My little girl turns 11 months today. It was at about this time, 2 o’clock in the afternoon, eleven months ago that I was being repaired and my husband and I were in shock to find that the name we had picked for a girl simply didn’t fit the one we had just brought earth side. I was expecting a Zahra but alas, we made a Bella.
In the first few weeks after she was born, I yearned for a one year old. I begged the universe (and most people game enough to come in contact with me) for a one year old. “I promise, I promise”, I begged the toolman, “When she’s one I’ll be a great mother. I’ll dance with her and everything. Just let me sleep, pleeeasssseeeee”. Sound familiar? In my post partum delirium I rationalised that I probably wasn’t going to be the best mother to a baby but I can make a cracking pot of homemade play dough so surely a one year old would be more my caper. In truth, I wished poor Bella’s life away just a smidge.
But now that my first important milestone is on the horizon, quite predictably, I want to go back. Not too far back mind you, I can leave the visit to a mother baby inpatient unit behind me; maybe just back a few months. I want to remember her tiny. I want to hold her against my chest with the luxury of hindsight and know that she can nap right there without having to put her down so that I myself can steal an hour of sleep. I honestly can’t remember what those early months were like; what she smelt like, the shape of her head.
There is so much good stuff ahead of me. There’s a whole Australian summer to be had right around the corner with a little girl who is so delectable she has to be seen to be believed (no seriously folks, people stop me in the street *blushing mother*). And let me not get to how delightful I can only imagine it is going to be when I am no longer sitting on a pump for hours a day. So why am I feeling so sad? Why am I suddenly worried about weaning, about losing that tiny baby who I only knew for such a short time?
The great irony is that when you are told to “enjoy it” in the early months by mothers that have gone before you, I don’t think I am alone in saying you want to pull out a hot rod and poke them in the bum with it. Because at that point you simply can’t enjoy it….you’re too sleep deprived, too emotional and teetering so close to the edge, the only thing stopping you from jumping is the energy it would take to fling yourself over.
I still go without sleep but I’m sadly used to it and as a rather important addition to the equation, I now love being with my daughter. I even love her tantrums …..They show she’s got some spunk. I just want a little more time.
More time to finish her scrap book I am making her; the story of how she came to be (minus the rude bits). More time to plan her birthday. More time to put up the Christmas tree, adorned with only pink and purple ornaments just for her. More time to play with her. More time to remember her just as she is. I’ve even become obsessed with looking at pictures of myself when I was pregnant with her. What is going on here?
Perhaps this is a lesson about enjoying the moment. Not stressing about the future or the past. About letting the little one in your life turn one and simply enjoying it. Or perhaps this is the joke played on women worldwide. The one that gives you a little tickle and the fantasies and the daydreams of a brother or a sister begins.
Somebody get here quick and slap me!