How is she sleeping?
I’m not sure why this is the default question but it usually is. In fact, sleep is the primary topic during the pregnancy too. You are warned to catch up on sleep before the baby comes, and once the baby has arrived you are asked how you are dealing with sleep deprivation. At first you might think that this is concentrated on because it is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has been tired before right? But there are so many more questions that I want people to ask me, because these are things I want to tell people about. Has she started smiling? What colour are her eyes? Has she started making any new sounds?
Irregardless of whether you have asked me these questions or not, I am now going to give you the answers.
A few weeks ago there was nothing more than the occasional and brief curl of the corners of her mouth, but now we are treated to smile festivals each and every day. No one really tells you how it feels to get a smile from your child, or if they do it is not something I absorbed. But what I can say is that it is such a wonderful thing that countless hours drip away as I work harder and harder to catch a glimpse of just one more. They become addictive each one hooking you more than the last. Some are of joy, some amusement. The best one I have had so far was just this morning. She was lying awake in her moses basket ready to start the day, I lent over, looked her in the eye and greeted her with a good morning, this was received by a heart melting smile. The kind of smile that an old friend gives you when you have a surprise meeting, like that, only ten thousand times more.
Her eyes. What started off as two giant, dark, and mysterious pools, have now settled as brilliant, bright blue eyes. Since the day she was born there has been three comments that people make about her. “Isn’t she tiny!?”, ” She looks like her dad!” (either a shame for her, or a compliment for me I guess), and, “She has such big eyes!”. She does. Her eyes have been such a significant feature of hers since the first day. They are big and inquisitive, and now this incredible blue that just shines so much that any grey day is lit up.
She has started to do what can only be described as talking. Not words of course, but her own interpretation of what talking is and what she has taken from us. To have seen a change from cries, shouts, and wails to garbled vowels is nothing short of amazing. Even those cries and wails have taken a new form, with ever intricate intonations appearing as often and sudden as the days that go by. It shows she has listened and learned and wants to mimic our chatter and singing. Looking at the swinging tortoise on her bouncing chair, she lets him, and us, know that she is happy to notice him. It is one of the biggest indicators that she has started to exchange the simple and instinctive newborn existence for something far more advanced and complex.
It’s too easy to focus on sleep, or the lack there of, when there is a new baby around, but I tire of telling people my stock response of “sometimes good and sometimes bad”. Next time you see me, ask me if she can grab things, or if she likes rock music, or if her eyebrows have changed from looking ginger to blonde.
We decided that because we had a few extra days together over Easter we would do some things as a family – a new family – and what better way than starting with a bank holiday stroll to a local, country side, pub.
The walk took us into a surprisingly remote area of the city across farmland. We casually walked along the meadow, taking in the fresh air and watching the spring lambs frolic in the fields around us. This was the first time I used the baby carrier, and I had approached it tentatively. I spent most of the time uncertain of how well I was doing and learning slightly forward, getting a crick in my back, fearing that I might accidentally suffocate her as she nuzzled into my chest.
I checked her again, fast asleep, lulled by the bobbing of my stride.
The thirst we worked up on the walk was satisfied by a pint and accompanied by some crisps. Our daughter was greeted with celebrity status, charming the bank holiday visitors with her docile and playful mood. We were relaxed. We sat their as parents thankful for the break from home, enjoying the time together. As I sat back I looked at us all together. It was a nice afternoon, and I felt proud. Proud of my successful baby carrier experiment, but mainly proud of our daughter, and how she provoked such a positive reaction with no effort. People other than us seem to like her too. She did nothing much, nor did we, but it was enough.
What else could we do with this long weekend?