Gone, Baby, Gone

 

My baby is gone. And I only realised this after watching this little film of O in her Tiny Trike  (which was kindly sent by the toy wizards of Galt Toys), and realising she’s slightly too big for it already.  It leads me to the rhetorical question of the day: How can she outgrow things? SHE SHOULDN’T. SHE CAN’T. I haven’t had time to have enough of her as a baby. She loves the little bike so much that when she wakes up, she jumps on it and cycles to the living room for her milk. At least that, she still has some of her baby habits: milk, dummies, nappies (yes, not potty training yet. SUE ME.) I can’t help by being nostalgic. I wonder if it’s always gonna be like this? Constantly pining for the fleeting moments that make up a childhood. There was a time in my life when I used to miss my own childhood. Now I’ll be missing hers too.

I know what you’re thinking. And NO, I’m not having another one. Not now anyway. Thanks for asking.

2 Years Old

And she’s two.

TWO.

A little girl, who speaks two languages (okay, sort of), who’s got her own friends, favourite books, films, shoes and toys.

SO WEIRD.

What happened to my baby?

You see, new mums out there: when people tell you not to worry too much about it – whatever your concern is – because soon it’ll be over, and you’ll be fighting other battles like brushing hair and teeth and picking film options because you bloody memorised all the lines from Finding Nemo, it’s true. People told me about the infamous terrible twos, and now I totally get it: it’s like having a very small teenager at home. The fights and tantrums are all about her trying to establish her independency while suffering from severe bouts of PMT – or in her case, growth HORMONES or something – and me trying to get us to do stuff on time while looking mildly presentable and healthy. No biggie. To be honest, I think it’s great that she WANTS to do stuff by herself. That I just have to put a bowl of (decent) food on the table and she’ll feed herself with considerable skill (and mess, but whatever), that I can pick a spot on the grass and just watch her sing to herself from afar, that she can navigate the kids section on Netflix and pick her favourite episodes of Barney, that she wants to wear the same beat-up pair of shoes everyday (and by that I mean CROCS. YES, I GAVE IN. SUE ME) so I don’t have to worry about what outfits to choose.

So what that her hair is all over the place most of the time and her clothes are constantly dirty from playing outside and eating cherry tomatoes with her hands? So what that I’m lazy when it comes to buying toys and I never seem to remember to take them anywhere, so she’s got no option but her own resources? So what that she’s not in bed before 8pm sometimes, if it means she’ll wake-up 8am and get everyone late?

I think on the whole we’ve been doing alright. O (they call her Mowgli at nursery when she’s in her nappies. I think that’s hilarious) is becoming an extremely happy, loving and bright little girl, with a temperament alright, but then fierceness and assertiveness are extremely valuable personality traits in today’s world. I wish I was more like that.

I’ve started writing this post exactly a month ago, and as regular visitors to this blog must have noticed, I’m not very good at updating things quickly… So at the time I started, her favourite things were the following:

– Singing. All day long. I remember going to a few baby classes when she was a couple of months old, and being embarrassed at not knowing the words to ANY nursery rhymes (I’m Brazilian, remember. Wasn’t brought up in this country.). Believe me, I know them now. Learned them all through OSMOSIS.

– EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM, the book. Memorised all the words, and can point all the hidden characters, even though she doesn’t know the background story of any of them (Tom Thumb? Bo-Peep? Mother Hubbarb? Who ARE THESE PEOPLE? I LOVE them.)

– Nemo. The one from “Finding”. Watched it 849 times, and still gets apprehensive during shark scenes. Also: BARNEY, the Dinosaur, which initially annoyed me tremendously, now I think it’s cool. Bit of an old-school, 90s vibe in the house.

-“Parkie.” The playground at the end bit of London Fields. Lately, quite good for celebrity spotting, I must say. AND next door to E5, the best Bakery in the whole of the UK. Win-win situation.

– A doll version of Jesse, a stuffed Cookie Monster and Charlie The Bear

Now, a MONTH later, which is the equivalent of 10 light-years in toddlerhood, I can safely report that her current obsessions are:

– The Wizard of Oz: which she refers to as “Dorothy” or “Tin-Man”. I’m quite glad she got into it through a book that our cleaner gave to her (bless her), and it made me finally watch the DVD that’s been sitting in our shelves for the past decade. It’s really sweet, isn’t it? I can even skip like Dorothy on the yellow brick road while walking to Dalston Junction. There’s no place like home indeed.

