It's hard not to compare Birdy with Baby Girl. Two gorgeous baby girls, both brought home directly from the hospital, both born around Christmas time. The routines are so familiar, even down to the ubiquitous snow suits to ward off the winter cold.
And yet, in reality, they are very different from each other. Their features and colouring are completely different. Birdy is a much bigger baby. In fact I thought she was a real whopper until her height and weight assessments placed her only between the 25th and 50th centiles. That brought home to me just how tiny Baby Girl was at her regular spot on the 2nd centile! I kept back some of Baby Girl's outgrown clothes and find myself amused that her 3-6 month collection will be mostly useless to Birdy as it consists almost entirely of cotton sundresses and short-sleeved t-shirts, so late was Baby Girl in reaching that size. I have had to go out and buy some more appropriate winter clothing for Birdy (such a hardship!).
Other things are different too. At this age, Baby Girl was still struggling through tiny feeds, many, many times per day, and through the night. Birdy has been sleeping through since virtually week 1, and prefers her milk infrequently, but in massive portions. Baby Girl had early problems with her vision and still wasn't smiling and interacting much at this age - although she made up for that later. No such problem for Birdy who smiles, laughs, coos and follows everything with her very healthy eyes.
Really, there is little in Birdy to remind me of Baby Girl, and yet I think of Baby Girl all the time. During Baby Girl's introductions, I wrote that the hardest day would not be the last day with Baby Girl, but the first with a new placement, and it has proved to be so. The hardest day, and the hardest months, because this new little one is a constant reminder of the one I used to care for, play with, love and nurture.
So I was delighted yesterday to receive an email with up-to-date photographs from Baby Girl's new family. There she is, celebrating Christmas, her birthday, at playgroup, with family and friends, in her bedroom, lounge, high chair, toybox. I haven't heard from them in a while, and seeing these pictures was just what I needed to create a new image of Baby Girl, not with me here, but with her family, there. She has taken her first steps. She can say a few words, including the name of the family dog. She looks as though her elusive teeth might finally be on the way. Her life is with her parents now. Her milestones are theirs to enjoy. And it turns out that I'm happy about that.
It's time to let Baby Girl go and to let Birdy out from under her shadow.
And in other news:
I saw THAT dress (despite being off social media) and it definitely looked white and gold to me. Then, when I found out it was actually black and blue, I looked again and really screwed my eyes up and found it became black and blue. When I relaxed my eyes, the white bits stayed blue, but the black bits went back to gold. Conclusion? Eyes are weird!
I was full of high hopes for OB's swimming lesson last week, and regaled his teacher with tales of his new-found prowess. Unfortunately he then made me look an idiot by reverting totally to type and spending half an hour vaguely flapping his feet around and mostly sinking! Ah well, back to the drawing board!
Having said that, his new skill of dressing himself is apparently here to stay, which has pretty much revolutionised our morning routine. The only problem is that after four years of delighting in dressing him in carefully chosen co-ordinating outfits, I now have to smile sweetly at whatever crazy outfit he's chosen each day. Today it was red MUFC socks, grey joggers, a long-sleeved russet t-shirt, and a navy-blue knitted tank top with Postman Pat on it! Aaargh! Thankfully we didn't have to go out today!
Birdy weighed in at nearly 12lbs this week, thus justifying all the huffing and puffing I'm doing when carrying her around in the car seat.