So, yesterday was Maurice’s birthday, 15th July. It was also St Swithin’s Day, and according to olde english tradition, the weather on this feast day portends the weather for the next 40 days. Well, wish that it were true my friends, as yesterday was the first non totally rainy day that we’ve had for weeks and weeks, it was even quite bright and sunny, dare I say it, SUMMERY, for a few brief minutes at a time, and didn’t rain. So hurrah for the next 40 days I thought gleefully. But no…it’s drizzlingly wet and gloomy again today. It’s amazing the impact it has on your mood, weather like this. I have taken to listening to the Beatles Here Comes the Sun at intervals, so I can get the same effect as a ray of sunshine on my skin and to my psyche that way. I would suggest doing the same yourself if you’re similarly suffering.
Anyhoo…so, Maurice is a YEAR OLD! Wowzers! I am so happy and proud and excited that he is a year old, it’s been an insanely eventful yet uneventful year. I haven’t been on a plane or on holiday for 15 months, which is the longest I think i have ever gone without flying. So this is good for my carbon footprint, if nothing else. I have been pondering how the last year has affected my habits, my life generally, for the better.
Having a baby has definitely increased my dependence on all things local: the local community, neighbours, local parks…I feel much more integrated into my neighbourhood than I ever did or felt need to before. For the first 9 weeks of Maurice’s life i actually didn’t leave Peckham once, except for an excursion down the road to Brockley to visit a midwife friend who was giving me some breastfeeding coaching. That’s a long time not to leave anywhere, let alone Peckham, some people might suggest. This was mainly indicative of the fact that Maurice was a bit of a challenge when it came to…well, everything, for the first 9 weeks of his life, and so the idea of attempting a ride on public transport was actually more stressful than I could bear, and I found comfort in relaxing strolls around Peckham Rye park where Mo would slumber in the sling (never the buggy, he was NOT a fan of the buggy), which gave me some fresh air, some peaceful moments and exercise, simultaneously offering Mo some calming effects of kangaroo care in the sling which seemed to help his extreme fraught fussiness.
Now that my Pilates business is mainly a home-based business I am meeting more people in the community that way, and have become much more locally oriented. The other day I had to cycle into town for a course and I felt like a tourist, totally not part of the hub, swimming against the tide almost and not in sync with the sinews and twists and turns of central London life. I know that it would only take a short while to be whisked back into the swing of things, but it made me reflect that i rather like my Peckham life, my mummy friends close by, becoming attached to local cafes and knowing what’s going on with local events, independent shops, farmers market etc. It feels like a more sustainable way of living, if I could throw in a Good Life style market garden I’d be laughing. Maybe some time in the future…
I guess for the first time I feel like I have been planted for long enough that perhaps I am putting down roots.
So, from this more deeply rooted position, I’d like to commemorate some thoughts and grand moments of the last year for the little one year old man.
Taking him home from hospital: the main sentiment that we felt upon arriving at home was a surge of relief that we were home after a week which had felt like a year. We had our very little tiny new babe at home at last. The fact that we weren’t given a manual for looking after him was slightly disconcerting, but just the sheer relief of being away from hospital and into our own time zone and rhythm was enough to stall any fears about what the hell you do when they fill their nappy, does that wavy arm thing mean they’re hungry, why do they grunt like a little piglet, is that a smile or just wind, and if they are asleep for over an hour is it ok to poke them to check whether they’re still breathing?
The first tentative crawl (backwards), at 5 months…as soon as Mo started moving, something seemed to click for him, that this thing was All Right. He had simply been stifled and anxious before as he couldn’t get around. He needs constant motion, my little man, which is why slinging him has always been the best way. On his own, lying down, he never felt comfortable being stranded on his back..I looked at babes who would merrily lie on their mats or on cushions for ages totally happy and content, with amazement – Mr Mo was never one of those. Once he could edge around and travel, his world became a much less anxious place. Mine, on the other hand…
His boundless enthusiasm and smile. I love it…makes me happy to the brim. Even on a day like this, Maurice can manage to be gleeful about a dance around the kitchen, or a picture of a dog (ah! Ah! he says, pretending to be a dog), or the sight of a toothbrush.
The pure way he reacts to life…as yet there is no ambiguity, everything is taken at face value and as such he feels things very strongly, but can also be lifted from a grump very easily into happiness again. We could probably all learn tips from this easy transition between light and dark, shrugging off low thoughts and moving on to the next happy.
He managed to sleep for just over 9 hours on the eve of his birthday, which was a breakthrough and shows that at least I know he can do it, uninterrupted slumber for nearly a whole night, he went to bed at 6.45pm and didn’t rise until 4.15am which is simply astounding and better than he’s ever done before. He didn’t replicate it last night, but I still have hope that there WILL be sleep in our future…some time…
We had a wonderful birthday party for Mo on Peckham Rye Park in the sort of summery day, with some of his friends and nearly all of his family around him, and he ate jelly for the first time. As far as he was concerned, this appeared to be the best moment of his life so far.
Long may these moments continue!