But I have good reason for being absent, as most of you know:
Meet Fishy! (Nicknamed so from in utero, when hubby would tap on my belly and wonder if she heard it echo like fish do in an aquarium). We're kinda growing fond of this little thing, though she does take up some of that free time I used to have. Though if I can find time to blog, I'm obviously not suffering too greatly!
So, for my first post back from maternity leave, I thought I'd share some of the gems of wisdom I've learned in the vast 9 months of my experience.
1. Babies like to take you to the edge of your sanity, and just leave you there, hovering, just for their own sadistic pleasure. Whether it's changing up a routine they just settled into, spitting food across the dress you just put on, or making a mess of the only thing you didn't put out of reach...
2. They steal your food. For reals. Doesn't matter what they're eating, even nursing. If you eat it, they want it:
In this precise picture, I gave Fishy one cracker, and put one in my mouth while I carried her and my coffee cup to the sofa. She held onto her own and literally pulled up and bit mine out of my mouth. Cheeky little thing!
3. They don't care about toys. Really. They don't. You can set them on the floor with ten different toys scattered about, and they play with the strand of your hair caught in the carpet. (You know, that hair that is STILL shedding with post-pregnancy fervour, even though your doctor swore it would stop six months out!)
5. They make liars out of you. I truly believe they listen to everything we say in public just so they can prove us wrong.
Me: Oh no, she's not mobile yet. She just loves sitting and watching.
Fishy: Let me throw myself off this chair, at church, in front of the people just asking Mummy if it was safe.
Me: Yeah, we're really lucky. She's started sleeping through the night finally.
Fishy: Mummy!! Howsabout we get up at 9:00, and 12:00, and 2:00, and 5:00? Yay, Mummy!! Mummy... why are you crying?
6. They eat weird. Okay, so to be fair, Fishy is a great eater. Check out my Instagram. She's a trooper! But then there's that time she decided to eat butter....
7. They'll teethe on anything. Buttons, keys, rocks, you name it- it goes in the mouth. Almost weekly, I am asked, "Does she have any teething toys?" Oh yes, you mean like Sophie the Giraffe, or my silicone teething necklace, or any number of those round plastic things you can put in the fridge?! Why yes, we do have those. Why do you ask?
8. They don't pose so well for photos. Apparently, Fishy's cousin poses a little too well for photos, cheesing it up anytime she sees a phone/camera. Fishy isn't quite there yet. She still mostly just wants to eat it (see number 7). But trust me, that time when you clear the living room, make a 'studio', get them all dressed up, and start posing.... that's the time they will decide to make absolutely no cute faces whatsoever. So instead of that sweet vintage shot by the rocking horse you imagined, you'll step out of the room for a second, and come back to this shot instead: Fishy having pulled said rocking horse on top of herself, pinned to the ground, whining, with Teddy taken down as an innocent bystander.
9. But they open up a world of humanity. I used to ride the tube and stare at the tops of people's heads as they glared into cell phones, or newspapers, or at best, a book. Eye contact was awkward, and conversation labelled you a foreigner almost immediately. But with Fishy, eyes are opened, smiles unfold, and glimpses of lives are shared. Grandma's and Grandpa's coo, mum's with teens in tow smile knowingly, middle aged clerks in suits reach down and tell me about their little girl at home, and that cool hipster in the leather jacket looks up from his iPhone to tell me its okay if Fishy wants to play with the fringe on the sleeve.
She opens up the people of this city in a way I never expected, and I love it all the more for her!
10. They'll steal your heart again, and again, and again. I wasn't one of those mums with the magical tingly love at the very beginning (obviously not enough skin-to-skin bonding at the hospital in the first three hours, eh?!) But the more I'm with her, the more I love her.
She's full of beans, as the English say, and I know, I know, we haven't even hit the toddler stage yet. But her morning smile makes my day start off right, and when she goes to bed, we find ourselves flipping through my phone looking at her pictures, just because we miss her. And on those nights (okay, most nights), where she's still up for a 3am feed, I linger just a bit before putting her back to bed, looking at those chubby fingers, that double chin, those long dark eyelashes, and I melt for her all over again, because I know these days won't last forever. And I love them while their mine.