Thank you to all who have read, followed and hopefully enjoyed my S-mumblings this year.
I truly hope 2016 brings with it all the happiness in the world.
Sometimes we need reminded that our Little Ones are indeed only little.
When Princess was born a few weeks ago, Mini Me seemed to grow up overnight. She suddenly got taller and turned from a toddler into a little girl. I’ve been watching her in awe since I returned home from hospital. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but she is quite the little independent woman.
Having a newborn on my knee, I find myself wondering how it’s possible that the most advanced species on the planet can give birth to the most helpless offspring.
A baby calf gets up to walk within moments of being born, but our little pink and squishy babies remain completely dependent on us for years. It’s quite amazing. And still, the nicest feeling in the world is knowing that your baby needs nothing but you to survive. The frightening thing is that without you, she can’t.
We give our babies everything that they need. We help them to grow. We don’t get a handbook. We make it up as we go along and shockingly, we generally do a good job. As I look at Mini-me in all her “almost fourness”, I am proud of how she’s developing. She’s stroppy and strong-willed, but sweet and sensitive. She’s clever and funny and ever so dramatic. (Not sure where she gets the drama!) I have a little girl, who has a little curl etc. She’s so grown up, and then she isn’t.
Because she understands every word we say and because she’s able to articulate her thoughts well, we’ve made the mistake of assuming that she fully understands the world around her.
As tall and “grown up” as she suddenly seems, on Sunday past I was Suddenly Reminded that she is still only a baby. She doesn’t understand the things that we assume her to. She’s finding her way through a terrifying world (aren’t we all?) and she still needs Mammy and Daddy to guide her in every step.
And the dramatic and sudden reminder?
We went to see Santa Claus.
Mini-Me and her new sister were dressed in their pretty Christmas dresses and we were all suitably excited. It’s the first year that she is really enjoying the build up to Christmas and she was excited to bring the new baby to meet the Big Man. We stood in the queue. We met Santa. They got their picture taken and she got a present.
And then, we all went for coffee.
As we were relaxing, the Big brother took the little horse set out of the box for her to play with. We were chattering among ourselves, when suddenly she began to cry. Asking her what was possibly wrong, she announced through her sobs “Santa didn’t listen. I asked for baby Annabelle!” and the quiet sobs turned to a wail.
Well, we didn’t know what to do. We looked at each other with disbelief and the sudden realisation that our big grown-up girl was genuinely upset. And as I looked at her devastated little face, the baby returned in front of my eyes. She was suddenly three again. Not the “Big Sister” or the “Big girl” that we’ve been calling her since Baby arrived.
Just my Mini-me Threenager…and she was heartbroken.
She thought that that was it; that Santa had been and that Christmas was over. She didn’t understand that this was simply a pre-Christmas, traditional treat.
Because we never thought to explain it to her.
While we had been talking about going to see Santa, she thought that this was the Santa who comes in the night and leaves presents. She thought that this was it. And as we were obliviously sipping our coffees, she was experiencing a massive first… true disappointment.
Daddy swiftly lifted her onto his knee for a hug and wiped the big tears dripping down her chubby cheeks. We all leapt into action, laughing and calmly explaining that Santa had simply brought her a treat today and that it isn’t Christmas yet. We went back to basics, explaining the whole concept of Christmas: about Baby Jesus coming, about her aunties and uncles coming home, about hanging up the stockings and about waking up on Christmas morning; any possible benchmarks that will help her to recognise actual Christmas.
We threw all the cliched lines at her. “If you’re good, Santa will…” “It’s Christmas time, but it’s not Christmas Day yet.” “9 more sleeps…” etc. And happily, she calmed down and returned to playing with the horses.
Crisis averted, but lesson learned.
People had warned us that when the new baby arrived, she would suddenly seem so big and so grown-up. And they were right.
But what we had to learn for ourselves is that big and all as she seems, she’s still only a little child. We may have begun to expect too much from her. Yes, the baby is vulnerable and totally dependent on us, but just because Mini-Me can dress herself, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t also vulnerable and dependent.
And so, with both Mammy and Daddy feeling suitably guilty and slightly foolish, we finished our coffee and directed our wee family back through the craziness of the Christmas shoppers towards the car.
Mini-me had learned something, but the biggest lesson was learned by her Grown-ups.
I am Suddenly Reminded Mum.
“She had a good nappy.”
My childhood was spent listening to my Beloved Granny saying this line to my Mum or aunties when they came to collect babies or toddlers from her care.
I could never understand how the adjective good could be appropriate.
In fact, the good nappies she was referring to were usually the antithesis of good. Words like rotten, dirty, nasty or horrendous seemed much more appropriate. For me, a good nappy referred to the still dry and clean nappies, folded in the bag.
