This time last year I was getting ready to have a baby.
HOW on EARTH did that year fly past?
This time last year I re-packed my bags and rechecked my stocked fridge and freezer and took my little missy out for the last time as a proper dynamic duo. I sat with her and talked to her again for what seemed like the hundredth time about how mummy was having the baby tomorrow and from tomorrow she’d have a real life brother to do things with together. At that moment I remember seeing both the excitement and trepidation in her eyes as I knew she didn’t quite understand what was happening. I knew though that she did understand that something was changing as she did that thing she does when she’s anxious, nervous or scared about a situation and brings a hand up to her neck and will pinch it until she calms down. Every time she’d come into our room (where we’d already set up her old bassinet) she’s point and say “that belonged to Amira – for baby now.” I’d hold her close and tell her that she was my angel and I loved her and her brother more than anything.
Well – the procrastinator in me didn’t even get a chance to post that (above) yesterday. Instead here I am on the 11th of November sitting away at work. This time last year I was sitting/laying in a hospital bed being induced. This time last year I was thought to myself “oh God, here we go again!” as I rode wave after wave of contraction and realised that I much, MUCH preferred to have had labour brought on naturally than to be induced – you live and learn though don’t you?
I remember wondering what this baby would be like; a boy – something I had no idea how to raise. Not to say that when I was having Amira that I knew how to raise her, but her being a girl and me being a girl, I felt somewhat more prepared and “capable”. Being an only child and being raised by a single mum meant I was more than apt to address all things girly… but not so much where it came to boys and their boys bits.
A year later and I now REALLY know what colic is about – the first 6 weeks and his constant crying compared to the now toddler I see every day is so different. You, my dearest Rocco are this smiley, loving child who hugs back and laughs and is playful and keen to explore. Already I can see that you’re definitely a “boy” boy – this hatred you have to be cleaned where your sister was the exact opposite and to this day despises dirt and asks to clean her hands, face etc. Already I see you pulling thigs apart so indelicately and your need to climb is far, far greater than Amira’s ever was. And then lastly but most importantly there is smell you have – this unmistaken smell that I assume is what comes with having a boy. It’s not a bad smell… just something I have noticed that Amira never had after that newborn smell wore off. There is this unmistakeable smell that I know is you… and I love it.
I could go on and on… but let’s not. Happy first birthday my darling boy.
How is it that (nearly) ten months have passed? Where did that time go? How is it that you’re turning 1 so soon and your sister is going to be 3? It seems like only yesterday I was staring at you in your hospital crib worried about what was to come – scared about how things would be between us all whilst at the same time in awe of what was happening: I was now a mum of TWO! I remember wondering how Amira would be with you now; hopeful that she’d take this new role now that you’d entered our lives as a real, breathing and needing human rather than just this big belly protrusion.
I remember enjoying the silence; of the fact that because you were the second one, you and I were actually able to enjoy some one on one time before everyone else arrived. I remember eating breakfast whilst holding you that first morning just staring at you with pure wonderment and being amazed that I was a mum again… to a boy this time! I hoped that I would be able to give you the attention you deserved but still give Amira the attention she’d been receiving; I remember being so scared that you might miss out on the time and affection I gave to missy when she was a newborn that I might not have with you.
And when Amira very cautiously entered our hospital room and didn’t want to touch you as the rest of the family stared at you with love I remember being so excited to see my little angel, I walked with her down the hall and told her that I’d missed her and that Rocco was so excited to spend time her. I remember telling her that mummy loved her so much and that she would always be the person who turned me into a mummy and that my heart belonged to both of you. In the weeks to come I remember the challenges of you crying almost all the time when you weren’t sleeping or eating. Crying so never-endingly that Amira would say “put Rocco down and please play with me mummy” or “Rocco noisy”. Trying to explain to a 2 year old that her little brother had colic and that it wasn’t his fault and that I was so sorry I couldn’t put him down because he needed me. I remember how it broke my heart; it broke for you dear Rocco because all I wanted was for you to be ok; to stop being so red in the face and to be ok and know and understand that I loved you so very much. My heart hurt because I hated myself for not being able to play more with Amira when she asked; for wanting to cry even more than I did which was almost each and every day because this parenting caper with 2 under 2 seemed so hard mentally, physically and emotionally. I remember crying in the dark as I held you, crying as I’d lay with Amira and put her sleep and crying in the shower because this was HARD on levels that I couldn’t even begin to explain to your dad. Crying because I expected more of myself.
But things did get easier – Over the weeks I found my footing and the colic dwindled and then a new set of challenges came (as is the way with parenting): you my darling Rocco did not want to take a bottle, then didn’t want formula to not taking a bottle from anyone except me. You tested me and challenged in in a way that your sister never, ever did. With her, from the very beginning I felt this knowingness – like she was (and so far) so much a mini me that there comes this sense of innate understanding. But then there were other times; even during your colic, when I’d try and coincide your naps with Amira and I’d have us in bed all together; and as I’d lay there with one of you on either side of me I look at both your faces and felt my insides explode with such joy and happiness I knew that this was what I was created for; that nothing else prior to being the mum to both of you mattered. I’d take in your smells and how you’d both curl into me and how Amira’s little arm would be hugging me but she’d have her hand on your chest. I remember desperately hoping that I would never ever forget this feeling, taking a mental snapshot of us all; thanking God for this glorious gift.
With you dear Rocco, from the very first time your dad and I lay eyes on you; you seemed like this old soul – you’d look at me with such love and adoration and be so beyond excited to see me. Where Amira made us worked for smiles you throw them out at us; you included daddy in more things than Amira ever did at this stage and for that I am beyond grateful and you absolutely love and adore your big sister. Each morning I am amazed at how excited both of you are to see one another; it is the MOST heart-warming feeling to know that you both share this bond. I hope and pray that it never changes; that it is always this pure, honest and uncompetitive. I love knowing that when no one except mummy can console you there is actually only one other person who CAN: Amira… my little mini me.
I have been meaning to do this for SO long; to create a page or pages for you and Rocco so that I could jot down things you’ve done or pics I’ve taken or the things you say that totally render me speechless.
A couple weeks after you were born I remember writing stuff down in a journal and every now and again I remembering writing bits and pieces in there. Like when you wouldn’t sleep for hours or when you were teething or the terrible way I felt when I first had to go back to work. I remember writing my thoughts and feelings down every so often but being frustrated with myself for not writing more often. And then when I was pregnant with Rocco and then had him I found there was even more times and moments I wanted to capture and write about but there seemed to be even less time to write it all down! So finally here I am – on this blog I’ll try my best to put into words or pictures the things you’re doing or have done. Your dad says I have a tendency to “write an essay” about things so I will try to keep things as short and sweet as I can.
I thought it only fair to start with you; to not start with a “To my Amira and my Rocco” – not to say that I don’t love you both equally (because I do), but more because you came along first – because it was YOU my darling that put me onto this journey of Mum; you whom were first to take my breath away and inhabited my essence…