A few weeks ago I wrote about how my friends adoption journey was very similar to my own story of motherhood. I asked her to also write, not about adoption specifically but just about being a new Mum. If you ever needed reassurance that ‘Mumming’ is more or less the same experience however you get there, here it is.
I have loved having her guest blog and I hope she’ll be back again!
So, a week ago I became a mum for the first time.
She is a 20-month old bundle of joy and she's a very energetic and fun toddler who has been placed with me for adoption.
In a lot of ways so far it has been the same as bringing home a newborn. On the first night, once she finally went to sleep she slept soundly, utterly wiped out from the stress of the day. I was shattered too but found myself waking up every 2 hours to make sure she was breathing, checking every cough or whimper in her sleep, just in case. It has taken me almost a week to learn that I don't need to race to her cot every time she makes a noise in her sleep! In general she is settling well and we are both trying to get to know each other - two strangers who need to bond and attach to each other (not unlike having a newborn).
There have been so many special moments so far in one short week. The first time I held her, the first time I made her laugh (the first time she made me laugh), the first time she fell asleep in my arms, the first time she made a silly face at me, the first time she hugged me, the first time she bounced around and accidentally nutted me in the face with her very hard tiny skull, (Ouch. It's three days later and my nose is still bruised), the first time she tried to hug me while I was doing a poo, the first time she looked me right in the eyes as she spat her dinner out onto the floor and then laughed in my face, like the tiny despot that she is.
She's just amazing.
In the beginning I felt I had to entertain her every minute of the day. It was exhausting for both of us, and gradually I had realised that I need to settle us into a more normal routine - sometimes she will need to entertain herself if mummy is on the phone to the oven repair guy, or while mum makes lunch/dinner/does the washing up. And frankly sometimes mummy needs a rest break too! So we are figuring things out slowly together. Mostly we have been exploring our local neighbourhood, visiting different parks and meeting the neighbours, and a few local friends here and there at the park. And trying hard to establish routines straight away, as everything is so new to her and to me, that routines will help us to settle and give some structure to our day.
I'm lucky that my little one sleeps pretty well most of the time. And I'm also lucky that she still has a morning nap (she used to have two but has dropped her afternoon nap). It's amazing to me that after a solid 11 hours of sleep, she's awake for 3 hours and then suddenly knackered and needs another kip! But it's great for me - a good hour, sometimes 2 hours, when I can do stuff.
The mystical, much-sought-after Mum Hour.
But what to do with it?
I find The Mum Hour hard to use well - it's my little piece of me-time, a small but wonderful slice of alone-time in an otherwise packed day, and it won't last long - soon she won't nap at all during the day so I have to capitalise on it. But what to do with it? I can't waste it on chores, that's much too lame. Some days, if we've had a bad night, I desperately need a nap too, so we have had a very successful mummy-daughter power nap at least once (it was positively rejuvenating!), but it also seems such a shame to waste my golden hour on sleep.
Should I read a book, or catch up on an episode of my favourite TV show? Should I sort out the garden or write a blog post? Just sit and enjoy a quiet cup of tea? Attempt a crossword?
So many choices! Sometimes it's overwhelming and I can't pick anything to do with it!
Anyhow, as I sit here, writing this blog with my gorgeous baby girl snoring away next to me, I am discovering that these little quiet moments are so precious because I savour them, but also because a small part of my brain can't wait for her to wake up again so I can have the next cuddle and the next giggle. And I'm sure knackered parents of newborns the world over feel the same way about their gorgeous, perfect sleeping infants...