Friday, 28 March 2014

Four Months

Dear Ruby,
This week has felt like the turning point in counting your age by months instead of weeks. I've seen a lot of babies this week who are younger than you by a number of weeks, and I am having to accept that you are no longer a newborn baby. I remember as a child, hearing my next door neighbour refer to her baby as being 12 weeks old, and wondering why she didn't just say '3 months old', but now, I understand. Having a newborn baby is such a fleeting season, and I suspect that my neighbour was all too well aware of this, as she counted the number of weeks that she had known the joy of carrying her last baby in her arms rather than in her womb. There's something about counting in weeks that feels more tangible, and comes so naturally in those early days, when every day feels like a milestone. I remember we went on our first outing as a family when you were four days old. When you were seven days old, we went shopping as a family to try and find clothes to fit my post partum body. I gave up on clothes shopping and settled on doing something that felt far more achieveable at that stage - feeding you in Starbucks. We celebrated our first Christmas with you when you were almost four weeks old, and took you on your first holiday with our friends when you were nine weeks old. But now, the weeks are becoming harder to count and each month is going by incredibly quickly.
The quote, we write to remember' frequently comes to mind, and watching you grow and learn and change is making me realise how quickly we forget. Just the other day, I asked your Daddy how old you were when we stopped swaddling you at night time. Neither of us could remember. This is why I am writing down these small things now, so that in the future when we have made many memories together, and these early days are not so fresh in my memory, I can look back and remember, and tell you how our days were. 
There is a lovely predictability to how our days will go, when we spend time together at home. You wake up each morning so happy and chatty. I love that moment first thing when I stir from sleep as I register the quiet yet distinct change in your breathing that takes place when you transition from being asleep to being wide awake and ready for the day. I look over to you, lying on your mattress next to our bed, and you greet me with one of your beautiful smiles, give a little wriggle and kick, and I scoop you up to feed you. We love the way that even after sleeping for twelve hours, your energy only extends to being awake for an hour and a half, before you need to have a sleep again. It only takes you a few minutes to drift off to sleep, with a stroke of your nose, a jiggle of your legs and some white noise, you relax into your slumber. 
When you are awake, you love to spend time lying on your back under the play frame that one of your Grandad's made for you. In the time that you have had the play frame, you have learnt how to control your arm movements, and you can now confidently grasp the toys we hang for you to explore, catching them with your tiny hands, before swinging them again. We read stories together - today I introduced you to the classics from my childhood - 'Peepo' and 'Each peach, pear, plum', both by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. I remember reading these as a child and being intrigued that these books were written by a husband and wife team, and being fascinated with their surname. It's funny, the memories from my childhood that are triggered, now that you are here. We often go for walks together, and sometimes with our friends, Hannah and Annabel. Invariably, you fall asleep on our walks, but you are just starting to be a bit more interested in what's going on around you, so you rest your chin on the left side of the sling, sucking away on the fabric while you take in your surroundings. When you're tired, you just pop your head on my chest, nestle under the fabric of the sling, and quietly drift off to sleep.  
The other day, we started a baby massage class together. This is something I had intended on doing with you when you were much younger, but it hasn't worked out until now. Watching you smile and wriggle and chat away during the class made me grateful for the age you are now - you are able to stay awake for so much longer and are just so much more engaged than I think you would have been if we had started sooner. I saw a two week old baby at Church last week, and silently marvelled at how much you have grown and changed since you were two weeks old. There is a slight sadness in acknowledging that your newborn days are behind us now, but there is also such great joy in seeing you grow and change. Keep growing strong, my Ruby-Roo.
With great love, your Mama.

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