You are all I need Peanut. Sure, there are other people that make me happy, but no-one has the power to make the sun shine through the rain like you do. For me, you have become a symbol of strength and love, and a living example to all of us that we really should grab this life with everything we’ve got, because there really are no guarantees.
Quite often that makes me sad. I can’t help but wonder what your future holds; sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see your life unfold and be happy that this thing isn’t going to get you one day. But I guess there’s no fun in that is there? So I have to hold on to hope.
You have a cardiology appointment next week, sweetheart. I always find myself a little more melancholy than normal, and a bit more anxious that I usually am, as the date approaches. The problem with me, is that I like to be in control. And this most definitely does not allow for me to have control. None. I don’t expect the appointment to give me any surprises. Not bad ones anyway. Your condition, if it gets worse, is unlikely to get worse any time soon. We may even be blessed with improvement, but let’s not jinx things, eh? The best I can hope for is no change. And even then, it’s a limited view. What’s frightening is that we only know what we can see. An echocardiogram can only show us about 3mm into your arteries. Beyond that you need an MRI scan, but they have no plans to go looking yet. I wonder why? Maybe because you are so young, it would be preferable not to sedate you. I have to remind myself that the only reason you didn’t need to be sedated for your last MRI was because you were too sick to care.
I think, to all intents and purposes, we could be bold enough to say you are out of the woods for now. Can I say that? Should I say that? The scientific part of my brain keeps telling me that the only thing that can cause you any problems is biology; my words will not be the cause. Thoughts are not facts. For now, I have two questions for the Cardiologist. “What will I need to do throughout her life to protect her heart?” and “Remember when you took me in a room and told me about the risk of a coronary aneurysm rupture, and how you told me that you could do nothing to prevent it, and that if it happened she would be gone? Well, do you think that is a risk now?” Let’s see if we can get some questions answered next week shall we? So you will need to behave yourself. You won’t! You’ve been trying to take over the echo since all this started; next week you are going to be rolling, and grabbing, and trying to crawl off the table! Things just got interesting!
So it’s just dawned on me that I never had one of those baby books, the kind where you write all the milestones down. To be honest, I had books with your brother and sister, but the novelty wore off a few weeks in and there are two half-finished (half-started?) baby record books gathering dust in the loft. And then I thought I could do it here. So let’s see, what can I tell you about you….
You have been sitting up for a while now. For some time it seemed like you were never going to get there, but you did. Your preferred mode of transport continues to be the ‘commando crawl‘ – you’d be fantastic on one of those military assault courses! And you’re fast Peanut, real fast! When you spot something you want, you can be at your target in a nanosecond. I have to be on full alert – generally the thing you spot is something you shouldn’t have and everything goes in your mouth. When I thought I’d cleaned up all the pine needles from the Christmas tree, you still somehow manage to find them. And eat them.
You have a real sense of fun. You are going to be like your brother; full of mischief. You are always doing something, always busy. You’ve just started getting up on your knees too, which means more of the world is within your reach, and I can see how exciting that is for you. You are always in my kitchen cupboards, always pulling books off the bookshelves, always finding the one thing amongst all the other things that you are not allowed to have. You are going to keep me busy!
You have a few words in your vocabulary. “Daddy” has been a favourite for some time. There’s something very cruel about ‘dadadadada’ being the easiest sound for a baby to make. You’ve said a clear as a bell “Mama” once. It was magic. You’ve not said it since. Your absolute favourite is “Uh-oh”, which was remarkable when you first said it because it alerted me to the fact that you had dropped something, like that time you dropped your toy in Marks and Spencer and I wondered why you wouldn’t stop saying “Uh-oh”. Now it seems that “Uh-oh” is a catchall word for everything. I think it means you are hungry, thirsty, tired, sad, angry, happy…it’s a one word fits all kind of thing! I’ve been able to make out a few other discernible words; doggy, dinner, bye-bye. You know your sister. She’s Eliza. That’s “a-la-la” to you.
And you laugh sweetheart, you really laugh. Just a couple of weeks ago, we needed to tickle you to incite a giggle. Now you laugh at everything and everyone! You laugh at trees and flowers, birds and cats, me, your dinner, everything! Just the sight of those tickling fingers coming your way and you are reduced to an uncontrollable cackle. You see joy in most things, and you are slowly teaching me to do the same.
But, it isn’t all hearts and flowers my little cherub. There is one thing that is currently driving me crazy, and that’s the scream! You have developed a squeal that would rival any dolphin, and brings half the neighbourhood’s dogs to our doorstep. I think, roughly translated, it means “Hey, you, why are you not giving me your 100% total undivided attention right at this very second and every second after it?” but I don’t talk baby, so who knows if I’ve got that right. Most mums could probably ignore it. Unfortunately, I suffer with anxiety, and have real trouble with noise, so that little scream goes right through me and rings in my ears. Let’s hope it passes soon (either the screaming or the anxiety – both would be nice).
You do still hold the title of ‘Epic Sleeper’, and if I didn’t know you were real I would start to wonder if you were some kind of clockwork toy. I’ve looked for the key, I can’t find one. The daylight hours are short with you Pickle. You wake around 7am (sometimes later), nap for anything up to 2 hours at about 10am, and from 4pm to 6pm your constant squawking acts as a reminder that it is nearly bedtime. 6pm comes, you’re milk-drunk and sleepy and off you pop to bed, and we don’t hear a peep from you ’til morning. So, on a 2-hour-nap day, I figure we get about 9 hours of you. The thought of going back to work and that becoming 1 hour is unfathomable.
I don’t know if you will ever remember this time in your life. I hope you don’t. Your first year has been blighted with illness, fear, hospitals, and me. And when I say me, I don’t mean that I’m not a good mum to you. I shout sometimes because the anxiety builds up inside my like gas in a pop bottle, and sometimes your brother or your sister, or a noise, or a setback, shakes me up just a little too much and the lid blows off. And I am often sad. I cry. A lot. I can’t tell you that I love you without tears pricking my eyes; I hope you don’t grow up associating love with sadness. Sometimes when I look at you for too long, your face becomes the face of that tiny baby pleading with me with her eyes. I don’t sleep that well either, because I’m always straining to hear you breathing on the monitor. When I wake, it feels like I have slept holding my breath, and I am frozen in my bed until I hear a shuffle or a snuffle from you. I am sure all this will pass, and I am getting help for it so that I can get this under control before you do start to notice that mummy is always sad.
It is lucky, then, that I adore you. You are a pleasure to be around (which is lucky indeed, as you are the only person I see very much of!). If you were a different baby, I reckon I’d have cracked up by now. But you, my dearest Freya, are the light in the darkest of days. Sometimes, you look at me with those ocean deep eyes, and it’s like your very soul is speaking to me; “I’m gonna be ok mummy.”
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