Letter to Leila: 8 months and change

Dear Leila,

The time has long sinced passed when I could count your age in weeks. In fact I struggle to keep a handle on your age in months these days, and have done ever since you passed around 5 and a half months. At that point it felt we were slowly approaching, out of breath and panting, the finish line of the first phase: waiting for you to move into your own room, waiting to start feeding you solid foods, waiting for the day when you wouldn’t need a breastfeed every four hours, 24/7. At this point I met up with friends whose babies are six or seven weeks older than you, and felt a huge void between us. I couldn’t see that I could ever get my life, my body back to the extent that they had.

Happily, by around 7 months we had crossed that void (well, I grubbed around at the bottom of it for a while, but let’s not dwell on that), and suddenly you were, well, a proper person. Not that you weren’t humanoid before, my darling.  You’ve been Miss Personality since the day you were born. But there is something creaturish about a tiny baby. Now you’re sturdy, and on the move, and picking up skills in your own determined, not too hurried, practice-makes-perfect way.

But though you’re a steady little bean, the days are speeding by at a pace that makes me dizzy, all the quicker because I know these unbroken weeks together are limited, and soon I’ll be back at work. A few times a day I find myself clutching you, caught in the jaws of a most almighty gush of love and trepidation and not-wanting-to-let-go. It’s a good thing you’re not especially interested in cuddling me back, otherwise we’d be there all day. It’s not that you mind being held, it’s just that there’s always something more interesting to do/pull/grab/bite. Yesterday I thought you were staring deep into my eyes as I gazed at you in awe. What a precious, deep moment we are sharing, I thought. Turns out, you weren’t so much gazing into my eyes, as sizing up my eyeballs, as before I knew it your finger and thumb were in my eye socket attempting to grasp my eye in a pincer grip (pincing is your new thing- indeed, who would eat puree from a spoon, when one can attempt to pick up tiny smears of it from the table with one’s finger and thumb?).

What you withhold in cuddles, you make up for with kisses- an exaggerated open-mouthed MWAH! on my face, sometimes with added teeth (ouch). You’ve picked this up by way of your favourite new activity: copying. When we laugh, you fake-laugh in response- HA! HA!- and this can go on for several minutes, us descending into real laughter as your fake guffaws become hammier and hammier. When we cough, you emit a fake cough, and for some reason you find this hilarious. When other babies cry, you copy them, which is a bit embarassing actually, dearest.

It’s not just you that has changed and moved on. I do indeed feel as though I have more of myself to myself these days. You sleep all night (but really, 5.30am is NOT THE MORNING. K?), you feed a mere four times a day, you’re generally more self-contained. As a result, my mind feels less fogged and body a little more spry (though not totally spry because again, 5.30am? Not cool).

But the truth is, I’ll never really get my life back, my body back. Not just because an 8pm bedtime now seems perfectly reasonable, if not decadent. Not just because my abs are shot and my bra size has seen more ups and downs than the 100 Share Index. But because you’ve got my life, and you’ve got my heart. You hold them in your pincer grip, my love, and it’s terrifying and exhilerating and wonderful. Just keep them safe, OK?

Love,

Mummy xx

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2 Responses to “Letter to Leila: 8 months and change”


  1. 1 R.G. Ryan October 27, 2010 at 3:34 am

    So sweet. What a treasure she is.

    rg

  2. 2 Min October 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. So glad the good sleep is continuing for you. I feel you on the 5.30 starts!


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