One to remember: Growing- A Thousand Steps
A couple of weeks before turning one, you had a fragile few days, as though there was a constant cloud casting a shadow over your usually bright face. You didn’t seem to know what you wanted and I certainly didn’t. You probably cried more than you did as a newborn baby and I felt less equipped to meet your needs than I did as a newborn mother.
If I had done some research on the internet, or in one of my many baby books*, I probably would have come across very useful explanations for this strange unlike-us time. I would have read about wonder weeks, mental leaps, or cognitive growth spurts as a sweet friend suggested when I expressed my distress one particularly challenging day. It was a day when the only thing that made you smile, briefly, was dancing round and round the room together to Mil Pasos (one of your most favourite songs that we usually listen to while you’re eating and is perfect for banging your hands or spoon in time to). The song is about steps, which is in fact what you were busy trying to take, and what I needed to take too.
I thought a lot about it that evening. It was as though I could see the mother- the me- I wanted to be, standing just a little way off in the sun, waving and smiling and beckoning me to join her, if I could only cast off my heaviness, my impatience, my irritation with imperfection. If I could only go through my own growth spurt, make my own leap.
Which somehow I must have done, as the next morning, miraculously, the clouds shifted, and our sunny selves came shining back. But not quite the same as before, bigger, brighter, a few pasos further down the road.
*I stopped reading baby websites and books a while before you were one. It was around the time that I read the following: some babies can’t sleep for 8 hour stretches until they are 7 months old. You had just turned 7 months and your sleep only stretched two and a half hours at a time, on a good night. Our ‘facts’ were so different from their ‘facts’ that I decided to go back to fiction and read novels before bed instead. I think we are both sleeping better as a result.