Friday, November 23, 2012

Joy: nine months in the making

NINE months.

No, not that mildly amusing movie starring King Fop of the Foppiest Foptheths Hugh Grant. (Do you realise that came out in 1995. 1995! 1995 sure wasn’t yesterday, although it damn well feels like it. Time, as you may have noticed by the length of it since the last entry on this blog, has a tendency to make like a Wright brother. Thank God for auto-memory on my Blogger password too, by the way, because I had no idea when it came to logging in. Apart from the fact that the layout has entirely changed!)

Nine months.

She is nine months old.

She. Samara.

Our beautiful, darling little girl is nine months old.


She is nine months old today.

Can you actually believe it?

Because we can’t.

She has two teeth, huge blue eyes and the cruisiest, happiest personality. Her thick black mop of soft, spiky hair fell out and has been replaced with a gold-flecked light brown fuzz, interpersed with longer wispier bits that are seconds away from falling out. These days, she spends her time crawling, pulling herself up to stand on things, eating ladybirds, clapping her hands, opening drawers and doors, laughing at her brother and dancing. Well, it's more like an impersonation of a tea bag with a fear of water than full-blown dancing.

At 11.2kilos, she is apparently off the chart, but none of us are worried. We are happy to do a big cook-up of healthy, home-cooked meals and stock the freezer every couple of days. Having a son with a peanut allergy has made us more willing than most to produce our own kids’ meals, simply so we know exactly what’s gone into them.

Sure it takes longer, but there are way too many benefits for us doing it this way.

She sleeps through the night, which we love.

She gets up like clockwork at 5am, which we don’t.

She eats, she laughs, she plays, she splashes, she gurgles baby-talk, she points, she swims, she takes absolutely everything in.

She. Is. Delightful.

I have at times regretted not posting here as often. Only because the creeping avalanche of exhaustion has played absolute havoc with my short-term memory and the past nine months have been an absolute blur. I really wish I had documented more of the moments that are now lost to my failing memory.

But lots of things have happened.

Uh, I had a baby. Oh yeah – I seem to remember that one.

I spent a full eight weeks losing my mind, every hour, on the hour. (Today, I am not sure what’s left.)

I settled into a glorious period of maternity leave where the busiest my day got was going for a walk and making dinner.

I went back to work full-time in August when she was not yet six months old. I cried, I suffered guilt, I wondered how it was all going to work, I cried some more on the days when it didn't work at all.

Samara went into family daycare for two days a week.

And I dropped a day of work in October because I was missing her way too much.

I felt myself being stretched too thinly. I knew I wasn't being a particularly good mother, or a particularly good journalist.

Something had to give and I realised one night looking at her while she slept, that I will never get this time back.

I didn’t want to be helping her blow out the candles on her first birthday cake and reflect that I didn’t know her very well, or I hadn’t seen her. Really seen her, and experienced her as much as I could.

So I am working four days a week, and soaking up every possible moment I can of her soft-skinned, long-lashed, calm and engaging gorgeousness.

Emotions? I’ve had a few (tonnes).

But, in the end, I did it my way.

Every morning lately T and I ask ourselves if we can get any more tired. Then we wake up the next morning and realise, that yes, yes we can.

T and I both work at our day jobs, then we come home and essentially clock on to what I call a hospitality shift at the Hotel De Samara Jay.

There are meals to be served, little bodies to be washed, bottles to be made, noses and bottoms to wipe, mouths to feed, fruit to be cut up, tripping/falling/burning hazards to remove, books to be read, teeth to be brushed, crumbs to be swept, kiwi fruit and banana smears to be removed (from the floor, furniture, ears), dishes to be done, toys to be cleared, hugs to be delivered, tucking in to be done, that one last drink of water to be approved and sore gums to be soothed.

I know we don’t have 14 children or nightmare night shifts or extreme poverty or anything that bad to contend with, but we are exhausted. Weekends that used to be times of refuge and recovery, of quiet and rest, are now busier than working weeks. Monday rolls around and the feeling is of being hit by a bus! Such an adjustment.

However, we know deep down, that the alternative would not be worth living for.

Our kids are the most wonderful gift. They are remarkable, beguiling little people that we created.

They look at us in the mornings, when we four cuddle in bed, and I cannot quite believe we are responsible for their little faces. I cannot believe how amazing they are.

We are so lucky.

But sweet merciful Jesus, is it too much to ask for one morning, just one, when I wake up on my own?