When Luca was newborn, it awakened the poet in me. Each day, my heart wrote sonnets for this baby boy. For a whole year, we were a love song duet. I can't remember ever being happier.
When Ziggy arrived almost two and half years later, the exhaustion of motherhood felt heavier, and juggling two kids felt significantly harder than juggling one. But still I couldn't fail to notice the milkiness of my new baby's skin, the blue of his eyes.
The adjustment to being a mother of two was difficult, but in the still moments, I found beauty. It did not have the shiny newness of Luca's arrival – that giddy excitement at the unknown – but becoming Zig's mum was precious just the same. My heart was still Shakespearean.
By the time Harlow arrived (another two and a half years after Zig), I was often overwhelmed by the crushing relentlessness of three children, but she was a girl, and my heart had been writing love songs for her since the beginning of time. A daughter! Novelty alone kept me afloat.
But babies by their very nature inspire flowery prose. Freshly birthed and brand new in the world, tiny and helpless and smelling like caramel mixed with pureness and probably exactly the same as Heaven, it's hard not to find music here.
But life goes on, and babies grow up into people who constantly want everything all the time. I was worried my heart had run out of words. Had the music….died?
When did I stop seeing the wonder? Instead of milky skin and chuckles that spring directly from rounded bellies, I see kids who desperately need a bath and cheekiness bordering on wilful disobedience.
The pressures of time and obligation, bills and cleaning and homework and food and jesus, if I don't see the osteo soon this migraine will be permanent, not to mention trying to keep in contact with people I love – these never-ending demands drain the colour out of my days until I find I am wading through a greyish fog.
Although to be fair, I live in Melbourne, so sometimes the figurative is also literal.
How many moments am I missing underneath this cloud? "Have I lost my eye for the beauty in small things?" I worried.
But then it was bath time. Each night, she does this, the very same routine. I run the water and she throws her doll, Bey, in with a thunk. Next she strips off and marches each piece of clothing to the hamper in her bedroom. Sometimes it takes her three trips. She is fiercely independent and only ever asks for "Halp!" getting her top over her head. There she goes, striding to and from the bathroom, naked and determined. And what a thing to behold, the purposeful stride of a bare-bummed toddler. When she returns, I pop her in the bath, and I lean in to kiss the little rosebud mouth she is offering me.
When I kiss my daughter, my heart becomes a composer. When Zig's face lights up spotting me at kinder pick-up, it's love songs and dedications time. When Luca sits and chats to me like the thoughtful and curious little person he is, my heart is every poem ever written about love.
Sometimes the chaos is too loud for me to hear it. But that just means I need to listen more closely.