The other day I winced as I pulled my hands out of the soapy murky water after yet another round of bottle washing. Just beneath my wrist three small red dry patches itched as I re-filled the steriliser again. I took a moment to study my hands and realised they have never looked like this before. They are worn, tired, raw and patchy - a Mother's hands. Gone are the days of zany nail colours or pain stainkingly applied french manicures - just bitten nails framing a rough terrain - proof of hard work - the day in day out grind.
Yet I've never been happier. I can't remember a time in my life when I have ever taken the pressure off myself and... well, allowed myself to just be. Normally I'm stressin' about what job I should be getting, or the job I'm doing (Will I get fired? I'm sure my boss hates me.... should I still be doing this? How can I change it?) or am I striving hard enough, am I on a pathway or whatever. But at the moment I just take each day as it comes. They usually begin around 7:10 am with soft gurgles from my daughter's room cooing down the hall. I bounce out of bed eager to see her chubby rosy face beam the minute she focuses on me. It is such a kick to have someone that stoked to see you as soon as they open their eyes. Then Sproglet will pipe up that he is awake and we'll all shuffle into his room for a group cuddle. Sproglet LOVES his Sis - he calls her Roo Roo and insists on talking the poor baby's ears off in a bid to illicit a smile from her. She always obliges and I'd be lying if I said this wasn't the damn cutest moment of my day.
Then its a merry-go-round of feeding and dressing and bundling everyone out the door to school. Spring has sprung and the glorious sunshine of the past two days has made the steep walk there a complete pleasure. I like the small talk with a few of the crummier Mummies (I've weeded out a few) and watching Sproglet leap into class with an enthusiasm I pray he holds onto for years.
Then it's home for another bottle with Sproglette - and as she falls into a milky drunk sleep in my arms, I stroke the fuzzy tuft of hair beneath her little monk-like bald spot and nuzzle into her neck. It is like an addiction! I am smitten. It's like I finally get it. I understand the intoxication of Motherhood - the sheer bliss of caring for such a delicate and vulnerable little being. I never really understood it before - perhaps because first time around was so hard and stressful and such a goddamn shock. But now - everything feels rosy. (Never again will I go to a restaurant and look at the empty fouth chair and wonder if we'll ever fill it). I feel at peace. Like some missing jigsaw puzzle popped into place and I can't really put it into words - but I feel like I've arrived at a place I was always meant to be. File this blog post under 'lameness' - I am sure I sound either mad or worse - smug. I'm not, I promise you.
I am however, nesting my fucking head off. Must be all the time I spend in the house or something - but the carpenter has been, the painter is in next week, a trip to Habitat is in the bag and one planned to Ikea. Today I forced Husband to come with me all the way into Primrose Hill to buy lampshades. Yep - lampshades. Bless Graham and Green and all their ridiculously expensive desirable items. And what is it with my cushion obsession? Christ I'll need to go back to work at some stage before Husband is lost in a sea of soft furnishings...
Last Saturday I visited my acupuncturist as my hormones are still a bit zonked post baby. She remarked that she'd never seen me so content and happy. I've been going to her for almost 13 years. It sure has been a rocky old road to get here. And obviously, life isn't always going to be this charmed. But for the minute, I'm drinking it all up and tomorrow I'm going to invest in some industrial strength hand cream.