Friday, 15 March 2013

Your first dance partner

Dear Baby,

Maybe it's because we're in the midst of making a final decision on which daycare you will attend when I go back to work, or because you are just one month and one week shy of your first birthday, or because you no longer nurse yourself to sleep and you can now fall asleep on your own. I'm not sure what it is. But it's becoming very apparent to me that our special year together is almost over.

In a few weeks, I will be returning to work, a life that is very familiar to me even though it's not a role you've ever known me to play. While it's a return to the ordinary for me, this time marks the beginning of a great adventure for you as you start your own life outside of our family home. There will be new friends and new toys. At this moment, I have no doubt that you will be much better off there, that you will learn more, have more fun and probably even be safer than you have been with me. You see, I've been stumbling through the last year, not really knowing what I'm doing. But sometimes, while I was stumbling along, struggling to figure you out, we had moments when I realized that even if I was doing a lousy job, I still had the incredible privilege of sharing so many special moments with you, and being so much to you.

In the afternoon when you needed a distraction, or we just ran out of things to talk about, I would turn on some music and we would move around to the beat. You would laugh as I swung us around the room. When you were strong enough, I would  hold your hands while you stood facing me and move your arms to the music. You might not remember, but I was your first dance partner.

We read books everyday. I talked to you about numbers and letters and colours. I wanted you to start learning about music as soon as you could, so I would do silly things like drumming on a pot with a wooden spoon in time with David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" and encourage you to do the same. When I was getting desperate for you to learn to drink from a cup, I watched a webinar that suggested you fill a straw with water and then feed your baby like a little bird to teach them to suck on a straw. I think we both immediately knew that it was ridiculous and we just got water all over the place. But I was trying. You might not remember, but I was your first teacher.

Sometimes we got along better than other times, but we were always there for each other. You never had to wonder who you were going to have lunch with or who would laugh at your jokes, because I was always there. When we got bored of each other's company we went to play groups or Chapters (you usually fell asleep) or the art gallery (I think you fell asleep every time) or just roamed around the city. I was your sidekick, and you didn't go anywhere without me. You might not remember, but I was your first friend.

So for the next few weeks, I'll nurse you a little longer, read new and old books, hug you a little tighter and dance just a few more songs. Eventhough we both need to move on, it was still such a special time that I will hold in my heart forever.

You might not remember, but I always will. Because you were my first baby.

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