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Five months old today

June 5, 2012

Hope is 5 months old today … as the cliche goes; I don’t know where the time has gone?!

She’s still tiny (in comparison to many of the babies I’ve stayed in touch with since she was born), but she’s on her curve,  it is just a low curve. Hope is growing, she has delightfully chubby wrists and is developing little folds all over. She is alert, watchful, prone to sudden outbursts of gummy grinning and follows everything with her huge wide eyes. My girl can now grip things and can be very precise about what she picks up with her thumb and forefinger … she delights in holding onto my hair with both hands while I am feeding her and she falls asleep with one hand over her eye and the other hand above her like some graceful ballet dancer, or if she’s really tired she grips her blanket and looks so determined in her sleep.

This Thursday, in two days time, she’ll be 22 weeks old. I prefer measuring in weeks somehow, it seems more precise and months seem so grown up.

The moments of still we have together, her asleep in my lap or moments of calm when she’s intently feeding or just sitting on my lap looking around her or, wonderfully, when she suddenly looks up and breaks off from feeding and just stares and stares into my soul letting out a little “ahhh” and grinning her huge grin and like a king fisher darting returning to her feeding station.

She hasn’t had nappy rash, she hasn’t had cradle cap and she hasn’t had baby acne since the brief outburst at about 10 weeks … she does have a little red sore patch I have to look out for around her neck at the front where she dribbles her milk and the little fold of her neck stores it all up, but as long as we keep it dry and if it does turn pink at all then coat it in the wonderful bepanthen cream, which the midwife recommended back in hospital, then all is well.

Hope loves baths and howls like a banshee when taken out of them, she always has a little coconut oil in the water and when I dry her she smells wonderful and her smooth smooth skin feels even more like translucent rose petals (I know what I mean) … back to King Lear and the “monumental alabaster” again. Maybe that is why she’s not been aflicted by rashes and sores … it’s something I was taught in Kerala when the whole process of preparing for IVF began. I don’t use face creams any more just coconut oil and it works for me too.

She now plays for up to an hour on her little play station, loving the dangly elephant particularly. She has been showered with toys, and funnily enough rabbits seem to be the new teddies … she has so many bunnies … she enjoys holding the ears in her resolute little fingers and pulling them, chewing the nose or the tail or the end of the ear and often falls asleep with one clutched in tight tight grip. Her favourite at the moment is still Mr Zebra with his blue stripes and pink nose he is small and white and bright and she loves holding him and crunkling his ears.

Hope clearly is remarkable. I’m sure no other child has ever been so perfect and I am so so lucky. We went to a conference in London last week, a whole day conference, and the conference dinner (last minute invitation so no time to worry about  what to wear) and she cried only 3 times the whole day, once when I was a bit tardy in feeding her, once when someone from the Cabinet Office picked her up and once on the train home at 10.45pm. Someone tweeted afterwards they had met “Quite the cutest baby I’ve ever seen” and a friend, a photographer and former civil servant took some wonderful photos of her (very different to the kind I take with my telephone which you’ll have got used to on this blog over the last 5 months).

She and I nearly weren’t allowed in to the evening do, stuck briefly on the red carpet with a barrier hastily put up infront of us, “We’ve never had one of these in the evening before”. I thought it was the push chair they objected to, but it was Hope. Not concerned about her shouting at the speakers and barraking the award winners, but Hope’s presence seemed to make them worried they would be in breach of insurance regulations!! Suffice to say that common sense prevailed and Hope sat on my lap and enjoyed the first couple of courses (we left before pudding) with me and charmed all around her. She even featured in Maggie Philbin’s speech, which we missed as we were on the train home. At no point in the day did she seem alarmed or uncomfortable, she smiled and took everything in and from time to time turned to me, just to check I was still there, and gave my hair or my shirt a big tug. I love how she just absorbs the world and watches everything, and then when she’s hungry she dives under my blouse and feast contentedly and then enjoys a precious milky moment before re-emerging fresh and ready for whatever is to happen next.

I am besotted, I now only have one topic of conversation which I’m sure makes me duller than dull to most people but, frankly, I don’t care. I am happier and feel calmer and more contented than I have ever felt. My pride in and and love for my own remarkable mother knows no bounds (as does my guilt at being such an objectionable teenager). Hope’s arrival in the world was a miracle and she continues to dazzle and shine. She exhausts me and has rendered me a make up less frump but again (on the whole), but I don’t care! I love my girl and though I worry hugely about money, the future and so on right here and right now I am in a state of utter bliss.

Happy five months little girl : )

The world’s best dribbler looking forward to the next 5 months!!

Excited on the train to London

Having a rest during the conference – photo by Pete Stean

Plotting mischief at the conference in the sure knowledge I’d keep her safe! Photo by Pete Stean

Proud and happy in the evening before we were nearly stopped from going into the dinner



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