When I was pregnant with Pudding, like all mums I daydreamed about my baby. I had vague hopes that my fourth and final baby would be quiet, cuddly, bidable, lazy. I wanted a baby that would sleep lots, lie on my lap and let me eat cake while we hid from the foul Finnish winter. Now, I know my children and knew that I didn't have a snowball's chance in Helsinki of getting that baby, but even one of those things would have been nice.
I also wanted to name her Thistle. I know, I know, but hear me out. I wanted to use Thistle as a middle name. To honour her Scottish heritage. Her sister has a middle name also connected with something Scottish that people don't always see as positive, so I thought they would fit nicely together. And I love the quirky strength of it as a name. A sort of 'I don't care what you think' - which may not be the best thing to put on your child without meeting them but . . . I rarely get my naming vibes wrong.
I don't usually fight the Chief for a name. I make a million and one suggestions, he says no to almost all of them and we whittle down from there. He has even made a few suggestions himself over the years. He totally picked Foo's name and got final say on Bump's. Don't let him tell you anything different, he had input. But I fought for Thistle, I kept asking and nudging and mentioning it. And for once, he didn't budge. He said it was a good name for a badger or a Hobbit. You think that would have been enough for him as they are two of the Chief's favorite things, but he kept resisting and in the end we gave her a more solid, normal (dare I say it, a bit boring) middle name. I still love the name, but it's not Thistle. We also gave her a second middle name just cause I loved it and the Chief had no real opposition to it.
I should have fought harder, because my Pudding is definitely a Thistle. Don't misunderstand, I love her to bits. She's delicately beautiful, strong, independent: every reason why the thistle is brilliant as Scotland's national symbol. But she is a bit, prickly.
She's LOUD, like the other Weans. I keep saying they have to teach her not to scream, but she out-shouts them all. Whether happy or sad, frustrated or excited, she's shouting. Some days it just wears me down, but I know it'll hold her in good stead as she'll never be low man on the family totem pole as she'll always make her needs known.
And like the great thistle, she will not be held for long. Well, not in a cuddly, cosy baby way. She'll be carried, but mainly so she can see or reach better or get someplace she can't get on her own. She rather be pulling herself around on the floor than sitting on my lap. Though she will sit on us, playing and watching things, she's usually pushing forward, grabbing at everything. Trying to get on with things. She has no patience. She also hates to be confined or restrained by snowsuits, car seats, buggy straps, slings. She spent her first 5 months on our laborious school run screaming because of the first 2.
She's nosy and will not sit still. So if I'm carrying her or have her in the sling, I have to keep moving. She now can pull her arms out of the sling, so she's constantly grabbing at things or head-butting me as she moves about trying to see better.
She will sleep in the sling occasionally or fall asleep on someone's shoulder when she's at the point of exhaustion. But she won't just cuddle, even when ill she will not lie down and just be. I get a few cuddles when I feed her, but only after she has a 10 minute feed that includes her wiggling and kicking and pinching me as she tries to play with my clothes. Then she needs between 10-30 minutes to roll around on our bed and burn some milk energy. We have a private playtime then which is lovely. Only then will she lie down and have a sleepy, cuddly feed until she's sleepy and rolls off into her own space.
|This is Pudd at her cuddliest, half-asleep, my shirt over her nose and feeding to sleep. She sometimes strokes my arm at this stage. One of the reasons I'm happy not to give up feeding alone upstairs.|
I know some of it is upbringing. She has 3 older, nosy, noisy, active siblings that are really entertaining. I have had to put her down sometimes when cuddling would be optimal to deal with something or someone else, but after 4 babies I've gotten quite good at doing things one-handed or with baby in the sling.
I don't mean to make her sound unlovable, she's is utterly adorable. A bright light of a girl when she smiles and giggles. She loves her siblings and screams with joy when her Daddy comes home, and screams in frustration when he tries to take of his shoes and coat rather than pick her up. She chats away to me and lets me sing nonsense at her for hours. We have our regular private play on our bed and the floor when she should be sleeping.
So in my heart she will always be my wee Thistle. I'll always regret I didn't insist, but I totally get the Chief's reluctance. It's not the most wearable of names for most people. But it suits her with a capital T, for Trouble.
And she's off . .