So Grace is 8 and a half months old. I can't believe she has been out almost as long as she was in! Being pregnant seemed to last forever but now time flies by so fast. I see her doing something new and wonder when on earth she learnt to crawl over to her bottle and drink from it unaided, or answer to her name. My tiny little baby has suddenly become a little person, with her own heartbreaking sweet foibles. She likes to lay on her little sofa to drink her milk (see photos), she always sleeps on her side, picks up the octopus toy in the bath and holds onto him while we dress her, she hates having socks or shoes on, the hoover makes her laugh...I could go on and on about the things which make my little girl unique.
Each time I write this I try and explain how amazing I find it that James and I made Grace. Sometimes I wonder, would she have been different if I had gotten pregnant an hour later, a day later, was Grace destined to be here or is she, are we, all amazing flukes? Whatever the answer I certainly can't imagine a world without my sticky-fingered monkey in it.
I packed up her first load of now too-small clothes recently and put them in the loft. When went to see a friends new baby boy the other day Grace looked like some sort of giant in comparison. (I had to physically fight her off whilst I held him as she was desperately trying to pat him on the head). We stayed away in a hotel for a couple of nights for a friend's wedding and Grace broke the travel cot with her weight. When we looked at her in the morning the base was all lopsided. She did not seem to mind though, she has mastered sleeping through the night now, she even slept through the evening disco at the wedding, which was good as it meant I could throw some mummy shapes on the dance floor... It seems since giving birth I have lost all sense of rhythm however. I started doing that "clapping whilst stepping from left to right" move that old people do, that is until "Want you back by the Jackson 5" came on however, then I tottered/wiggled/stumbled to the middle of the floor (walk-dancing is very tricky to master in high heels when you never usually wear them, at the time I thought I looked dead sexy though) and shook my dusty tail-feather like mad. I even put Grace's change-bag on the floor to boogie round (and point at whilst singing loudly). James was so embarrassed he took Grace and left, texting me from outside the hotel room begging me to please come up.
There was a hotel at the swimming pool and James proudly showed me how Grace now clings onto the side of the pool with no support, and swim underwater! What vital survival skills for a baby to have. If I only I had been capable of such amazing strengths when I was 4 years old and got trapped under a covered Jacuzzi in Guernsey. If it had not been for my then 5 year old brother I would not be here to tell the tale. He dragged the cover to one side, pulled me up by my hair, giving me just enough time to gulp some air before I sank under again and he ran to get help. (I was very into magic at that age, and believed the pool of water beneath the mat to be an illusion, so jumped on it).
Anyway, Grace is doing great at swimming, and clapping. She is forever clapping, she even claps when we clap (unless other people are around of course, then she just looks at us like we are a bit simple). She pulls herself up to standing on every available surface, the coffee table, her walker, your leg. When we eat dinner she stands in her playpen, shaking the bars in a rage because we are eating and she is not. She loves her food, and we love feeding her, especially baked beans. I love watching her try and pick them up with her chubby fingers.
She loves the new house. James' folks were down for the weekend helping us decorate, Grace found some not quite dry paint, so put her hands in it and patted it all over the mirror, squeaking in delight.
It's amazing the difference space makes, no more tidying up all her toys each evening, I just leave them in her playpen... Oh OK, I confess, I still tidy up her toys each evening, but in my defence she loves messing them up again as much as I love to sort them. We spend many a happy hour together in the pen, me making pyramids from cubes which she knocks down (again and again and again), or piecing together jigsaws for her to rip apart.
While I am in there I try and hide the most awful of her noise making toys (the ones her grandparents take great delight in buying), especially the one which sings "Hello puppy calling would you like to play with me, let's have fun together whilst we learn our ABC... puppy says, let's wiggle" (whilst says James some very rude suggestions for puppy under his breath). The worst thing is, even after I switch it off, the flipping tune sticks in my head. I go to work singing "jazz it up, dididi dee de dum de do". That's OK though, I lost my cool status at work weeks ago, when our 15 year old work experience kid left and for some reason after his already hideously embarrassing thank-you speech I felt compelled to shout out "let's give him a round of applause". He looked at me as one might look at someone who had just wet themselves. (I later found out he was heading straight to Ibiza for a week of clubbing, CLUBBING I say, and there was me singing 'for he's a jolly good fellow'!
I must not ride this slippery slope into saddo-land. I must NOT turn into my mother, who used to collect me from school in her horse-poo scented riding jacket, open-toed-charity-shop sandals worn over my dad's long wolly socks (always unmatching and riddled with holes) pulled up to her knees, and hay in her hair. Needless to say I used to beg her to let me walk home alone, to hell with busy roads, death by embarrassing parent was a far worse fate.
Thankfully Grace is too young to notice that my brains are made of jam, my cool gene has been removed and instead I have stretch-marks, a weak bladder and leaky tear ducts that stream at ANYTHING. She looks at me like I hold the moon on a stick with a cow jumping over it. To her I am as good if not better than all her noisy toys going at once!