I imagine this title will entice my parents plus one or two close friends in. Actually I don’t think my parents read this blog, my Dad still gets his emails printed out, perhaps his ever efficient secretary will find this for him. Mum is better with technology, but recently commented that she misses Facebook but can’t get it anymore because she has lost her password. So to the three people who are still here, thanks for joining me in this journey of extrovert processing therapy. Blogging for me is massively about realising how I feel as I write about it. And of course posting awesome recipes guaranteed to make you drool.
Elise is 19 months old, it feels like she has been here forever (in a nice way), I can’t imagine life without her. Having a kid is all consuming and the first few months were so hard. Looking back, I don’t know where we would have been without the friends and family who have supported us. For me, the memory that sums it up, is right after she was born. A dear friend Alex who is like family, had kindly agreed to drive us to the hospital when Hannah went into labour, and look after our lovely dog Leia while we were there.
Here she is. I told you she was lovely.
He arrived at midnight on Sunday as things seemed to be happening, we went to hospital and got sent back. He then slept downstairs on the sofa, I say slept, but I doubt he got much sleep as Hannah was pacing upstairs as she dealt with contractions and I think poor Leia was freaking out. I actually slept soundly for about 7 hours. Yes I am a terrible person.
At 8am we went back to the hospital, Elise was born at around 4pm, and we left at around 9pm. Hannah understandably hadn’t eaten much over the 20 hour period and was, of course exhausted. What she really wanted was a Pizza Express Margherita with extra basil. Alex and I drove to the nearest branch and picked up a takeaway. We returned with pizza for everyone and I remember this surreal moment of wolfing down delicious pizza with Hannah, her Mum and Alex. And a very tiny baby who didn’t eat any pizza. Sleep deprived, full of adrenaline, equally scared and excited. It is a perfect representation of the next few months as we struggled to find our feet with the invaluable support of friends and family.
Elise struggled to sleep for basically the first year and it was really hard, it disrupted our life completely, and we were destroyed. I am not looking for any sympathy as she wasn’t exactly unplanned! Things changed a lot after 12 months as she magically began sleeping perfectly. This coincided with a real exponential shift in her development as she moved from being a baby to a toddler. She began to understand concepts, develop fine motor skills and laugh a lot which is the most wonderful thing. Ever. My favourite noise in the world used to be genuine, spontaneous applause when I performed. This has been utterly eclipsed by the sound of my daughter laughing. I literally cannot explain how magical I find it.
Hannah now works at Tearfund (google them, they are awesome) 2 and a half days a week, and because of the flexibility of my job, I am able to look after her when Hannah is at work. It has been great to be able to develop my relationship with Elise just the two of us, I am aware it is a privilege that not all partners have. We spend a lot of time in the park making friends and playing with dogs. It can be hard work but I love it.
Having a kid does crazy things to you, your brain chemistry literally gets rewired and they become the centre of your universe. This explains why some people post endless photos and updates about their child, not realising that their friends don’t care about whether or not their darling offspring has learnt to wipe their own nose, or has done 5 shits today. I try to limit the amount of stuff I share about Elise because I know you don’t care about it as much as me. But it is hard, every mini milestone she achieves, feels like England winning the world cup and I positively brim with pride and joy.
Becoming a parent has become one of the most incredible things I have ever done, I waited a long time for it, and my expectations have been completely exceeded. It is also bloody knackering.