This Diary of Motherhood is a series of weekly letters to my first baby, my little son who I call Baby Bird. I know not everyone wants to read about the highs and lows of motherhood so you can read non-baby related posts about travel, writing, freelancing or Amsterdam instead. Alternatively read one of my short stories or check out some book reviews and recommendations.
Dear Baby Bird,
Well, you ate your first solid food this week. By accident. You could also say that I taught you - nay, actually enabled you to do - a terrible, terrible habit. By accident. For this week, you ate your first bogey. BY ACCIDENT!
In addition to feeding you, washing you, wiping your bum, putting clothes on you and carrying you from one place to another, there have been other less expected tasks that we have to carry out on your behalf until you are able; cutting your fingernails (or should I say biting them for you), wiping sleep from the corner of your eyes (much harder than I ever expected!), washing away the crusty stuff that gets in your ears (wax? cheese? who knows!), styling your mohawk and checking your neck folds for fluff, dried up breast milk or lost crumbs from my dinner the night before. One of my least favourite of these jobs is emptying your nose of bogeys. I say "emptying" because admitting that I pick my own son's nose is something that could haunt us both. Anyway, the other day I was doing just that, dislodging a small dried up bogey that was hanging from roof of your right nostril, and you moved your head suddenly. The snot-stalactite dropped and landed on your lip. Before I could move to brush it away you folded your top lip over the bottom and it was gone. In something similar to a scene from a sitcom, you then moved your mouth around in small circles as if chewing it with some satisfaction.
"Oh God!" I exclaimed. I looked around as if to find someone watching me, scowling. But we were alone sitting on a bench alongside the Prinsengracht where I'd just had to do a feed on our way home. Right on cue you broke into one of your most adorable toothless smiles. ("Don't you find it weird that only babies can get away with smiling with no teeth?" your dad said to me at one point this week - he has a point, though you don't just get away with it, you own it!)
This incident is not a bad metaphor for the rest of the week that has just gone. Nothing has happened as I expected, but that's not to say there hasn't been plenty of laughs and smiles.
For whatever reason our normally like clockwork rhythm of feeding (every three hours) went out of the window and there were several occasions - like Bogeygate above - when you woke in your pram twenty minutes from home and supposedly a good hour from your next feed and screamed your little face scarlet red. I have had to feed you on canal-side benches no fewer than four times this week. I'm hoping it's something to do with a growth spurt, even though you've pretty much been on one of them since you arrived.
After the chaos of last week we introduced a bedtime routine that sees us trying to put you to sleep around 7pm but we're not being too strict, and while you're pretty good at going down, you're still waking up a few times in the immediate hours that follow which is no bad thing as I can then top you up with milk and this then helps you sleep longer, at least it did 5 out of 7 nights. I absolutely count this as a result. The success of this introduction of a bit more structure has also prompted us to plan your naps a little better and so we shall wait and see what this brings next week.
Do you know what, Little One? As I typed out that last sentence I just got a bit excited about what the next seven days will bring. When only seven weeks ago I couldn't think further ahead than one hour, to look forward one whole week with a filled-with-teeth smile on my face is a very good sign, don't you think?
So let's do this, shall we?!
Your routine-loving, bad-habit-encouraging, still-a-little-sleep-deprived, but oh-so-crazy-in-love mother x
Frances M. Thompson
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