For some reason, I have this odd expectation that my baby will sit still and play peacefully by herself once she reaches this milestone. Emma’s getting stronger each day, exploring her options in lunging forward, sideways while sitting upright, and rolling over. She has not mastered rolling onto her back yet though. I forget a very crucial fact. Once babies learn a new skill, they will keep going at it like an energizer bunny. This increases my workload as a mother for sure. I will have to constantly keep watch at her every move, ensuring she doesn’t injure herself.
Sometimes, I let her fall. I think it is important for babies to learn what consequences are; how does physical pain feel like when they bump their head. Of course, it doesn’t happen often and I do not encourage it all the time. However, I have discovered that if Emma experiences this a couple times, she gets the message. She becomes more careful, and she hones her skills faster. Within a few days, Emma has learnt to balance herself while sitting upright. Sometimes she puts her arms out straight and moves it about to balance her posture. Sometimes she uses her arms in the tripod position to support her upper body weight.
Yesterday, something funny happened. I am glad both my husband and I got to witness it together. Emma was sitting upright on the play gym. I wasn’t holding her tight, just kept my arms close at bay in case she does a super strong lunge backwards. I could tell she was trying to move forward but she didn’t know how. She kept lowering her body forward a few times, with her arms supporting herself whenever she got out of balance. Then, slowly … very slowly, she fell forward. Her head touched the ground, buttocks high up in the air as her legs were still somewhat in the seated position. Her cheeks squished silly as she dazed momentarily at what had just happened. It was hilarious. I wonder if she would do it again. Too bad my husband and I did not have our cameras at hand to capture that awesome yoga pose she had created.
Next week, Emma will be 5 months old. I have mixed feelings about how time is progressing ever since I gave birth to a baby. Some days, I feel like time is going too slow, and that I want Emma to grow up faster. During these days, I dream of the fun and all sorts of activities we can do together when she can walk and talk. But there are days where I don’t want her to grow up so fast. During these days, I want to keep her close to me as a little baby. I cherish the little loving moments she gives to me. Somehow, as exhausted I may be, I will miss those night feedings where she will wake up for milk. After a satisfied feed she will nuzzle her face close to my breasts. Whenever I feed her a bottle she will grab onto my thumb as she drinks. During our lullaby cuddles, she will gaze and smile sweetly at me, at times trying to move her mouth as she tries to imitate my singing. When she is tired, she will rest her head on my neck, closing her eyes as she tries to shut out everything else around her. These are the moments where I feel proud to be a mother. My baby needs me at the end of the day. No matter how fussy she has been, how annoying her cries have been … Emma looks to me for comfort and fun. She wants to learn with me. She wants me to bring her for a walk. Emma doesn’t like to sit in the stroller these days. Her protests are getting stronger and louder whenever she has had enough of being strapped in. She knows she gets to see and do more when we carry her. Her hands just want to grab onto … everything.
Recently, I read a touching parenting article. The author is a mother who expressed her thoughts for her daughter in the event she won’t be around for to care for her. I have always wondered myself – what would happen if I had to leave this world suddenly? I will not be able to see my baby girl graduate from school, college, get her first job, get married, see her build her own family … . There are so many things I want to tell Emma, as a mother to her daughter; as a woman to another woman. What if I wasn’t able to say it all in time? It is a scary thought. Although, I think it would be even scarier for her if anything like this should happen to our family. We can explain how wonderful and amazing the world has to offer but how do we explain the unforeseen and unpredictable events of life?
With every post I am about to write in this journey, I am going to write one piece of advice for Emma. At the very least, it is captured here even when I won’t be around anymore to keep saying it to her. Life is so fragile, yet full of potential for happiness. In a world where growth is progressing so fast, it is easy to get lost; difficult at times to retrace our steps. My dear Emma, here is my first piece of advice for you. May this and the many more that I am about to write help guide you in this life you are about to discover for yourself. And may it also give you strength and wisdom to pass it to your own children in the future …
Home is where your heart will be whenever you feel the whole world is turning against you. Remember, your first exposure to education is at home, not at school. At home, we teach you values. We teach you virtues. We teach you your roots, your heritage. We teach you kindness and gratitude. We teach you respect. We teach you humility. We teach you how to survive in this fragile world, because we as adults have been there and done that. We have tasted the bitter, we have writhed in pain. Knowing you will one day walk down these paths yourself, we naturally want to protect you as much as we can. Remember all that you have learned at home. You will never find the same comfort and security, and the level of sacrifice family will do in the outside world. It is a big, big world. It is also a dangerous world.