Iona is 162 days old.

It seems the blog is making everyone cry. I’m not sure that’s a good thing but I guess it means that people are relating to the stories. I went ‘public’ with it today, after some deliberating over whether it was good enough to share.

It’s funny but with my growing confidence as a mother, comes a loss of identity that makes me question myself even more than I did before. So thank you all for the encouragement and please, share your stories in the comments. I’m an L plate mum who loves to listen to other experiences.

And I’ll try to keep the subject matter a little lighter tonight, I promise.

Gooooooo ga. There you go — Iona’s first words.

OK, OK, I know they’re not real words but we did have a proper conversation tonight. Storytime was over and though it was way past her bedtime, Iona had that all too familiar ‘I’m going to keep you awake all night’ look in her eyes. The one she always seems to have when I have a stupid-o-clock start and am trying every trick in the book to get her to sleep (warm bath, relaxing massage, Buddhist chants, Jedi mind tricks – you name it, I’ve tried it and can safely say that none of them work).

Anyway. There we were lying face-to-face on the bed, me making supposedly calming ‘sshhh’ noises, her trying to pull my nose off my face. Then suddenly she said the words:

“Gooooo ga.”

And the astonishment and delight and excitement that came over her face made my heart fill with pride, and I began frantically clapping my hands and chatting back. “Gooooo. Ga.”, I replied and then instantly worried that I shouldn’t be doing that, and should only use proper words, incase I stunted her speech development or something. But then she said it again though this time it was a bit more spitty — a gurgle almost. Still, she was definitely mouthing sounds, a huge developmental leap forwards from the high-pitched squealing she’s been entertaining us with for the last few weeks.

And so it continued for a good five minutes or so and halfway through this conversation of ours I got to thinking WAY ahead. I’m not sure how the old thought train sped from Goooo. Ga. to wondering how Iona would get on at school, but suddenly I was thinking about what subjects she’d like, what kind of friends she’d make, and whether she’d be like me (one set of lines in 12 years swot) or her dad (too many detentions to mention naughty boy).

Of course these days, you pretty much have to start thinking about what nursery/primary school your kid’s going to go to when they’re still in nappies. In lots of areas, you have to register them for school when they’re three. Soon after that, you’re having the ‘which high school?’ discussion, closely followed by the biggie – how the hell am I going to pay for them to go to university? Book deal, bank job or lottery, which is it to be?

Anyway the point of all this is that we seem to spend an awful lot of time thinking or worrying about the future these days. Having a baby seems to exasperate that. Recently Grant and I been tackling the whole private school debate (he’s for it, I’m probably not, but it doesn’t really matter because we can’t afford it anyway). We’re also house hunting in areas with the best schools, even although they’re stupidly expensive and don’t necessarily have the best houses.

Of course I know it’s important to consider the future when you have a child and I know I’ll never have the same, carefree attitude I once did. I can’t quit my job tomorrow and swan off round the world for a year. And I can’t go out on Friday, returning on Sunday, having lost Saturday somewhere along the way. Nope, those days are well and truly gone.

But whilst keeping one eye on the future, I am trying also to take a step back. To stop researching and debating and discussing and planning and trying to create the perfect life for a child who really just needs me to be with her in the now. To listen and laugh as she goooo’s and ga’s, and guide her on her journey through life.

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