I wrote a monthly letter to Eleanor (first child!) on my blog, and then Harriet got a three monthly letter… now here we are at child number three, with a four month letter to kick the show off. I am nothing if not consistent in dropping the ball though?! Sorry/but not sorry Mary, there’s been a bit going on…
I literally had to get out the fingers and count how many months old you were turning… four. Four? FOUR?! It seemed both not enough, and way too many, all at once. How confusing! You seem to have been here forever and a day… and the blink of an eye too. You were just born, that perfect bundle wrapped in our love bubble from the very beginning. A beautiful chaos indeed.
Four month old Mary is, as usual, a complete delight. You are getting so very chubby – although I haven’t been able to get you weighed at your maternal child health nurse appointment, as everything is cancelled, on hold, postponed or in disarray. The world around you has been tipped on it’s head amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. One day I will tell you all about it, about that time when you were a little baby and we stayed at home in our cosy farmhouse with your big sisters and didn’t venture out for weeks (months?!) At the moment though, you are none the wiser – you couldn’t give two hoots about a global health and economic crisis! Blessed babies: grounding us and keeping us sane and still making sure the world turns in just the right way.
You are waking (usually) twice in the night – usually you’ll go to bed at 6.30ish, depending on when you wake up from your last sleep of the day, then wake fairly consistently around 11pm, a tough time if Mummy has only just gone to bed/sleep! And then again around 2-3am. You’ll usually settle back to sleep after being fed just fine, sometimes you’ll lose your dummy a few times and Mummy is up down up down a few times. The four month sleep regression does seem to have hit – some nights you will wake hourly it seems! You musn’t be hungry (surely) after just three hours, or much less, but at the moment I am feeding you if you wake – you are just little still. You sleep in most mornings now we don’t have to rush off to school or kinder – you have been taking full advantage! You sleep in happily until 9am sometimes, depending when you last woke to feed, if it is more towards the wee hours of the morning like 4am+ you will sleep quite late – and I just let you go. A few mornings recently I’ve had to wake you at 10am as I need to feed you! I think you would have really appreciated being a first born baby and not have to worry about fitting into the schedules of your big sisters. In many ways you are just a mini-Eleanor.
Because you are sleeping in so much, you have basically dropped that pesky third short sleep of the day – THANK GOODNESS. I really disliked that one, trying to get you to have a sleep (which you flat out refused to do in your bassinet) at anywhere between 4-5.30pm while I tried to organise dinner or wrangle your sisters, was the bane of my existence. I would strap you into the ergo, with Harriet doing up the back strap, and bounce around the kitchen trying to get you to sleep. It would take awhile, and then you would be nearly ready for actual bedtime anyway! Often you wouldn’t actually sleep, but just get very relaxed and floppy and sleeeeepy, but have a little ‘rest’ on Mummy in the ergo. Whatever gets us through the witching hours to bedtime! Now though with our new homebody lifestyle, we can (hopefully) get two solid sleeps in and still have the usual 1.5-2 hours awake time before the next sleep/bedtime. Well, that’s the plan anyway, as always it can (and does) go pear shaped from time to time! If you do wake at a ‘usual’ 7am it can be tricky to only have two sleeps in the day. Ebs and flows, swings and roundabouts. Lucky you’re not my first rodeo, I know you will soon be sleeping through the night and I’ll miss our midnight quiet feeds. I know you will soon be crawling around our house making yourself known, or running after your sisters, or eating your weight in biscuits and fruit. I’m desperately trying to slow down time and keep you my littlest baby love for as long as possible…
As you now have more awake time between your sleeps, you are needing to be ‘entertained’ more. You go between your swing (which you’re getting too big for) and under your play gym (sometimes you’re not a fan of lying down, sometimes if it’s next to where Eleanor and Harriet are playing, you will be happy there for ages!) I couldn’t find out bumbo (who did I lend it to?!) so we’ve borrowed Aunty Elisha’s, you love sitting up on the table with your sisters, or on the floor in the playroom while they play around you or Eleanor does her school work – another ‘station’ to move you to to keep you happy! You love going for walks around the garden in the pram, or down to the mailbox with the big girls, they love pushing you around the lemon and plum trees while I hang washing too – me pleading with them to ‘go slow!’ so you don’t get toppled out! Third baby problems.
You will start eating food soon, not too soon though. As with everything, I am in denial that you are getting to be a ‘big baby’ now. Once you were passed the three month mark I couldn’t call you a ‘new baby’ anymore I don’t think, and it hurt my heart a little bit. Although you’re growing like a mushroom, seemingly overnight you get bigger, you still haven’t managed to roll over yet. No rush. You wriggle and pivot around on your back, you seem to move a fair way for an immobile baby! In the past week we have made the big (well, not that big) transition to your cot from the bassinet. Your head and toes were nearly touching the ends of the bassinet, so it was definitely time! But with all baby things that eventually get too small or packed away, this time with you I know they won’t be coming back around for another baby. So Mummy is having all the feelings about that, sorry little one, you’ll probably get that your whole life as you pass milestones and grow up – but always My Baby.
The first four months of your life you have spent to’ing and fro’ing from home to Melbourne to hospitals and to Grandi’s apartment in Port Melbourne. You spent a lot of nights sleeping in your pram bassinet at Grandi’s. When you were three and a half months we lost Grandi, I know that you won’t ever remember her, but I want you to know just how very much she loved you. You were her favourite. The baby. She fought very hard to even get to meet you, Mary Alice. On the night you were born I cried and cried because you looked back at me and looked just like Grandi, and I knew that you would grow up without her, and I would have to navigate being your mum without my own mum. You were her very favourite visitor in the last few weeks of her life, you would make everything better for her, which is saying something for a cancer patient in the latter stages of palliative care. Her special baby Mary. On the Friday before she passed away I arrived at her apartment, with you in tow as always, she woke very briefly and looked intently at you and said “Oh, hello Mary!” They were the last words she spoke. So you will always be Grandi’s special baby girl too, just like me.
We love, love, love you, our Mary Maclary. Your doting big sisters seem to never tire of you, they always (always!) want to chat to you, sing to you, go and see if you’re awake, open your curtains in your room and sing out “Wakey wakey Marrrryyyyy!!!” They are pretty obsessed, rightly so. They sit on the bed in your room and show you all the toys that you really couldn’t care less about. But you absorb it all, in your little sister placid-easy-going-slot-right-in kind of way. They will teach you everything, Mary. Just you wait and see. They will be your best friends and cheerleaders and guides and voices of reason. I know this because I have two big sisters, just like you.
Goodness knows what the next few months will bring us, baby girl. Life and the world at the moment already looks a little weird, skewed, different, but we’re adapting – we could take a leaf out of your chameleon book, going with the flow and not sweating the small stuff. I took you to get your four month old immunisations the other day – in the carpark of the doctors clinic, by a nurse wearing surgical scrubs and a full face mask and hair net. One day I’ll tell you all about it (or you’ll read about it here!) and it will be one of those stories you’ll tell your grandkids about the time you lived through the covid19 pandemic as a wee little baby.
All this isolation time though… I really need to jot some things down in your baby book! Before it all slips through the sieve of my memory. Time stands still for nobody, especially mother’s of multiple small children. As someone reminded me today: you will never be as little as you are right now, this very minute. In a minute you will be older, bigger, different, changed. Don’t go changing too much though, muffin. You’re pretty perfect just as you are, the perfect sprinkle on top to our family.
Grow big, stay small,