Hello. I am always so busy trying desperately to catch up with the weekly photos that I never have the time (or frankly, inclination) to write blogs about anything else any more. I only ever planned to take the photos for a year, and Week 52 is sneaking right on up, so I will be very pleased to not have to find new and innovative ways to hide that bloody week banner while Penny does something vaguely interesting.
I don’t seem to have any of the usual anxieties about having an almost-one-year-old. It does sound a little crazy, but as each parent sits around sighing ‘oh where did that year go?’ and reminiscing about when their tiny person was an even tinier person, I find myself being inwardly very nonchalant about the whole thing while nodding sagely and pretending to agree. I don’t know why my brain works the way it does, but I’d say the past year has felt like, oh, about a year in length, actually. It’s neither a good or bad thing, it just is! And trust me, I am so much more stoked about having a one-year-old than about having a squirming pooping crying blob, as adorable as our particular blob was. I think if I’ve learnt anything about myself this past year, it is this: I’m actually not that great with babies.
I don’t necessarily mean that in a self-deprecating way – I’m not making a statement about my parenting. I think we’ve done pretty well at that, if I do say so myself. But for one, I’m definitely not as patient as I once thought I was. I did not expect to become bored. I love singing to Penny, and playing games with her, and showing her how things work, and talking to her every day. But my god, do I ever need grown ups in my life.
The hardest things about having a baby are not really about having the baby. You love the baby, so you do the things you need to do for her and you don’t really mind. Could I have done without the hourly wake ups? Sure. Was the first few months of breastfeeding a special kind of hell? Ohhhh Lordy. Would I have preferred a baby who happily sat and ate every meal instead of insisting that a corner of toast, half a pear and a full bowl of porridge tipped upside down on the tray constituted breakfast? I could have handled that. But of course, that baby doesn’t really exist, does she? And where are your crippling feelings of guilt and inadequacy (obligatory for first time parents) going to come from without them? There’s no fun in that! You put yourself last, and you are somehow totally okay with it. Honestly though, babies aren’t the hard part. Discoveries are made, milestones get met, laughter gets heard. The whole world is new. Nobody else matters the way this person does. It’s wonderful.
No, the hardest things are alllllllll the associated crap that nobody talks about in birth class. The redefinition of self. Making your relationships work. The aforementioned guilt that you feel about everything, all the time, even when you know it’s ridiculous, or unwarranted, or pointless, and would still be there no matter what decision was ever made about anything. The balance between the time you need and the time you actually have. How satisfied you can feel about the most mundane things.
We are in a really good place right now. Penny seems much more settled and contented – this says a lot since she is the most impatient baby on the face of the planet – and now the year has ‘started’ again and we are back in our ‘normal’ lives and not the awkward holiday period of family, changing work rosters, lack of baby resources, and absent friends while they each deal with their own versions of the same thing. This week I have actually wasted time. Wasted! I spent an hour playing ski games on the Wii (thanks Sochi)! I have done many hanjies (Japanese logic puzzles), which I love, possibly the nerdiest puzzles known to man! I have caught up on useless viral videos! I have read books! Real actual grown up books that aren’t about cats who eat jelly or cows that type! I have SLEPT!
This is a very selfish post. But I have survived almost a whole year with a dear, sweet little dictator, and I’m cutting myself some slack. I am very, very excited about having a one-year-old. Naive? Probably. Bring it on.