In a bit of end of year housekeeping, I unearthed this post from February 2010. May would only have been 10 months old. Why I didn’t publish it? No idea. It encapsulates so much of what I felt then, perhaps it was too raw.
Regardless, I love it because memory is a fickle friend. I always wonder: was it really that bad? And, likewise, was it really that good? How could it have possibly been so good?
This post covers all of that. Unedited and raw. Mama Lewis 2010.
OPC (Other People’s Children)
Do you know that everywhere I go, there seem to be children capable of all kinds of things? Simple things like sitting unaided or sucking on their thumb or picking a pebble off the ground to snack on? They are everywhere these children. Everywhere.
I wonder if their parents know or appreciate the simple abilities of their children and what a gift they are.
I was in a shop the other day and a mother was chastising her two-year daughter for standing up in the shopping cart, grabbing what she liked from the shelves and tossing it the cart. The mother wasn’t unnecessarily harsh; she had the tone of one too weary to be genuinely annoyed, but who stops her daughter anyway because she knows she should. It was an absolutely normal and mundane moment in her life.
What I would give for May to grab anything and toss it anywhere. Toss it in my face, May! Grab the most expensive thing in our flat and toss it under a moving car.
The truth is that May’s “developmental delay” (the PC term for brain damage) is becoming ever more obvious. Despite her achievements, of which I could write on endlessly (2012 Mama says: as in the post May you are 9 months old. Get a job!), May is not OPC.
It is difficult to linger in coffee shops next to children younger than May and watch them pull on their mother’s hair or sit up to bang on a table. I know that May is making amazing progress, but she is already so far behind and I struggle to think how she will catch up.
But, it can also be terrifying. Like tonight when May’s startle reflex kicked into overdrive. In her jet lagged exhaustion, she lost control of her limbs. At the slightest stimulation, her arms would flay out. To us, it looked as if she felt she was falling, suddenly backwards. Occasionally, it frightened her so badly she screamed in terror. Her scream was sharp and frantic, followed by gasps of fear or possibly pain. That is the other side to these moments: as a parent you never really know what the cause is. A seizure? Painful gas? Jet-lag?
It is terrifying and absolutely heart-breaking. Eventually, I had to leave the room completely to gather my emotions. My husband took over and gave her a bath to sooth her. And, here’s another side. I walked into the bathroom expecting to find a sobbing child being comforted by the deep, lyrical voice of her father, but instead I found a baby kicking and giggling in the tub.
Babies baffle me.
Click on any image to view a slideshow of May at the time of this post, three years ago: