In five days time the spud will be six months old. She has been alive outside the womb for exactly half a year. If this were a real world job, my probation period would be up and the employers would be hauling me in to tell me if I was in or I was out.
Much is made of the passage of time with a baby. Friends freak out on visits, exclaiming at the size of monster child and poking at the pudge sticking out from under a babygro sleeve. I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE HOW BIG SHE IS, will be repeatedly exclaimed over a cup of tea.
We too are a little shocked at her growth. She has put on so much weight that her whole face has changed. Her body grows longer and when I feed her, I feel as though she is not a baby anymore but a small child.
This week, for the first time, she has managed the art of moving all by herself, in a game called roll and seek. This means we can no longer put her on the floor safe in the knowledge that she can’t hurt herself. It seems now, she is quite keen to hurt herself and so we are moving into a phase of cease and protect. We’re bloody wrecked.
The other day, the hubby and I talked about the six month milestone. “Hard to believe she’s six months old,” he said. “It’s flown.” It has flown, I thought, but so much has changed that it feels like we’ve been through years. I don’t think I would change a thing. But, I have learned a lot.
I’ve learned that nothing is more important than the welfare and happiness of your child. You will happily sit in, get up early, stay up late, change nappies, wipe up mess, go for walks, puree food, not eat food and jump out of bed, gingerly like a sleeping gazelle to ensure baby is well rested, clean and fed. It’s wonderful not to be selfish anymore.
I’ve learned that your baby’s laugh is a connecting bond between family and friends. Those who extract it feel special and those who experience it cannot but help in joining in. Your baby has the ability to commandeer a whole room with just a hearty chuckle.
I’ve learned how to balance things better. Maternity leave gave me the time to reflect on what made me happiest and the space to make changes to allow these things to happen. Stress doesn’t suit me. I don’t need it to thrive.
I’ve learned that going out doesn’t matter anymore.
I’ve learned that other kids are wonderful. I look at them in a completely different way.
I’ve learned how to cook. Sometimes it’s my only escape in the day.
And of course, I’ve learned how be a Mum. A Mum to our baby, to suit her and her needs, to not care about what other people say and to stick to our own instincts as parents, together.
We are not experts. But we do try. And at my six month probation hearing, I know I’d definitely pass. Congratulations Mum, you’ve got the job. You’ve earned it.