Little Baby 2 was 6 weeks old at the weekend. 6 weeks. Gone, in the flash of an eye. Disappeared into that mythical space of memory which is just out of reach; existing at the periphery of what is tangible. The state which allows us to do this again, that amazing ability which humans have to forget pain.
6 weeks, mostly driven by a punishing schedule of a hungry newborn, his mouth silently opening and shutting, his desire relentless. So like Pip, and yet…
Definitely not Pip.
At least, definitely not the experience I had with Pip because I’m not the mother I was when Pip was born. The physical toll on my body was similar, if not worse, but the mental toll was absolutely not. I feel calmer, more relaxed. I’ve barely shed any tears and the only angry words I’ve uttered have been in the dregs of the early hours, when even someone who had not given birth and been chock full of hormones would have found testing.
He is engaged, alert and at 6 weeks, has found his smile and his voice. Is sleeping well and is an absolute delight when he’s awake – in a way that only a baby can be, all smooshy cheeks and soft, soft newborn head. And I can enjoy this because I am not on my knees with the shock, horror and exhausting dependency which stripped me bare last time. And that for me is a personal milestone.
We celebrated this 6 week milestone by leaving both children with their grandparents and going out for a drink together. Just for a couple of hours, but it was wonderful. It was *just* a craft beer in a pop-up pub with a couple of old friends, but it was everything.
Little Baby 2 happily guzzled the bottle we left for him (so like his Dad, both in looks and in habit, hugely greedy and enjoying spending hours eating). And for me, much like picking Pip up from pre-school started to become the highlight of my day, it was a pleasure to return home. Absolutely not what I experienced first time round, and not something I’d usually write about or mention, but it really was a milestone for me, and for our relationship. All of our relationships.
(Also, as I write this, both children are asleep at the same time and M is out. That’s a pretty monumental milestone too…)