I have now been back from maternity leave for a week, and I’m already remembering why I love my job so much. Who else’s return to work would feature fifty jacket potatoes and a Palestinian dance troupe? Of course I also love my baby, and it is a special privilege to be able to bring the two together. It was lovely to see him so content to be off making new friends while I put in a shift serving at the Left Bank bar.
At the risk of sounding like I have been so consumed by motherhood that I can’t talk about anything else, the last few months have been all about baby, so he seems a good place to start blogging again.
Over the summer I posted a slightly flippant comment on Facebook, along the lines of “Reasons to have a child #17: Someone finally likes my singing”. A friend asked what the first sixteen reasons were, and suggested that as a dad to two slightly older boys, it might be nice to be reminded of the unique joys of these early months. I chose the number seventeen rather arbitrarily, but here in no particular order are my Seventeen Reasons Why I Feel Blessed To Have A New Little Person In The Family.
Some reasons are more serious than others, and some are fairly specific, but I hope there might be a few that ring true for anyone who has ever had the privilege of caring for a child, as parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or cousin or friend…
[I suspect baby will have his fair share of being used for sermon illustrations to contend with as he grows up, so rather than start embarassing him on the internet now, he will be known here as Squiddly, which was his nickname before he was born, owing to the fact that his legs were so long they looked like tentacles on the first scan.]
#1 We made him! This still feels a little surreal. I’m not even allowed to make my husband’s birthday cakes anymore, my last attempt was so disastrous, and yet I’ve made a whole person.
#2 That baby smell If you’ve ever held a baby, you’ll know what I mean. During the brief moments in which they’re not covered in poo or vomit, they have the best smell in the world.
#3 New friends We’ve made some lovely new friends from our ante and post natal classes. It’s great to be able to get together to share tales of explosive nappies and new tricks. Which brings me to…
#4 So much cake! Lots of coffee dates means lots of opportunities for consuming baked goods. Plus, breastfeeding uses an extra five hundred calories a day, and they need to come from somewhere!
#5 Getting into good habits Squiddly is going to learn to do as we do, so we need to do well. We’ve already started reading a Bible story and saying our prayers before bed each night, although we should probably also start putting away the screens a little more.
#6 We made grandparents too! Our parents are absolutely besotted with their new grandson, and the feeling is clearly mutual. It’s lovely to see those relationships already developing, and to be able to give our parents such a special gift.
#7 Not being pregnant anymore I had a pretty easy time of it, but having developed a bump so comically large that it looked like a cheap prop from a bad soap opera, I was glad to get the little fellow out. Nevertheless, I can now appreciate that…
#8 Bodies are amazing things Did you know that breastmilk changes according to the age and health of the baby? And that babies have a sixth sense which lets them know you’re drinking a cup of tea and it is therefore time to demand a feed? Only one of those may be proven, but I’m pretty sure they’re both true.
#9 I have a suntan! For twenty eight years I believed I couldn’t tan. It turns out I just needed to spend more time outside. Squiddly gets fractious if we spend too long in the house, so we get out for a little adventure every day, and lo and behold I am looking a little less pasty.
#10 A whole new person to get to know At three months, he’s already starting to show us a little of his character and his likes and dislikes. As well as enjoying being out and about, he loves classical music, and while he’s content to be with lots of people, he really comes out of himself when you get him one on one. We’re so excited to see him grow and develop, and to learn more about him.
#11 People are so supportive Revive fed us for the first two weeks after we brought him home, which was a massive help, and we’ve been given so many clothes we’ve barely had to buy anything. Even complete strangers have been really helpful, giving me a hand getting the pram on and off buses and holding shop doors open for us.
#12 Mummy skills! As a child I could never find anything, so I would ask my mum who would produce it in a matter of minutes. Now I am the finder of all the things.
#13 Revisiting old favourites Playing with a baby is a great excuse to dig out all the things you liked as a child. That is why in a couple of years
I Squiddly will be getting a train set.
#14 Babies make great conversation starters It’s amazing how much more comfortable people feel striking up a conversation when you have a baby with you. We’re getting to know the neighbours better and I’ve had some lovely chats with complete strangers.
#15 Baby dungarees! They are the cutest thing ever. Except maybe baby shoes. Or baby flat caps. Who am I kidding? Baby clothes are simply adorable, which is why my son is regularly better dressed than either of his parents.
#16 That adoring look Any amount of mess and screaming can be forgiven when he smiles up at me as if I’m the most wonderful thing he’s ever seen.
#17 Someone likes my singing And so we reach the end which was also the beginning. I have been declared tone deaf by two music teachers. My singing voice is not a thing of beauty. But Squiddly likes it and I’m going to make the most of that while it lasts.
So there you have it. My Seventeen Reasons Why I Feel Blessed To Have A New Little Person In The Family. Praise God for all of them!