This is the first time I’ve written about you since you were born, 11 months ago. I don’t have a record of your early days like I do for your brother. I don’t have pages after pages of journal scribbles and regular blog posts to record all the milestones. You haven’t had hours of my undivided attention or long leisurely feeds as often as Isaac did. Life is different with two children, as everyone said it would be. Time, which became a precious commodity after your brother was born, has been rationed further and is now like gold dust. I am still, almost a year on, adjusting to life as a mother of two. Today you cried loudly when I walked into the room on a tea break from work. Isaac immediately ran over to me and said, ‘I think Flora wants you, mummy. I want you too’, whilst curling his limbs around my leg like a limpet crab. That sums it all for me; it is a constant juggling act to give you both what you need whilst also working and trying to find a few crumbs of time for myself. Dear Flora, know that I am doing my best. You may not have had these things that Isaac had but you have had an older brother to watch and from whom you learn so much; you have had me with you every night and you have been immersed in love since the day you were born.
It is fascinating to me how your place in the family is shaping your character. As a second child you are quite content, used to being carted around in nursery drop offs and pick ups. You are used to Isaac giving you a shove now and then and you were quite unfazed when a little boy kicked sand in your face at the beach, simply blinking it out of your eyes and looking at me in surprise. It is making you resilient. From your first scans and midwife checks they said you were a feisty one and I see that you will be strong. It makes me think of that Shakespeare quote: ‘And though she be but little, she is fierce‘.
You are 11 months. You have no teeth and the most beautiful gummy smile. You bum shuffle at lightning speed, waving goodbye to me as you shuffle out the door. You can move from your front to all fours onto your bum and shuffle off again at high speed now. You have started to ‘play’ with Isaac, handing him bricks and jigsaw pieces. You can clap and wave and sign a little. You understand ‘no’ and grin when I say it. You are always exploring, on the move, discovering more every day and pushing the boundaries of your little world further and further.
You, bless your tiny cotton socks, are not a good sleeper. I never knew tiredness like this. Originally we thought it was to do with colic/reflux but I slowly came to realise, and accept, that you are just going to sleep through when you are ready. I have stopped wondering, ‘Will it be tonight?’ as I close my eyes. You seem to just want reassurance, comfort, to know that I am there. You wake panicked, you seem terrified by the world at night. We discovered about a month ago that you will settle sometimes if I hold both of your hands in mine. We have co-slept for most of your life (I quickly realised it’s the only way we all get any sleep) and we have gradually pushed daddy out of the bed (don’t feel too sorry for him, he gets a full nights’ sleep). But I don’t mind, I know that it won’t last forever and one day, my little one, you will sleep for longer periods of time and eventually you will sleep through, and this will become a blurry, sleep-deprived haze.
For now, I am just trying to enjoy these oh-so-precious baby days, soak up the very babyness of you, before you turn one next month. One thing about being the mother of two is that I have learnt a lot. And I know just how quickly this all passes.
I may not have blog posts or journal entries to show you when you’re older, Flora, but it has all been written for you in every embrace and in every kiss. Every single day.