Happy birthday, a gray day like the first one--
I know I keep saying this, but life has been wild. I suppose I should expect that; my baby is rapidly becoming a toddler, taking steps and learning words and always, always beckoning. "Come, Mama, come with me, play with me, sit with me, with me with me." She signs, "Please. Please." I adore her. She exhausts me. Moments to myself are rare and precious and usually filled before they start.
In Spanish, the phrase for "to give birth" is dar a luz. Literally, it translates to "to give to the light." A person, from darkness, brought forth.
Last year at Christmas we had this tiny, tiny new life in our house. I was not, as many people are, terrified of her. I knew what to do; it had been my job to teach people what to do. I knew what was normal and what wasn't, knew what the professionals would tell me if I asked them, knew what to expect. Our midwives laughed and said they could hardly think of us as first-time parents at all; we had none of the usual fears they need to allay.
Then, suddenly, she was three months old, and just as suddenly I was out of my comfort zone. Delayed, I was a new parent, having reached the stage where I no longer knew what to expect, no longer knew what was normal, no longer knew what the professionals would tell me if I asked. And, as it turns out, the professional advice beyond the medical really drops off by that point. As a newborn, she was a series of beloved tasks, but by three months she was no longer a newborn and we were all suddenly adrift in a sea of new personhood.
Now, she's a few days short of a year old, and we're a lot less adrift, although the tasks are never-ending. She understands more and can communicate more; last week, I told her she had to take a nap if we wanted to go to baby free swim time at the community centre with our friends, and when I put her down in her room she happily napped even though it was an hour earlier than her usual time because she wanted to go swimming. I can, to a point, negotiate with her. She is a person who understands that events go together sometimes.
It's mind-boggling how quickly it happens, really. Last year, we welcomed a baby; this year, a small but vibrant person steps with us into every morning.
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