From time to time the blogger network throws out a challenge, a writing prompt as it were. This month BritMums threw the #VicksBabyRub challenge out into the blogging community, asking bloggers to write a piece of advice to their first-time-parent self. My mind immediately went in 100 different directions as to what I would tell myself if I rewound the clock 3 or 4 years and I knew then I wanted to take part.
So here it is, my letter to myself:
My one piece of advice would be to savour every moment.
Yes, I know that is so difficult to do. Especially when you’re so tired you feel drunk, when you’re desperate for someone to reach out and ask if you’re ok and offer some help, or when you’re just in need of some adult conversation. Still, just savour it. Because before you know it, it’s gone.
Time is a fickle thing. An hour can last a day, but the years can flash by in a series of moments. The key is to capture those moments and hold onto them like the precious jewels they are. And I promise you, every moment can be beautiful. Yes, I know. I can see you rolling your eyes as you sit on a chair at 3am with your newborn at your breast having not had more than an hour sleep in days, if not weeks. I promise you though, it is.
Look down at that little head feeding, before you know it she will be sleeping through the night (it will happen, though sadly it will take a while). After the elation of the additional sleep comes the simple fact that you miss her. She will no longer need you in the night and call your name to hold her. You will no longer need to curl up around her as she drifts to sleep and breathe in the smell of her that is uniquely her own. So, hold on to those midnight moments. You will miss them when they’re gone.
There will come a time when holding your babies will bring you pain (yes that is plural – you will have two!). Your back and elbow will scream in pain as you lift them into your arms. One day though, you won’t need to. They will no longer hold up their little arms to be held and it will take you a little while to notice that those moments are now gone.
Even when they’re sick and you spend hours holding them in your arms, rubbing Vicks onto their chest as the smell of rosemary, lavender and aloe vera fills the room. Soon, they won’t call for you or demand ‘tickle backs’ whenever they feel poorly. Though to be fair those moments last a little longer than the rest.
That one last story before bed will soon become the last one they ever ask for and before you know it, we will be the ones begging for their attention and moments of their time. So, like I say. Just savour every moment.
However, a few bits of practical advice too. Stop fighting Darcie to establish a routine, she’ll find one in her own time. When Henry goes quiet, check on him immediately. He is no doubt doing something he shouldn’t be. Snuggle bunny will survive her first tumble in the washing machine and will need many more over the years. And – no matter how much you try – Henry will never like sweetcorn.
Both your babies adore cuddles and just being held. Return every one as if it were the last and smother them in love. Your children have changed you in every way imaginable and in the best possible way. Life becomes so much more vibrant and full of colour when you embrace that simple fact.
All my love, hugs and all the sleepy dust I can find.
You….in a few more years xxx
DISCLOSURE: this post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, VicksBabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.