This one's apt to get a bit sappy and sentimental, so you might want to step away now while you have the chance.
11 years ago today my first child was born into this world. She had the grace to wait until 4:30 am to wake me, and was born at 10:54 am - my 7 lb 5 oz initiation into the world of motherhood. Although I'd been a part-time stepmom for about 7 years and had been preparing for this for well over 9 months, holding my own real baby in my arms rocked me out of ideas of following other people's prescribed notions of "perfect parenting" and into the new and sometimes frightening concept of mothering by heart.
The first night at home - Mollusc's second 24 hours - was enough to make me think that anyone who bothered with a crib was insane and, quite possibly, sado-masochistic. Who decided that after having your baby inside of you for over 9 months, her transition to the outside was grounds for keeping her as far as possible from your arms? Babies aren't used to that kind of separation. Nor, frankly, are mothers. It's hard to fly in the face of accepted parenting practices, but, fortunately, it's even harder to fight the inborn sense of what's right where one's offspring is concerned. All notions of the possibility of "excessive holding" were promptly chucked out the window. Nursing ensured that I was forced to sit a lot during recovery from birth, thus helping to prevent "overdoing" anything, and the hormones released during nursing also promoted bonding and feelings of general happiness. Great design, I say. Family Bed? I had scoffed at the very thought, but that changed on that first night home when I found myself in a nest on the floor of Mollusc's room, nursing her and trying to sleep.
"The hell with this!" I thought. "I might as well be in bed!" Fearing repercussions from John, I crept timidly into bed bearing the sweet, pink terry-onesie-clad baby with me. To my great relief, he gave a happy sigh and snuggled us both most gratifyingly. He had missed us. :-)
This first success with bucking mainstream parenting ideas made me heady and I threw caution to the winds, embracing the idea of logical and heartfelt parenting to the utmost. Sometime after Mollusc was born, I was lucky enough to find Amity's and to discover that I was not alone in my parenting ideas. I could (and someday finally will) go on to write an entire article about this, but for now I'll leave it at that.
Mollusc has grown into a startlingly bright child with new talents making their debut as she continues to bloom. As she matures, I find myself amazed at -- among other things -- her sophisticated sense of humour (she's a big fan of the H2G2 books and has the same DA kind of wit) her writing talent and her drawing abilities. She shows an amazing compassion for her younger sibs that never fails to touch my heart. I am so blessed to have her in my life. I can't imagine it without her.
Happy Birthday, Mollusc!!!