LESSONS FROM ELSIE: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
IN just a few days time, my little lady will celebrate her first birthday.
And I honestly can’t believe it. Everyone tells you that time really does fly and that little ones grow up super fast, but I’ll let you into a secret, I never believed them. I never believed that was the case until well…now.
Not in a million years did I expect the last 12 months to have whizzed by as quickly as they have. Because they have and all those people were right. The speed of Elsie’s growth and development has been a total surprise.
And yet why this is the case, I have no idea, because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my first year of being a mum it is this:
When it comes to motherhood, we should always expect the unexpected.
Just like when my waters suddenly broke one morning and got the whole labour ball rolling, since Elsie has come into my world, life has suddenly become full of surprises. Lots of them pleasant. Others, well, not quite so much.
For starters, there is the unconditional love you feel when you become a parent. I never expected to love Elsie quite as much as I do. And yet I do and much more besides. My love for Elsie deepens every single day. In fact I’d even go so far as to say, my love for her knows no bounds, for amazingly, it just keeps on expanding. This I didn’t expect either.
When it came to breastfeeding, I did expect to find it tough and most certainly a challenge. And yet here was one of the loveliest motherhood surprises I have received so far. For I was lucky, it was an absolute doddle.
And to all those mums who are now thinking, you jammy ***, I don’t blame you, I would think exactly the same. But that’s exactly how it was. We found it ridiculously easy. From Elsie’s first latch, feeding her was effortless, painless and just incredibly special. What can I say? We were a happy breastfeeding duo.
When it came to ending breastfeeding, that was much easier than I imagined too. Elsie simply decided one day when she was about four months old that boobs were no longer for her and that was that. And whilst I was really glad she made that decision herself I was also – unexpectedly – incredibly sad that I’d never breastfeed her again.
Breastfeeding time was as much about bonding as feeding and I knew that I was going to miss it. I had never expected to enjoy breastfeeding as much as I did. In fact, scrap that. I had never expected to enjoy it all.
And then of course, when it comes to surprises, there is the small matter of sleep. From nighttime sleep to daytime naps, Elsie has been shall we say, constantly surprising. At just six weeks old she began to sleep a good 12 hours through the night. Yep, you heard right.
Through. The. Night.
This I wasn’t expecting. Not one bit. Although needless to say I was pretty pleased with that result.
But when it comes to naps, my goodness me. That has been a whole different ball game. I have lost count of the number of methods I have used over the last year when it comes to trying to get my stubborn little girl to sleep. But I have tried everything.
From rocking to singing, ssshing to holding, swaddling to long drives in the car, it’s been a battle of the toughest kind. Elsie, unlike some other babies I know, just doesn’t like to nap during the day. Not easily anyway.
When people have a great night’s sleep, they often say ‘I slept like a baby’. For them, I would like to add, well you have obviously not met my daughter. And before you say, yes but at least she is sleeping through the night, well guess what folks? This has changed too.
For the last two months or so, Elsie has slept through the night a handful of times. Instead, we’ve had long nights of constant waking (like every 40 minutes), nightmares, separation anxiety, teething and two long bouts of sickness. Unexpected? Most definitely. Utterly exhausting? You betcha.
So what else? Well as I’ve watched Elsie grow and develop, I can honestly say that I never in my wildest dreams expected my child to be as clever, bright, funny, loving and beautiful as she is. As she is becoming.
Elsie amazes me. She amuses me. She astonishes me. I’m totally in awe of her brilliance and like all mums, so incredibly proud.
Motherhood has been the greatest surprise of my life and Elsie most certainly keeps me on my toes. Just when I think I’ve cracked one little problem, up pops something else to tackle.
But despite this, there is one thing I absolutely know for sure.
The intensity of the love I have for Elsie may have been unexpected but she can fully expect to know that I will feel this way about her, forever.
Till the next time, it’s true, little ones really do grow up fast!