A Diary of Motherhood: Week Thirty-Four

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,

This week I wanted to write a lovely post summarising a quick weekend trip back to the UK for your nephew's third birthday, however, as lovely as it was - you had no fewer than five little boys to watch playing around you which you did eagerly, often using your new army-combat-training style crawl to get right in the middle of things - our stay was overshadowed by a sickness bug that swept through most of the people who were at the party and I fear you may have been the one who introduced the virus to the group. I base this on the fact that the night before the party, at my parents' house, you became restless around 3am and wouldn't settle back to sleep no matter what I did, only for this to culminate in an impressively forceful projectile vomit which covered you and I. Within minutes you were beaming one of your happiest smiles at my dad as he and my mum helped to clean us up and before and after that there were no other signs you were or may have been sick. But the rest of us... well, we dropped like flies and certainly didn't bounce back so quickly. I was so poorly we couldn't make our return flight on the Sunday and less than 24 hours later your dad was suffering so much he compared it to the vicious bout of food poisoning he got in Thailand back in 2011. My parents also succumbed to its effects as did my poor nephew ("I was sick and it was NOT nice!" he told me firmly when he was feeling better) and his mum, my brother, and well too many others.

So that's why I'm going to hand over to somebody else to write this week's motherhood diary entry. I'm translating a letter written by one of your carers at the creche you so love going to. She posted it this week in the new app they've just released which shares news and photos of you so we can see how much fun you're having and what new things you're trying there. For a while now your father and I have come to suspect that the two days a week you spend at daycare are your favourite days of the week and despite some adjustment issues in the beginning (like your sudden refusal to drink from a bottle) and a few other challenges - on Tuesday this week you refused to sleep for longer than ten minutes, all day! - I have come to see how your going there benefits you and me in so many ways. You are learning group social skills that you can't get at home; you are learning the language of the country you were born in; you are making friends with older kids who all insist on kusjes and knuffels with you both when you arrive for the day and when you leave. And I am slowly, steadily getting back to work, which makes me feel like a more complete and rounded person. I'd also be lying if I said I didn't value getting some time back to myself. But the best part of it all, which may seem strangest of all, is that these daycare days give me the real highlights of my week; that moment when we are reunited at the end of a day apart. The joy of seeing you smile once you recognise my face is almost worth the pricey fees on its own. It is like magic and my happiness in that moment is physical and real and like no other. 

But enough from me. Now let's see what one of your kind carers has to say to you (though I apologise for any translation mistakes that one day you'll be able to tell me I've made!):

Dear O,

What a big and happy man you have become! You love playing on the floor, crawling around like a tiger on the loose! You move towards the group eager to discover anything that catches your eye and when you do find a new toy you look around you, full of pride.

On Tuesday you painted an Easter egg. You loved sticking your fingers in the paint and you then secretly tried to put your hands in your mouth to have a taste. Bleugh! It wasn't very lekker though, was it? But discovering everything with your mouth is just part of it for you.

You always enjoy sitting at the table with everyone. You sit up proudly in your Tripp Trapp chair watching everyone, ready to grab anything and everything within reach. Sometimes this means wet clothes for you and for some of the other kids!

As you're so busy discovering the world around you, you don't leave much time for sleep. This isn't ideal as you really do need your sleep! One day soon this will catch up with you, I think.

Now have a lovely weekend with mama and papa. Enjoy the nice weather and I'll see you next week,

Love, C x

Aside from some loud burps/farts/giggles and your love of mango and scrambled eggs, I think reading this letter was the first thing to really make me stop and say, "That's my boy!" full of pride and love. Somehow I don't think it will be the last...

Your 3kg-in-two-days-lighter, newly-thankful-for-my-health, quickly-baby-proofing-the-house, 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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