A Diary of Motherhood: Week Eighteen

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 travelwritingfreelancing or Amsterdam instead. Alternatively read one of my short stories or check out some book reviews and recommendations.

Dear Baby Bird,

I first wrote a list of the things you enjoy most when you were exactly nine weeks old. It seems fitting therefore that nine weeks later I write a new list of the things you like based on the frequency with which you do them and the smiles and laughs - yes laughs! - which these activities bring about.

  1. Eating. It's taken me 18 weeks but I've finally accepted that you are going to be one of those babies who prefers eating to sleeping. I can't blame you because I used to be the same. Funnily enough now I'm not!
  2. Farting. Still so loud. Still so fully grown man-like.
  3. Your first forty minutes playtime of the day as I potter around in the kitchen, express some milk and eat my breakfast. It's like nobody else but you and your play mat and your toys matter.
  4. Rolling over onto your side, a sign that in no time you'll be going all the way onto your front a feat I still can't imagine after you've spent so long just lying on your back. 
  5. Trying to eat your toes, and when you're sat in my or daddy's lap and you fold in the middle, you can pretty much do it. Enjoy this newfound flexibility while it lasts Baby Bird.
  6. Looking around you mid-feeding leaving my boob hanging. Frustrating when we're at home, this is incredibly awkward when out in public. But then, just before you latch on again, you look at me with the biggest Joker-style smile and I no longer care that half an ounce of breast milk is soaking into my top or that everybody in the coffee shop has seen my nipple.
  7. Being carried in your sling. I also adore these hands-free hugs of ours that made travelling with you, on what felt like one hundred trains and buses over the last week in the UK, an absolute dream. Or at least, not a nightmare.
  8. Watching TV with us. I'd not wanted to put the telly on in front of you in your earliest months unless you were already sleeping on me. I'm not really sure why, but now that you're slowly getting used to your bouncy chair you now can enjoy and be entertained by a few programs. Your favourites are Peppa Pig, Wallace & Gromit films and Postman Pat (even if it does break my heart that the "letters through your door" part of the theme song from my childhood has been changed to "parcels through your door" because apparently nobody writes letters to each other any more... sob).
  9. Fighting out of your swaddle like an amateur Houdini. I would leave it off you completely but you sleep considerably longer when it's on thanks to wild waving limbs waking you up or kicking all your covers off.
  10. Using your hands to pull your dummy out of your mouth and then crying to me because your dummy came out. Grrr.
  11. Holding onto the dummy between the fingers of one hand and keeping it teasingly close to your mouth. This often looks like your dummy is a pipe you're smoking.
  12. Laughing as I blow raspberries on your belly. You've been slow to show us what the sound of your laughter is like and even now I'm not sure if the way the breath catches in the back of your throat and you sort of click a little squeal out of what oxygen you have is actually a giggle but I'll take it.
  13. Your new big cot. You were already knocking the sides of your moses basket at three months so having to wait those few weeks while the cot was on order was disorganised parenting by us at best, but you seem to like your new bed with all its space for your toys and a mattress that I swear is better quality than my own.
  14. Having said that, you do seem to enjoy battling any kind of nap or bedtime sleep, although you are slowly increasing the length of time you are asleep. It could be the four month sleep regression phase they talk of but frankly you've been like this for a while. As your father told me one evening this week as we listened to you're half-hearted cries an hour after you were supposed to be asleep, this is your thing, so I'm going to roll with it and only cry with frustration twice a week... or so.
  15. Bathtime. I wish you knew how much you hated your first bath, because now it's like you could live in the water.
  16. Pouting when you are concentrating. I keep wondering if this little pinched mouth will stay put through the years to come as the expression you have when you learn to read, do exams at school and have hard days at work in the future.
  17. Letting us know when you're bored of playing on your own. You don't necessarily want us to do anything, you just want to know that we're near by. That or you just really like an audience.
  18. Trying to stick your tongue out with my mum who has been training you well during her time with you. It's like you know you have a tongue somewhere in your mouth and once you find it you'll be good to go. We'll keep working on it for the next time we see your grandmother.
  19. Peeing on me. Usually in the morning when I'm still half asleep and too slow to put the all important baby wipe over your teeny peeny. (Gosh, how you're going to hate me one day for using that term.)
  20. Putting on weight. At 8+ kilograms you are almost double your birth weight and are bigger than some six, seven and eight month olds we've met.
  21. Riding on your daddy's shoulders and pulling on his hair while doing so. Poor dad will be bald by the end of next year, I fear.
  22. Giving me more and more knowing looks when I pick you up or cuddle you when you're upset. It doesn't always work but it often is the case that you look at me, take a breath and tell me with your misty eyes. "You're my mum. I'm safe now." If only I could bottle up the feeling that gives me; I'd not only drink from it during those pre-nap battles but I'd also sell it and make millions!

Again, I'm sure there are many more things that I've forgotten or overlooked because things seem to be changing very quickly now. We too have a few big changes ahead of us this coming week and I have very mixed feelings about them, but let's work through it together little man and I know we'll come out smiling at the other end. Maybe even laughing.

Your wondering-what-you'll-love-in-another-nine-weeks, thinking-about-taking-you-swimming, nervous-for-the-coming-week, crazy-in-love mother x

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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