You are all of six months old now. How funny, that months fly by so quickly when each day (and night) seems to go on forever. Are you having fun getting to know Mama all this time? Because I sure am enjoying your company.
But this wasn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong. I love you to the moon and back, but there were things that made it difficult for me to enjoy having you in my life.
I adored having you while away time in my belly, but of course. Back then, it was just the two of us; you, stretching out your limbs within, and I, stroking the ripples you made across my bump. Those cartwheels of yours…were mine and mine to keep. And then, you were born. We shared intimate, first and very quiet moments in the nights at the hospital, as I whispered in response to your kitten-like coos and watched you curiously as you stifled the tiniest yawns I have ever laid eyes on. Again, mine and mine to keep. But, like quicksand under my feet, these moments rapidly gave way to the chaos that come with parenthood. People wanted a piece of you. People tried to tell Mama what to do and Mama was chided one too many times. I suppose they forgot that I am your Mama, and that mothers know best. Those days were foul. I barely survived with remarks hurled at me every so often, and I hardly cradled you without feeling resentful. All I longed to do was to take in your baby smell with nothing but the pride and joy of a new mother but I was exhausted from the broken sleep, depressed and angry that no one saw that I was trying my best, to give you the very best, and I eventually succumbed to my rapidly eroding confidence. I took it out on you, deemed you a difficult child, because I didn’t know better . I am so sorry that I felt that way. Will you ever forgive me?
I am glad that things are better, and you must be relieved too, thank God, for Mama now knows better than to crumble in the face of criticism, even though those finger-pointing days are far from over. Six months on, I am still told that I don’t have what it takes to be a mother. Six months on, people still go all SWAT-team on Mama as they misjudge your exuberance for lack of discipline, and give me so much grief when they learnt that you are still not sleeping through the night. I am wounded but I know better than to think that they are right, that our ways are erroneous. Six months on…being with you all the time, waking up many times a night, every night, to soothe you back to sleep, nursing you every single time because you refuse to drink from the milk bottle, laughing when I get projectile-pooped on, singing to you and waltzing with you to Mama’s screechy rendition of ‘The Last Waltz’, all this while battling unpleasantries from people who you think would be more supportive…I reckon I must have done more right than wrong.
So yes, Mama has come a long way. And so have you, my child. You were once a newborn who quietly regarded lights and shadows with all the interest you could muster during your waking hours. You waited it out with me as you battled dehydration from phototherapy, when Mama’s milk failed to come in until four days after you were born. You were also hardly awake and barely opened your eyes when you were up. Truth be told, it felt a little like you were an unresponsive lump that only woke up to feed every two hours. Then, one day, you flashed your first toothless grin at me, and my heart soared! You are *after some serious prodding* a baby, for real! The babbling that is boo-baa-baa and oh-woh-woh, that strange throaty ahhh-ooooohhh and your signature shrill ah-rrrh-rrrh-rrrh-rrrh, not unlike a trill, soon followed as you tried to keep up with our daily conversations. You used to scream in the bath too, and perhaps it was because Mama didn’t quite know how to grab onto a slippery baby in soapy water, but now you revel in a splashin’ good time in the tub. When you yelped during tummy time, I thought the world would end sooner than you could roll over, so imagine my surprise when you flipped onto your tummy the day before you turned four months! Before I knew it, you started sitting unassisted a few weeks ago, banging on every surface and swiping at everything you could get your tiny, yet amazingly strong hands on. When you wolfed down your first solids, and clamoured for more (especially avocado, expensive stuff leh) with that bit of sass, I knew that you were my child; Mama loves her food too much, after all. I laughed with you, when you squealed in delight at Mama’s antics with the empty Milo box (if I haven’t shown you the video, ask me to because it is priceless); have I told you that I almost forgot what it was like to laugh without a care in the world, until you came along? Whenever your ‘longan’ eyes light up at me but not at the sight of others, ahh…you should see how smug I am, until I approach you and you start yanking the few strands of hair that Mama has left. And oh, that glorious morning, when you first spread your arms wide open, eagerly waiting for me to come and get you…I knew there and then, that you are growing up too quickly and one day, you will push Mama away with those arms. But for now, darling Faith, you surprise me with your every move and I am delighted to be here for you, for your first wriggle forward, your first step, your first words…
You have me eating right out of your chubby, dimpled hands, my dear girl.
You have done so much more than grow a couple of inches taller and pack on a few pounds. You have unwittingly taught me so, so much. To dig deep and love unconditionally. That being a mother is a privilege. That nothing is a sacrifice when done out of love. That I should be strong and trust my instincts. That I should give my best to you, hold your hands while you still want me to, and then let you go even if it is the hardest thing to do.
So, grow…grow up all you want, my dear daughter, be the person that you taught me to be, and so much more. The days are long and the nights, longer, but they won’t be this way forever. Mama’s here for you, holding out my hand, if you ever feel like walking with yours in mine. But if you don’t ever want to do that when you are all grown up because it might be uncool to be seen with Mama, I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me as much as I love being your mother.