I was just thinking ‘hey I need to post something but I’m too zonked to write’ when I snort-laughed my way through this description of life with a baby (plus two) by Guru Louise – I laughed. Then I sighed.
I have one darling daughter and for many reasons (our age & the shocking PPD that stole nearly two years of my life mostly) I suspect she will remain alone. I’ll be honest, it breaks my heart a bit. For all that I know she is happy with our undivided attention, I can also see a future where no one else remembers her childhood, how we chased her about, marvelled at the view from our garden, had our own words for things… And it makes me ugly-cry. So, in a zen-like rebalancing of the universe, here are five things you never, ever forget about your newborn. Ever.
1. That smell. The top of their fuzzy heads is the hormonal equivalent of crack. I swear I spent the first few months with my schnoz permanently hovering about her head. It’s like warmth, sunshine, fuzzies, butterflies, candy & love in olfactory form. It’s starting to wear off her a little, now she’s five.
2. The first time they are awake in the middle of the night and suddenly your eyes meet. You and me against the world kid. What an adventure we will have.
3. How tiny and soft their feet are. There’s something mind-blowing about tiny, unused feet. It’s not just the softness of their skin, the transparency of the toenails… It’s the fact these are brand new feet. They’ve never touched the earth, felt grass, been washed in the sea. Since newborn tummies are the size of a cherry-stone, you can spend a lot of time massaging those tiny feet while nursing.
4. Their gaze: sure to begin with it’s similar to a drunk man staring unfocused towards a bar that seems a mile away but it’s direct and honest. As grown ups we rarely take time to hold someone’s gaze (even our partners), so being stared at can feel odd. Look back though. You can sink into that bond, created by your child, who will love you unconditionally and will not comment on spots, unwashed hair, clothes covered in spilt tea or spit-up milk, but just see YOU. They are really remarkable little beings, if we can give them the chance to connect with us.
5. The smile. I know that lots of people think it’s gas or a tic or reflex but pretty quickly your baby will smile at you, I defy anyone – even me, in the spiral down to that awful place – not to respond. It’s usually added on to the gaze, so you have a double whammy of bonding. I think babies smile much earlier than we give them credit for and it’s usually because they have seen you – that’s unforgettable.