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Yesterday, my little baby girl had one candle on her birthday cupcake.

What an awesome weekend it was! On Friday evening, friends came over and helped bake cupcakes while I was making and baking other goodies. My ‘babaliefie’ was enjoying the pre-party festivities thoroughly and stayed up till 1 am.

I invited friends over on Saturday and family on Sunday. We spent both days ‘kuier’-ing from about 11 am till about 6 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ loved all the attention as she went from lap to lap. She was such a happy, pretty little fairy. Luckily the daymother came by on Saturday at 4 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ got unto her lap and almost instantly fell asleep for the first time during the day.

I’m so grateful when I think about all the blessings and joy we experienced during the past year. I find motherhood incredibly tiring, but my little girl is more delightful than I could ever have imagined. I’m in awe of the amount of love that DH and I have for this tiny, cute and funny little creature.

About two weeks ago I squeezed into my sexiest pair of jeans again. It was the first time I wore them since I fell pregnant with my ‘babaliefie’. I’ve been wearing most of my old clothes again for some time now – sadly, including my tiny bra’s. (How I miss those exuberant breastfeeding boobs!) My weight has been back to my pre-pregnancy weight for a few weeks now.

When I looked at myself in my trusty pair of jeans, I realized that my body felt as if it had never been pregnant. It’s a strange thought. My baby angel is living proof that my whole life has been turned upside down, yet my body had forgotten all about it already. (OK, all those spider veins that appeared on my legs during pregnancy tell a story of their own, but still, they don’t make my body feel any different.)

I guess I’m lucky. On the other hand, I miss the softness of my post-pregnancy body. Since I’m thin as a rake, I felt wonderfully sexy and curvy during pregnancy and breastfeeding. And yet, it also feels nice and familiar to have my own ass back again. To be ‘just me’ again.

Later on that skinny jeans day, I almost forgot to pick up my baby angel at daycare! It’s the first time that my mind was so focused on other things that auto-pilot driving caused me to miss the turnoff to the daymother. I felt guilty for a few moments, but then I realized I didn’t have to. It was as wonderful as always to see my baby’s face again when I arrived at the daymother. It’s just that I finally seem able to immerse myself in my own life again to some extent – that is my life away from my precious baby.

Someday I hope to teach my baby angel how to fly high, high, high and as far away as she needs to in order to reach her dreams. It’s the most beautiful, but also the saddest thought.

It’s reassuring to realize there should still be a ‘me’ left behind on the day that my beautiful baby leaves the nest. A doting mother, yet someone with some hopes and dreams of her own.

The quiet little cherub that was content to view the world from a particular spot on the bed or floor is now a distant memory. During shopping trips and outings, my little ‘babaliefie’ is now a squirming little octopus that’s magically able to reach far beyond what seems humanly possible.

At 9 months, my little fairy is already 75 cm long (as long as the average 13 month old baby girl), yet weighs in at a petite 8.3 kg. She loves her food and is also drinking 2 to 4 bottles a day. She seems happy, healthy and (if you ask me!) gorgeous.

She’s never slept well, but we’ve had an exceptionally trying month. Since breastfeeding came to a halt (due to the downward spiral of lack of demand and lack of supply), she started waking up at night and would simply fail to settle again, sometimes for as long as two or three hours! If I would turn on the light, she’d be so incredibly happy and excited to see me. Exasperated, I started giving her a bottle in the night and that seems the only way to get her asleep again. (She has NO teeth yet, so at least I’m not worried about the effect of this on her teeth..)

It’s also been harder to get her to fall asleep. Lately she pushes herself into sitting when I put her down in her cot at night – and then she just wants to play some more! I’ve come to view the time it takes to get her drowsy as our special time together though, so I don’t mind ‘working’ a bit to get her asleep.

I’ve been quiet lately as juggling motherhood, work and part-time studies is taking its toll. After a bad night, I sometimes feel as if I’m hanging onto sanity for dear life! DH is talking about ttc number two, I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Still, I can never wait to pick up my ‘babaliefietjie’ from daycare in the afternoon. It’s my favourite moment of the day – seeing her little face again after all those long hours apart.

DH and I love her with wild abandon, this perfect, funny little angel of ours.

Day-care is going sooo much better! My baby angel still sometimes cry when I leave her in the morning, but it seems she’s fine the rest of the day. When I pick her up in the afternoon, she’s always happy and content – and very pleased to see me. I’m so relieved that she’s settled now at day-care, but I’m also wondering whether she misses as much as I miss her every work day?

