11 March 2009

Hartley: Two Months Old

I don't think it's any great coincidence that just as I'm finally gaining confidence as a mother, you're starting to become a happier, more settled baby.

A few weeks ago, after finishing our first squirmy, awkward feed-dance of the morning, and as I was changing your nappy, you came out with a sound I'd never heard before - a short, piercing but decidedly happy squawk. Then you smiled at me with your whole entire face, as though I was your long lost friend and not that insufferable woman who is always trying to make off with your bottomless, ever elusive snack beneath her top.

Since then, you have been utterly delighted to see me each morning and will happily spend five to ten minutes after your feed squawking and cooing at the wardrobe (I'm still not sure what it is you find so fascinating up there) and generally filling me in on your thoughts about this, which I pretend to understand while I plant a million kisses on your fat little cheeks and neck and belly and feet. Even though you lose this lucidity and transition back into that introverted, serious child you've always been, I know I have that window now, and that every day is an opportunity to widen it a little more.

Lately I've been bundling you into the carrier and taking you out for as many different errands and events as I can come up with, because even though you struggle to keep from losing your cool at home, out-of-doors and in mixed company you somehow transform into the easiest, most laid-back baby anyone has ever met. This week I took you to see your first movie - The Young Victoria - and though all the other babies startled and cried out and kicked up a fuss in their turn, you were as quiet as a mouse until the credits rolled, which quite frankly is mummy's least favourite part of a good film too.

For a grumpy baby, you are extremely portable, and while daddy is hard at work in town, you and I are frequenting cafes with friends, going on short and long walks in your carrier or your pram, visiting the shops and generally living the high life in London, which my maternity package and the kindness of your overseas grandparents have allowed us to do this year. Having you here has given me a reason to want to do all these things, and when we hit our stride, I can say in all honesty that you make even the dullest task seem fun and fulfilling.

You're growing so quickly now, a fact I am made all the more aware of by the zillions of photos we take of you that make this progression plain. You're not only filling out bodily, but in awareness and in character too. The stuttering anaconda in you is fading, and while I love the little man that you are becoming, I am also deeply saddened by the loss of that tiny baby you once were. A while back I was watching an illegal download of Benjamin Button, and at the 2 hour 14 minute mark a baby is born. That baby looked and sounded so much like you in your first week of life that I burst into tears and replayed that part over and over again so that I could re-experience your infancy. It's the biggest paradox of my life, to see you grow and watch you disappear all at the same time.

I think that when you have a child, you actually concede to loving and letting go of six or seven different children. I haven't the faintest clue what you'll be like at six months or a year, or five years or sixteen. I only know that you are beginning in the same way that I once began, and that my role now is to help you make these transformations, to keep marking them in our history book and to always love you more today than I did yesterday, which is how your father taught me to love.

Happy two months, darling.


Anonymous said...

Tearing up here. Lovely. Lucky baby and lucky mama and daddy.

Ariel said...

These posts make me weep. Your son will be able to read this one day and know how much you love him and that is such a wonderful gift.