We’re just over three short weeks into life as a four and it already seems an age ago that M and I would spend all day walking, pausing only to nurse or for sea gazing. The first year I spent with my eldest, just the two of us most of the days, was filled with such magic in an ordinary day-to-day life that it’s hard to think any year to come could come near it on the happiness stakes and then I glance over my shoulder from where I sit, and know that many more will, in an abundance of wonderful ways.
Despite the changes on both emotional and physical levels, M has adjusted fantastically – I’m so proud of this kiddo Allah’s gifted to us. Ironically, it wasn’t after T came home to us which caused any confusion, but the initial days after I was discharged. Feeling obviously aggrieved that I’d abandoned him for three days, M would not come near me save to drink, and even that seemed a submission on his part. I wasn’t allowed to touch him, cuddle him, kiss him; simply provide the nourishment source yet keep my distance and let him get on with his meal or a snack. It didn’t help that I had to stay lying down – my ability to interact with him was limited anyways post caesarean section, so to be unable to sit up to coax him into engaging was another stumbling block I had to wait for him to overcome himself. This time must have been utterly confusing for M to understand at such a young age: one minute Mummy was throwing him around or neighing her way between rooms as an ever-saddled horse for him to ride, the next she’s not only left him overnight but is no longer picking him up or interacting actively in his play.
Despite his confusion and in testimony to his empathic nature, this kid has blown me away. By day three, my sick-bed was a veritable treasure trove thanks to the gifts he was bringing hour-upon-hour. He wouldn’t interact save to grunt a hello as he deposited the gift and left again, but these gifts – wooden cars, plastic balls, half-chewed crackers and even a blanket at one point – were his way of forgiving me slowly. Though it hurt terribly not to have T at home too, from M’s perspective, those five days to adjust and reconnect were a blessing and made the complications easier to deal with. In the weeks and months leading up to T’s birth, I’d panicked intermittently about how M would react. He’s a sociable baby, has never displayed jealousy or temper except that born of frustration, but for his lifetime of just 16months, he’s had his Mum, every day, with only him to focus her attention upon. Try as I may have done to balance the hundred percent attention I was able to give with instilling toddler independence and ability to self-entertain, I felt it inevitable that M would struggle sharing my time, my attention and affection, yet as soon as he realised T was here to stay – after a few days of vague curiosity at the kitten-like thing we’d brought in – M assigned himself the role of big brother and rose to it with aplomb. Designated keeper of the babe, M not only ensures T’s never left alone for too long before collecting me and taking me to him, assists with nappy changes like a veritable pro (though this may pose future problems as I caught him yesterday in the process of removing T’s nappy single-handedly!)and prevents Mummy from inflicting unnecessary evils (socks?! on my brothers’ feet?! Mother, I do not think so! *pulls them off*), but he actively wants T involved in all of our day so is happy to share Mummy-time.
T’s easy-going nature is doubtlessly a blessing too. Unlike his big brother who needed feeding every two hours, woke up screaming like he had been deprived of nourishment for entire days, and was restless when left alone after feeds, T wakes placidly, lying eyes open waving arms and legs contentedly. A slow but steady feeder, I can pause him in the middle of a feed if M wants to show me a lego building or needs a two-arm cuddle right then, and as long as we’re around him, he will spend much of his awake time lying on the blankets or cushions his brother assigns him to. This versatility means that even if T’s awake, I’m able to give M the one-on-one time he really needs and deserves.
In three short magical years, the world G & I knew then has been transformed to this now and when at 4am, two babies are awake making it a veritable party for sahur, it’s clear as the water we sip that life as we know it is about soaking up the moments into memories, being present in the now, because now is pretty awesome round here.