Ebony was a baby for ages. Years, in fact. Her babyhood stretched on and on. This was probably, in hindsight, due to the extreme sleep deprivation I was suffering at her tiny hands. That baby just would not sleep. Like, ever. I was so tired. So tired. And everything was new and momentous and terrifying. Every time something new happened I would spend hours researching it trying to work out what exactly was the best way to handle it. All of my parenting decisions were thoroughly researched, Google was my best friend.
The second time around is different. The months are flying by. I can't believe how quickly time is passing. The newborn stage seemed to last about five minutes. She was curled up asleep in my arms for a few weeks and now she's eating and crawling and punching me with force in the face. I took photos, hundreds of photos, during those early weeks and I'm so glad that I did. Photos of her snuggled up in a hooded towel after a bath (is there anything cuter than babies snuggled up in hooded baby towels?), photos of her lying awkwardly across the lap of her proudly beaming sister, photos of her lying on her changing mat staring deep into the camera with her bright blue eyes. Those photos captured a time that already seems like a million years ago.
One thing I didn't do was write. I couldn't seem to find the time or the headspace to sit down and write about life. I started this blog when Ebony was born (you can read her birth story here - go on, it's beautiful) and I used it as a place to store my thoughts and musings on motherhood. My whole life had been shaken up and thrown into chaos and this was my place to make sense of that. This time, things have been less chaotic. The mornings are pretty hardcore as I try to two small children out of the door on time and bedtime is a stress-inducing hour, but generally, life is ok. I know what I'm doing. I'm not scared of panicked. When rashes appear or bumps happen, I don't panic, I have been here before. And so I didn't find the need to sit and write about it all, though I should do it soon before I forget. I should write about the way she sleeps curled up in the crook of my arm, her feets nestled into my ribs. I should write about the way her entire face lights up when her sister enters the room. I should write about the games she plays with Laurie when he gets home from work. I should write about those things before they escape my memory.
She doesn't feel like a baby anymore. She's not a toddler, because she isn't toddling just yet but she's well on her way. We call her The Brute and it suits her perfectly (though may lead to identity problems in the future). She is strong and sturdy and never gives up. She's on the move, if I look away momentarily she is climbing into the fireplace or standing by the television. I can't leave her alone for fear of the chaos she will cause while my back is turned. She loves her food, she sucks chews and occasionally swallows pretty much anything I put in front of her. By the end of the meal, she is covered from head to toe in a rainbow of food. She has to be bathed in the sink, hummus dripping from her chin and peanut butter in her ears, so I can get her clean.
She reminds me of my sister. She has the determination and strength that I remember my sister having in her toddler days. She was always fighting to do the things I could do, always wanting to be the same as me despite our age gap. It might be simply that my sister is far away and my heart misses her, so I see her where she is not, but I hope that it is true and that Ebony's little sister is just a little bit like my own. She has the fluffy hair and the ruddy cheeks and she certainly seems to have the fiercely independent streak my sister is famed for (he ruddy cheeks were from her toddler years, she doesn't have them anymore; if she did, I just wouldn't mention them for fear of upsetting her).
This is a collaborative post.