My daughter is almost 2 months old and I still feel like I have forgotten what I’m meant to be doing. Somehow last time I felt more prepared, and to be honest I probably was, despite Cub being my first. I had read the books, readied the spaces, felt somewhat ready. This time round I was simply too overwhelmed by life and so I think I made the false assumption, that like riding a bike, I would fall back into old habits, old memories, that things would feel familiar.
It must be a very old, complex, bike then.
I have mainly been winging it. I have all sorts of ideals but must confess that a lot of them get lost in the craziness of chasing toddler mischief, the dog, the laundry, and all the other jobs I seem to have all the time. I seem to be taking one stride forwards, another back, and wobbling a little bit as I try to stay upright.
My daughter is almost 2 months old but I’m not sure I could tell you what developmental pointers she’s meant to be reaching. She seems happy enough and I am following her lead but I couldn’t tell you what Cub was like at 2 months old either. It seems to have wiped from my mind. Maybe it’s repression, and rose-tinted spectacles, that decided that much poop, sick, and sleeplessness should not be remembered for sanity’s sake.
I am aware that pregnancy and motherhood do this to a woman’s brain, that exhaustion means expecting less of oneself, blah blah blah. Even so, it is daunting to feel unsure on your metaphorical feet, to have to relearn everything, get to know this creature infront of you. She might do something that triggers a glimmer of her sister, but she is wholly unique, completely new, and becoming a person in her own right.
My daughter is almost 2 months old. Only almost two months old. She is learning about the world whilst we learn about her. What is incredible and scary is that she is learning so much faster, taking in so much more, processing everything and growing to a greater extent than anything I am doing. Is it surprising that the bike I thought I knew well turns out to be a completely different beast? Cub existed and transformed and I learnt with her too.
I once suggested that if each member of a church is a cell of a body (as each church is a cell of the wider Church body) the church must change, adapt, and move with each new cell, even if in tiny ways. Likewise I feel myself changing, adapting, and being moved by this new cell in our family body. Some of those adaptions might take me by surprise but I hope it is good. Cub changed me into someone capable of producing good essays ahead of time, forcing me to become more efficient (how else get anything done if not the few spare minutes small creatures sleep).
My daughter is almost 2 months old, but everything I might have forgotten about Cub’s first few months are not the things that made her who she is, and I don’t believe the pieces that I will forget about T will be that either. I may forget the trick to burping, forget how quickly onesies shrink around a rapidly growing body, or every step of a baby massage. I may have taken longer to get into the swing of reusable nappies, shopping, and the calories required to produce milk. I will not forget who they are, what and who they love, or how important they are.
I have two daughters and that is a daunting experience, a scary future prospect, and a weighty responsibility. They will have to grow up in a world I can hardly imagine, will understand things that don’t exist yet, and I feel mostly unable to prepare them. Mostly unable. I may forget but I can keep trying. I must keep trying because the sum of them is greater than their parts, and certainly greater than me alone.
My daughter is almost 2 months old, and that both sounds far older and far younger than I can comprehend.
I am peddling a new bike. I have forgotten some of the old steps but I will learn again. I will forget again, too, for a time will come when my daughters don’t need me to remember. They will have grown into people who don’t need burping, nappies, or baby massage. They will fill my life with new information that pushes out nursery rhymes and theme tunes. They may one day come to me crying that they don’t know what to do with their own babies, that they have forgotten, and I will tell them this:
You can’t forget something about a person you haven’t learnt yet. You will learn about them as they learn about you.
So much more is to come.