I have been meaning to do this for so long and write seriously for a change! “The days are slow, and the years are fast”. Basically, time is galloping by and I don’t want to forget all the wonderful precious baby memories that we may never get again!
I will write what I remember from the first four months. In the very beginning, they are tiny blind moles. I know its cliché, but little MF was so small, perfect and beautiful. Like a little porcelain doll. It’s true that some babies do come out a bit squished and in funny colours, with pointy heads etc. There’s also the analogy coined by my brother-in-law that all babies are born “Churchill or Ghandi” babies. While MF escaped the pointy-head syndrome and bruised face thanks to a wonderfully short and relatively easy birth, she was probably a Ghandi baby. A touch of jaundice gave her a lovely deep tan, and her eyes were dark blue, almost black. Big dark eyes, button nose, rosebud mouth, she really was a gorgeous newborn.
Which made her enormous rippling farts and belches to rival any bar-fly all the funnier! Whenever we passed her to anyone for a hold and a cuddle, it was like there was a teenage boy hiding behind the curtain doing sounds on cue. She also had perfect timing, I remember many a walk down the Rambla de Poblenou in Barcelona, she would be dressed in some gorgeous outfit handed down from one of my sisters, and eliciting a chorus of coos (que linda! Que cosa mas bonita!) only to respond to her admiring audience with a belch to rival Homer Simpson!
These were also the glory days of “The Moro”. By far and away my favourite feature of her inaugural days. When she was tiny, scrunched up and brand new, any slightly loud or unexpected movement resulted in “The Moro”. She would throw out her tiny arms, and hoist her legs up in a split second, in a type of defence. What made it so endearing (and my love of it so mean) is that I always imagined it as her primary weapon of defence. As a tiny cavebaby in the wild, if faced with a saber-tooth tiger, angry caveman, or any predator – MORO! That will show them. Poor little tiny defenceless mole! So sweet. Even if you shifted her slightly while doing a nappy change – WHOOSH, the arms would fly out and you would be Moro-ed in the face!
I also miss her easy, marshmallow like existence. Newborns sleep up to 17 hours a day! (a habit they revive during their adolescent years). Up till the 4-month mark, she still spent sizeable chunks of the day in a deep coma, oblivious to the chaos around her. We live in a one room studio in Barcelona, so no peaceful silent nursery for MF. The moment she was asleep for the night we would crash around cooking supper, dropping keys, I would do my daily search for my phone (in the nappy bag. Always) then my glasses (in the bathroom) heaving furniture around in the process. She would snooze on, a look of absolute serenity across her tiny baby face, and occasionally letting ripping farts free.
Our flat, cot attached to bed!
We did our best to take advantage of those glory days of toting around what could have been a little doll for all the fuss and noise she made. We went to restaurants, pub quizzes (three in the first two months of her life, and we won them all! Probably the same number of pub quiz victories in her short life as in mine!), and on long walks. We watched the final of the Six Nations Rugby in a noisy bar, and drove across three countries. She slept through most of her first four months to be honest!
“It’s easy”. We thought. “Piece of cake, this child rearing business. Don’t know what everyone was making such a fuss about”. “We’re nailing it”. I remember one of our first afternoons back in Barcelona, we met up with my friend Emily. She has a little boy, he was just over a year at the time, and so we were very excited to be meeting up and being mums in Barcelona. James and I had a table at a chiringuito near our flat, basically a bar on the beach with tables lining the sand. MF was in her pushchair, sleeping for Spain. Emily arrived, pulling Feli (her 15 month old toddler) with one hand, dragging his pushchair, by the other. She arrived and we poured her a glass of cava, which she successfully drained three sips off in the course of half an hour in between running to pull Feli’s fingers out of peoples plates, stop him walking into the corners of the tables, or quickly pull handbags out of his path. “She won’t be like that”. We silently and smugly assumed.
No, I am only joking. As an auntie to eight nieces and nephews between 18 years and 8 months, I have seen my fair share of back-arching temper tantrums, toddlers lurching around narrowly missing death on a five minute basis and witnessed the 20 second attention span.
In the same way that 9 months of pregnancy weans you off the single life, (by the time you are hauling your colossal belly around, you can’t remember how many toes you had, and most of your mental energy is spent locating the nearest toilet, you are very ready for the next chapter!), so the first six months of babyhood eases you into parenting!
It feels like the first few months are spent watching. Watching them sleep, watching your tea grow cold as your baby latches on for a marathon feed and it’s just out of your reach. Watching your belly shrink and your wardrobe choices expand. Watching as much Netflix as possible while you can!
When you start to get bored of sitting around, the smiles come! Slowly at first. “Her first smile!”. “It was just wind”. “No, she looked at me and smiled!”. Tiny milestones come, and for first-time parents each one is like winning the lottery. “She held her head up!” “No! By herself? Amazing”. She holds her head up, for longer each time. She slowly reaches out for things, your face, her toys. She, gasp, rolls! Friends ask you how you are, and you have to choke down the twenty minute description of the way her toes grip your finger when you stick it underneath her foot, and the further analysis of exactly why she has this reflex.
She’s growing up so fast, quickly take a photo! Poor millennial babies, every minute of their life is snatched up in a selfie, pored over, dumped on the internet. In 20 years, when advances in Artificial Intelligence will allow people to access their earliest memories, it will be a big black rectangle, hovering in front their carer’s face.
You can’t help it though, you want to capture those smiles, and first chortles, and remember that outfit. That could be her best smile! And she may never laugh like that again. And with MF’s gorgeously chunky legs and rapidly expanding belly, most outfits only lasted one wear!
I was going to write up her baby development, month by month. Thanks to the massacre of free time caused by juggling baby, job and various Netflix addictions, the internet may breathe a sigh of relief, and I was spared the loss of my three blog readers!
So that’s all for now folks! She has just turned a whopping 6 months old, and now we have lots to look forward to. Two tiny teeth have sprouted up in her lower gum (if any dare come on top I am weaning!) and she’s started on solids. This means that on a thrice daily basis, all of her clothes and most of mine get covered in regurgitated baby gloop, and the spoon is chucked onto the floor.
There’s so much to tell you about babies in Barcelona, the delights of travelling with children (you can smell the fear and desperation, as you board the plane, small baby in your arms, scanning around for your seat..) and our lives here in Spain, muddling along! We’ve now decided to take up fencing (J) and modern Pentathlon (me) and debating whether we could have a gentle game of tennis with MF in a sling? Will pick the sodden rice cakes off my laptop and get back to the blog when I can! xxxxxxxxxxx
* If you made it to the end of this waffle, congratulations! If you enjoyed it, please like/share/retweet etc. Stroke my digital ego but more importantly get dusty blog out there! Thank you 🙂