I don’t know about you other solo mamas but I’ve found that one of the unexpected annoying, if completely trivial, things about having a child alone is photos. I know we live in the age of the selfie, and they are very handy for lone parents, but I sometimes wish someone would take a proper photo of me and my baby that doesn’t involve me holding a camera high above our heads and getting just half my body in shot. A candid, none-posed photo would be a miracle too.
In the early days, when family gathered round to view the new arrival, it was remarkable how they all took photos of themselves with the baby but no one thought to take one of me with him. I tried to put it out there but it sounded really whingy to bring it up and I didn’t make a big thing of it. Now, the novelty has sort of worn off for people but when the phones do get whipped out the odd time it’s still almost always for other people and the baby. Maybe I should just ask them directly more often but it feels awkward, plus you can’t get less natural than a photo that’s been requested.
Speaking of the baby being a novelty, my boy has learned his first harsh life lesson. As I’ve said before, he’s very friendly and engaging with people. In the early days, he enjoyed the (sometimes slightly intense and needy) attention very small babies get from complete strangers when out and about, always smiling back and charming people. Then, like an aging starlet, he became a bit perplexed to find that strangers were not as interested in him as before. I noticed this on a tram a couple of months ago, when he was expectantly looking at people and getting nothing back. (It’s actually a bit depressing how people just tap away on their phones now on public transport without looking at each other.) He was very excited one day when a man across the tram aisle started coughing, which my boy still does for attention, but his hopes were sadly dashed when he realised the coughs weren’t for him. Now, he doesn’t really bother seeking people out at all. The first of many knockbacks in life.
In happier news, he finally worked out how to crawl forwards shortly before turning eight months a week ago and this has been a big breakthrough. Crawlers are remarkably fast! I go into the kitchen to make bottles, turn around and meet him casually hanging in the hall. He is loving this new freedom, even if my heart is in my mouth a lot of the time. I see danger everywhere – patio doors, sharp-edged fireplaces, glass cabinets hiding intriguing cables, lamps waiting to be smashed down. It is lovely, though, watching him explore and find interest in ordinary things. He adores tearing (and eating) paper and goes absolutely berserk with a newspaper.
It will be a fab Christmas with him this year and the bonus is that I don’t even have to worry about getting him presents. Maybe a broadsheet paper if he’s really good.