Mummy M & Freya at 14 WeeksBy Rhona Maxwell 27th June 2015
Well it’s been 14 whole weeks since we walked out of those hospital doors with our daughter, half expecting to look over our shoulder and see someone run after us. It really is mind blowing that we get to take home this most precious little person and look after her without having ever actually passed any test to ‘qualify’ for it in some way!
The good news is that the looking after bit has actually gone rather well, she seems to just let us know what she wants- although I’d say it’s only in the last few weeks I can distinguish a ‘tired cry’ from a ‘hungry’ one.
I have already fallen victim to some ‘mumsy’ stereotypes (chiefly midnight internet shopping and the wearing of sensible shoes). As followers of this blog will know I like to do my research, but it turns out that there are some things that aren’t written anywhere, that no one tells you, and that you have to discover for yourself;
- Babies give the best hugs, ever. Fact.
- No matter how insistent you are that there is no need for baby girls to be a walking/crawling stereotype you will at some point cave in and buy them a pink tutu approximately 30 seconds after you entered the shop.
- It is incredible how many things you can do one-handed while holding a baby (teeth brushing/bed making/cooking I am all now dab (left) handed at all of these).
- When they are really full up after a big feed they act like tiny little drunk people; literally swaying/ head bobbing/belching (If it were a pub I could refuse to serve her any more!)
- They have impeccable comedic timing. If ever there is tension in a room you can rely on your baby to pass wind rather loudly! Look no further than a baby who will choose an inappropriate moment to giggle.
- My uncanny ability to do a wide range of animal impressions (and I’m not just talking farmyard) and the lengths I will go to in order to win the kind of big gumsy smile from her that’s usually reserved for her grandad!
- Last but by no means least for me has been the somewhat healing realisation that having your own child suddenly makes the future far more important than the past.
Since I had Freya there have been a few articles in the tabloids about whether mothers should indulge in what is being termed ‘baby bragging’ on social media. I find it very hurtful that someone expressing genuine happiness and excitement about their own babies should be misinterpreted as bragging or showing off. I am acutely aware of what a fortunate position I am in to have such a happy, healthy baby.
I vividly remember how difficult it was to listen to others complain about the trials and tribulations of having to contend with a baby.Although I’m sure they didn’t mean it in as a genuine moan, I would’ve given anything to swap places with them. However, new parents who couldn’t talk about anything else, who'd burst with joy over the slightest mention of, or story about, their baby,who'd fall over themselves to show you pictures... they didn’t bother me in the slightest. I never once thought of that as ‘bragging’.
And although I try to be sensitive to other people’s feelings when talking about Freya (in real life or social media) I don’t feel it’s right to expect me to temper my own excitement. Some days she just looks so adorable that when we’re stopped at traffic lights I have to stop myself from winding down the window to shout ‘Look- look how bloody gorgeous she is!!’. That won’t last forever (unless I really want to embarrass her) so I’m going to make the most of every minute of it.
For one so small and new there is so much wisdom and innocence in her eyes. Since she was 8 weeks old we have attended weekly baby swimming lessons with ‘Turtle Tots’. I was really keen that our baby experience and be confident in the water from a young age as I've seen how a lack of swimming ability can hinder them later on. For anyone thinking the same I would urge you to look at enrolling them in a block of structured and fun lessons that are always held in small groups and in warm baby friendly pools.
We attend the classes in Perthshire run by Kirsty McNiece but it is a nationwide initiative with classes to suit every level. We have been so impressed we’re already signed up for next term at ‘Turtle School’! Seeing her try something new each week and do things like underwater swimming so instinctively without any fear is incredible and has really made me think of how many things we hold back from doing once we are old enough to overthink them!
I want to protect her from anyone and anything that could hurt her but deep down I know I have to let her experience things for herself. In the meantime I will do my best to make this world as good as it can be for her in any way I can- whether that means making more of an effort to recycle, or thinking more seriously about who I vote for in an election, it all just matters so much more now.
One of my biggest worries was whether I would really enjoy spending all my time with a baby, and I’m so pleased that I do. Don’t get me wrong- it’s hard work sometimes, and I’ve had the odd meltdown, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. There is an almost magnetic pull that makes you feel drawn to them, I even miss her when she’s sleeping! We’re still exploring for local groups and activities but mostly just rediscovering the joy in simple things; swimming, walking, fresh air. Now that she has lost that ‘newborn’ slightly squooshed up look It’s lovely to see her feed, thrive and grow into her own little person. Already she is starting to do things for herself and she becomes a tiny bit less dependent on me every day (I have to remind myself she doesn’t need me to hold her head anymore!). I look forward to my favourite moment of the day when I pick her up after she wakes and she clings on like a sleepy koala, eyes still half shut not sure if she wants to wake up or not.
I have been so consumed with the effect having a baby has on our household and my life that I have been taken quite by surprise how huge an impact a new baby can have on others in your wider circle. Experiencing so many other people genuinely sharing their joy, kindness and generosity for this new life and us as a family has been an incredibly touching experience. I am overwhelmed by how many nice people there are out there, and the effort that they have gone to. It fills my heart to know our daughter has, and always will have, so many warm and loving people in her life. Only some of them are blood related but all of them make up her (slightly crazy) family!
Love, Mummy M x
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