A Letter To My Lion

Dear Lion,

I look at you now growing so strong, already so independent, so much of a boy.

You were so tiny for so very long, fitting in your newborn clothes until you were four months old. We wondered if you’d ever grow. We watched you so so anxiously in those early months, as you struggled to find your place in the world.

We couldn’t find a way to feed you, you choked three or four times a feed. We feared the worst.
You looked not at us, but at big bright walls. You didn’t seem to know we were there.

We feared the worst.

You liked to be in a line, stood rigidly from being so very small, we could prop you against the couch and there you would stay.

We feared the worst.

Later you lay on your play mat and swiped at toys, but only ever with your right hand. Your left lay by your side.

We feared the worst.

You seem to be in pain, you were uncomfortable in your own skin. We carried you in our arms around the house, it was the only way we could find to bring you comfort. We didn’t know how to help.

We feared the worst.

The doctors sent you for physiotherapy, and then an MRI. They booked an appointment with an ophthalmologist and mentioned hypertonia. They were worried.

We feared the worst.

We loved you from the second you entered our lives, well before you were born. You were our long awaited baby. We’d waited so long to be blessed with you. We were grateful that you came. But for so long we were afraid. Not for us. We knew we were lucky to have you. But for you. We didn’t know how to make you happy.

We didn’t know how to take away your pain.

Then you turned four months and suddenly things started to change. You knew who we were. You started to take an interest in the world around you. We could reach you. An inch of worry lifted.

If we could engage with you we could make you happy.

The doctors decided to try medication to see if some of your difficulties were caused by reflux. I was skeptical but anything was worth a try.

At five months an even bigger worry lifted. I sat on the floor in Covent Garden feeding you, Number One had wanted to watch a show. And you fed. Really fed for the first time. You snuggled in and fed, not for your usual 30 seconds, but for 20 minutes. An inch of worry lifted. If you had done it once you could do it again.

You were learning. I had a way to help you grow.

At the same time you had a week of intensive intervention from a specialist centre. They taught you to move, to bend, to use your body differently. Your arm was still a little different but you looked more comfortable in your skin.

An inch of worry lifted.

Now at the grand old age of nine and a half months, I so often wonder why we worried so much. Your determination, your bravery, your total stubbornness, has carried us all through.

You breastfeed beautifully now, in fact so well you can do it standing on one leg.

You know feeding is tiring for you. You’ve learnt your lesson. There are things to do. There is mischief to create. You don’t have time to fall asleep just because you want to drink. You’ve developed your own brand of feeding acrobatics. My nipples may not always approve, but my heart loves seeing all you can do.

There is nothing that doesn’t escape your attention; especially if it’s a mobile phone, a remote control or some other form of contraband left in your reach. You know who we are, in fact you can spot us at a distance. You are engaged, interested and sociable. In fact you are probably the smiliest baby I have ever met.

There are few that can escape your charms, be it those of us that love you or just those you meet for a second.

You’ve learnt to use your body to your advantage. You can still stand strong and tall, but now you’re older it brings you real joy. You stand and lock your legs, let go of what you’re holding and laugh until you fall and repeat the process again. You’ve learnt to crawl, your head has the bruises to tell the tale. You’re learning to cruise, nothing is now out of your reach. You look comfortable in your own skin. You love being able to move and we love to watch you – although if you could move towards toys a little more and learn that people’s shoes perhaps aren’t the best things to eat that would be even better.

Your pain is lessening, the doctors were right and reflux was at the core.

Medication has helped, as has us both cutting out dairy and soya. We’re learning more and more about the foods you can tolerate and ones you can’t. Sleep (and I say this cautiously) seems to be very slowly improving.

You’ve struggled with weaning.

It hasn’t been easy – there are still days, sometimes weeks when you refuse foods. Without doubt you eat much less, both in terms of variety and quantity than your friends. But this time I’m trying not to worry. You have already overcome so much, this is just one more hurdle. With time I know you will find your way.

You’ve grown, so big, so strong.

My baby is disappearing before my eyes. And with that comes sadness and happiness uniquely intermingled. The last nine months have flown by so fast, I want to keep holding you tight and remembering to cherish the moments. I want to enjoy the little boy you’re becoming.

I love you my brave lion, and I hope that through this blog you’ll give hope to other mummies (and daddies) and their little lions.

I hope as people scroll the internet frantically looking for answers they will find your story of hope amidst those worse case scenarios. I hope it will help them through the dark moments. I hope it will help them enjoy their moments.

One day I will tell you all this, but it’s so easy to forget as time goes by, so now I will sit and show you just how incredible you are.

Love Always and Forever



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