Friday, 8 July 2016

Sixty One Days

It's been sixty one days since Jude joined us in this big, beautiful world. There's a kind of intensity to the feelings that Motherhood provokes in me that nothing else does, and I know that what feels hard and intense now will all too soon become a faded memory. I find it quite cathartic to imagine re-telling my children the stories of our early days and weeks together when they are grown up. So I thought I would share a little extract from one of my diary entries last week, typed into my phone while I lay on my bed with Jude finally sleeping on my chest after spending the last three hours trying to help him settle. I find the words come very easily to me in the thick of the difficult moments, but will soon disappear, replaced by the next wave of mildness or madness. This season of adjusting to life with two children does feel quite tidal, for want of a good metaphor. There are plenty of moments of calm, and then the tides come, loud, chaotic, crashing and crushing, intense and all consuming, but then they pass, making way for the calm again.


It's 5.30am
You wake up, crying. Your transition from night to day. I feed you, you scream a little then settle. Hairdryer on. 
It's your favourite kind of white noise. Knocks you right out to sleep in a way that nothing else does. I'm so hungry, I have to eat before I sleep again so I creep downstairs, hoping not to wake Ruby and John. 
A bowl of granola and half a mug of hot water later, and then you wake from your peaceful slumber, tiny hands flailing upwards to your face in a way that signals your hunger. The five seconds it takes to lift you into my lap and ready myself to feed you is too long. 
So the crying begins. You feed then scream. You burp then scream some more. Like you're in pain but I don't know what else I can do to help you. 
Hairdryer goes back on. 
Over my shoulder and you calm. Body goes heavy. Fall asleep. 

10.52pm
It's evening now and this pattern looks so familiar to the morning routine. 
From 8pm onwards, Dad and I take it in turns to try and settle you to sleep. 
Feed? Not interested. 
Swaddle and rock to no avail. 
So I change your nappy - sometimes this acts like pressing a reset button. It distracts you from your tears just long enough to break a smile or five. That sweet gummy, full-faced, eyes bright light up smile and we exchange our affection for one another. 
You with your beaming and me with my, 'I love you's'. 
After a while of hairdryer blaring its beautiful white noise I take you back downstairs. My arms are getting weary now. 
You are only young, but you are long and strong and I need to pass you to your Daddy. 
Back and forth we go, tag teaming as one eats and one cuddles you, willing you to surrender to sleep. You drift off for half an hour, only to wake again and for us to start the whole process of helping you off to dreamland. Your lip quivers as you cry a sleepy cry, your hands claw at your face and so we assume our position on my bed - the one that seems to calm you the most. 
I lay down, you lay on my chest, body and legs outstretched. The top of your head nestled under my chin, your long legs reaching halfway down my thighs. How are you this long already?
I hold your hand to stop you clawing your face and for a moment we both gaze out of the window at the summer time sky. 
Clouds are full of colour tonight and light spills across the room. 
A wriggle and a shuffle and you move up towards my chin, tossing head from side to side, not sure of what you need. Sleep or feed? Sleep or feed?
Time for milk again, you feed. 
Gulping down the sweet white stuff, only to scream when you've had enough. 
Back over my shoulder you go and I pat pat pat your tiny back to get the wind out of your tummy. 
It's not welcome there, but daily we find that this is the grind. 
Milk, burp, scream then settle. Swaddle again and now the hairdryer draws your eyes shut tight as you succumb to sleep for the night. 

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