"But tonight as I rock you and hold you so close
I think these are the times that I'll cherish the most
All the simple sweet pleasures we share everyday
Pretty lady Pretty lady we'll have memories to save"
- Pretty Lady by Kelly Willard
When I was pregnant, I read one article “42 things that change when you have a baby”, the first in the list is “You finally stop to smell the roses, because your baby is in your arms.”
I agree I did that when my baby was first born and I was on maternity leave. At that time, looking after a baby is so easy. All she needs is feed, change and sleep. In the day she only briefly wakes up for an hour for feed and change and then she will be back for a two-hour nap. So I have plans to sip coffee and read books during her morning nap, do stretching and yoga exercise during her late morning nap, and nap together with her in the afternoon, and not to forget a romantic or inspiring or funny movie in the evening after putting her to bed. Yes I did all these except the coffee part, I actually did not drink coffee because I am breastfeeding, but just by putting down ‘sip a cup of coffee” in your list makes it feel a lot whole lot more relax and enjoyable. It is really not about the coffee.
And when I go out, everything looks so beautiful. I start to see the world from a mother’s eyes – everything has life and is precious, everything is a gift from above. Look at the leaves falling down the tree, what a beautiful dance under the sun! I also see the world from a baby’s eyes – everything is new and magical, the world is a wonderland. I see flowers and mud pies and rainbows so bright.
Oh and my precious baby. I spend every of her waking minute cuddling her. I kiss her over and over from top to toe. I look at her two little eyes full of wonder and love. And when she is asleep, I can stand by her cot and look at her for as long as I could, and am mesmerized by her angelic sleep and her heart that beats to a beautiful rhyme.
But now, I am too busy to smell the roses.
I leave work by 740am in the morning. My baby wakes up at 730am. I have 10 minutes with her. I give her a morning hug and kiss, and then her bottle. I usually lie her down on our bed with the pillow popped up, in this way she can hold her own bottle while I rush to have some quick touch up on my face. After her bottle, it’s another quick hug followed by “How are you my baby? Did you have a good sleep? I am sure you had. Mummy is going to work. You will be a good girl Ok? Mummy will see you really soon!” Ok time to say goodbye. It is really a hi-and-bye kind of affair. The husband will be just ready to come in to wipe her, play with her while having his breakfast, and send her off to her Nanny.
I spend nine hours of my day at work; it should be eleven hours including the traveling time. My work is not very demanding, sometimes I am really not busy but that makes me feel bad instead of good, because I am here wasting my time when I should have been with my baby. I don’t even know what is she doing now.
I knock off at 530pm, rush back to pick her up at 645pm. I then push her to the park and playground before picking up my dinner. Yes we spend a good 30 minutes in the park and playground. That’s the only quality time I have with her daily but the quality of it is also in question, because I am just too conscious of time – given that it is so limited. I do bring her to touch the leaves, smell the flowers, feel the grass and hear the birds singing, but in the back of my mind I am thinking “I better walk a bit faster so that we can reach the playground early to have 20 minutes there so that we can be home by 730pm so that her bedtime routine can start at 8pm so that she will be bed by 830pm”…. My head is always spinning. Same thing happens at the playground too. It is like shooting a movie, time is up and director shouts ‘Ok, cut!” There ends our playground time.
Yesterday I was feeling sick so my husband came back home early to take up her bedtime routine. While he is changing her on our bed I just lie there with her, just to be with her, feel her and smell her. And I smell the rose again. It is somewhere in the room.
After change, it is story time. I thought I better come out to wash the bottles and leave them two, but surprisingly, my baby cried seeing me leaving the room. Normally she is contented just to be with one of us, but today, she wants Mummy to be there too. She happily flips the book with Daddy while occasionally turns her head to find me there lying beside them, as if saying ‘Mummy, I just want to be with you, feel you and smell you.”