Friday, 4 May 2007

Room at the Top

Every day seems bluer and sunnier. I opened the window in my daughter’s bedroom this morning and my gaze was drawn to the sky, backlit blue and criss-crossed by a geometry of vapour threads. Below, the white stucco reflected sunlight like a Greek hilltop village.

This has been my daughter's room since she was born. Before that it was the least important room in the house: a spare bedroom for our occasional guests, containing a wrought-iron bed, a wooden chair and little else. In the months leading up to her birth I banged together flat-packed MDF into a cot, shelf and changing table and by the time our daughter came back with us it had become the most important room. I don’t spend much time in it anymore. In the early months I spent a lot of time there – time I can’t even recall now - sitting in the dark, rocking her gently and hoping desperately for sleep. Now the cot and changing table have given way to book shelves and a bed and her favourite pink toys. And my time is limited to a couple of stories at bedtime.

Since my sister gave birth a couple of weeks ago I have become an uncle as well as a father. Seeing her baby has made me think of those times. My daughter pulled some photos out the other day showing me with dark hair and beard, looking a lot more than three and a half years younger. Few hints yet of the grey to come. Our daughter grins when we point to her baby self and tell her that it’s her. I think she thinks we are joking. Or maybe just deluded. I can see what she means though, since it all seems so long ago. I’m absurdly nostalgic. I could sit for weeks looking at one photograph if left alone long enough. I feel nostalgic about people, places, even objects … and myself. I have great affection for my younger self. So innocent and unknowing. I’d like to have been able to put an avuncular arm around myself and say there wasn’t anything to worry about. I’d get through. The early years are very short. You’ll be alright. Just stick with it. It might even be useful advice for my daughter one day.

18 comments:

Pig in the Kitchen said...

You sound at ease with yourself SAHD, that's a nice position to be in.

You also sound broody...any news for us??!!
Have a good weekend.
Pigx

Stay at home dad said...

Certainly more than I used to be.

Ha!

Have a nice one yourself.

beta mum said...

Yes, it takes a while to get broody again!
I find I'm nostalgic over baby toys, which I won't let them throw away.
I'm always saying things like
"I can't even get into your room for all the toys, will you please sort out some for the charity shop/car boot sale/bin?"
And when they select three baby toys, and no vile bleeping older child's toys, I can't let them throw them away.
So I secrete them with my stash of baby clothes - to be kept for I don't know what.
Him indoors has an attic full of toy soldiers and Swoppet Knights from circa 1955 courtesy of e-bay, so why can't I keep a few toys and clothes?

Stay at home dad said...

Yes, I'm with you on that. My sister wanted to borrow our Moses basket but I couldn't bear to let it go. And all the little shoes and baby toys.

But then I mentioned my nostalgia thing....

Sahd.

mutterings and meanderings said...

You I said you were such a bloke... can I take it back?

Stay at home dad said...

I can't believe I had you fooled for even 24 hours!

@themill said...

Lovely stuff. Just discovered you via M&M.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you @themill and nice to see you. I will come and see what's happening at the mill..!

The Good Woman said...

We were living in a different city for the first eleven months of my daughters life. As such, those early days are wrapped up with warm memeories of different people and tropical storms. I think it is because of this that my memories of that time remain so clear.

But now I can't imagine the whole new baby experience anywhere else. My wee 'un will have to wait until we're back in Africa before she gets her much desired baby brother.

Stay at home dad said...

Kids, I don't know... They're lucky to get three square meals, let alone a brother or sister!

Scruffy Mummy said...

I so admire people who are willing and happy to go through the whole baby experience again! I must say that I feel a profound sense of relief now the sprog is 2 years old - for various reasons, we won't be having another child and for me, that is a very good thing indeed! I'm sure sprog will want a younger brother and sister (already has a grown up brother from partners first marriage) but he will have to make do with a goldfish!

dulwichmum said...

Wow, that was a truely beautiful post. Perfect.

Stay at home dad said...

Agreed scruffy mummy and good on you for saying it.

Thanks Dulwich mum - always raises the tone seeing your handbag here!

Jan said...

I love your comment: " I have great affection for my younger self"
HA! Mine pops up occassionally, gives me a bit of advice then disappears laughing...

dulwichmum said...

I am rather prim aren't I?

I think I should drink more and try to loosen up.

Stay at home dad said...

I'm not sure about that, Dulwich mum, but let's all drink more anyway...

Jan, your younger self sounds fun. Mine is rather naive and dull I find..

Sahd

Drunk Mummy said...

Hey! I like the new look page - there's posh!
My God, I'm suffering blog format envy - I had better get the decorators in!

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks DM - we at Sahd are always striving to improve our product.

Don't get rid of your bubbles, please!