Just five minutes after her backyard birth…. naked save for the blanket, with the early morning sunshine warming her just enough to stop a chill.
I knew before the scans told me, that this baby was a girl; the same as I knew my son was a boy, as much as I was wishing he was female. I sobbed when the sonographer confirmed that that was, in fact, a penis; not because I had always dreamed of having a baby girl- I had never dreamed of having babies at all, lest it never happened and broke my heart- but simply because growing boy-child increased that feeling of being alienated from my body, of having something growing that was separate but a part of me, with a heartbeat… disconcerting and strange. Growing a girl felt simpler, something I was far more capable of, more connected to.
My baby was just fifteen months old when her father died, and she was there to witness it. The child psychologist tells me it’s more likely she’ll remember my distress than any details of the event that happened. She has nightmares on a semi-regular basis and they distress both of us badly, leave me shaking and wondering, wanting to peer into to her head and see what she sees when she’s crying out about in her sleep.
She’s not quite verbal enough yet to tell me about it. All I can do is hope, desperately, that she remembers nothing at all.
The Bump… she is rarely called that other than online. While the Chop‘s pseudonym sticks both In Real life and her on the Interwebs, the Bump has a raft of other nicknames.. some of them involve Princess and Fairy, but mostly she just gets derivatives of Moo- Lady Moo, Miss Moo, the Moo Cow. (“Look Mum!” The Chop calls out from the back seat of the car on a trip to Paradise “It’s a cow, like our Bumpy Moo Cow!!”)
In the month or so before he died, Tony and I had taken to calling her Didi, laughing every time we did so, it was so cute and suited her so well. It’s only escaped my lips once or twice since he died, and it cuts like a razor when I think of it.
The Bump is pure, simple sunshine to her brother and I. Too young to understand what she’s missing, too young to grieve in any real way… she’s a blessing. Without her to make us laugh, to play with her brother, to entertain us with constant outfit changes and new turns of phrase… she’s a pleasure to have around, and so easy to love.
I adore having a little girl, revisiting a childhood I almost didn’t have. I can’t help but prefer girls toys to boys- I’m a girl, after all, and dolls and their tiny houses, changing their outfits and doing their hair; kitchens and strollers.. these toys are constants. Much like a little doll herself, I have so much simple fun dressing my daughter, making her look funky, well dressed and cute, putting short hair into pigtails and clips.
Bunny tells me I should christen the Bump as Mini-Me, because she is the very mold of me, and, ridiculously, I blush. She’s the most amazing little person, and I’m flattered that anyone thinks I am just like her. She’s all about fairy wings and pretty things, jewellery and shoes and babies and dolls. She loves to paint and draw, she loves birds and cats. She has attitude, cheek, a temper and a fairy skirt full of determination… just a week or so ago I found myself carrying her like a sack of potatoes through a busy shopping centre, with her squawking that she was “Stuck!” and to “Help me!”, clear as a tiny bell; all over a refusal to hold my hand while we wandered.
She’s so gorgeous, and I’m desperately in love with her. The Chop and I are very lucky to have her. And she’s almost been mine for twice as long as she was her fathers… all the credit for her loveliness, her sunniness, the beautiful fairy way she is… if there’s accolades handed out for that, then I’m taking every bit of it.