There's been lots happening lately that I've not had the time (or in some cases the inclination) to blog about. Dulcie reached the ripe old age of six months a couple of weeks ago. Premature babies do most things by their corrected age (the age they would have been if they'd been born when they should have been - four months old for Dulcie at the moment) but weaning onto solids goes by their actual age, albeit at snail's pace. So, like all those "normal" six-month-old babies, Dulcie has recently taken her first exciting steps into the world of food. Oooooh! For the last couple of weeks she's just been having a tiny bit of baby rice (which is essentially thick milk eaten from a spoon instead of sucked from breast/bottle) once a day, but yesterday she had the added bonus of a tiny teaspoon of sweet potato mixed in with it - her first ever vegetable! And the verdict? Yam yam!
[Chortle! That was Graham's joke but it made me laugh so I stole it.]
Over the next week or two we'll be increasing the sweet potato:baby rice ratio until she's having pure (and pureed - the jokes are never ending tonight!) sweet potato and then she'll try her next new food. It's all very exciting really, for us and for her.
You may notice her bib says, "I love Mummy." I don't like baby clothes with slogans on and (controversially?) I don't like being referred to as Mummy. I am Mum. Or Ma, Mater, Mother maybe. Not Mummy. But a bib is a bib really.
Being a mum is strange in many ways and can still feel a bit unreal. It's easy to feel a bit left out of things (like your baby is not really YOUR baby) or not good at your new job. This is all very strange when you consider that you are never apart from your baby and are sustaining her in a way nobody else can, in the most literal sense if you are a breastfeeding mother but in many other ways too however you feed them. Case in point, this photo is a real rarity. From our photos, you'd think Dulcie only ever hung out with her dad/grandparents/random acquaintances and met up with me only on rare and special occasions. There's very little evidence that Dulcie and I have ever been in the same room at the same time, even though we are almost always in the same room at the same time, if not actually entwined.
Lately I've been trying harder to hang out in places where other mums and babies hang out and to be a bit more chatty and sociable. Mostly it is going quite well and Dulcie and I both enjoy it most of the time, but it is hard not to compare yourself against others and feel like you don't quite measure up or that you are only a pretend mum. I'm sure everyone does this, but I think missing out on the later stages of pregnancy, childbirth, early bonding, bringing the brand-new baby home (etc etc) makes me feel even more fraudulent and out of the loop, a phoney mother. Constantly having to explain why Dulcie is so tiny for her age and not doing what other babies do gets to be a bit of a drag too. I don't know how many times a day I find myself saying, "She's six months old BUT SHE WAS EARLY." I feel like I'm constantly making excuses for us, which never makes you feel great about what you're doing.
I'm too tired to explain any of this very well really, but two things happened today to give my motherly ego a bit of a boost. First of all, another mum at baby cinema came over to ask me where I got Dulcie's cardigan because she really wanted one and I was able to experience the smug little thrill of saying, "I made it myself," feeling like the type of mother who crochets while her baby naps politely, rather than the type of mother who can't even think what we might have for dinner let alone take any steps to prepare it. (Thank God for Graham and his house-husbandly skills is all I can say on this matter!) After the cinema, Dulcie and I went and hung out in the park all afternoon, having a very lovely time together, watching all the other people and chatting about nothing in particular. Just as we were about to head home, a woman came over (giving Dulcie some money for luck) just to say what a wonderful job I was doing and how lucky Dulcie was to have a mother who obviously loved her so much. How nice is that?! And it's made me feel that, yes, I am doing a good job after all. So there.
I'll be able to hold my head high at Bounce & Rhyme tomorrow morning... just as long as Dulcie stays awake and acknowledges my existence for once! Ah well, baby steps to parenting confidence, I think :)