status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
My days seem to have taken on a slightly drifty quality since we arrived back in Italy. I would blame it on the baby (she certainly provides excellent cover for tardiness, absence, unfinished tasks and odd smells), but I suspect that it’s really just my true nature kicking in.
After years of attempting to keep up the pretence that I seek a fascinating existence, I finally have the perfect excuse to fart around doing very little of any note – an endless succession of happy toothless smiles reassuring me that any guilt I might feel about such idleness is nothing but wasted emotion.
So time passes in a lazy haze of cuddles, storybooks, long walks, cautious exploration and mutual adoration – with the soundtrack of experimental squeals, cheerful chuckles and incomprehensible nattering that has accompanied my baby’s transformation from helpless newborn to increasingly characterful four-month old.
(It would be remiss of me not to also give mention to the poo explosions, the occasional unexplained crying – both hers and mine, the regurgitation splats that land on most of my clothing within 10 minutes of me dressing, the dearth of more than half a minute to myself at any one time, and the realisation when I leave the house that I have apparently been rendered invisible by the plump and sumptuous little creature strapped to my chest – although in all fairness, my years with Pooch should have inured me to the pain of being overlooked in favour of a more charming companion…)
Being a new mamma here is certainly an experience – the Mothership was astonished to note that Italian men are just as keen to rush over for a goo goo gaa gaa as the women (most British men preferring to devour their bowler hats rather than interact with a small child).
On the downside, I am still having to work hard at ignoring the insistence of some on telling me how to care for my daughter: “Put a hat on her, there’s a breeze!” “Put some socks on her, there’s a breeze!” “She should be wearing thicker clothes, there’s a breeze!” “You shouldn’t be going for a walk with that baby, there’s a breeze!” and one of my personal favourites: “Does your husband know you brought her out in this breeze?”
Oh please don’t tell him, signora! I’m still sore from the beating I got for not having warmed his slippers…
I’m also getting it in the neck on a daily basis for the sling, although it quickly became apparent that the pressure to trundle Maya around in a pushchair as opposed to attached to me, has rather more to do with people’s desire to get handsy with her, than any real concern for her well-being.
Many dive in anyway, huffing breathily into my cleavage and grabbing at my spare tyres in their eagerness to lay claim to a beaming grin or force a finger into the gratifying grip of a fat little fist, while I attempt to repress the very British desire for personal space that threatens to bubble out in a blur of aggressively wielded elbows and a swift knee to the groin.
Repressed crossness with an overenthusiastic fan club notwithstanding, overall this is proving to be a magical time.
I never anticipated just how quickly the helpless eating/sleeping/crying stage would morph into something hugely much more entertaining, and I am now captivated by my daughter launching herself with joyful excitement at each new developmental milestone.
The fragile little soul that lay obediently on her playmat until someone saw fit to move her, now throws her way vigorously around the floor with kicks and semi-rolls, frequently parting company with the mat altogether to end up partially wedged under the surrounding furniture.
(No need to panic – we usually manage to hoik her back out before the dust bunnies can get at her.)
Feeds are interrupted every few sucks with an unmistakable demand to be sat up so she can check nothing exciting is escaping her notice, and even if the view that greets her remains unchanged from the previous inspection, it doesn’t seem to dent her delighted surprise at being faced with it again.
Vocal chords that previously only served to utter monotonous complaints, have stretched to accommodate a spectrum of sounds and volumes ranging from giggles to gusty belly laughs through shrieks and shouts to chatter so conversational that it almost makes me believe we are really communicating.
(I have been told that bringing up a child in multiple languages can make for late speech development. And as I natter away to her primarily in English, hubby in Romanian and most everyone else she comes across at the moment in Italian, I will raise my hat to her if she manages to produce a coherent sentence before puberty.)
But all this change does bring with it a pang of worry that everything is going by far too fast, that so many delightful moments will be forgotten as she learns and grows.
So at the expense of those readers who would rather eat their headgear than read stuff about children, I am simply going to have to record those moments here from time to time:
Chuckles of hungry excitement at glimpsing an approaching boob – dimpled arms reaching up to guide it home, little mouth pursed into an “O” of welcoming anticipation.
Being woken at 6 in the morning by her chattering and laughing to the teddies in her cot.
Little fingers tracing lazy patterns on my breast as she feeds, playing with my shirt buttons, catching at my necklace – smiling eyes never leaving mine.
Taking a hank of my hair in each hand for added stability whenever I carry her in my arms.
Cooing meditatively at the trees we pass on our daily walks, before resting a chubby cheek on my breastbone and dozing off.
The fist-sucking, body-contorting, fussing and squalling fight she puts up every other time her body clock tries to lull her into having a nap.
The constant and enthusiastic squealing that goes with us lying on our backs reading a book – not forgetting the over excited fist in the eye I get with every page turn.
Kisses to her cheek that she ambushes and turns into drooly, gummy, open-mouthed and milky-breathed declarations of love pressed to my grateful skin.
I am in love.
This is Status Viatoris who would just like to say – Hang in there, Folks! It’s election time in My Little Italian Village, and the political intrigue is more hot than not… will be digging the dirt for my next post, in Italy!