Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately (as I suppose life with a baby generally is). At nearly five months old, The Engineer’s Baby is amazing. She is curious, and is really good at commando crawling a metre or two to get a toy or someone’s foot. She smiles a big laughing grin at new people, and charms almost everyone she meets. She is fascinated by the baby in the mirror, and can be entertained for ages with a tissue box or a plastic container filled with rice.
But on the flip side, she is so curious that sleep doesn’t always come easy. And while commando crawling is working quite well, she seems to really want to crawl properly or maybe even walk, so she is frequently frustrated that her body can’t quite match her ideas. She needs attention, but doesn’t like to cuddle or sit with me. She hates to be restricted, and the car seat is necessarily restrictive, which makes car rides the opposite of fun. She is often quiet and charming to the rest of the world, and saves her grumps for me.
When I write it down, or really analyse it, it doesn’t sound so bad. Objectively, I know I am very very lucky and I know I have it easier than many parents of four-month-olds. But when I’m in the thick of the grizzles, it’s not so easy to detach and see past the challenges. I am sleep deprived. I am not eating well or drinking enough water. I am stuck inside by the heat, and if it’s not the heat it’s the crazy rain. My immune system has gone to pot after a couple of colds and a stomach bug. I am struggling to look after myself, and as a result, I am less able to look after her. And that just makes me feel worse, which makes it that much harder to look after myself (and so on, and so on).
Unfortunately, when I do get a snippet of time that I could dedicate to myself, I don’t tend to use it wisely. I have forgotten the things I used to do to look after myself, and the ones I can remember aren’t so easy to do with a baby in tow. I spend too much time on the internet, which I know full well isn’t the best plan, but is the first thing that comes to mind and is sometimes the only thing I have the mental energy for.
That all makes it sound pretty negative, which it really really isn’t. Parenthood is actually rather wonderful, and I think Baby Engineer and I have a wonderful relationship. It just happens that my rollercoaster is in the dip at the moment, and it’s not always easy to get that forward momentum. I suspect our trip to New Zealand will be the little push this car needs. But it isn’t always easy for me to stop analysing and just go with it. I know that this will pass. The good and the bad. And in the meantime, I’m going to work on following Ronan Keating’s sage advice:
Life is a rollercoaster,
Just gotta ride it
Unfortunately, that’s not easy for me. (Seriously – when I was nine years old, I waited and watched for ages while my sisters rode the roller coaster at Rainbow’s End because I was scared of the upside downs; when I was twenty-three, I waited and watched for ages while my boyfriend, sister, and brother in law rode the big drop because I was scared. Me and roller coasters are not the greatest combo.) So I’m also going to make an effort to get out and about and do things, even if it means dealing with a bit of grizzling. If there’s one thing that drives the roller coaster down to the dips, it’s staying home all day alone!