Monday, August 4, 2014

M + H

This post compares Moses and Hazel as babies, and I’m putting it up so that I remember it in future, and not because I think you’ll find this information riveting. Please feel free to skip this post (although look at the photos, because they’re SO CUTE!!!).
Moses and Hazel at 6 months old
My pregnancy with Moses was complication-free but filled with nausea and gagginess. My pregnancy with Hazel started off scarily (which meant it was an anxious 9 months waiting for her to arrive), but didn’t involve anywhere near as much vomit. When pregnant with Mo, I craved risotto. When pregnant with Hazel, I had to stop myself from drinking vinegar, I wanted it so badly. Moses was 4.1kg and 53cm when he was born; Hazel was 4.18kg and 56cm when she was born. Moses didn’t have much hair; Hazel had a lot. Moses has always looked like Alan, with olive skin and brown eyes pretty much from birth. Hazel looks like me and shares my skin and eye colours (her eyes have changed a lot over the year, from blue, to blue-grey, to blue-grey-with-gold-streaks-which-made-the-blue-look-green, to hazel). Moses sounds like “noses.” Hazel rhymes with “nasal.”

Moses was described as a sucky baby before he’d reached 2 weeks old; he loved to suck. (He still sucks his fingers, nearly 4 years later). Because of his suckiness, I could dreamfeed him; he’d stay asleep but happily latch on and suck, and then when he stopped I’d put him back in his cot and creep out again to head to bed myself (the idea was that he’d then have a full enough tummy to let me sleep for a while before calling out for more food; I don’t know that it ever worked, but I kept trying anyway).

Hazel, on the other hand, was not a sucky baby. She’s never sucked anything to go to sleep. The one time I tried dreamfeeding her she lay in my lap, sleeping soundly, and finally turned her head away as if to say, “WHY ARE YOU POKING ME WITH YOUR NIPPLE? IS IT NOT CLEAR TO YOU THAT I’M SLEEPING?!” I felt a right fool, and never tried it again.
My midwife with Mo commented on how chatty he was, even as a newborn. Hazel, on the other hand, was quiet. At one point my mother-in-law asked, “Does she ever cry?” She’s making up for those quiet months now.

As with Moses, I judged Hazel’s personality too early. At first she seemed very solemn, and I wondered how she’d cope with Alan and me and Mo for her family. And then she went through a long phase of being happy and super chillaxed, to the point where I took photos of her cranky face when we eventually saw it at 5 months old because it was so novel, and I worried that she was too easy-going and that Moses would always take advantage of that, being the older and bigger one. But then, when she was about 9 months old, I watched her respond to Mo stealing a toy from her by shrieking and lunging at him in an attempt to claw out his eyeballs, and I realised she was going to be fine. And since this has become her regular reaction to Mo coming near, even if he’s just leaning in for a kiss, I now worry for him. Hazel knows what she wants (or doesn’t want), and is rather good at communicating this with whoever’s around her. Mo at this age was more laid-back and less assertive. I’m not sure how much of this is to do with birth order, and how much is simply personality.

Although Hazel seems to love people and tries anything to get the attention of strangers when we’re out (she then grins at them when they finally look at her), she’s far happier than Moses was to be on her own sometimes. When she was a baby, she’d lie in her cot and sing to herself for a while after waking up; Moses, on the other hand, wanted to be where the action was as soon as he woke up. Hazel’s okay with me reading  a book while she explores, or even to be left on her own as I duck out to a different room to grab something; Moses had superpowers that allowed him to sense when my attention was diverted even when I’d carefully hidden whatever I was reading so that he wouldn’t be able to see it. I couldn’t leave him on his own in a room without him crying for me, even if I called out a narration of my journey all the way there and all the way back (“I’m just going to grab my glasses, I won’t be gone long, I’m running to the bathroom, I’ve got them now, I’m coming back now, I’m back!!”)
While I’ve missed some things about not being part of a mother’s group this time around, I like having no idea which milestone Hazel’s supposed to be up to or what she’s due to do next. It means that each new achievement is more surprising than it was with Mo, and I get to go, “Oh, look! She’s pointing! I forgot that was a thing!” rather than, “I wonder when Hazel will point.” Moses sat up earlier than other babies at mother’s group (4 months), but he didn’t roll for a loooong time after the other kids had mastered it (maybe after 6 months? I can’t remember. I do know that his grandmother started to panic about it). If he was lying down, he’d just stay there. This was handy for changing his nappy; we used to change him on top of a freezer, a metre and a bit off the ground. When we were out I’d wonder why there were straps on change tables: were the makers just covering themselves so they couldn’t be sued? Why else would a change table need straps?! It seemed a little OTT. 

Well, now I know: Hazel is why change tables need straps. If we didn’t change her nappy on the floor, she would not be around to celebrate this birthday. I‘ve had to learn how to dress her as she races away. She’s been dying to move from very early on; she was rolling both ways at 4 months old, and started “crawling” at 6 months. I say “crawling” because it wasn’t really crawling; I don’t even know if I could call it “commando crawling”, unless you picture said commando trying to get to safety after having been shot in the left shoulder and right thigh. It was a rather inefficient way of getting around, but it worked, and so she persisted with it for months despite Mo’s efforts to demonstrate an actual crawl. At 10 months she ditched the injured commando movements and started crawling and pulling herself up; now she’s close to walking judging by how well she stands on her own, but still a little while off judging by her Monty-Python-esque leg movements when she takes steps while I hold her hands. Moses started crawling at exactly 8 months (we hadn’t thought he was close, but he spotted an iPod on the floor at a party, and off he went), and he started to walk at exactly 11.

It’s kinda crazy that though there are only three years between them, Mo and Hazel’s experiences of being a baby will be so very different, probably mostly because Moses was an only child while Hazel has an extra person to dote on her. Moses loves babies, so it hasn’t surprised me that he’s been a huge fan of Hazel’s from the day she was born. Since she’s started to crawl, though, Mo’s realising that little sisters aren’t all about cuddles and laughs, and sometimes they knock over your towers and destroy your Duplo creations. Part of the morning routine before Mo heads to preschool now involves him instructing me, “DON’T LET HAZEL RUIN MY [whatever he’s made]” and part of the afternoon routine before I head out to pick Mo up from preschool involves me frantically piecing buildings back together and hoping Mo won’t notice that it’s not exactly how he left it (he does, and I play dumb; this seems to be working so far).

Hazel’s been a huge fan of Mo’s, too. He’s the only one who’ll let her poke his eyes and pinch his cheeks. She’s generous with smiles, handing them out to anyone who looks interested, but she saves her biggest laughs for Moses (which is rather unfair seeing as Alan and I try much harder, plus we’ve never stolen her toys or sat on her legs so she couldn’t crawl away). The times when I’m about to say, “Be careful, Mo, she’s just a baby!” are the times she’ll crack up. She’s realising, though, that Moses can be annoying and get in her way and take her toys, and she’s starting to make it clear to him that she’s not cool with that. It seems the day is fast approaching when they will drive each other nuts, although I hope even then there are still many moments where I turn around and catch the two of them holding hands.


  1. I love hearing these details and I LOVE the photos...the one of them holding hands in the car is beautiful!

    1. It is! I love how Hazel's all "Whatevs" about it, like it happens all the time. :D

  2. I love this! Also, it freaks me out because I keep hearing stories if second children who are really chilled out as babies (got one) and then turn into terrifyingly high energy risk-takers (not really sure I want one!). But the laughing thing is just too awesome.