Tiny man, Oatcake, Otis Leif; we have many names for the little one who joined our lives six months ago. The cliches are true – it seems like forever ago that we first met eyes, but it’s also still so new. The love is intense and just as much so the vulnerability that comes with that. The thought of his suffering is a sharp pain that pierces with every black thought that colours the mind – from accidents to illnesses to pain. But, as with all life’s greatest loves, the flip side of joy, wonder and warmth are the feelings that win the day. Love can’t be without vulnerability.
I wrote those words a week ago and last night we were in A&E. Tiny man had been vomiting horribly and his skin was cold and clammy. Our NHS app said to bring him in, so off we went in a daze of “he’ll be okays’. Happily, within the hour, all was well and he just has a minor virus to be treated with milk and cuddles. I imagine it to be just one of many scares that will be part and parcel of this adventure. I have never felt so raw.
Steve and I sometimes look at each other and whisper “look what we’ve done”. Our love for this little human is beyond what we could imagine – it fills us to our corners and has scratched a mark in our hearts that’s forever open to the elements, be that sun or storms. But never are those words said with regret – I’d weather a thousand storms for just a hint of Otis’ joy.
His smiles are my fuel, a fuel that’s needed when broken nights have become my norm. More than four hours of continuous sleep now feels akin to a trip to the Maldives. But the body does adjust. We wake in the dark, feed in a dreamy haze, and then fall back into slumber. I normally clock the hours I need, and in the morning Steve wakes with Tiny and I rest some hours more. Some days are harder than others, but we are finding our rhythms that work, and learning that things change more often than not. Once we think we have something sussed, something new comes round the corner. We are forever on our toes.
Right now he’s learning to crawl, tentatively lifting onto all fours and swaying back and forth. It won’t be long until he’s on the move and days of leaving him in one place will be a thing of the past. I urge him onwards, but wish each stage to last for longer. Watching him learn has filled with me with a renewed wonder for human life – what magic are we made of?
And now, my time is up. I’ve written this over two sessions while Steve’s Mum takes care of Otis and I take a break in a local cafe. I do get moments to write when I’m with Otis, but this designated time is something different – a little window into life before. It won’t be long until those windows are longer and I return to work part-time, but for now just these hours are enough.
I’m cherishing this long summer of time with Otis. Maternity leave has been a time of sweetness, filled with park dates with friends, trips to the baby cinema, and so many baby pals for Otis. And we’ve also travelled plenty – to Barcelona, Wales, Devon, London and Croatia – with our biggest trip yet on the horizon. In September, we’re to California! I’ll update you on all of that soon. I can’t wait for the adventure!