I keep looking at my baby. His smooth, perfect skin. He's chubby. Five months and 9kg of pure plumpness. Strangers stop me to tell me I have a chubby baby. It's fine, I don't take offence. I know what they mean.
He's our third baby and I take pleasure in their joy, knowing it doesn't last long. He is a healthy, hungry baby. His thighs feel like silk. I spend much of the day stroking them while I carry him or feed him. They're like smooth, squishy stress balls.
Hungry babies feed a lot so I've had a lot of time sitting down to feed him.
My "screen time" stats tell me I have been on my phone five hours a day over the last week. Five. This is extreme for me and I am disturbed by it.
Mostly, I have been torturing myself with content out of Christchurch. Googling world views I had little idea about until last week. Reading the latest stories. Wanting to find answers for the incomprehensible actions that have re-torn a fractured city apart.
Thinking about the awful things so many people have been subjected to. The victims, their families and friends. Witnesses. Our amazing emergency services and medical professionals.
There is a little grumble. A glance from my screen a few inches to my left reveals the biggest, most happy smile directed straight at me for no apparent reason. His face, cradled in my left arm, is almost a perfect circle. Plump little cheeks and white like a little moon. His eyebrows twitch when he smiles, his big blue eyes sparkle and he gets quite a cheeky look about him. I wonder if this means we have mischief in store as his personality starts to shine through.
Then, I am overcome with sadness for the parents who lost children last week in the most unimaginable horror. For children who lost parents. And for others, still, who may not have been directly affected but who have lost innocence or have a dimmer world view because of what has happened.
What sort of world have we brought our children into? Three of them. What sort of world will they know? I was able to tell our older two (six and four) that a "silly man" hurt a lot of people with a gun. I have had the luxury of not having to explain too much because of their ages and the fact that we are in Tauranga, a bit further away.
I told our eldest, who had a "red and black" mufti day to raise funds for the victims, that it was because he didn't like the colour of their skin. It seemed the simplest way to explain it. She looked at me like it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. Because it is.
Several of my friends had children in the lockdown. Three of them said they had a great time, getting to stay at school and daycare and play with their friends later than usual.
Their innocence. Their lack of over thinking. The way they don't yet assume the worst as adults do… how it lasts such a horribly short time before the realities of the world will take over.
Our baby squeals. He has found his voice lately. Cooing and gurgling and babbling away. The only problem he has ever known is hunger. And the odd accidental fingernail scratch or bump of his nose.
How could something that was once this pure and innocent turn into a monster capable of inflicting such horror? How can something so sweet – someone whose very first milestone just weeks after being brought onto this earth was a smile - feel such hate?
Sometimes there are questions we will never find the answers for.