Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

Dear Daniel and Emily

A year ago I wrote this post.

So much has changed since then. Daniel, you’re nearly four and you’re such a big boy. You can dress yourself – in fact, you insist on it – and go to the toilet and even nearly read. You look after your baby sister and hold her hand when you’re walking together. Emily, you are the most independent little thing – walking everywhere, getting into as much trouble as you can and usually following your big brother round adoringly. Full of cheek and mischief and life.

But so many things have stayed the same. I’m still exhausted and there are days when that fog seems as thick and close as it ever has been. Some days I’m wishing your babyhood away, just to get to the days (and nights) when I can sleep and do more than merely function. Other days I catch myself and remember how precious and fast these days are, and I’m trying to imprint little details on my mind.

In the day-to-day business of life, I get carried away. You try to play and I say “In a minute”, “not now” or “just wait a minute, can’t you?” No, you can’t. Sometimes you should, but you can’t. I look at you and you’re both so big and grown-up I forget that you’re not even four, not even fifteen months. I expect things of you that aren’t reasonable. I get cross.

I’m sorry. I want you both to know how much I love you. I’ve just been in to see you both and whispered it in your ears and hoped that it drifted through into your dreams. I’m going to print out this post and last year’s letter and keep them for you, for a day when maybe we all lose our tempers with each other.

I love you.

Mummy xxx

Vengeance and Vaccinations

A guest post by Miss E Brown

I have a tale, dear reader. A tale of warning – do not trust ANYONE.

Today started like any other. I got up around five. Apparently Big Bro used to get up at that sort of time too but age has weakened him; not to the extent of the Parents, of course, but still. It has fallen to me to get the household going and without me I don’t know what they’d do (Sleep, probably – Ed.).

So, anyway, I go about my business. I personally don’t see what’s wrong with a little redecoration of the rooms. Pink yoghurt makes a very satisfying streak on the sofa, and has a great and profound statement about the state of civilisation if you take the time to consider it. And what is the point of them buying me toys if they stay packed away?Birthday Girl posing

Anyway, Mummy must have been feeling a little under the weather, poor love, as she just didn’t enter into things in the right spirit at all. She really started coming loose at the edges when I tried diving. Have you ever done that? You shout to be helped up onto the sofa (give it a couple of months and I’ll be able to do it myself but for now I have to put up with ridiculously short legs) then bat your eyelashes very very fast with a beaming smile. While the Responsible Adult is recovering from the dazzling onslaught, leg it to the other end of the sofa and, well, dive off. I don’t know which is better, the adrenaline rush as you free-fall through the air or the sheer comedy of the Responsible Adult throwing themselves to grab your legs as theirs flay wildly in the air. Fantastic.

We passed the morning quite happily this way, mixed in with a little teasing as I pretend to stick my head down the toilet, then took Big Bro to nursery where once again Mummy stopped me borrowing some of the nursery crayons. Spoilsport. I was practically angelic (*chokes* Sorry. Ed.). Ahem. Practically angelic the rest of the morning, had my lunch, shared everybody else’s, blissfully content in the knowledge that even if I’d gone a teensy bit close to the edge a couple of times, Mummy and Daddy instantly forgive and harbour no grudges.

Shows what I know. I get tucked up in my car seat, have a little doze and arrive at the doctors. I flirt a little (always good to keep in practice), attempt to explore the corridors and then we get waved into a room with a smiling lady and a slightly maniacally-smiling Mummy. Judas.

She actually HELD ME DOWN while the nurse stuck a needle in my leg. Did you get that? SHE HELD ME DOWN. My own mother. What vile vengeance even those we love most will stoop to.

I don’t know what they put in me, but if I’m abducted by aliens in the night, remember dear readers: I told my story. Don’t forget me (as if we could. Ed.).

Bye Bye Baby!

B in the A – Z challenge is probably for birthday. Next week Emily turns one, although some of the stuff she does makes me wonder at times if she’s actually closer to ten. And with her first birthday we’re leaving babyhood behind.

