By Susan Lundy
For some reason, I’ve been thinking about the “baby years.”
Maybe it’s all those puffy pink blossoms triggering memories of a time when everything seemed coloured in pretty pastels. Maybe it’s Facebook. I keep seeing younger friends posting baby pictures and it reminds me that the world was once very, very small: about the size of my babies’ eyes.
I’m grateful Facebook didn’t exist in the baby years. I’d have been beyond obnoxious: here’s a photo of Danica looking at a tree; here’s a photo of Sierra sitting in a chair; here’s a photo of the girls smiling – it’s a bit blurry, but can you see the new tooth popping out of Sierra’s gums?
In those years, little existed beyond babies. I recall arriving at my parent’s home one morning with my firstborn, a burbling baby Danica. We walked into the bathroom and there I was in the mirror. But it wasn’t me. I’d slept the night before with wet hair and now it sprung out in all directions like a furry Russian hat. My eyes were puffy and a spot of dried coffee sat in the corner of my mouth. Danica, on the other hand, was bright and clean, with combed curly locks and little laces tied on perfect white shoes.
Danica was nicely dressed in those days, but not in the way I had envisioned.
I sort of thought that since I liked denim, I’d dress my kids in little denim pants, little jean shirts and jackets. Anything else would be yellow, green or blue. At all costs, I would avoid pink, and I would never, ever purchase a frilly dress.
Then, as I wheeled Danica down a bumpy road in a stroller one day, someone asked the heart-ripping question: “How old is he?” He! So out came the pink sleepers. Out came the barrettes, out came the frills.
At Danica’s first Easter she was six months old. We gathered at my parent’s house for a special dinner and she emerged more dressed than the turkey.
I stuffed her into this pink mass of frills and lace, heaved her legs into white tights and stuck little black patent shoes on her feet. Worst of all, my mother took photographs of everyone’s favourite cherub so she will exist forever in pink.
But in fact, life became pink all over.
Sandy (a woman I met in pre-natal class) and I took to walking through town, pushing our offspring in strollers, talking about nothing that didn’t relate to babies.
The sun warmed our faces. Pink blossoms poked from trees in the park; even the sound of cars motoring by became a happy hum in the background. Life was still and gentle … and pink.
One day we joined other new parents in a coffee shop and for a split second I emerged from baby bliss long enough to notice our strange antics.
We made weird faces and noises. We gurgled, burped, blew, bubbled and sang unlikely little songs. We performed face gymnastics and body contortions – anything to elicit a beatific baby smile.
One of the burly, masculine men at our table said, “Try this.” He leaned toward Danica and started clucking.
Soon we were all clucking.
Then Danica swatted at Sandy, and I murmured off-handedly, “You’re supposed to honk when she touches your nose.” So Sandy honked. Then we all honked.
Twenty odd years later, the world is a little bigger and things aren’t so pink (more like green, if I consider the flow of money from my wallet).
But I’ve discovered that your babies never really stop being the centre of your universe. Um, just check my Facebook page.