Friday, 19 June 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Teeny Tiny Baby

I've been finding the last few weeks a bit more challenging, parenting wise. Not just because we have moved and I am in a new place, with no friends and a newborn to look after. But that's just it. My baby is no longer a newborn, and that's what I'm struggling with.

Having a baby has been a truly life changing experience, one that I wouldn't change for the world. It has honestly been the best thing I have ever done. Selfishly, because it has made me so happy. Not every moment has been magical. It hasn't all been sunshine and happy smiles, tummy kisses and cooing. It's bloody hard work and I swear, if I sing 'Row, row, row the boat' one more time I am going to lose my already fragile little mind. But up to now, I have (mostly) found it to be absolutely wonderful. I am in no way encouraging everyone to run into the streets and procreate. It is not for everyone. I have decided to take a brief hiatus from my usual sarcastic, inappropriate and foul-mouthed self and write a post that I fear will possibly descend into a mushy, emotional rant. You have been warned.

I write this feeling full of love and awe at my baby's continual development but it is also bittersweet as I find myself mourning the times we have spent during the 'newborn' phase. It all started weeks ago really, when I had to start packing away her newborn and 0-3 month clothes. I had a big lump in my throat and I wont lie, I shed a little tear (Ok, full on wailing). Perhaps I am still a hormonal mess, but I couldn't help feel sad that time is going by so quickly. I sat and stroked each baby grow as I put them into their plastic, vacuumed prison, and my heart felt heavy.

I don't necessarily want this to come across as woeful and pathetic, I'm just giving you an honest account. Every day my baby changes, and it really is wonderful seeing her grow and develop, having her own little personality that makes her so unique and special. In no way would I want her development to stop and I am proud of her in each new thing she does. If you follow my Instagram, you may have seen that I started (the minefield that is) weaning this week. This, as well as her being able to roll over has cemented my realisation that no, she isn't a newborn anymore. Now I am a rational person (a few may disagree) I know that she can't stay tiny forever, but believe it or not, it almost came as a complete shock when she didn't fit into 0-3 month clothes anymore. It was only when I remembered that she is actually 5 months old that I thought to open the 3-6 month baby grows! I am definitely guilty of squeezing her into a few outfits that she had outgrown for a few weeks longer than I should have. 

I don't want to go on and on about my own insanity, and I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this. I am writing this as maybe a cathartic exercise, so I can document how I have felt up to now and 'close the chapter' and move on. I have diligently filled in my baby book, and although it has space to write things in up to a year old, after 4 weeks it is just about documenting dates really. 'First solids, first Christmas' etc. There isn't much room for inane talk of feelings and wine-induced ramblings. And besides, I wouldn't want to put anything negative in there. Not that this is negative, exactly.

The last few weeks, as well as being wowed with her developments (honestly, the first time she rolled over, if you saw my reaction you would think that she had run a marathon. At 5 months old), I have also learned quickly that it's just going to get harder. I have to be more on the ball, more alert and basically a better parent. I can no longer leave her alone for any period of time whilst I do such trivial grown-up things like wash up, change my pants or go to the toilet. I now have to literally hover over her the majority the time. Long gone are the days of 3 hour naps, leisurely scrolling through Facebook, watching films 'on demand'. I was about to write 'I'm not complaining but...' and then I realised I am totally complaining. The thing they don't tell you in the books; sometimes being a parent (especially a stay at home one) is really dull. Whilst my baby was tiny, she slept so very much (I am fully aware I have been MEGA lucky and not all newborns sleep so much) and I had a fair amount of time to do the stuff I needed to do...sterilise bottles, washing, paint my nails etc but my time is increasingly being stolen by my ever-demanding infant. Sometimes I mind, sometimes I don't. I have been really lucky that up till now, my baby has been a dream. I'm not saying it to brag, I know how lucky I have been. And I haven't taken it for granted. It's a running joke that if we have a another baby, it will be devil spawn. The point is that now she is getting bigger and parenting is becoming more consuming and (yes I'll say it) sometimes feels like a chore, I will miss those sweet, sweet baby days. Every day is different. Some days I feel like I want to keep her up all night as she is so sweet and happy and a joy to be around. Other days, I can't wait for bedtime. Even then I know I am lucky because she sleeps through the night (barring last night when I could smell her nappy from downstairs!...) but occasionally I do yearn for the fleeting hours after her bedtime when I can have a bit of time to myself. 

These feelings absolutely nothing new. Nothing ground breaking here folks. Parents have been doing this, been here, done it, got several sick-stained t-shirts, they have been parenting since time began. I by no means think that I am any different. The difference is however that this is my first time doing this, so I can only talk about my experience as I find it. All the emotions I experience sneak up on me, sometimes when I am least expecting them and wash over me like a great wave. A wave I have to conquer, even though I didn't know that I was swimming. So when I started weeping over newborn clothes and that bloody Pampers advert (you know the one..."just because they miss you"...gets me every time! Well done Pampers!) it came as a surprise to me when I felt sad. I thought I would develop with my baby, my emotions would become more sophisticated and I would be able to just revel in each new phase. She is developing so much all the time, I think I just need a little extra time to catch up. I am making myself out to be a bit of a psycho. I am not depressed, or suffocating my child in size 1 nappies. I am doing what parents have done for years and just...reminiscing.

But to be a little more positive...

I'm not going to be a false preacher and say that every moment is wonderful, but I will say this; I genuinely find wonder in each day. Some days I have to look for it. But it is there. Even if it's a solitary smile during a day of tantrums and tears (mine, not hers!) even well-timed dribble (usually on Daddy's face) can have me in fits. I will miss my tiny baby. I know that I will never have that time again. Even if we do have another child, it wont be the same as I will have two little ones to devote myself to. It will have it's own merits, but I will not get this time back. I try to live conscientiously with this. I am definitely not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. But I will spend a minute or two each day thinking about how lucky I am to have a beautiful, inquisitive, healthy, sometimes screamy baby who makes me strive to be a better person, a better parent. However much I try to resist and cling to the past. Those gorgeous newborn days. Wine helps.

Obviously I know that some people have a massively different experience to me. Luckily, my baby only had a snifter of colic and has by and large been no bother. She is massively changing now and is far more let's say...vocal in her approach to communicating her displeasure at well, anything. The winds of change have blown and I will embrace them as best I can. I think because she has been such a 'good' newborn, my husband and I have been well and truly spoiled. So now, the slightest whinge and I think the world is ending and I can't cope and feel the inevitable guilt for swearing at my child because "I just want to do the fucking washing up" as I shouted at her today - Good parenting, right there.

I am so looking forward to the next stages. Like I said, every new thing is an Everest-climb to me. I will jump for joy, and celebrate my baby's accomplishments and milestones. I love her with every cell in my body and will continue to love her through every step, smile, tear and tooth. And I will always cherish the memories of her first months.

So for now, farewell my teeny tiny baby. Thank you for awakening a part of my soul I didn't know was there. 

Cute baby pic. Standard.

Thanks for reading.
Katie x

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