Last week, I noticed a woman putting her little baby into the car and as she transferred him from pram to carseat, she paused to kiss him. It was almost an absentminded gesture and one that was so familiar to me. I simply can not hold my baby – in fact, any of my children – without kissing their little faces. All three of them endure a million kisses a day – and there is something especially kissable about the face of a baby, the soft, roundness of their cheeks, the way the skin bounces immediately back from the pressure of your touch, so plump with life – and collagen!
This past week I have been marvelling at the fact that Bren and I, both sitting closer to 40 than 30 now, are parents to this small baby. It is markedly different from the first time. And from the second. Luca came into our world five years ago which, in the face of a life lived into old age, is not a long time and yet, those five years have changed us immeasurably. For this reason, raising our third baby is same same and different all at once. The day-to-dayness of life with an infant is very similar and yet, we approach the experience with the last five years informing our choices.
I would like to say that those years have made it easier or us wiser.
Someone remind me about how to introduce solids again? I haven't made it past rice cereal and pureed apple yet. No matter. Harlow seems to be a fan of both.
And, of course, it is still a complete novelty to be the parent of a baby girl. Girl. My daughter. Ha! I will never grow tired of saying that.
Life with three children is hard. A juggling act. And some days, a losing battle. But every single day I find joy in this little face. She wakes from her day naps, often a very fleeting 45 minutes, and the small annoyance I feel at my chance to get something done having been thwarted again dissolves immediately when that sweet face beams up at me from her cot, her little body wriggling with delight at my presence. Oh god, in those moments, I wonder what else there is in life.
Sometimes I worry that I am slipping under the weight of this gig, that I am too impatient and shouty with my kids. But the fact that no matter where my head is at, Harlow's little face can lift me out of a mood and bring me right to the centre of the present moment tells me that I am still travelling okay. She is a constant reminder of my blessings, a call to joy that reverberates throughout the entire family.
I love this baby girl.