As I've negotiated this crazytown transition into motherhood I've talked a lot about the things that I've found difficult, trying and confusing. Some aspects I knew would be challenging, like the lack of sleep, coping with a teething baby and swapping work life for home life. Equally there were issues lurking in the bushes that I wasn't anticipating - painful breastfeeding, how to manage a sensitive baby, dealing with top-to-toe eczema.
But today I want to focus on the positive. There have been wonderful things about becoming a mum that, again, I knew were on the cards - the feeling of overwhelming love, going from a couple to a family, the excitement of witnessing milestones unfold - first smile, words, crawling and so on.
And just as there were unexpected difficulties, there have been unexpected delights. Precious moments that I had no idea I was in for. So today I thought I'd share some of the little surprises about motherhood that bring me joy every day:
There's nothing quite like that awful heavy feeling after a rough night of getting up to a squawking baby. Then comes the dreaded 'eh eh eh' at six in the morning and it's time to roll out of bed and trudge sleepily to the baby's room to start the day. In those moments I feel like I want to collapse in a heap on the hallway floor and Just. Keep. Sleeping. But then when I open the door to little Vic's room and his face lights up when he sees me? Well that's just the sort of pick-me-up I need to get me through.
Those morning smiles after a hard night are like a magical elixir. They're so full of excitement and love; nothing beats them. Nothing. Except maybe when they're delivered after a full night of uninterrupted sleep...
Discovering the world all over again
It sounds awfully poetic, doesn't it, to rediscover the world around you through your child's eyes? But that actually happens! It does! Splashing about in water, running sand through your fingertips, rolling around on the grass, patting lambs, making daisy chains - these are the simple things in life that cost nothing yet deliver so much. Through the eyes of children interacting with this curious world for the very first time we can once again learn to appreciate the wonders of everything around us.
Oh man, I just read that back and I really have turned into a human cliché factory. Sorry about that.
You might recall I was a bit bummed out a while ago because little Vic didn't appear to enjoy cuddles. When he got a sniff of me going in for a sneaky hug he'd arch his back and push me away, which was just awesome. I'm not sure what triggered the change, but out of nowhere in the last month he's suddenly become very clingy.
He's a sensitive wee thing, and whenever he's feeling a bit tender - when he's just woken up, has taken a tumble, gets a fright or is feeling tired - all he wants is to nestle in close to his mum while sucking his thumb. After many months of cuddle-snubbery, being able to comfort my son this way warms the cockles of my heart. This kid has turned me into such a softie.
It always feels good when you're able to make someone laugh, but being able to make a baby laugh - your baby - is next level gratifying. Adults, and even to an extent children, have learnt to laugh. They can read social cues and know the point at which they're supposed to chime in with a giggle. A baby's laugh, however, is a pure, genuine response; there is no politeness or learned behaviour involved. When you see a baby laugh you can rest assured that he or she is absolutely feeling the delight that's expressed on that little face, and it's an amazing feeling when you can stir those moments of joy in someone. Especially someone you love so much it hurts. Be warned though, sometimes you'll do things they don't find funny and you'll get a genuine response there too.
When he waves at himself in the mirror
It's just seriously cute. End of.
This short list is just the tip of the iceberg. Life with a baby is full of surprising rewards. Of course there are hard things, of course there are difficult days, but the love, the smiles, the laughter, the mirror-waving... just watching this amazing little human develop from day to day makes every hardship worth it.
What are some of the delightful little things you didn't know would bring you such joy as a parent?
- © Fairfax NZ News