A lot can happen in a year and a half. Sammy Weston for starters. NINO – nine months in, nine months out. Actually, it’s closer to ten now but what does that matter (insert tears flooding down my cheeks emoji here).
The weeks are flying by as the row of curls upon his forehead get springier and he morphs into a real human person. Babbling has taken a step up lately and he’s developed a Beavis and Butthead monotone giggle. All day long. Usually it indicates he’s up to some mischief; he’s got his hands on something he shouldn’t, like the plug from the socket he’s so intent on removing. NO SAMMY. I’ve already began to tire of hearing myself say that. He does respond though, checking behind him all wide-eyed before I utter the words and he makes his grab. He makes me laugh. We’ll often gaze into each others eyes giggling back and forth like loons. He finds it especially hysterical if I interrupt ‘the moment’ with a big roar in his face. He loves a fright.
Sammy is easily pleased. Clapping took a mysterious month off in January but returned in full force on the first of february. When he’s got his hands on a satsuma, he holds it as high as his arms will stretch to inspect his prize, the aforementioned machine gun laugh bleating away with glee (the satsuma, incidentally, was excellent bait in tempting him to crawl last week). Fruit is his favourite – he can devour an entire kiwi or pear in under a minute when I place the segments on his tray. Olives too. He’ll gobble sour, sour berries without a flinch. As quick as a flash, he’ll smack his open palm on the table to catch them, as if they might escape. That and the way he’ll try and snap in half any snack you give him, makes me melt. He’ll try so hard to break a biscuit in two that his cheeks will tremble sideways with the pressure. He thinks like his mama. One in each hand; you get more that way.
And yep, along with his first four teeth (popping up quietly so far), nine months has brought crawling. When I push him in the buggy, I always wonder what he’s thinking as his little curlytop turns so busily below me, taking everything in. Now he’s in charge of his own path – having this sudden freedom to go after what you want must be amazing. He’s taken to it slowly, with a fair amount of stopping to beg a lift after a few patters. But now he’s begun to follow me from one room to another without a fuss (aside from the whinging for leaving him alone in the first place). Much of this progress happened last week, which coincided with my first ‘proper’ days of work. Typical.
Work. As a freelancer I’ve been fortunate to never have had that impending deadline of returning to my job forevermore. Whilst we can’t rely on a single income alone, there’s nothing like having a child to make you focus your priorities, sharpen your pencils and go after the life you really want. Our dream has always been to create our own business that can fit around our family; a labour of love that we can all be proud of. Buddy and Bear is just starting its story but we’re so happy with how we’ve done so far. With a mix of other design jobs every now and then, we can continue to nurture it and see where it takes us. It’s a big old unknown adventure but we’re trying and having a good time to boot. Of course the balance means that Sammy gets to spend much needed days away from me too.
The experience of going to work was a weird one. I was massively grateful not to have the finality of going back for good, which meant that it wasn’t too terrifying (aside from being petrified I’d forgotten how to interact with adults or read a brief). It was fine – all so familiar, yet so far removed from what life is like now. When i was there, I felt like I’d travelled right back to a time pre-Sammy and the whole having a baby thing had all been a dream. I wore proper clothes and they didn’t get snotted or rice cake encrusted. My handbag was practically empty and I sat down all day. I also had the Friday feeling which led to the Sunday morning feeling of relief when it dawned on me that I had a whole day to spend with my family. I missed him big time.
Nine months is a little bit like the end of another chapter. I’ve come a long way since the middle months, as a sense of normality has returned. There’s still the occasional panic but that much is inevitable and part of me. Spring is beginning to show signs of appearing and with it comes a happy familiarity. The warm sun on my face takes me right back to this time last year with its excited anticipation and refolding of tiny clothes. It makes me want to put my hand on my bump and wonder who’s inside (ahem, broody).
They say it takes nine months to feel yourself again and that’s certainly been true. Days have acquired a steady rhythm which helps my mind no end but my favourite part is when six o’clock rolls round, his eyes get heavy and his temper frayed. When he’s too worn out to see the end of In the Night Garden and wait for his papa to get home, we make a bottle, climb the stairs and hop into a warm bath together.
Sometimes on my way to bed, I’ll scoop him up in the darkness to hold him close for a while, kissing his warm cheeks while he sleeps. It’s those little moments that only come with being a mama to a tiny person, that I want to remember forever.