Feelings, by Martin Creed
Something special is happening in our home right now. After a few manic months of moving cities and saying goodbye to old jobs, celebrating birthday milestones and spending time with friends, we are here. In our new home, just the three of us. April was a month where the calender looked as if it would burst with places and people and doing. May then, is as quiet as we could make it. We're keeping plans light and filling our days with each other, knowing that at any point your baby sister could decide to join this little party of ours.
You seem eager for her arrival, talking about her and asking questions. You look up the baby development section in your picture dictionary most days and ask me "how many weeks now?" You told us that you will need to feed her every three hours, even in the night, and would have to nap in-between. You tell us that you will teach her "cheeky pants"; we can see the partner in crime you envisage in this little baby of yours. You have planned out ways to teach her all you know, crawling, walking, and not licking things are high on your agenda. My favourite was when you turned to me and said "Mummy, I will teach the baby to be happy! She might see me and make happy noises!". You have a way of melting my heart with your words. You've decided you don't want to see her be born though and told us you will you 'go on the iPad until she's been cleaned.' We chose a home birth this time around (your birth was so easy and quick that we hope she follows your lead) so we talk about every scenario of it happening. You have a lot of questions, all asked with excitement and a little bit of wonder. You want her to come soon, 9 months is too long to wait, especially when it's almost a 5th of your total time alive.
And we want her to come too, but still I'm not quite ready to let go of us being three. I spend a lot of time these days thinking over the past 4.5years, of the millions of moments we've shared, of the ever changing form of you. We talk about the night you were born, explaining what happened and how it comes to be that a baby is in there one minute and out in the world another. The vividness of the memory, you easing into our lives and bringing this magic with you. The three of us always felt so meant to be, a unit that slipped into sync like it had (mostly) always been. Which was a shock given what a surprise you were in the very first instance. We always joked that you were more like a second child, so laid back and at ease with the world. You gave us an easy ride kiddo, and as much as we would like to think that it was us and that we just had some special way, we've always known it was you. You were a knowing baby with an old soul, watching and waiting with this serious little face taking the world in. We thought you would grow up to be something serious and full of thoughts whilst your parents couldn't help but silly it up in the corner. Inevitably though, the smiles came and with it the gurgling laughter. I remember you on our bed, so very tiny, with a lopsided giggle that made us all delirious with happiness. You made us work for that laugh, and you still do - it's what makes it all the better, it's gorgeous sincerity. Now your thoughtfulness is accompanied by a lightness that took time to make itself known. The thoughtfulness is still there, along with the questions. A never ending well of how's and whys and a curiosity for the world that is deep. Life with you has been special in a way that's hard to describe. You were the easy baby, the laid back toddler, and now the sensitive, thoughtful kid. I always have a sense of guilt when describing you like this because I know this is not the norm, but I do know how lucky that makes us. You're just different. And that doesn't mean that there haven't been learning curves and challenges and days when we're all fed up of each other, but mostly it's just been really....good. You made our first go round at parenting so joyful - it's this that eventually made us want to do it all over again.
It hit me today how special these days are. Daddy isn't working and you have nursery only a few hours a week, so most of the time we're all just hanging out together. There's no timetable, we slowly spend our time doing what makes us happy. We chat and eat and play, and concentrate on just being. I nap a lot, and you comment on how 'that baby is making you tired!'. Lying in bed and hearing you with Daddy I get to eavesdrop into the sweetest moments. When all I can do is hear you, you sound so small. I forget sometimes, you are still so little. Your mind is so quick to race ahead - you can read and do sums and it astonishes us, and even your body which is tall and slim and shedding baby teeth makes me forget sometimes. We're talking about schools and what the years ahead will hold for you, it's hard to remember to focus on the now. I want to cling on to the littleness of you as long as I can, before it run away from me. In the bath I marvel at your skinny little arms, and once you've fallen asleep I watch you in that stalkerish way parents tend to do. The sweetness! Arms and legs flung with reassuring abandon, the softness and warmth of your face that I can't help but smoosh.
I'm so conscious that in a few weeks I won't be able to say some of the things I do now. There won't be a favourite, and I'll love you both the same, so I'm trying to ease them out of my conversations. But you will always be my little, my bundle of firsts wrapped up in our first. We won't ever have this time again - the days of three are coming softly to a close and there are tears rolling as I write this. But really, what a perfect way for it to happen.
Thank you, my little first.