I’d forgotten how lovely this part is. The chunky-yet still tiny baby bit; the sitting up and smiling and giggling but not able to crawl about and cause too much destruction bit. Marnie is 6 months old already, and I want to document every last thing, because, second time around, I know how much I’ll love looking back and reading the tiny details that make up our days at this time. Before long there will be a new normal and I’ll forget what this sweet stage was like. So here’s a little letter to my sweet girl.
The first six months of your little life have been pretty full on, by all accounts. You arrived in March and by July, we were signing a new lease and making plans to move house hundreds of miles away.
I suppose as a result of that, and the fact that you’re a second baby, I feel as though I’ve not really had the headspace to soak up the lovely newborn-ness of you. You are the happiest, easiest baby, and I think that means you also make the time go by pretty easily. Often I feel guilty that I’ve not had the same one on one time with you, not taken you to any classes or groups like I did with your brother. But I also suspect that’s just the way of it, with second babies, when circumstances change a bit and you have more than one baby to pay attention to.
As I write this, you are fast asleep, snuggled up in the co-sleeping cot. Today you seemed unsettled and within a few days, your first little tooth broke through. You woke up with your first cold, too, though you barely complained. You sat up on your own at six months exactly, and we gave you some cucumber to gum – you weren’t all that fussed, but toasted bagel was a massive hit, and in the days that have passed you’ve made a soggy mess of pretty much everything we’ve offered you.
You wake up smiling, always. You make yourself known, too: those high pitched squeals and shrieks are difficult to ignore. Sometimes they drive me to the edge of distraction, but the looks of sheer sweet joy that go with them are pretty hard to be angry at. You love your brother, whose persistence in wanting to cuddle you and get right in your face you’ve so far put up with pretty graciously.
From the moment I saw your face I’ve been completely in love with you. You are a delight; you feed easily, you put on lots of weight easily, you smile and gurgle and fall asleep easily. You’ve taken bottles of expressed milk from your granny and your dad with no complaints. That’s not to say I’ve found these past 6 months completely easy: motherhood is hard, regardless – I’m discovering – of how many times you’ve done it before. And despite the fact you’re such a joy I feel as though my patience levels run out far more quickly than they ever did with Soren at this age.
The contradictions in my feelings around motherhood never fail to confuse me. On one hand, I feel frustrated at my inability to get anything done: each task, mundane or otherwise, is interrupted by the need to feed, hold, wipe, fetch, cuddle, talk; my patience stretched out like whispy bands of ever thinning chewing gum. Yet at the same time I don’t really want anyone else to be doing the feeding, the holding, the cuddling… I know how soon it’ll be that no-one will need to do these things, and how much I’lll miss the little people that need them done.
It is still hard, though, when you’re in the thick of it. It’s the all or nothing, the time-stealing, sleep-ending, constant hamster wheel of it all. The way your body isn’t quite your own, either due to grasping hands or the effects of pregnancy, or birth, or all three. It’s having next to no space, physical or mental, to consider much else. That weird place of being utterly besotted and in love and also in some moments wishing you could be doing something else – if only you weren’t so bloody knackered.
Still, right now I’m soaking you up. Your gummy, now tiny-toothed grins, your fat little fists and clammy feet. The look of gentle surprise you always seem to have on your face, and the way it melts into a massive grin. I’m trying not to be overly sentimental, but it’s hard because you are so bloody lovely, like this. So I’m going to pack up as best I can these little memories and chunks of time, in pictures and words.