– Blueberries: will eat a bowlful like popcorn. Convenient, as they’re in season and don’t yet cost £4 a box.

– Trains: will say “Choo-choo” at least 25 times a day, because of Dora the Explorer, not freaking Thomas The Tank Engine, thank god.

– Crocs: Did I mention I gave in? Yes. I’m trying to claw my way back in her shoe closet by pushing the Vans and Jordans, quite unsuccessfully. She will partake of Converses once in a while though, which brings me great relief.

– Pushing Toy buggies (not hers though – other children’s, a cause for endless tantrums from everyone), Cookie Monster and Charlie the Bear (Jesse has fallen on the train tracks at Marylebone station, my fault. I had to tell her she “escaped” to go home earlier. She hasn’t questioned me about it yet.)

7 months


This update comes a bit late, as I’ve just realised Baby O will be 8 months next week. Do I ever get tired of saying “GOD, TIME FLIES” ? No, because with babies, it REALLY does. When she was born, 8 months sounded like the most far-off, grown-up age, and yesterday I realised around this time next year she will probably be drawing stuff on a piece of paper, which seems unimaginable. Well, everything she’s been doing lately seemed unimaginable not long ago – and then they happen, and you think “that’s amazing. But I bet it will take AGES till she starts walking/speaking/eating with a fork.” They never do.

So let’s see what 7 months is all about. For starters, teething. TEETHING TEETHING TEETHING. Just today the fourth, FOURTH tooth cut through her gum. It’s the first tooth to keep us up at night and making us do a Smeagol in Lord of The Rings when reaching for the bottle of Calpol. Until then, the first 3 teeth totally caught us by surprise, and made us think that we were one of those lucky parents with champion babies who understand from the beginning that life is TOUGH and there’s nothing to do about it other than get on with it. WELL, NO. Baby O is like any other baby that thinks teething hurts. Meh.

On a brighter note, everything else seems really fun. In fact, I’ll go all the way and say that 7 months is THE MOST FUN age so far. The kid shares jokes with me. Or at least that’s what I think we do when I pretend not to look at her, and she’ll start laughing because she knows in 2 seconds I’ll turn my face really quickly towards her shouting “OLIVIA.” Ok, that’s not reaaaally a joke, but it still makes me think that she’s got a sense of humour.

If we look at books, she will touch the exact spot I’m pointing on the page. She causes mayhem in the bath. She eats whole pieces of toast, pasta, mangos and clementines. And she’s trying really, REALLY hard to crawl, which is frustrating for the both of us. I mean, I thought I had a couple more months to sit back and watch her just, well, SIT. But no. She will roll, push, shuffle, puff and whine – SPECIALLY WHINE– till she reaches her target. And I can’t act all French and leave her alone. I go and help her 99% of the times. I know, silly me.

And last but not least, last weekend she said “MAMA” for the first time. I did not make that up. I caught it on film. It was a bit like this: “MA. MAMAMAMAMA.MaaaaaMAMAMAMAAAA.MAMA.” So it wasn’t like she was CALLING me, but still. You should’ve seen my face when she started mumbling that in front of my aunts and cousins, a look that said “I KNOW RIGHT? SHE’S, LIKE, SO RIDICULOUSLY CLEVER”. But they all found it just mildly entertaining. Oh well.

 

Baby O in a hat


 

6 months

What a difference a month makes. O had her half-birthday on the 19th, and suddenly she is no longer a helpless blob. She suddenly turned into this mini-person with a mini-personality and mini-temperaments, and a massively strong grip (I believe I’ve got some bald patches in the back of my head now). I just can’t quite believe it. Now it feels like a third person has moved in with us, not just a cuter alternative to Nick, our cat (I’m sure that’s how he sees her). She now knows which toys are fun and which are pointless, which books are worth flicking through, and how much she dislikes being held all the time. She LIKES her space, thank you very much. Not too much though, obviously. After all, she’s still only a baby.

