Vita Marina Calliope Wilde,
It would have been so easy not to have you. We felt ‘done’; we had our perfect four, two boys and two girls, we didn’t need you. We didn’t think that we needed you. But we’re not the sort of people to walk away from responsibility and there were those two embryos still frozen, waiting… and so you happened. And oh, little girl, I am so glad that you did.
You are the most wonderful addition to our family. Our tightly-knit foursome swelled to accomodate you; you are wrapped in love from every direction, carried from living room to kitchen by arms only four years older than your own, sung to enthusiastically (you clap along, your eyes shining), fed tidbits from their own plates and they are never so hungry that they forget about you. They play their very grown-up games and you totter along, you knock over their sculptures and thieve their babies and almost without us noticing, our little band of four has become a five. They adore you and it is mutual – you always want to be where your brothers and sisters are and to share in their fun.
Your mummy and I had never shared one baby before. We were old hats at juggling the many needs of multiple babies, but I couldn’t imagine how the logistics would work with two eager mothers and only one infant. But sharing you has been a beautiful, magical experience.
I have never felt closer to your mother than during your long and not entirely easy birth, or the physically traumatic aftermath. She picked up everything – four preschoolers, our home, a partner who couldn’t sit or stand for weeks – and looked after us all, with you tucked up much of the time in a sling on her chest. My early memories of those weeks are of drifting in and out of sleep whilst you fed, listening to the children laughing with her downstairs. And of waking up at 9am to toast and warm oatmilk by my bedside; our breastfeeding success is in no small part thanks to your mummy, who made it so easy for me to take care of you.
You were born late and you smiled early, but you reserve your biggest smiles and your brightest laughter for your siblings. The expression that I most associate with you is a quizzical one, half-wary; you have stolen something that you shouldn’t have, and you don’t want to give it back. You have a scream like a dying thing when your possessions are threatened, when your siblings wear masks and when animals come too close.
Aside from your brothers and sisters, your favourite things are boobs, soft textures, bananas and grapes, Biscotti biscuits, stroking your own head, songs with actions and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Your first word was banana ‘nana’, followed by ‘mama’ – which you use for both of your mothers.
You are a little light and we are awfully glad that you came into this world and that you are our little girl.
I love you so, so much.