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,
Somebody said something this week and it was like something that had long been adrift finally clicked into place in my head.
We'd met up with Victoria and Steve, the lovely couple behind Bridges & Balloons, for lunch while they were in town to showcase Steve's fascinating film Planetary at the Buddhist Film Festival. While we ate sandwiches you poo-ed yourself so impressively it turned the entire back of your white babygro a mustard yellow. Once cleaned up - which I somehow managed to do balancing you on the closed lid of a toilet in the ladies loo - you were then passed around for cuddles and you went through your kaleidoscope of emotions in less than ten minutes until your father placed you in your favourite position, stomach down lying on his forearm with your arms and legs dangling down. We call it your monkey pose. Within a further ten minutes you were asleep, bubbles of dribble mixing with your dad's arm hair. He and I then debated how best to put you in the pram without waking you, a discussion and subsequent operation that took far too long and involved spinning the pram full circle at least three times. Just as we were laying you down (still asleep - hurrah!) Victoria spoke.
"Wow, having a baby looks like such an adventure!"
Google* defines "adventure" as 'an unusual and exciting or daring experience'. Yes, yes, yes. An adventure. That is exactly what parneting is. So far getting to know you, nurture you and raise you have definitely been unusual and exciting and daring, all in equal measure.
Adventure. That is the word that perfectly summarises what's been happening these last ten weeks and what's going to happen for the next few decades. When you think about adventures you think about an experience that has ups and downs. To go on an adventure invariably means to push yourself out of your comfort zone, to be constantly learning new things, to conquer fears and fulfil ambitions. When you reflect on an adventure you've had, you think about how you've changed, how you've grown and how you'll never be the same again. I am experiencing all of these things and I know I will continue to do so each week of the foreseeable forever.
Adventure. I like this word. It doesn't diminish how hard it's going to be. It doesn't soften the lows or belittle the highs. It tells me I'm right to feel pride in each passing day no matter how messy or chaotic they were. It's also a good word to teach you. If you treat life as an adventure you'll see it for the hopefully long, often unpredictable and frequently beautiful and brilliant journey it is.
Of course, all this gushing will tell you that this has been a good week, and it has. Despite one horrid Tuesday of nearly all day-tired crying (by both you and me) for the rest of the week you have slept, played and eaten well. You've finally started to see our way when it comes to night being the time for sleeping and after a few weeks of resisting a bedtime routine the last few nights saw you fall asleep by yourself and stay that way until your ever enthusiastic appetite prompted you to stir for a feed. You continue to show small signs of communicating with us - smiles, cooing, reaching out your hands in slightly less random directions - and this teasing keeps us hanging on for whatever is going to happen next.
That's the thing about this adventure we're on, Baby Bird, we have no idea what's in store for us, but we're in this together and that makes it the best adventure of all.
Your not-so-sleep-deprived-anymore, still-traumatised-from-ALL-THAT-POO, crazy-in-love mother x
* I'm guessing by the time you read this you will be using Google as your dictionary rather than any other source or medium so this is my attempt to try and keep up with you. I know very soon it will be futile and so it should be. One day you're going to teach me the ways of the world.
Frances M. Thompson
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