something’s come up with one, the other is sick, another can’t make it till later, yet another now can’t make it at all. So that leaves just me. All dressed up, and no where to go.
Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It should read, home altered crackers.
I really love crackers, I think they just make the Christmas dinner table, and distinguish it from just another meal. But I also really find them quite unsatisfying. Like a big bang with no real hoorah.
I mean, who really needs another set of nail clippers, a plastic whistle, or a shoe horn? (more…)
I wrote this post a few days ago. Then I thought I sounded ‘sorry for myself’, so I rewrote it. Then I thought it sounded like I was fishing for compliments, so I rewrote it. Then I thought I was just being hard on myself. So I left it. Then I thought… you can see where this is going. I don’t think anything remains from my original outpouring, and the various bits have been rewritten so often now, but anyway – here goes. (more…)
Anyone who has read at least a couple of my blog posts will be aware that I am just not impressed at the rate of growth in babies, or more specifically, my little girl. We don’t go to get weighed every two weeks, as we ‘should’ and she’s not been to the doctor for anything other than her six week checkup so far, but I have no fear of ‘Failure to Thrive’ with her. In fact, quite the opposite.
When I was pregnant, I spent countless, sick, exhausted, sleepless nights researching what was wrong with me (Hyperemesis Gravidarum), and finding out how best to be pregnant healthily. I failed miserable, and barely ate for the first 18 weeks or so, then was hospitalised with severe dehydration. I spent the next 12 weeks recovering from what felt like a long term illness. I was tired and weak most of the time. Then the final 10 weeks I slept. A lot. I was very tired. But I used my awake time wisely.
I researched, studied, prepared, learned. I knew exactly what I was expecting in labour. I watched videos. I read books. I looked up herbs. I made lists. I was ready for labour, and it paid off. It was a good experience.
I even prepared for being a mom. By this I mean, I read the ‘becoming a dad’ books, (because they were always so much lighter and less ‘your life is over’ than the mom’s books) and we attended a pediatric first aid course, and a fantastic antenatal class. Sofie was great. We learned how to put on a nappy, how to swaddle, how to feed. We learned about poo, about fevers, about wind. I learned a lot from her, and I am very grateful.
But nothing, nowhere, not a book, a friend, a fellow mom, a class or a chatroom prepared me for the actual fact of having a baby. And really, how could they. It’s something only experience can teach. But we cope. Every mother does, and so the world stays populated.
What gets me most is the growing. Every day, so fast. Blink and you miss out. Smiles, focusing eyes, reaching hands.
Why today especially? Because I’m still in denial.
Ameli has a Moses basket in our room, and a thus far unused travel cot in her own room.
I’d like to move the travel cot in to our room, because her room is totally unused at the moment, except for the changing table attached to the travel cot.
I’d like to move the travel cot in to our room, because I could use the space to move some things from the kitchen, and have more space in the kitchen, since her bouncy chair and her laundry basket now take up half the room.
I’d like to move the travel cot in to our room, because it makes sense.
So why do I keep putting it off, despite my annoyance at lack of space in the kitchen?
Because I can’t take her out of her Moses basket yet.Â She’s supposed to be able to use it till she’s three months old. Moving her in to the cot is admitting how much she’s grown, even though she’s only two months now.
I sound like a broken record, I know, but I’m just not ready for her to move in to the big cot. As my husband says, we can never go back to the Moses basket. Once its over, its over.
Can someone tell me please, at what stage of motherhood am I supposed to be okay with how fast these days just slip away?
A few weeks ago, Ameli and I returned to our embassy to register her birth and request her passport. After the madness of our first trip, I was well prepared for this one. Forms completed and signed, photographs taken, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, a bottle of expressed milk, nappies, a book to read… what could possibly go wrong?
Well, funny you should ask.
We arrived at the embassy and joined the queue. After twenty minutes of braving the cold, gale force winds and the odd drop of rain, we made our way inside to the counter where last time we were turned away. I will admit to a smug sense of enjoyment when I was able to cut the receptionist off with a big smile and say â€œYes! We sure have everything you said we should bring this time!â€
Ah.Â If only. Note the â€˜everything you said we should bring’ in that line.
