Before I had Leila, people who had already become parents would take great pleasure in informing us what hard work it is. This was irritating, because it really is impossible to understand how and why it’s hard to have a newborn baby before you actually have one. It’s also not really what you need to hear when you’re waddling around heavily pregnant, and already feeling that you’re working quite hard, actually.
On balance, Leila is what my Granny calls a convenient baby (because babies are not “good” or “bad”, though obviously Leila is both good and a genius, as well as uncommonly good looking. Obviously). She only shouts when she wants feeding, has a sore tummy, and of course just for fun, when it’s time for us to eat our dinner in peace- take that, parents! She loves peddling her little legs in the bath, she guzzles like a trooper and loves a good feed just like her mum and dad, and treats us to a manageable night’s sleep at least one night in two.
But yes, it is hard work.
It’s hard because 3 hourly feeds means 3 hours from the start of the last feed, not the end. What with winding and cuddling and settling, that leaves very little time (sometimes no time! What fun nights those are) between feeds.
It’s hard when I’m suddenly awash with hormones and weeping again for no apparent reason. Today I started a sentence, only to get as far as saying her name before bursting into tears in public.
It’s hard to find a balance between lying tensed up in bed wishing she’d stop making those “I’m about to wake up” noises, and lying tensed up in bed wishing she’d make a noise, any noise, so I’ll know she’s still breathing.
Giving birth and recovering from the birth is hard (especially when you’ve pushed the blighter out with no pain relief- sorry, just had to show off there for a minute! It’s a whole “nother story and one I’ll probably write about), but already, 17 days later, I’m starting to think it was all rather fun and I’d do it again.
It’s hard work to decipher what the different squeaks and screeches mean, from the fairly amusing “eh eh ehhh” which sounds almost exactly like Anne from Little Britain, to the heartrending windy screeches which have us dangling her desperately from every angle in an effort to relieve her belly. Not only is it hard work, it’s also rather nerve-jangling.
So tired. That is hard.
But most of all it’s hard to take on board the sheer weight of my feelings for my little girl, the fact that my heart is now held hostage in her plump little form, and the knowledge that life with Leila could get ten times as hard as this, any number of times as hard as this, and I’d take it. Not just because of the biological imperative, but because she’s everything. It’s hard to take how precious she is. It’s hard hard work but wonderful.