[Images are by Maxine Small and whilst I didn’t pay for these photos, I absolutely plan to commission her again based on her considerable talent. Would highly recommend!]
Vita Marina Calliope Wilde is six months old!
Already the baby that she was, dark-eyed and with hair like a moorhen chick, has faded into something between dream and memory; already when I think back to those days it’s with a sense of disbelief that it ever really happened, that there was ever a time where Baby V was new, because surely we never knew a time when there was no Baby V and yet we felt complete. I think back on those somnolent days, where day and night were blended into one, and it feels implausible and magical and oh so special – for me, Vita’s early days where spent curled around my baby, broken and bleeding and stunned, filled with love and gratitude and awe, nursing my baby whilst my toddlers played downstairs.
The months passed, and my baby grew. We grew her together; the blossoming of Vita Marina Calliope has been a collaborative effort between a baby who instinctively knew how to nurse, between me, curled around my baby or scrolling through photos of her as the breast pump hummed, and between Kirsty, her other mother, who washed and sterilised bottles, who cradled that little girl and fed her with just as much love as I. Her dark, fluffy hair fell out and was replaced by a peachy fuzz. Her eyes lightened, from bottomless oceans to cool blue shallows. She smiled with intent at five days old; it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe me, I know it, I was there.
One day, when she wasn’t very old at all, I told her what a doggy said – “Woof, woof!” – and she laughed. Her laughter is a funny, breathy, huffing sound. She laughs like an asthmatic old man, and it is adorable. She learnt to crawl, to follow her mama about the house like a puppy. No matter whom she is left with – even me – she cries if Kirsty leaves a room.
Vita loves her siblings, especially Lysander, ‘Mummy Sasha’, who carries her about like a sack of sentient potatoes, and Emmy, ‘Nanny Biggles’, who fusses over her and reports back on her every action, “Baby ‘milin’ at me!”.
She is a little piece of sunshine.
I tell her that even though she’s our fifth baby, she’s the perfect ‘starter baby’; she has always fed well, slept well, and she only cries when she needs something – even though sometimes all she needs is us, and that can be frustrating when so many other people need us too. And I tell her, all the time, how much I love her, when I wake up and find her peering quizically down at me, or rooting across my body for the nipple that she knows is there somewhere, or when I come home in the evening to find her propped up on the windowsill, bashing on the glass as she waits for me. I am so glad that we decided to bring her into this world, having created her at the same time as the girls who were supposed to complete our family. I can’t imagine now how we ever could have felt complete without our little friend, our Vita Marina Calliope.