Parenting: 2-2 1/2


It’s been one of those days for the past six months. Those days go a bit like this… 5:30am ‘wake up’. I use the term loosely because we were all woken up at whatever time you wandered into our bedroom and I lifted the duvet on auto pilot as you climbed in, did a ton of tossing and turning and finally went back to sleep once you’d successfully negotiated 7/8 of the king size bed to yourself. At 5:30am we all pretend we’re going to lie quietly until 6am because ‘sees o’clock’ (you even have the audacity to tell me you’ll get up at that time when you go to sleep) is somehow so much more acceptable than anything that starts with 5 or worse *shudders* 4. That’s 30 minutes of you pleading for the iPad, me desperately trying to stop myself engaging in your ridiculously cute chat and shielding my face from your kicks to my head.

The alarm. You squeal every single morning in a way that implies you’ve never heard it before. Sees o blinking clock. CBeebies for you, some completely pointless snoozing for us. We steal ourselves for the first battle of the day. I don’t get why you don’t want your nappy changed but I guess I do get why you’re so desperate to go downstairs. And it’s from this point dear Fuhrer you start issuing the orders in a breathlessly delivered list-like fashion “toast and peanut butter and pen and book and milk and Peppa” and… geez Louise please would you give Mama a break at 7:09am already?!

The one weekday morning I’m not working you’ll cut me a bit more slack. But any other day, without the aid of Carr’s cheese melts (you’ve got quite the refined palette you, kid) I have no idea how we’d get you out of the house. Perhaps one deep winter day I should just let you out of the house bare footed and without a coat. It would save us both the textbook trauma associated with negotiating either onto your being.

The best bit is saying good bye (ha!). “Li-stick” you bellow, in the otherwise quiet side street before pursing your lips and leaning forward. Perhaps you got the memo too that a bright red lip detracts from tired eyes… “SEE YOU LATER!” you shriek with a wide smile and off on our way we go. Without exception, for the duration of my drive to the city centre I am thinking of how much I will miss you.

Dada says you continue to bowl into nursery each morning without a glance back. They have counting and the alphabet covered there which is probably just as well given your finest home taught recitals are the Paw Patrol theme tune and the most irresistible wiggle to the Peppa intro.

You bring home new songs, scribbles and reports of squabbles. Sometimes I pick up Jekyll, other days Hyde. I never can be sure which one I’m getting or the nature of the day card that will be read out to me. I wish so much you didn’t bite or hit and that’s perhaps the bit that’s been most challenging.

Sometimes you are wild, savage, to a point, and we struggle to put a stop to that. When will you know how much it upsets me? How much it causes me to question “what the hell have we done to turn her into this?!” It’s obviously all our fault because that’s what we, your parents, do – accept full responsibility and live in fear day in, day out of totally f*cking up our first born.

This past six months I’ve definitely became better at dealing with the steely glares and hard stares of less understanding members of the public as you chuck a total strop in a coffee shop of supermarket. You’re always so keen to thank me for your Babycino with a casual kick to the shin or unrelenting slap to the face. I am apparently so, so cruel for even suggesting we need to leave. At least I can laugh at myself once I’ve recovered from the initial trauma. When you were much, much smaller I’d worry about you crying and causing disruption somewhere away from home. Was that ALL I had to worry about?!

But as ever it continues to get easier and harder all at one. For every nerve that continues to be shred, every adrenaline peak that is wiping me right out, you get more and more remarkable by the hour. The intensity is not dissimilar to the newborn days but the rewards now, oh the rewards. When you were tiny you couldn’t make us laugh this hard. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when the three of us share a deep belly laugh inducing joke. We couldn’t talk about your day. You couldn’t tell me things I’d never have known. The leaving card everyone at nursery made for Baxter, the squash and biscuit at the church crèche. The tiniest things suddenly become the most significant. You have better, more engaging chat than some of the best dates I ever went on. You could talk at me for hours and still blow me away with every complete, clear sentence you manage.

You’ve properly morphed into a companion, a side kick, one of my very best friends. You can sometimes cause me to get so, so cross but never forget it’s only because I love you so much.