It's at this moment - at precisely 7am - that I realised my baby is no longer a newborn. How? You ask, well it all started when I went to pick him up from his Moses basket and found his head at one end and his feet wriggling at the other and thinking I really need to move this little guy to his cot. Then it was the new gurgling sounds he's never made before and a big grin on his face (which never ceases to make my heart melt).
After his feed I placed him on his playmat and proceeded to make my first of many coffees that day, I came back a few minutes and found he'd rotated a good 90° and is now lying with his head on the carpet and body on the mat. My baby is no longer a newborn.
When I feed him; instead of falling into a blissful sleep he now turns his head at the slightest sound and disrupts the feed, only to look back at me and with his wide, marble-like eyes and proceed to melt my heart again.
To say I'm grieving his newborn stage might be a bit much. But I am. I know I won't get it back. The body that will curl up like a bunny, or more accurately a scrunched up sausage, every time I picked him up. The eyes that refused to open to the world and wanted to keep everything dark like it was in the womb. The tiny hands that gripped my finger when I fed him. And beyond anything, the newborn cry, the - almost - squeaky sound that comes first, followed by the familiar 'Wah Wah Wah'. You forget these simple pleasures when your baby grows, and they start to speak and move and walk.
The great thing about being a parent, is watching your kids grow. With each stage of their lives comes new challenges and new accomplishments that continue to make us proud. Both my kids make me immensely proud every single day, though some days are hard, they are always worth it. Parenting a baby and a toddler has been more of a learning experience than a challenge. I've learnt of new strengths I didn't know I had, I've seen my daughter in new eyes, I've seen her grow to become a caring, loving sister to her baby brother. The way she'd run to him when he cried; sure I'd quickly follow her as I know she can be a little rough when she gets excited, but I would always stand by the door and watch her, as she searched for his pacifier, saying 'Shhh baby' while stuffing it in his wailing mouth a little too hard but with love all the same - well, most of the time it's love!
|Some days it really helps to get out of the house, my daughter's favourite spot in the library ^|
My hardest challenge during this time was finding a balance between the different individual needs of my children. You might think my toddler is old enough not to need me anymore but she does. She needs me now more than ever, she needs to know I will always be there for her and sometimes it's hard. I'd either be feeding my newborn or catching up with the piling housework and she'd come to me with a paper and crayon and say 'Mama Flower' which in her language means 'Mama draw a flower for me'. It's easy at that moment to shoo her away and tell her I'd do it later but it means the world to her if I stopped what I was doing and made time for her. It is hard though. And I found that throughout the day an ugly monster keeps rearing its head and creeping behind me, I like to call it Mama Guilt, every mistake, every wrong word, every angry moment I would feel this monster approaching and trying to turn me into a failure. When both kids are crying, and I don't know who to comfort first, when the house is a garbage pit and I haven't even brushed my hair that morning I think to myself;
"Should I have had another baby?"
"Can I really do this?"
"I can't do this"
Then I look at my two beautiful children, both breathing, both fed, both alive, sure they might be screaming and crying. but they're alive and I tell myself
"I can do this"
And that's all it takes to get by, day after day, pick myself up and get going.