My March column for Riddle Magazine is live…
My Baby Steps column takes on a whole new meaning now that Luther is actually walking. His first steps were astonishing to watch: a wobbly, drunken-looking Elvis-inspired wiggle across the sitting room, from one sofa to the other. He is thrilled with his new-found skills. It’s official: he’s one, he’s walking… he’s a toddler!
I’m really enjoying this phase. I’m not as exhausted as I was and Luther is so excited by everything. We spend hours playing and laughing and he is just such a joy to be with. He loves the fact he’s more mobile and can throw more things into the bath before I catch him. I found the Nesquik in there this morning; and it’s only a matter of time before his other most coveted object – my iPhone – goes for an unwarranted (in every sense) swim. He can now pass importantly from room to room about his ever-increasing range of pressing business, be it trying most insistently to clamber into the lavatory pan or the pressing requirement to remove as many items as possible from any and all drawers of clothing.
The contents of my wallet spend far more time liberally scattered about our flat (sometimes in the most recherché of places) than they do in their own rightful place. I rarely (if ever) have the full complement of loyalty and other such cards, and periodically find myself at the check-out, groceries all bagged and ready to go, helplessly brandishing a library card that I have hastily retrieved from behind the kitchen bin and mistaken for a possible means of payment.
I recently found Luther in rapt concentration on his nursery floor, probably conducting an invisible orchestra with my hairbrush or trying to eat assorted items of make-up (two of many favourite pastimes), seemingly oblivious to the sizeable section of wallpaper that sat beside him, having been crudely torn from the wall. His granny thinks he’s a conceptual artist in the making. His father dismissed him as a wanton vandal. I’m reserving judgement.
Luther is burbling away; he trills and chatters, but so far in terms of identifiable communication has only properly managed ‘mamma’ and ‘daaD’, with ‘baybee’ a new (if less distinct) addition. He’s trying to master his b words. He’s keen to get bath, bird and book out but he’s not quite managing it. I know he’s understanding me as I can ask him where certain things are and he’ll go and get them. I know he will talk eventually, like almost all babies do, yet I also know that the delight when that seemingly run of the mill event will occur will be unbridled, my pride will be unfettered, and it will feel as though a great miracle has taken place – another great miracle in the string of wonders that childhood seems to entail.
I’ve dreamt about being a mummy for years, and it is honestly even better than I hoped for. I love it. I am tired beyond prior belief, but wouldn’t change a thing. Hearing him laugh in his sleep is compensation for all my fatigue; watching him wake up to discover the world anew is refreshing to my very soul.
So, we’ve started to think about another baby. We always wanted more than one and hopefully we’ll be blessed with another, but at the same time it’s somewhat mind-blowing: I mean, how does one possibly cope?! Lots of people seem to do it but a doubling up of the challenges of one infant seems like a tall order to me.
Lying in bed the other night, the husband and I were chatting away in whispers whilst Luther slept in the crook of my arm, his tiny hands clasped together and resting on my tummy. Husband rested his hand gently my other side – could anything be more perfect?
Following a momentary pause in the conversation I said “My ovary is aching.” “Mine too”, replied husband idly. We’d been discussing when to start trying for another child, when I might feel ready, when my body might be ready etc. “Maybe it’s grinding back into action”, I said. Pause. Earnestly he replied: “We really must discuss what I’m doing to the motorbike.”