When Dalton was about 8 weeks old (somewhere around this point I think was my absolute lowest), I found it impossible to find time even to brush my teeth and get washed. If someone had told me then that in about 7 months time, my day could be as it was today, I just don't think I would have believed them. I don't think I would have believed that being Dalton's Mummy would ever be an enjoyable thing full stop to be honest so I wanted to share with you how far we have come and how much of an enjoyable thing being his Mummy has in fact become.
Looking back now, it is clear to me I was suffering from postnatal depression for probably about the first 16 weeks of Dalton's life. At the time, I just remember feeling so incredibly, incredibly hopeless. My life seemed over to all intents and purposes and I couldn't see a point to it all or a light at the end of the tunnel. People kept telling me that there was one and of course it is obvious to me now that there was but I was so physically and emotionally exhausted, I couldn't be bothered to believe there was. Most of the feelings I had at this time, mostly irrational ones, were simply brought on by the relentless, extreme sleep deprivation that comes with being a new Mummy. This affected me really badly but it is also clear to me now that Dalton wasn't like most other newborns. What, with his colic, severe wind issues and seemingly a very strong dislike for lying on his back and tummy or doing anything other than being permanently strapped to me, Newbornsville for me was pretty much like hell on Earth and I feel physically sick thinking back to how bad things were in those early weeks now.
Anyway, the good news (phew, you though this post was all going to be doom and gloom, right? Wrong!) is that things could not be further to the other end on the spectrum of 'goodness' from those days now and I wanted to take some time to capture the good bits, those so very special bits, as well as those that were more challenging as these are the times that I really want to remind myself of over and over again when Dalton isn't a little person anymore. And I want to share how I feel about being Dalton's Mummy now because it makes me burst with happiness and joy almost every day and it's just too wonderful a thing to keep to myself. I used to cry several times a day with hopelessness, worry, sadness, guilt, self-pity and a whole range of other unpleasant nouns. I still cry, I cry a couple of times a week now but it is almost always because I can't believe how lucky I am to have made a little boy like this one. One that makes me smile and chuckle every day and that just keeps on doing things that fascinate and amaze me. He really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Somewhere around 6 months, things started to get dramatically better for us and I started to really enjoy being a Mummy. Honestly, it probably took until then before things really improved and as one of my friends joked with me (I can laugh about it now, at the time I was still serving it), the first 6 months really is a penance. She told me that she remembers with both of her children there was a magical time around the 9 month mark which she looked back on as 'as close to perfect' a time as there can be. I believe her. Dalton is almost 9 months old now and the past 6 to 8 weeks have been an absolute bloody pleasure. It's an amazing time for so many reasons but here are just a few examples of why. It's amazing because he can sit completely unaided now (something that I knew would make him significantly happier as he has always hated lying on both his back and tummy) and yet can't move about the room on his own so I still have the luxury of being able to do something like run upstairs and grab the laundry that I know I won't be able to do in just a few short weeks (the definition of 'luxury' changes somewhat when you are a Mum by the way!). But the more mobile he gets, the more I love it because the more he fascinates me and the happier he is. It's also amazing because he is starting to make a lot of sounds that sound an awful lot like words and yet can't communicate with me well enough to refuse to do something or tell me he hates me, which is nice. It's amazing because he is becoming a personality, a huge personality and a cheeky one at that. And the biggest thing, undoubtedly the biggest thing for me which makes it amazing is that he has started consistently sleeping through the night (*fanfare effects*) and this makes Mummy a MUCH happier and saner lady and makes it immeasurably easier to deal with anything the boy throws at me.
Don't get me wrong, we still have the odd rough day. In fact, this weekend just gone was pretty rough as the poor little man's first tooth finally cut through after months of teething and this was clearly causing him a lot of pain. When Dalton's in pain he likes to tell you all about it. Really loudly. All night long. A couple of days of grumpiness that could only come from a son of mine then of course followed and well, that was a couple of rough days but let's put this in perspective, in the past around 6 weeks, we have had about 4 rough nights and for all of the others, the little champ has slept right through (ever since the sleep training) from 7 to about 6. He's much happier for a good night's sleep too so we are able to leave him in his cot making tarzan noises until around 7 and little by little, I am learning again to sleep through the night myself, so, happy days.
I still have some things I need to work on. My stress over whether the boy is napping when he needs to (which is not unjustified as not enough sleep turns Dalton from Jekyll in to Hyde) is still too obsessional and sometimes gets in the way of me showing Ron how much I still love him and how truly wonderful and amazing I think he has been since our scrumptious son was born, but I'm going to work on that as I think I have some making up to do.
Generally though, things are good, they're really great actually. And typically, just as my return to work approaches, hanging out with my little man has never been so much fun so I'm feeling pretty sad about going back and only getting to spend 3 out of 7 days with him. It sucks actually but I know I have to do it and I know in the long run it will make Mummy a happier and more balanced human being (and it also means I can continue to buy him lots of toys that I, I mean, he will love).
So, I wanted to share with you just a tiny handful of some of the very many things that I love right now about being Dalton's Mummy:
- I love the way that every morning at 7am when I slowly open his bedroom door as he's chatting away to himself, he stops, wiggles his legs a little in anticipation, waiting to see whose face is going to pop over the side of the cot, and when he sees it's Mummy's, he gives me the most enormous, gummy smile imaginable and wiggles his legs some more with excitement. Getting out of bed in the morning has never been so good!
- I love the way that he sits amongst a mountain of toys but all he wants to do is play with his invisible blocks and his invisible piece of string (as per video below)
- I love the way he tries really, really hard to crawl, to get his hands on that one toy he really wants which is just out of his reach but just can't get his big butt off the floor (as per video below)
- I love the way that all I have to do to make him laugh hysterically is hide behind something for a few seconds and then pop my head up and say, "PEEPOOOOOO" (this also works with just hiding behind hands, hell, sometimes just saying the word makes him chuckle) (as per video below) and I love the way that he has started to play peepo with himself. And still finds it hilarious!
- I love the way that whenever he poops, if I'm near him, he always stares me right in the eye and grabs my wrist as if to say, Mummy, look, I am doing a very important thing, you don't want to miss this. It might not sound cute - but it is (no videos of this one)
- I love the way he sits by Ron on the bed on weekend mornings and slowly and very carefully inspects all the intricacies of his tattoos, running his pinky all the way round the various markings as if they are the most amazing thing he has ever seen.
- I love the way he has started to copy me and I only have to get the bubbles container out now and he starts waving his arms around and saying,"pop pop pop pop pop"
- I love the way his face lights up when his favourite all time TV show comes on (Waybuloo - I was desperately his favourite all time TV show would be Judge Judy but he just never got in to it, I guess she's an acquired taste)
Goodness, I love so many things about being his Mummy right now that I could write forever. But I won't, it's late and even though nights are greatly improved, I still need my beauty sleep so I will leave you with a few clips of my beautiful baby boy and my favourite picture of me and him together.
Scrumptious. That's the best word I can use to describe my little ball of fluff.
Cool. Invisible blocks.
Look at me trying to crawl Mummy. Just. Can't. Quite. Reach it.
I will end this blog post with just a little shout out to all those Mummies out there who I know are finding the first few weeks of being a Mummy pretty tough. I have been right where you are and wasn't sure I believed everyone who told me things would get better but I dearly hoped that one day things would and that I would be the one helping a new Mum get through the tough days and I am ecstatic to report that it really is all true. It does get better. So much better and I am now the one able to help other people going through hard times and reassure them how much things improve. One day in the not too distant future, you will be the one telling people how much better things are and helping the next new Mummy through it. I promise.
Hang in there. The good times are coming.