I haven’t written to you recently. Time has flown by and you’ve needed my undivided attention. I make no apology for spending time with you as opposed to writing my thoughts down, but as time goes by I worry that I’ll forget things. Currently you’re snoozing but you’ve begun to stir; I’m guessing you’ll likely wake soon, hungry.
This week we’ve broken through the week 6 growth spurt and sleep regression. Or at least, I’d like to think we’ve begun to. You’ve begun to smile and laugh and as clichéd as it sounds, I cannot describe how it felt that first time. You were nursing when you suddenly un-latched, looked me in the eye with a recognition I hadn’t seen before and the very first flicker of your beautiful cheeky smile flashed across your face.
It’s the same smile that greeted me at 5am earlier this week whilst your hand had somehow found its way into my mouth and a little foot was pressed firmly into my stomach. You appear to thoroughly enjoy the closeness the cluster feeding through the night brings as I’m often so tired we end up snoozing together in my bed. I cannot lie and say I don’t enjoy the closeness. I cherish it and marvel at the little hands with delicate fingers that grasp me whilst you feed, making sure I don’t suddenly deprive you of food. When you’re not fidgeting, of course.
We go to a number of mum and baby groups. You’re known for usually sleeping through these, but today you were awake for the entire session. You took in the sights and sounds around you, smiling cheekily at other mums and generally dribbling everywhere. I was feeling a strange sense of pride until you burped most proficiently. Fortunately you’re at an age where this earned you applause from the other mums as opposed to looks of consternation and disapproval. Enjoy it whilst you can.
Towards the end of the session, you were clearly overwhelmed by all the stimuli in the room and so I nursed you to help soothe. You met and held my gaze the entire time; big, round, innocent eyes framed by two little hands holding onto my shirt. You suddenly looked so very vulnerable and unsure of yourself, as if you were seeking reassurance from me amongst the noisy chaos of other babies, mums and toys. Our little world that you have known for your life to date had suddenly gotten a lot bigger, louder and, well, fremder.
Maybe this is simply the lack of sleep kicking in with hormones, pushing my desire to keep you safe into overdrive. Or maybe I saw my own insecurities in the way you looked at me. But I’ll repeat what I said to you in that moment this morning at the play group:
I am here. You are safe and I am not going anywhere. It’s okay to feel scared. This is new; and new things can be scary, but that’s normal. We’ll take one step at time together until you’re confident enough to find your way.
You know, I think this was the first of many moments to come where I found myself wishing you won’t grow up. I know it is inevitable, and so I must learn to accept these things. Of course I celebrate and get excited at every tiny milestone you reach, be it the cheeky grin you give me after you’ve managed to fill your nappy with such gusto that the contents covers your back; the pulling of my hair when you’re being burped against your wishes; or the series of noises you make when you decide that 3 o’clock in the morning is playtime and I leave you to babble to yourself in your cot next to me.
We have already accomplished so much and we have such a way to go still. I’m actually quite excited to see where we end up. But most importantly, I do not regret an instant. You’re barely out of the starting blocks and I can feel myself already beaming with pride.
And as if on cue, your eyes have just fluttered open, my little boobivore. Time for me to go.
All my love,