Nothing entertains me quite as much as the things Ruby comes out with.
We were walking in Central Park the other day when we saw a man dancing in the middle of the road. No music or anything – just rocking out to whatever track was playing inside his head. To be honest, I didn’t even look twice. You get a lot of that sort of thing out here and even in the short space of six weeks it has become really quite unremarkable, but Ruby stopped walking, stared at him and said, completely deadpan, “I don’t believe my eyes.”
She has the most wonderful gift for making me really see things. You can’t be complacent about life when you hang out with a toddler. They simply don’t let you. Just when you are starting to take things for granted, or when you forget to laugh at things, they come out with some one-liner that makes you look again and realise just how beautiful it all is.
I apologise. I’m being soppy, but I honestly have fallen in love with my baby all over again since I got out here. Yes, she is also at her most frustrating – see my earlier post on tantrums if you don’t believe me - and she quite frequently drives me up the wall and makes me want to throw her out of the window, but then she will say something so utterly divine that I can’t imagine ever having been irritated by her. She woke me up at 6:45 the other morning (ah, yes, that was the irritating part, I remember now) to tell me that I am her best friend. I mean, how can you be annoyed in the face of that level of cuteness? It’s almost sickening at times how very cute she can be. Just when she had wound my best friend up to snapping point the other day, she came out with: “I’m not annoying. I’m a butterfly.” I mean, really. It’s enough to make your teeth hurt.
Having a child does funny things to you. One of those funny things (and I use the term ‘funny’ loosely here) is what it does to your boobs, but one that I have really only recognised recently is the way it accelerates your moods. I can now swing quite fluently from exhausted to contented to frustrated to amused to tearful to overwhelmingly in love in under five minutes, and have a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on the table by the end. When people say it’s a rollercoaster they are understating. You learn to multi-task like you never knew you could, but you also learn to do the emotional equivalent.
I think early on it’s quite easy to be overwhelmed by this. I certainly was. It makes you question your sanity. What happens though, when you stop trying to fight it, is that you realise you can hold all these contradictory emotions side by side, and feel them all equally, and you are emotionally so much richer than you ever could have imagined.
I shall stop being so sentimental now, before you all give up on me for good, but suffice it to say that I really do learn something new every day, and most of it is taught to me by my daughter. In fact, to leave you with just one more Ruby-ism which sums it up rather nicely: “I’m living my life.”