So we’re sitting in the â€˜waiting area’ along with about thirty other people, waiting for our number 37 to be called. Ameli is wide awake, so I sing softly to her as Number 28 is called. â€œFive little ducks went swimming one day, over the hills and far away…â€ Number 29 â€œMother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack.â€ Number 30. â€œOnly 4 little ducks came backâ€. And Ameli is hungry. Â She wolfs down the entire bottle in record time, and I’m glad we’re at number 33. This is going quickly.
Ameli burps. Number 35. I gather all our things together. Number 36.Â I pick up the nappy bag, the forms, the baby. Number 37 to counter three. So yes.Â We go to counter three. I happily pass the documents, the photos, two passports and a marriage certificate over to a lady. Let’s call her Doris. I wait for Doris to smile and say â€œThank you. Have a nice day.â€
Yeah. That didn’t happen.
To save you the blow by blow, it turns out I had to bring copies of the documents, not the documents themselves.Â So I have to leave the embassy to go to the copy shop, where there’s a queue of people waiting to make copies. I head back, and the lovely lady eventually takes my copies.
Then she looks at the photo. She looks at the second (identical) photo. She looks back at the first. She calls her colleague to look at the first photo. Then shows her the second. Turns out Ameli’s lips aren’t together enough. We need new photos. So I leave the embassy to take more photos. Â I join the queue of people taking new photos.
Back at the embassy, and it’s now two hours since my number was initially called. Ameli’s waking up.Â So I hand the lady the forms, the photos, the copies, and try to â€˜shush’ my now squirming baby. Doris looks over everything, and with a big sigh announces that the two identical proof of identity forms that I filled in one copy of, and Martin filled out the other, only need me to fill out one and Ameli’s information on the other. So she shreds Martin’s form.Â I go away to fill out the new form with Ameli’s information. I go back to the window. Doris says â€œwhere’s the father’s form?â€ I look at her blankly. â€œYou mean the one you just shreddedâ€.Â She goes a lighter shade of dark brown.
Thankfully, I had Martin’s details (the date he immigrated to South Africa, the date he returned, his NHS number, blah blah blah, saved elsewhere, and I was able to fill out the form again)
Now to pay.
Turns out they only accept cash. So I leave the embassy and go to the cash machine and return to the embassy.
By now Ameli is practically screaming from hunger, and I decide that I don’t care about the room full of people or the fact that I don’t have my feeding cover. I pop her under my shirt, and feed her.
She looks over everything. And then she asks â€œWhere’s your envelope? â€œ
Turns out I needed a self addressed envelope to go with it all. So I plan on heading out to the stationers to go and buy and envelope with a baby in rugby ball position attached to my breast, my blood boiling and exasperation and frustration threatening to wipe the smile right off my face.
Thankfully, Doris took pity on the distressed, dishevelled, now exhausted breastfeeding mother in front of her, and four hours after my number was first called, opened her drawer and attached an envelope to my paperwork.
Thank God for small acts of kindness, but are a checklist and instruction sheet just too much to ask?
Things have been really busy in our little family the last few weeks. We seem to be settled in to our new roles of father, mother and baby, and by the looks of things, we’re all adapting to these roles quite well. I can’t believe that Ameli is 8 weeks old already, and the changes are phenomenal. Every day seems to bring something new.
She’s found her voice, and has started making little sounds that make our hearts break. It’s the cutest thing. She has also started following fingers, faces and people with her eyes and has discovered that kicking the animals in her playgym makes them move.
I saw a newborn in town yesterday, and it was only then that I realised how much she had grown. I bought her a dress for Christmas, and found myself quite upset by the fact that although she could probably still fit in a 0-3 month dress, it would be a much wiser move to buy the 3 â€“ 6 month so she can wear it beyond Christmas too! I glazed over and had to take a deep breath to keep my eyes from welling up. I’m not ready for her to not be a new baby anymore.
Last night when I was dressing her for sleep, I put one of her first babygrows on, and although it buttoned up fine, I knew that it was tight and that she could no longer stretch her legs out, but I fought with it. â€œYou…will…fit…in…to…thisâ€. I’m just not ready for her to grow up yet.
But I realised, as I watched my curled up (due to being unable to stretch her legs) baby sleep, that this is a losing battle, and it is time to let her grow. Just to let her grow. I know I have some time yet, before nurseries, school, life all take her from me, but I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be when the time comes that I have to let her go. In the meantime I will hold on tight to these moments, and I’ll go through her closet and let go of the items that too quickly have become too small.