Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jumping in front of a bus

Incredibly, another week has passed. No wonder everyone tells you to take lots of photographs of your newborn; it is shocking how they grow before your eyes -- not like weeds exactly but more like bamboo! Right now the little bub is sleeping peacefully in his new bouncy/vibrating chair and even though I feel like a bad mother for leaving him in it, he looks far too peaceful to be roused. Yet more days of high highs and low lows in the Green household. The battle against the dark forces of colic rages on, and we are no nearer to a solution. (If anyone has suggestions, by all means...) The only thing worse than the incessant screaming that steals away his breath and the sheer pain that turns his face scarlet is how helpless we feel as parents to alleviate the discomfort. Amazing what the need to fart can do! But as usual on this blog, in my quest to vent and paint an accurate picture of events, I fear I have skimmed the surface of the happy and magical times -- when it is just the two of us in a darkened room in the wee hours and he is wide awake and staring deep into my eyes... Or when I am holding him, stroking his back and nuzzling his cheek and the downy hair on the back of his neck. Words can't describe the intimacy of those stolen, private moments. And you can't seem to do them justice in a few lines on a website. So I'll try no further. But it just seemed right for me to try to redress the balance somewhat after so much negativity in recent posts. If giving birth and the early weeks that follow are infernal, then there is no doubt, to coin a cliche, they are worth every minute.

A friend recently told me the reason babies start smiling at around the 6-week mark is no coincidence but a clever biological trick: they serve to charm their carers into continuing to care for them at a time when patience and accrued sleep are both wearing perilously thin. During the health visitor's last visit she asked whether I had yet experienced the overwhelming sensation most new mothers experience -- i.e. would I jump in front of a bus to save Little Green? At the time I was too ashamed and numb to admit that all I could think about was jumping in front of that bus myself. But now I am beginning to understand the powerful range of emotions that belong to mother(and father)hood. With each new day, there is a new challenge, for sure. Yet there is also a new delight waiting around each and every corner that is enough to compel you to keep on moving forward.

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