The first year of eM's life truly drove home that cliche about the days being long but the years being short. That year, my god, it had the longest days I've ever encountered. I watched the clock constantly, feverishly, hysterically. I literally counted down the days till she'd hold her own head up, start eating solids, and just... stop *needing* me so much. I rolled through most of it on auto pilot. They say you forget the pain of delivery once you've had the baby. I say you just as easily forget those initial hellish weeks - when days blend into nights, and it feels like life will never be normal again.
For this reason, I'm doubly glad that I journal-ed it all, uncensored. I think that if eM chooses to have a baby, she deserves the full unvarnished truth about just how bloody hard it can be. That's the story that the adorable pictures on Instagram don't tell. I don't want her thinking I was a great mother based on my easy delivery story or my choosing to breastfeed or whatever else. It's easy to look at the the advice I gave others on babywearing/diapering/baby books, and think I had it all figured out. The truth is, I floundered through that first year, and it caught me entirely by surprise. As I mentioned before, I haven't yet decided if I'll share the journal I wrote offline for eM on the blog - I'm too aware of an audience reading this.
Instead, for now, I'm sharing the other side of the coin - glimpses of the first year of parenting, in a retrospective nutshell. It's a lot easier to share, and no less true. That's the thing about parenting, and especially that first year - the highs are high, the lows are low, and there's almost no in-between where you can just catch your breath and get used to it all. It's really only once it passes that you realize - oh. That kind of had its amazing moments. And man, we made some awesome memories!
I won a giveaway hosted by Cookiie Pie Co a while ago, and my prize was a memory quilt made by Love Keepsake. I'd already donated many of eM's clothes, and used others in a quiet book I made her. Fortunately, there were a handful of special clothes I'd kept aside, and these were the ones I passed on to Love Keepsake to make into a quilt. My quilt is still in the mail, but here's a preview I got from the mompreneur who made it. This brings back so many memories:
The base - a purple fleece, was the one eM was first wrapped in. It was my very first pre-baby gift from the girls I was supposed to meet for bandi dosas on the night when eM was born! The base was reinforced with a blanket from a former work colleague, whom I bumped into again when we both attended a prenatal yoga class. We quit the yoga, and have shared many a sinful dessert together since instead! Here's to making new friends and rediscovering the old. There's nothing like having a baby to redefine your relationships. Nearly every friend I made or reconnected with in that first year gifted eM something which made it on to the memory quilt.
Then there's the kurta I had eM in because there was no time to change into a hospital gown. And the hospital gown she was first put in, an impossibly tiny shirt which was still way too big for our low birth weight baby. The first baby clothes she was gifted, which I put her in with trembling butter fingers, convinced I was going to break her.
There's the Carter's newborn sized onesie I tempted fate with and bought before she was born. I took pictures of her in that onesie every single month until she turned one (it went from being an oversize onesie to a too-short crop top, but that thing stretched for all it was worth!) As she grew older, there, too are her first pattu pavadai from her perimma. The dress she wore the first time we attempted a dinner date out, also the one she wore when she first stood up (and promptly plonked back down on her bottom, looking very pleased with herself). Her first pair of soft-soled Skips, which she barely wore, preferring to go barefoot. The outfit my uncle gifted her, which she wore for her first flight journey to meet A's grandparents.
There's even the dress that someone sold me with a very obvious tear in it and refused to take back - a reminder of how mom dynamics sometimes work. And, on the other hand, the surprise first birthday shirt another mom I barely knew made for eM just because. Ah, moms. Mom friends, mom frenemies, mom rivalries. They're a topic for a whole other post, if not a novel.
Milestones, relationships, battles, victories. Every single square inch of that memory quilt has a story to tell, if not several. It is, in its own way, just as effective a journal as the one I wrote eM. I can't wait for the quilt to arrive so I can start telling her about the first year of her life.
PS: This quilt retails for 1500 + GST + shipping, if you're interested. Prices may vary depending on the size and materials you provide.
This post is part of #9daysofwomanhood which 24 other bloggers + I are celebrating throughout Navratri. You may have come here via my co-host Uttara's post introducing me, do stop by her blog if you haven't yet. Also check out Anubhuti's take over on her blog.