I’ve got a 13 month old. Every morning, I get woken up with a combination of a sloppy kiss and a Krav Maga move with a “mamamamamamamama” (roughly translated as “Woman, I may have had you up half the night but it is time for my morning bottle NOW”). I’m a lucky lady; even if some days I look back at my before life, which is seeming more and more of a foggy picture, and think about the lie ins, the not needing to ask someone if I wanted to go somewhere, the random nights out and the unbroken sleep. You may be seeing a theme on the sleep thing.
The time is flying though. This morning I realised just by how much. I attended a mother and baby group in Douglas, the same as the one I described here, and sat watching my child half walk clinging to furniture, half crawl over to the group of children and the mound of toys, and play with other children. Surrounding me were mothers I had seen before; some attending since my very first meeting (when he was 3 weeks old and a very tiny 5 pounds!); some new that I didn’t recognise and others that have joined along the way. I’ve not been a loyal member; going back to work and having unfortunate doctor appointment scheduling has caused me to miss a few; but every time I do go, I get talking to mothers who are the same as me – our children may be different ages, they may have more kids than me, they may be years older; but we are united in knowing that we’re surviving parenthood one day at a time and celebrating the fact that we managed to get out of the house relatively unscathed today.
As I look at my toddler, sturdy, confident and even trying his best at sharing, I can also see the super tiny babes in arms. Mothers who are sleeping in 90 minute shifts, getting the hang of breastfeeding, some trying to juggle a boisterous toddler and a sleeping newborn while attempting to sip their lukewarm coffee. It really doesn’t feel like so long ago that it was me sitting there, with relief washing over me listening to other women saying how their children weren’t sleeping, that they felt their partners weren’t pulling their weight at night time, that I was not the only one so tired and feeling useless when the baby wouldn’t stop crying. It doesn’t feel like a year has gone by since I was struggling with breastfeeding and fiddly nipple shields and leaks at inappropriate times, while recovering from a C Section. But it is. I’m no less tired, I’m getting a bit more sleep, and the memories of those bloody shields are starting to fade away.
Some of the new mothers had young babies when I began; this is their second, that first child who was but a few months older than mine is now a big brother or sister; being helpful or resentful, dependant on the day. The thought of it doesn’t appeal to me right now; one toddler is about as much as I can handle, with a lot of help – they are hard work. I’m filled with admiration for these women as they are just getting on with it; their concern more about the effect of the new baby on the confidence of the toddler; rather than their own life being turned upside down. I don’t think it’s something that my toddler, or I, would be ready for (I think I can add my partner into that list too); which isn’t anything to be ashamed of – there’s plenty of time for that if the desire does hit us later in life.
I’m afraid to sleep and blink incase I miss something. He loves going to creche; but it breaks my heart knowing I’m likely to miss the big things “firsts” – Murphy’s Law will have the first steps taken in creche; first proper sentences etc. The sleepless nights feel like they’re going on forever, but the time is going past so fast that I can’t keep up sometimes. He’s growing up and growing more independent; which is great, but I’m going to hold onto the cuddles from my little man while he’s little for as long as I can.