Almost two incredible years that we’ve now had you on this planet. I made notes as it all motored along so quickly, but still had to double check what follows is only from the past six months. You have changed beyond all recognisable proportion – emotionally, intellectually, physically and nearly always endearingly.
The first point on the notes was a reminder of the time I nearly passed out from a swelling heart, exploding into a gazillion pieces when, in one evening, you independently requested my all time favourite children’s book [Peepo]. Then, once we were done you said, for the first time, so clearly “Nigh, nigh”.
And that there was just the start of it. The stuff you can never quite comprehend before the child is your own. Kids develop, kids learn to do completely different things at their own pace but only when it is your child does the pronunciation of “aaaaaaah-pell” sound quite so delicious. Your first full sentence was, unsurprisingly, oh Welsh babe of mine, “S-rainin”.
The joy you bring is dangerously intoxicating. It is overwhelmingly suffocating in a way we, your parents, can’t quite catch our breath on account of stifled tears and bulging proud hearts that consume us round the clock. In your first year we joked and celebrated that we had kept you alive for 12 whole months but this really has been a period of relentless injury. As you launch yourself into the garden with all the energy of a Springer pup at 8am on a Sunday morning, wellies on the wrong feet, the patio groans as your head cracks and we cross everything once again that the bruise doesn’t appear on a nursery day and there is, thankfully, no need for stitches. Bouncy castles and not so bouncy beds have landed us in A&E. Somehow it is me that always leaves feeling like the casualty.
There are many testing, trying, (again) all consuming idiosyncrasies on a par with those 8am garden visits that bring on such painfully conflicting emotion. It’s either tearing us into tiny shreds or crippling us with hysterical laughter. There’s no medium setting. It’s an exhausting oscillation between high and low.
Parental sacrifices continue. Shit coffee at play centres. Where soft play is synonymous with pond water posing as a hot beverage. Thank goodness for warmer weather and snatching every opportunity we can to be together, outside. It is those days that make us more optimistic. We don’t dwell on bad days but focus on better weeks. Two years it’s taken to acknowledge this parenting lark truly is the sum of all parts.
It’s been a year of so many accomplishments for us all. Remember that time I kept you awake after a sugar-fuelled party for a 2.5 hour journey right over your usual bedtime? Not even the M25 could get the better of me. My arm is still attached, not fallen off, numb from all those hours it’s spent devoid of an adequate blood supply, hanging at a hideous angle to soothe you in your cot.
These are my accomplishments and I’ve happily become less modest when shouting about yours. You are your very own little wonder. You’re so good at turning the vacuum cleaner off at the power supply just as I’ve got to the festering pile of your beloved toast crumbs. You’re a ninja with a “bido”. Embracing White Company sheets as a perfect blank canvas for your finest masterpiece to date.
You are, without doubt, my best work. Just as well as I fear not I’m not up to much else. My mind is one tired mangle of 75,000 open browser tabs. I have been meaning to wash my hair since last Tuesday; tidying up and up and up night after night. But things are far better when you are my sole focus. During trickier bed times there’s just no point thinking about the dinner to cook or emails begging for a reply. There is nothing like a comforting cwtch and a rock in that chair as you melt in my arms and I hold you so tight.
It’s always a phase. And I wish I knew then what I know now. The time goes so terrifyingly quickly. You were the baby that would never, ever be put down. I genuinely thought your Father and I would be sleeping in two hour shifts until you started high school such was my delirious desperation. Things improved with car sleeps and pram walks but I longed for the holy grail of you falling asleep in your crib. And now? I can get you back from gymnastics, place you in the cot and out like a light, without a murmur, down for nearly an hour, you go.
So unimaginable. Complete and utter can’t see the wood for the trees stuff. None of us parents ever know how it’s going to be until we’re giving it a go. London weekdays of times gone by – a couple of glasses of wine nearly always started an evening that ended at Pizza Express with a voucher code. Does anyone ever pay full price to eat here, I pondered, over my Pollo? We are now those mugs. Along with many millions of other families across the UK on a Saturday lunchtime [11:30am]. What price strength in numbers, a pack of stickers and a ready supply of dough and Crayola?
Every year I want to remind you that I can’t promise to get it right (Bolognese or La Reine – I’ll nearly always choose the wrong bloody one!). But I’ll sure as heck try my damnedest. I will never expect you to be the best, as long as you too commit to trying your hardest – except when it involves getting your hands on the toilet brush*.
*On July 4th 2017 Ffion Megan Crisp finally made her way into the downstairs loo, unnoticed, and got hold of the much talked about toilet brush. Her Mother has just about recovered and continues to embrace the ignorance of not knowing whether or not it made it into her daughter’s mouth…