Now if only I could get my baby to sleep at night! The past week or so has been hectic and the past two nights have been the worst! Lately we’ve had to pop her dummy in what feels like a gazillion times per night. The past two nights she also wanted 2 feeds and last night I even got up and gave her a bottle of formula after the second feed. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, I just hope I get to sleep again someday. I feel like a zombie in a car wreck every morning when the alarm goes off.

She’s eating well and loves her food. By now she’s even had home cooked dinners a few times (pureed mince and lentils with veggies and pureed spaghetti bolognaise – no sugar or salt added).

In terms of her development, my baby is doing things her way. She’s always had very strong extensor muscles and has loved doing full weight bearing in a standing position even when she was only a month or two old. This helped her achieve unassisted sitting so relatively early (for a late pretermer) and at a time she was not even rolling over yet.

By now (6 months 3 weeks unadjusted for prematurity) she’s rolling over like a champ and if she’s on her tummy, she’ll try to reach a toy that’s just beyond her grasp by rolling over towards it. Up to now I could leave her on our bed when I was getting ready in the morning, but now I have to put her in the cot for those moments when I’ve got my back turned.

I’m slightly concerned that she’s not getting enough experience of weight bearing on her elbows and hands, as she completely skipped assisted tripod sitting (i.e. sitting propped up on her hands) and does not love being on her tummy. Yes, as a former paediatric Occupational Therapist, I’m sure I’ll always find something to be (at least) slightly concerned about!

She now displays fear of strangers, particularly directed towards ‘ou omies’ (older men). Admittedly, ‘ou omies’ sometimes scare me too! And lately, if I hand her over to a friend, she’ll look up at the lady’s face, start looking uncertain and finally begin to cry till I take her in my arms again.

She’s generally a quiet, cheerful little baby. She doesn’t ‘talk’ that much, but she’s always smiling. She loves it when I sing her songs and when we play games. She’ll look into my eyes and touch my face with her tiny hands – and pull my hair, which is a bit less endearing. She loves bathing and showering. She loves it when we go shopping and she’ll smile at everyone looking in her direction (as long as she’s in my arms or in her Kanga carrier).

She’s started playing peek-a-boo with her blanket. As she pulls it over her head, she becomes a bit anxious and starts breathing more quickly. Her legs will kick energetically till she finally pulls it off her face again. Hehe, she seems to enjoy the rush of those ‘scary’ moments when she’s under the blanket! Funny ‘klein Liefietjie!’

Lastly, as far as cuteness is concerned, my word! I didn’t even know babies come in this cute. How I love her, this perfect little baby angel of mine.

My baby angel has been crying at daycare. I’ve been crying at work. She would cry when I drop her off in the morning. When I call her daymother during the day, I could hear her crying in the background. She’d be crying when I pick her up, until I would hold her in my arms and wipe those tears.

It made me write this:

My world has moved, yet my desk hasn’t noticed my metamammamorphosis

My desk becomes a door to a city of endless, grey streets
through which I wander bleary-eyed
all day long while

my heart searches and searches
“Where is my baby angel? Where is she?”

my ears remain pricked-up
“Do we hear her calling?”

my empty arms hunger for her warm softness

my breasts weep with yearning


The hours drag their feet

Finally, I get to take her from the other woman!

Here she is! She is safe.

I bury my mouth in her wispy baby shampoo hair

I draw the curtain on the world and her thirsty lips find me

She moulds onto me, we melt into each other

I’m whole again

I’ve been back at work (from maternity leave) for over a week. It was long enough for me to realize that I’m going to take very long to adjust to this new setup.

I have a good enough job (if not the stuff movies or series are based on – hahaha, not even close!) and an amazingly understanding female boss. I found a daymother on Gumtree that I feel reasonably comfortable with (i.e. as comfortable as one could feel about a stranger you’re entrusting with the most precious gift you’ve ever received). I should be grateful.

It’s just that I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom like my mother. She married a kinda rich man though (my darling dad), while a geeky, kinda hunky scientist in an ancient bakkie stole my heart. I now realize that being a working girl is one thing, but leaving your long awaited baby girl with a total stranger is quite another.

So here I am, thinking some big-time jealous thoughts about The Other Woman… ’cause my baby angel’s daymother is the one who:

  • now gets to spend more time with my little angel during workweeks than I do.
  • gets to enjoy those Miss Sunshine smiles every weekday when my angel wakes up from a morning nap.
  • will have more opportunities in a given week than I will to comfort and hold her when she cries.
  • might be the one who gets to hear my angel laugh her first belly laugh, say her first word, see her take those first wobbly steps…

How is a mother’s heart supposed to adjust to all that? Ever?

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