But now, I completely understand. A good nappy is one that is filled with the most horridly mucky mess. The bigger the mess, the better the nappy.
To a parent of a baby, there is nothing more wonderful than a full nappy. In fact, all of the bodily functions that we are brought up to do in private, and indeed that we are taught to apologize profusely for, are a cause of relief and even celebration.
I remember the first time Mini-Me had gone 4 long days without a poop. We did tummy rubs, massaged her tiny back and carried her in every possible angle to ease her pain. We almost cried ourselves every time she screamed that high pitched scream that only a baby can. And when she finally exploded into not only one, but two, nappies, we danced around the room in delight.
Every burp during feeding is rewarded with “Goooooood girl” or “Thaaaaat’s it pet!” The bigger the belch, the bigger the praise.
We love to hear big burps and big farts and we love to see big poops…even the right-up-the-back-into-the-hair ones. And while these generally require a strong stomach and cutting off vests, before plunging the offending Fudgeebum into an impromptu bath, as parents we generally feel a relief and a contentment.
Why? Because such excretions usually indicate that our little darling is going to be pain or cramp free for the next few days at least! And that is indeed good… for baby and for parent.
And so poops become wonderful. Huge farts are a prize and body deflating belches are joyous.
For a while at least.
Then we suddenly find ourselves telling our toddlers to say “Excuse me” after they burp. We cringe if they pass gas in public and of course the Poopoo becomes one of those hush-hush things.
With a new baby in the house, the good nappies have returned. We have found ourselves back at that stage of getting excited about the basic bodily functions of our child.
We both sighed with relief last night when Princess did a burp that could make the ground shake. Our simultaneous “Gooooood Girl!” was followed by laughter as we realised that we’re once again, excited by gas!
For the foreseeable future, we shall be grateful for the burps. We shall be relieved by the machine-gun farts and we shall indeed celebrate the good nappies.
Because everything is good when there’s a cute little poop machine in the house. 🙂
I am She-had-a-good-nappy Mum.
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Well, she’s arrived.
We were blessed with another beautiful little princess just over 2 weeks ago, and she’s just perfect.
Mini-mini-me was born by elective C-section and we’re happily enjoying getting into some sort of routine at home. It’s been a crazy few weeks and it really is true what they say…slowly does it.
The suggestion of another section by my consultant had caused me great disappointment. At 32 weeks, I was told that Baby was very big, already weighing almost 5lbs, and considering my previous section, it would be safer to have an elective section. After a few days, I conceded that if the consultant said I needed one, then I would listen.
I had honestly wanted to try a natural delivery this time around. On my way to the hospital the day before, I was nervous. I was terrified that I would have the section and the baby would weigh only 6 or 7lb, and that I would have put myself through surgery unnecessarily. And despite my very strong feelings about all things Sectioned (see I am Section Mum!), I was worried that I would look silly; that I’d be seen as Too Posh to Push.
Why I was in any way concerned about what people would think of me, I don’t know. But I was.
The experience was just as calm and controlled as I remembered the first one to have been. Hubby and I were much more nervous this time; probably as we knew exactly what was ahead of me. A huge difference was that Hubby and Baby were allowed to stay with me in recovery this time. Last time, I was lying on my own for over an hour, looking manically at a photograph of the baby. This time, Baby was snuggled on my chest until it was time to return to the ward, with himself right by my side.
As it happens, my consultant made the right call and I’m so glad that I listened to her.
Our second little Princess arrived in the world, ten days early, and weighed in at a tiny 9lb 6oz! My uterus had been stretched to dangerous extent and had I gone to due date and tried a “proper” birth, things could have been very different.
I got out of hospital on Day 4 which in hindsight, was way too early. What people don’t consider is that when someone has their appendix out, they are sent home to rest and recuperate. Post section, you instantly have a little person to care for, and regardless of the supports you have in place, going home is terrifying. And when you have other kids at home, sitting with your feet up is impossible.
Throw into the mix a mammy and big sister with chest infections, a Daddy who is trying so hard to be everything to everyone that he pretty much keels over with exhaustion, the post-natal hormones and tears, and the post-surgery pains and restrictions, and you have… the most fun EVER!
Thankfully, the little Princess is an angel. She’s a very chilled out baby and loves to sleep (so far!) and so the new baby was actually the least stressful thing in the house for the first week. And now, thanks to lots of antibiotics, multivitamins and a freezer pre-stocked with dinners, our little family is bouncing back and able to finally enjoy the build up to Christmas with our little Christmas pudding and her beautiful Big sis.
Every shower brings a little bit of this S-Mum back to herself.
Every day brings its new experiences and joys.
Every snuffly grumble from Baby and every kiss from Mini-Me brings a joy that can’t be measured.
It’s been slow, but it surely is worth every single second.
I am Slowly, but Surely Mum.
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