Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Plus ça change...

Cold and raining. The latter is good for the garden. The former is good for... ? Fill in the blank if you can. I can't.

Seven years ago, give or take a few hours, I gave birth to my son, AJ. He arrived amid chaos. The House on the Rock was still only half-restored. There was no hot water in the kitchen, no water at all in the bathroom. The entire upper third of the house was still unplastered, and unelectrified - unexplored you might even say. Our very own heart of darkness. And the place had not much in the way of heating either. 

In the weeks and months that followed through the chill of the Carmine winter, AJ slept with us on a mattress on the floor. 

As much as tiny babies do, that is. 

Which isn't much.

Of that time I remember mostly the cold at night. I remember sitting up in bed in the wee small hours, propped against a freezing external wall, with his little body at the breast or in my lap, cocooned in a blanket. I remember marvelling at M's ability to snooze on through vigorous smacking of infantile lips and vigorous attempts at burping, which I now recall never, ever succeeded. Oh, and the cholic.

I remember feeling that I was the only person alive that was awake at that moment. In the darkness of 3am, not a light lit. Not a waking soul to share the responsibility of this little life with. I remember the only thing that kept me going through the sleep deprivation all ordinary parents share was the fact of this little boy. Just the fact of him.

In the wee small hours of last Sunday night in bed, I'm cold, disastrously tired and awake. I'm propped against a freezing external wall. I've got pins and needles but I'm riveted to the spot by the warm weight of a not-so-small body asleep upright on my lap. I'm riveted by the desire not to wake my asthmatic son into yet another fit of uncontrollable coughing. I'm marvelling through gritted teeth- so-to-speak - at M's ability to snooze on through lights off and on, the too-frequent application of spray medications, the making of cups of tea to keep me awake and drinking chocolate to make him sleep. The inevitable fits of uncontrollable coughing that make me feel I should be heading down The Hill towards Pronto Soccorso. 

I'm feeling that I'm the only person awake in the inky blackness of this night. Not a waking soul to share the responsibility of this not-so-little life with. And I know that the only thing that keeps me doing this is the fact of this growing child. Just the fact of him. 

Happy birthday, AJ. Truly, an indisputable fact of my life.

4 comments:

russell Hall said...

Ah Lou, I totally understand;having come to the agreement with Jane many years ago that for the first six months that she could take care like no other after that the agreement was that I, as the lighter sleeper, would always be there when night terrors strike and always have been and it's been one of life's great privileges.

Spent tonight talking to a brilliant university lecture about gender differences in the eighteenth century and wouldn't have been able to have even a toe hold in the conversation without the dialogue that existed between you and I and Hugh; which for all its follies and failures was truly built on a passion for
learning.Sorry I was so crap when you rang from Paris.

Lecturer was most impressed that I could quote and knew who Aphra Ben was....so wherever the two you are , I will raise a glass of Old Hooky to your memory and pass the message on to Morrell if you can through his brother;it's a great life if you don't weaken - such truth embedded in the burning embers of a cliche....don't weaken.

Russ

ladyfi said...

Such a beautiful tribute - sums up the bitter and the sweet that is our children.

Oh mamma said...

How sweet! You caught the real essence of motherhood. Beautiful.

Michelle said...

It sounds really harsh. I bet you were afraid for little AJ at the time as well.
How can M have such a deep sleep?

Happy belated birthday, AJ!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Plus ça change...

Cold and raining. The latter is good for the garden. The former is good for... ? Fill in the blank if you can. I can't.

Seven years ago, give or take a few hours, I gave birth to my son, AJ. He arrived amid chaos. The House on the Rock was still only half-restored. There was no hot water in the kitchen, no water at all in the bathroom. The entire upper third of the house was still unplastered, and unelectrified - unexplored you might even say. Our very own heart of darkness. And the place had not much in the way of heating either. 

In the weeks and months that followed through the chill of the Carmine winter, AJ slept with us on a mattress on the floor. 

As much as tiny babies do, that is. 

Which isn't much.

Of that time I remember mostly the cold at night. I remember sitting up in bed in the wee small hours, propped against a freezing external wall, with his little body at the breast or in my lap, cocooned in a blanket. I remember marvelling at M's ability to snooze on through vigorous smacking of infantile lips and vigorous attempts at burping, which I now recall never, ever succeeded. Oh, and the cholic.

I remember feeling that I was the only person alive that was awake at that moment. In the darkness of 3am, not a light lit. Not a waking soul to share the responsibility of this little life with. I remember the only thing that kept me going through the sleep deprivation all ordinary parents share was the fact of this little boy. Just the fact of him.

In the wee small hours of last Sunday night in bed, I'm cold, disastrously tired and awake. I'm propped against a freezing external wall. I've got pins and needles but I'm riveted to the spot by the warm weight of a not-so-small body asleep upright on my lap. I'm riveted by the desire not to wake my asthmatic son into yet another fit of uncontrollable coughing. I'm marvelling through gritted teeth- so-to-speak - at M's ability to snooze on through lights off and on, the too-frequent application of spray medications, the making of cups of tea to keep me awake and drinking chocolate to make him sleep. The inevitable fits of uncontrollable coughing that make me feel I should be heading down The Hill towards Pronto Soccorso. 

I'm feeling that I'm the only person awake in the inky blackness of this night. Not a waking soul to share the responsibility of this not-so-little life with. And I know that the only thing that keeps me doing this is the fact of this growing child. Just the fact of him. 

Happy birthday, AJ. Truly, an indisputable fact of my life.

4 comments:

russell Hall said...

Ah Lou, I totally understand;having come to the agreement with Jane many years ago that for the first six months that she could take care like no other after that the agreement was that I, as the lighter sleeper, would always be there when night terrors strike and always have been and it's been one of life's great privileges.

Spent tonight talking to a brilliant university lecture about gender differences in the eighteenth century and wouldn't have been able to have even a toe hold in the conversation without the dialogue that existed between you and I and Hugh; which for all its follies and failures was truly built on a passion for
learning.Sorry I was so crap when you rang from Paris.

Lecturer was most impressed that I could quote and knew who Aphra Ben was....so wherever the two you are , I will raise a glass of Old Hooky to your memory and pass the message on to Morrell if you can through his brother;it's a great life if you don't weaken - such truth embedded in the burning embers of a cliche....don't weaken.

Russ

ladyfi said...

Such a beautiful tribute - sums up the bitter and the sweet that is our children.

Oh mamma said...

How sweet! You caught the real essence of motherhood. Beautiful.

Michelle said...

It sounds really harsh. I bet you were afraid for little AJ at the time as well.
How can M have such a deep sleep?

Happy belated birthday, AJ!