This morning, I finally got off my backside and vacuum-sealed the last of Arddun’s 0-6 month old clothes for posterity and Possible Younger Sister, should God decide I’m sane enough.
It’s insane. I pick up these itty-bitty 0000 Wondersuits, and barely remember how lost Arddun was in them. How baggy they had been around her scraggly limbs, how quickly her tiny chest used to rise and fall under the terry toweling while I nursed her and sang to her and just gazed at her on my lap, completely awestruck and bumfuzzled that I’d reproduced … and yet here she is, sweet and sound and healthy and moving and weighing over 8kg and large enough to wear her first Wondersuit as a smurf hat.
Speaking of hats…
Tony and Arddun were in the room with me, just soaking in the drowsy Saturday morning vibes and keeping me company while I took a very quick walk down memory lane. While rummaging through her hat drawer (Yes. My daughter has an entire drawer of hats and caps!) I chanced upon a woolly one I had especially commissioned to be made while I was pregnant. HUGE flower on each of them, assortment of colours… but the only one Arddun can now wear is the red-white-black one.
Tony had just pulled the woolly cap over Arddun’s head when she started to dive for the corner of the change table. And just like that, it was like Coco Chanel and Canberra WorkWear were calling to me at the same time. Epiphany.
Cute baby woolly hat as makeshift safety helmet! BRILLIANT.
For the next half hour, that massive crocheted flower was my daughter’s head bumper as she crawled under the change table, and experimented with break-dancing. (As you do, when you try to alternately crawl and roll in quick succession.) And while I took a gabillion pictures because she looked kinda goofy, other questions plagued my mind, such as
Am I being One of Those Mothers? The paranoid kind? The kind that cannot bear her child to suffer a scratch or bump. Whose child will go through life cloistered and sheltered and blind and impervious to pain and Things That Won’t Go Her Way. Who will eventually bring up a total ninny of a human being unable to withstand a papercut, let alone an overseas school trip or an Adult Relationship?
Am I bubble-wrapping my child? Am I over-reacting, so she’ll now learn to scream like the world is coming to a complete stop when she topples over and smacks her head because gravity won’t play nice? Am I bringing up a souky-la-la? Already?
Have I been callous? Have I been careless? All this while, BEFORE the Makeshift Helmet with Flower Power, when I hadn’t thought to protect my daughter’s cranium with Wool of Dyed Sheep… was that me, being a negligent, thoughtless mother? Had I been One of Those Mothers, too caught up with looking cool and she’ll-be-right and under-reacting – because that’s the done thing with parenting, nowadays: don’t get your mommy knickers in a knot – that I’ve failed to spot true danger and adequately protect my child? What, because of pride?
Had I been slack? Short-sighted? Cruel?
Panicky and silly?
Or just being a new mother with her first child?
The truth is, I will never know for certain. Probably a little bit of this, a little bit of that. And there are some mothers who will do way more, and there are some mothers who are already rolling their eyes till they’re practically falling out of their sockets.
The truth is, I will just have to live with myself. All of it. And stop asking myself if I’m turning into One of Those Mothers, because I can only be one type of mother. The Velle kind.
16 January 2012 at 12:50 am
One never knows as a new mother. You will always feel you have failed in one way or other because no one is ever a perfect mother. (If there is one, she doesn’t live on either hemisphere). You just do your best with the ability you have and a baby, although vulnerable, seems to have a Godgiven resilience because God knows only Velle can be Arddun’s mum.