"But is she ok?"
"She's fine. But she's big! And she's got a LOT of hair."
She was fine. She didn't cry straight away, and I didn't get to see her completely brand new. Ten minutes of tugging to dislodge her from my pelvis after a hideous induction resulting in an emergency caesarian had proved quite a shocking ordeal for all of us. She had a bruised head, looked like she was about to sprout little horns and weighed in just shy of 10lb.
She was big. And she did have a lot of hair.
|Brand new E|
When older women ask how much she weighed, they wince at the thought of it. Most of my friends, whose little ones have been "average" give me a sympathetic nod. But many people aren't suprised. Babies ARE getting bigger. My best friend, who said she'd eat her hat if my baby arrived weighing less than her first born, a healthy 9lb 3, went on just five months after E arrived to deliver a 10lb 10er naturally, and amazingly before her epidural had a chance to work. Hats off to her. There was no way E was coming out, head back and back to back... Sunroof it was.
A year on, E is still bigger and hairier than most of her pals of a similar age. One of her "best friends" (Oh I DO hope they will be!) weighs as much now as E weighed at 16 or 17 weeks old. She's tall. And she's rocking a wavy, messy haircut. She wears some 18-24 month clothes. She isn't "fat": She's followed her line beautifully since the horrors of "Day 5", and has actually dropped a line recently since she started walking... She just looks old. And that's kind of what it's aways been like. She's never looked her age. I hope she looks her age by the time going clubbing crosses her mind...
Yesterday we got the letter to say that nursery were starting her settling in sessions to move her up to the Ladybird Room. They're moving her up early. Her buddies, twin girls five months her senior will be staying put while she goes to join the older ones. Sometimes she goes over to the Ladybird room at the end of the day when they're short on staff, and she's never looked out of place. She looks like one of them, and is always having a great time. I know she'll have no issues settling in there, and I know it'll only improve the quality of her day at nursery. I say that like her days aren't good at the moment. They really are. I am blessed to have a child who settled effortlessly at nursery. The only tears shed when she started going at five months old were mine. But it's become clear in the last few weeks that she's getting a bit bored in the baby room. It's time to move on up. I am thrilled. I adore that she's so ready to go, and doing so well. That she loves reading, eating, playing, "helping out". I am proud that nursery see all the things in her that I see. But a little bit of me is sad. It's another of those things that just mean she's growing up, and I'd like that to slow down, please. What do I even mean by that, really?
I don't feel like I've ever pushed E to do stuff before she's ready. I've just given stuff to her to try, and most of the time she's just taken to it. My friends who are raising their second or subsequent talk about how they're in no rush for their babies to do stuff, that they want to keep their babies as babies, almost as if they think I am in a rush. Maybe I'm being too sensitive. I'm not in a rush. Some people told me bigger babies did stuff later because they were carrying extra weight. Others told me she'd do it sooner because she was that much stronger. Who knows. I can't help but love the new things she can do. When she started crawling, life got simpler. She would not longer get frustrated as she could get to where she wanted to be. Going places with a little person who walks seems to make the outing so much more about them and is so much fun. Mealtimes with mastered fork and spoon skills (OK, we're getting there with a spoon...) are cleaner some of the time. She is increasingly independent which I always wanted her to be. Yet I wonder, if without realising, I'm being too keen in my attempts to help her to do stuff? Do others see me as pushy, or think I'm pushy? I see pushy parents at parent's evening at school and I feel bad for those kids. I don't want to be one of those mothers. Do I need to take a step back?
Having a kid that is meeting some milestones earlier than expected fills me with pride, gush gush, but that combined with her toddler-aged looks isn't without its drawbacks. When we're out in the pram, people talk to E, as they would any other child, but look at her like she's stupid when they don't get the verbal response they were expecting. People stopped cooing over her a lot earlier than my other friends' babies. In children's play areas or at soft play I find myself regularly apologising to other parents as she doesn't get the concept of sharing yet and they're trying to get her to share with their kids... Why would she? She's still so young. But she looks like she should. I think, when I explain, they feel bad. But it makes me sad that I have to apologise for her. It's not her fault.
Embrace the change. I need to take a leaf out of my own book.