Solid foods for my little girl. Solids! Pretty soon she will be asking to borrow my high heels (or not asking) and I will be researching how to lock the location services on her iPhone Series 12.
I know it’s cliched, but the time when you have a baby in your arms really does fly. Even during the first three months, when I was awake for practically every moment of my baby’s life, I would look at her (finally) sleeping face and know the time was limited.
We are still in the blessed, baby phase of her life when she still doesn’t know too much about the possibility of independent flight. She can’t yet reach anything really without me picking her up and moving her towards it. She sits in my arms, nestled there like she was made to fit the crook of my elbow and it was made for her, and she doesn’t yet even know to try to crawl away. So she doesn’t – instead she sits, feeling safe without knowing why, just knowing that this is the natural place for her to be.
So how to balance letting your baby explore the world and feel safe with you at the same time? Or really for me the question is, how to let go?
I know I don’t exactly have to rush – after all, Ellie is only five months old and I can be forgiven for using up all the time I have with her for being together and not yet introducing her to the concept of my absence. Not yet! Too soon! Because once she doesn’t need me any more, then she will not be my baby any more, and that part of my life will be over.
Yes, I know a child always needs her parents – but one step closer to not being needed absolutely is one step closer to experiencing the sacrificial nature of being a mum.
Here’s what I know: being a mum is a lot to do with selflessness. You have to do the right thing for your child, even if the best thing for you is to hold them close for the next 20 years, even if you feel your heart beat slow down to a calm, easy rhythm when you have her against your chest, knowing with your body that they are safe because they are right next to you. My friend Rachael described the connection to her baby as an elastic band which stretched and stretched her heart out, whenever she was away from her son. We know it needs doing. It’s just that it hurts.
I am going to become a better balancer of “bigger and stronger” vs “wise and kind” (these are the terms used in attachment theory – which, it should be noted, is different to attachment parenting). I am going to help my baby explore the world, and help her become more comfortable with others, always knowing that she can come “back to base.” The crook of my elbow will always be here for her.
But first, for a bit longer, I am going to revel, wallow and immerse myself in Ellie time. All too soon it will change and change again. Right now let me drink deeply of this passing cup.