Autumn: The first little yawn was always audible just as the low shimmer of the early morning sun began to fill the room. It put another temporary end to the rhythmic sleeping and waking that defines early baby days.
Quietly, I would get up. The sole of my feet relaxed into the warm carpet underneath, before I hurriedly tip toed out of the room to fetch that crucial first cup of tea of the day. When it sat safely on my bedside table, the steam slowly rising, I’d lift her – my every move now observed by her awake and watchful eyes – out of the basket next to me and onto the big bed. Her tiny body would sink into the duvet and snuggle up against me. We’d sit together; feeding, sipping and watching the daylight gradually fill up the room.
These were the slow mornings of early motherhood.
When the sun had fully risen and the day began, we’d move downstairs into the living room. I would finish off that last bit of tea and munch on a breakfast muffin, while she played on the floor under the play gym. We eased into these days like there was no tomorrow. Slowly and carefully we inched forward together everyday into the new. Every cautious step felt raw and tiring. Yet I drank it all in, savoured every drop of that feeling, because even then I knew I’d miss it once it was gone.
Winter: And it soon was. Autumn felt like forever and then winter came and no longer did she sleep in the basket next to me and it seemed all too short. Instead the soft thuds and clangs coming from the cot on the other side of the bedroom, too sturdy to be really shaken by those small hands, would let me know she was awake. Often long before the first glimpses of the sun. Her little eyes peeked through the bars in the dark, following me out the door and waiting for me and my tea to come back in and lift her out.
Three months into our journey together and time picked up pace quickly. Soon enough she didn’t peek through the bars anymore, but reached over the sides, standing (!) and resting her chin on the top bar while observing closely every morning’s move. However, the growing familiarity of change nurtured our confidence in life with each other. Although there will always be a tiny fleck of grief in my heart for the lost sweet rawness of the early days, the constant new was more welcome. And there was so much newness (still is) every day, from rolling onto her belly to her first crawl to her sitting up.
Spring: As the mornings started earlier and earlier, they brought a spring into our steps. No longer would we start the day in the big bed. Instead – just when the sun was rising and still in our PJs – we would head to the park for a short walk. Snuggled up in a wrap and resting her head against my chest, my little observer would take in the awakening day with a sincere face and bright eyes; the squirrels chasing each other, the newly emerging leaves dancing in the breeze, the sunlight flickering through the thickening undergrowth. We would walk and talk and breathe deeply, before we returned to the living room and the play gym and the wooden stacking blocks that she had by now now learned to throw around and pick up and bang against each other. And we’d sit together; playing, sipping and watching the daylight fill up the room.
The newborn stage is well and truly a haze. Passing like a whirlwind and with even more change coming in it’s wake, its moments – which we so desperatly want to hold on too forever – fade quickly. The few pictures of me and my littlest lady are therefore a true treasure, helping my memory to keep those moments close.
But actually getting yourself in the picture with your baby can be hard. Especially if you – like me – find phone selfie angles not that flattering and have a partner that is a reluctant photographer to say the least. If this is your struggle too, have a read about my small line up of basic self-portrait photography equipment.