Well. I’m writing to you this morning to let you know that I’m sorry. I feel terrible. In fact, last night I felt plagued with unassuageable guilt. Wracked with it. I’ve decided I don’t know if I want to be a mum anymore. Its too scary for me too – too much responsibility (and to this your dad says, “Too late”). And all because of the sight of your tiny little scared face. Petrified in fact.
To balance these strong and undeniably primal feelings I’m having – I look at your face this morning – and you are most definitely your smiling, happy, joyous little self. So no lasting damage to see.
So. What did I (and your Dad) do? Well, we attempted to take you to the football (AFL for those who know the Australian codes and are interested). Mmm… And we thought you’d be ok – nicely rugged up in a big sling on my or your dad’s chest, a short 20 minute walk to the grounds from our house with another friend. I was a bit worried about the length of time we’d be out at night, but figured you liked to sleep in the sling.
WHAT WAS I THINKING????!!
Not some of the obvious things (well, very obvious in retrospect):
- its the first home final for our local team in a number of years (finals season games have that little bit more fervour, don’t they – i.e. the crowd is going to be BIG BIG BIG and ROWDY ROWDY ROWDY); and
- we were sitting in the open section (not in the alcohol-free members area we’ve been in the last games we went to); and
- you’re only twelve weeks old!; and
- I just plain forgot that the noise at a football game really goes from nothing to a huge roar in just seconds.
And that was what scared you. It wasn’t the noise itself (you adjusted to that each time the roar lasted for a long time). It was the abruptness of the noise. And your dad thinks the primal or base nature of the noise. Suddenly.
In my life so far – one of the worst things I’ve ever seen was your little face last night. Just the look of absolute terror in your eyes as you pushed your head sideways into your dad’s chest in the sling, and gripped him around his chest monkey-style like you weren’t going to let go if it was the last thing you did. And your eyes looked like you thought it might be the last thing you did. And I couldn’t do anything about it. You gave a few yelp-like cries on some of the big roars and let it out verbally. The rest of the time however, you just looked dazed and amazed. So much bright light, so many faces and noises around you.
So, the quarters are long in AFL. I needed to use the bathroom desperately about 15 minutes into the first quarter, so I managed to squeeze out of our seats (the other issue being that we were pinned right in the middle of a stand with no close stairs and had to squeeze along a narrow row of 15 people to get out) and get to the bathroom. I was shaking. I was so upset with myself and not sure what to do with you. You stayed with your dad. That was a good move, as I managed to then have the next 15 minutes to watch the game from the stairwell, and because I couldn’t see your face I wasn’t so upset and managed to think. And decided that the option was easy and not a big deal – I’d just walk home with you and leave your dad & P at the game, and that you’d be fine. You weren’t howling, you weren’t hurt, you weren’t damaged. You just got a big shock. And you enjoyed some of it.
Quarter over, you dad brought you out of the stands to me, I strapped you on, and we went home. You were wired. So alert and awake and watchful. And happy. You wanted to talk and laugh and look and participate in everything on the way home, and wanted my attention and face-time when we got home. We got home in time for me to put you on my lap and have some great play time and talking time as I watched the delayed football on TV. And it was an amazing game, where our team (the Lions) made a final quarter comeback from 5 goals down to win.
You had a huge feed, seemed very content, and went down to sleep for the night after almost falling asleep on the boob. And you woke this morning and are still fine.
I’m sorry poogie.
P.S. I wasn’t the only mum at the football with a baby. As I was walking towards the stairs to leave, another woman with a sling on came out of the back of one of the stands. We locked eyes, and I had to go and see how she was going. So I walked over and she walked to me. We said hi, and asked how old and looked at each-other’s babes. Me: “How old is your baby” (before I can see the face). Her: “One week”. SOOO TINY I realised as I saw her little baby’s screwed up face – womb-fresh and puckered but totally fully asleep at her chest in the sling. Then she said, “I’m just looking for somewhere to feed her, I’m hoping the ushers will let me have a seat back here somewhere”… Mm.. Me: “Good luck”… For some strange reason it reassured me that I wasn’t the worst and dumbest mum on the planet – which was where my self-esteem was at the time. It wasn’t just us that decided that the football was ok for a relatively small babe. But rest assured Poogie, I think it will be some years before we try to take you again TV will do for now.