A couple of weeks ago, a Facebook friend shared this quote, and it managed to sum up in two short paragraphs exactly how I’ve been feeling all year long:
I heard once that the average person barely knows ten stories from childhood. You won’t remember how things started with us, the things that I know about you that you don’t even know about yourselves. We won’t come back here.
You’ll remember middle school and high school, but you’ll have changed by then. You changing will make me change. That means you won’t ever know me as I am right now — the mother I am tonight and tomorrow … every bath and book and birthday party, gone. It won’t hit you that you’re missing this chapter of our story until you see me push your child on a swing or untangle his jump rope or wave a bee away from his head and think, ‘Is this what she was like with me?'” (Kelly Corrigan, LIFT)
I think about this – about how many chapters of our story will be missing for Max, unless I can find some way to record them for him – every single day. Every bath and book and birthday party, gone. It hits me right in the gut: and even more so now, as we head into the final month of this first year of parenthood, and realise how very, very fast it’s gone. I guess it’s true what they say: babies don’t keep. I didn’t realise that until Max was born, and, having had hardly any experience with babies until then, I think I expected the “baby” stage to last longer, somehow. I didn’t realise that I’d blink, and have an almost-toddler, for instance, and yet, here I am: the mother of a little boy who is very much a little boy rather than a baby – one who can’t quite walk on his own yet, but who recently discovered he can stand up without any support at all, and who seems to get bigger, and more confident, every single day.
This month, more than any other so far, has totally flown by: so much so that I’m ashamed to admit to not getting nearly as many photos as I wanted to for this post, because the month seems to be ending almost before it begun. For Terry and I, it’s been a pretty challenging month, with both of us getting ill, with a cold/flu bug that just seemed to cling on forever, making everything just that little bit harder. For Max, meanwhile, it’s been another month of amazing discoveries: like the baby monitor attached to his cot, for instance:
Or the fact that he’s wearing a vest underneath his pyjamas:
AMAZING! But then, everything IS amazing when you’re 10 months old, I guess: which is why we start every morning now with me switching on the light in his room, and Max instantly starting to point to all of the wonderful objects that catch his attention. The light! The bookcase! That thing over there, whatever it is! We could easily spend the entire day just walking around the house, with him pointing out different objects, and me taking him over for a look, but that would be a waste, because there are also drawers to open and ransack, and drawers are just the best thing EVER:
His favourite drawers are the ones in the office – in fact, yesterday he spent the best part of an hour methodically removing every single item from my desk drawers, and throwing it on the floor – but any drawers will do, really. I tried to be clever here, and filled up some of Ikea’s SKUBB boxes with toys, and other random objects, so he could rummage through them to his heart’s content, but he still much prefers an ACTUAL drawer – ideally one filled with things that he’s not allowed to touch. So, Terry and I are still spending a lot of our time just following him around the house and keeping him out of trouble, and I suspect that will be the story of our lives for many years to come now.
(EDITED TO ADD: We are obviously aware that we can get locks for the cupboards etc: right now we let him go through the ones that don’t contain anything dangerous, purely because he enjoys it. He is always supervised, though!)
Lookit that face, though!
Bathtime is still one of his favourite parts of the day – and mine, too, actually, because when I brush his teeth, he now likes to return the favour by “brushing” mine in return – and Terry’s, too. He’s been able to recognise and point to each of us for a while now, but this month he also started making, “MAMA” and “DADA” noises, while pointing to/looking at the correct parent. Honestly, I’m not totally convinced that this isn’t just coincidence most of the time, but it’s very, very cute. Still not as cute as when he “kisses” his stuffed animals, or the pictures in his favourite books, though:
And so ends our 11th month as parents. We won’t come back here. And that continues to break my heart, to be honest. But in two days time, we’ll get on a plane, and head off for a new adventure, to make new memories together – and then we’ll come home to start planning a first Christmas AND a first birthday.
I have a feeling that December is going to be one hell of a month – and I’m going to do my very best to enjoy every moment of it: after all, we won’t ever be here again…