There was one big change too, and a very welcome one: O is finally sleeping through the night. Obviously It didn’t happen magically (and writing this, I’m slightly afraid of jinxing it); no, we had to go through the famously controversial Controlled Crying. Personally, right now I have no idea what took me so long to try this. If I had known it would take 72 hours to regain my sanity back after almost a month of broken sleep (not counting the newborn days obviously… then it’s much longer), I’d have done earlier. Of course it’s hard watching your baby cry and not being able to pick her up – but once you observe the magic happening, that LEARNING to self-soothe bit, it’s ridiculously rewarding. Babies DO learn things, don’t they? O now has a way of rolling on to her tummy and twisting her head till she nods off. Impressive.

Not to say she doesn’t occasionally wakes-up in the middle of the night, but we’ve learnt to do the PAUSE thing that French parents do (i’m want to write about this soon). She goes back to sleep quickly and almost painlessly, and we wake-up the morning after feeling human again. I know soon she will be teething and our beautifully uninterrupted nights will disappear once again, but right now life feels great again.

Another big change: food. That one did not come only for her, it came for me too. You see, I don’t know how to cook. Never did, no one motivated me to do it. I was a pretty picky eater till I met O’s daddy 11 years ago, and he introduced me to a world of flavours. He’s a foodie, and he doesn’t trust me to chop a single onion, so he pretty much does all the cooking in the house. It was assumed that Daddy would be in charge of her food education while I would introduce her to the world of literature. He even bought a bloody Magimix when I was 12 weeks pregnant so he could dream up all these wonderfully nutritious purees he would make for her when the time came…. well, that time is HERE, and guess who is dealing with pots and pans and that bloody Magimix? Oui, c’est moi. And if I can be absolutely honest, I’m finding it very much interesting.Who could tell that mixing vegetables and mashing fruit and watching O screw up her face with each new flavour could be so interesting?  I even bought a COOKBOOK for myself ! Masterchef I AIN’T, but still, I’m anticipating days of merriment, teaching O how to bake cupcakes… so later on I’ll be able to dispatch her and daddy to the kitchen while I sit on the sofa’ with a glass of wine and the Kindle.

And last but not least: she’s almost sitting by herself. This is one of the milestones I’ve longed for the most, just because I want to leave her on the floor with her toys and do things like writing this ridiculously long post. As you can guess, I like rambling endlessly, even if no one reads more than a couple of sentences these days. I’m old-school when it comes to blogging I guess. And if you’ve managed to go all the way to the end of this post, I really like you.


4 months

 

Baby O turned 4 months yesterday. FOUR. Already. If it seems like a really short time alive, then you’re probably not a mother. Because one thing all we new mums learn is that as soon as you get pregnant TIME gains a very, VERY elastic quality. During pregnancy it feels like time stops and it takes AGES until

1) you get a bump and people stop thinking you’ve got a beer belly; and

2) you finally get into labour, which you were scared shitless before, but then you look forward to it, because a HELL OF PAIN is better than another day of feeling THAT heavy and uncomfortable;

Weirdly, labour itself is fast, even though you spend bloody (quite literally) 3 days screaming, because once you get that baby out, you can’t remember properly how agonizing those hours were. Of course, the fact you get a rush of feel-good-bonding hormones right after also helps you forget, which these days is what I tell my friends who are scared shitless of labour. It’s no doubt THE. BEST. DRUG. EVER.

Anyway, post-pregnancy, time just FLIES. And it doesn’t at the same time, because having a routine and seeing your baby grows seem to run at completely different paces. One day you’re bored to death from waking up at 6am and not doing anything other than feeding and changing nappies till 2pm, by which time you’re so tired it might as well be 11pm. Then that same day your baby stands straight on her own legs while you’re both testing the door-bouncer a month before you thought you would use, and you go “WOW. Who is this person-like-baby who replaced my blind-blob-of-a-baby I had here, like, YESTERDAY?”

Yeap. That’s how it goes with babies, apparently. They grow and learn stuff out-of-the-blue overnight which is freakin’ awesomeness,but they also LOVE repetition, which is not so awesome.

All and all, however slow or fast time goes by, O. manages to make it stop every time she looks straight into my eyes and smiles. And, lucky me, it happens all day long.

(in the pic, chillin’ at our fave new hangout, the Fabrica cafe’ in Dalston Junction).