So one of the main things they tell you when you become a parent is how fast the time goes. And you nod and say thanks but secretly you worry about those times when the baby won’t settle and it feels like the long night of the soul and anyway they’re so little still. And then, before you know it, you’re saying how fast time has passed and you only realise afterwards that you sound like someone very old indeed.
I am, as you may have guessed, having one of those moments. It came the other day when I was hurrying somewhere with E in her pushchair. She was crying because she wanted me to carry her and I wouldn’t. A man walked beside us for a while and told me: “That’s the great thing about this age – they only care about the present. They’re right in the moment.” And he was right, she stopped crying after a while because she got distracted. And I got nostalgic about how she wasn’t a tiny little baby any more and how she used to be so much easier to carry around, and to rock to sleep, and how our little maternity leave routines were quite cute and so on and so forth.
At this point other people chip in and ask if I’m feeling broody and want another baby. Let’s be clear. I do not. I just like the memories of my old baby. And I do also like her a lot more these days – every day her personality reveals more of itself. She is developing a fine sense of humour and self confidence and playfulness that’s just amazing. And it’s fascinating to watch her comprehension develop too.
So this leads me to the next point. The other thing that’s started is that I’m reaching the age where terrible things start happening to your friends. Bad news has come our way of people we know and care for and I cannot even begin to imagine how they are feeling or managing but all I can do is send them my love. Which seems a bit useless. And for yourself, all you can do is wonder how we turned from carefree twenty-somethings to this.
I’ve written before about how having a child makes you even more scared of your own mortality because you want to do so much with them, see how they grow and what kind of person they become. Aside from losing E, it’s my greatest fear, and I guess stems from loss of a similar kind anyway.
So I want to pack as much in as I can. Alongside work, writing, reviewing, I’m trying to pick up my guitar again, doing a spot of sewing and crafting and visiting relatives and friends. As well as spending time with E and S obviously. The guitar is useful for taking a break from writing in the evening, the repetition of exercises while I try and remember how to play is good for my brain, rather like knitting – soothing and allows me freedom to roam. But there’s no time! I want to keep up with all of it so doing little chunks is my solution. Small steps, rather like E herself. And then I get nostalgic for the days when I could just do something all day without disturbances. The weird thing is, I think I prefer it this way. I like the added dimension E brings. Yes, it’s chaos and there are days I’m terribly tired and get stressed from all I’m trying to do and not doing well but I feel like I’m thriving on having too much to achieve. As long as I get to actually do everything eventually – here’s hoping.
I am reading: Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden. I’m actually rereading this for the nth time as I’m writing an article for For Books’ Sake about books I’d want my daughter to read. I’d forgotten all about Albert Sandwich and Johnny Gotobed. I’m also reading Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford for my reading group but haven’t got very far yet so more reviews later. (Not that she needs it of course.)
E is reading: Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton. Russell is a silly sheep who can’t sleep one night. E finds his antics on a trapeze swing at the beginning of the book to be enchanting and she also likes his blue and white stripy hat.