Somewhere between half past six and eight o’clock we wake up. Or rather, the baby wakes us up. He shifts and rolls and scoots his little body around, rubbing his nose and scratching at his face. I pull him closer in a feeble attempt to lull him back to sleep. Sometimes it works. If it’s closer to six than eight I cling to that feeble attempt.
This morning I had to wake him up. It was after eight, Richard needed a shower and Tadhg needed to wake up (so that he could go back to sleep – morning nap time is my saving grace). I whispered his name into the warm crevice of his neck and opened the blinds a little bit. His eyes lit up as he looked from his mama to his dad. He is habitually covered in kisses. It’s impossible to resist.
We eat meals as a family now. He clenches soldiers of toast in his chubby fists, only relinquishing one piece when presented with another. Every mealtime a new skill is improved upon – he brings food to his mouth with a startling accuracy, he accepts the spoon into the crook of his hand and manoeuvres it straight into his mouth (most of the time). This week he really got to grips with the sippy cup. It’s strange the things that make your chest swell with pride.
My day is punctuated with breastfeeding. We don’t have a clock or a schedule. There’s a certain sound, a certain wiggle in his body that signals hunger – I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is I know it when I see it. He seems hungriest in the morning. He eats fast, always eager to see what else is going on in the room around us. He pulls off to shout or exclaim or flash a quick grin before returning to the task at hand. It is infuriating and adorable and a pain in the neck and all the things that babies (also read: humans) are, wrapped in one.
During that precious morning nap I try my best to ignore the detritus falling all around me and sit at my laptop and work. For the past six or so weeks I have been freelancing intensively. I did some casual work up until around October, but when it rains it pours and all that. I am immensely grateful, not just for the extra income but for the chance to use my brain and body and skills for more than just baby survival tasks. My own mama comes and takes Tadhg for a walk usually for an hour or so as I hustle. How nice it is to tap away on my keyboard without also bouncing a baby or chit chatting or feeling guilty for not doing those things. The idea of mom guilt is bullshit, in case you don’t already know.
We eat lunch. I feed the baby. We laugh and play and I fish pieces of broccoli out of those delicious neck folds.
In the afternoons we try our best to venture out: to the park, the shopping centre, around the block to walk the dog, to the supermarket, to my sister’s house. For sanity’s sake it is a necessity. I’m trying to buy less on these outings. It’s so easy to fill the day with errands and tasks and purchases, but it is not always necessary.
At half past five every day (or, more accurately, every day I notice that it is half past five) I think to myself Neighbours starts in five minutes. We got rid of our TV and I haven’t watched neighbours for a long time. But for many years it bridged the gap between finishing school and having dinner before starting homework. It’s somewhat engrained in my psyche.
Shortly after that I think where the efff is Richard?! The best whatsapp message I get every day is On the way, x. As much as I like our kid, it’s the best thing ever when his dad comes home and I can check out for an hour or so.
We eat dinner as a family. Introducing Tadhg to new food is such a joy – sweet potato, beetroot, puttanesca, natural yogurt, sourdough toast, avocado, big orange wedges, kimchi, banana muffins, giant pasta, smoked salmon – there hasn’t been much that he won’t try. Then it’s bath/play, change, pjs, snuggles, bouncing on the exercise ball (oh what’s that? you just lie your baby down and he goes to sleep himself?!) and Richard and I watching as many episodes of The Good Wife before we both pass out.
These are the days; the pattern is pretty consistent but the colour is constantly changing. I wouldn’t give it up for the world.