She’s already more of a toddler anyway. She wanders around the house, sometimes purposefully, sometimes aimlessly swinging her arms and looking for mischief (which she always manages to find) but always steady and sure. She babbles away with herself and us; Daniel loves trying to decipher what she’s saying. I have a feeling we won’t be able to stop her once she can talk properly. She’s beginning to show a strong stubborn streak and a temper and it’s obvious that we’ll be having some battles. So in some sense we’ve already left babyhood. Or it left us when we weren’t looking.

Of course, we’re not just talking about Emily leaving babyhood. It’s all of us. We’re not planning any more children and that means that we’ll have to retire things like the crib (which is still standing in our bedroom, as if we can’t quite bring ourselves to dismantle it), the pram, the steriliser which never really got used much anyway since we had a small microwave one that was far more convenient. The babygros are getting put aside for a car boot sale instead of the next baby, and for every piece of clothing that she outgrows I have to decided if I can let it go. Some things, like her coming home from hospital outfit, or that dress or those booties, are being kept as long as we have the space.

Some things I’ll not be sorry to lose. The weaning spoons – I really didn’t enjoy weaning. I love the stage she’s at now where I can give her real food and watch her enjoy it and discover new tastes. She seems to have a broader range of food than Daniel did, but sometimes the memories are a bit hazy and maybe Daniel ate a wide range of things at this stage too. That’s scary – it’s only two years since he was at this stage and it’s hazy already? How am I supposed to remember these things when they’re ten? Or twenty?

I look back at Daniel’s baby pictures and sometimes it’s hard to relate that baby to my little boy. Daniel is so strong and vivid a personality, he comes out with the most amazing words and phrases, how could he ever NOT have talked? Or walked? Or decided he was going to do something and then just done it? And how did he interact with Emily? Wait – there was no Emily??

So we’re leaving babyhood. But I know from watching my clever, beautiful boy that toddlerhood is just as wonderful and scary and amazing. I’m waving bye bye to that part of our lives as happily as I waved goodbye to the part where I wasn’t a mum or the part where I was a ten year old girl dressing up as a bride or rocking my baby doll to sleep. They’ve all been amazing parts of my life, but there’s a time to wave bye bye to it and look to see what’s next.

 

Shoes

We reached a landmark for Emily a couple of days ago, her first shoes. She’s been standing for ages, cruising round furniture for weeks and trying to push her walker frames for about a fortnight, and her little pram shoes just weren’t giving her the support she needs. So, off we trotted to Clarks.

Now, I remember this was incredibly exciting for us when we got Daniel’s first shoes. We did the whole posing for a Polaroid (which, by the way, have gone very downhill since Daniel was done three years ago. A small sticker with very poor resolution. Anyhoo…), deliberating over choice and choosing the cutest and best fitting pair. Being a boy, the colours were mostly dark blues, browns, etc and all shoes pretty much went with all his outfits.

Oh, how different for a little girl! I had already looked ahead and seen some very pretty shoes in the “Cruising” range; although the ones we really wanted were “Crawlers” and not supportive enough. I wanted them to go with everything she had, to be pretty, not too bubblegum-my, and did I mention pretty? Sadly, because she’s a very young walker, her feet are still quite small and the only two styles that fit in the “Cruising” range were either a plastic-y, trainer-y sort of thing (no thank you, we’re not quite ready to do the Great North Run yet) or the ones we got. They’re in the photo. They’re also in black and white because they are a little bit TOO pink. Candy floss pink, not a nice raspberry or pale rose. Not really what I was after, but they fit. They also have helped her, she’s gained confidence in walking in just a couple of days. So I was silly to be upset, which I was. Just a little.

The thing is, which possibly men (most men; I hesitate to generalise) don’t understand, is that shoes finish a girl off. The right shoes make you feel confident, help you walk taller, complete an outfit, complement your personality. Heck, they can even make you look slimmer (by helping your posture). A girl’s first shoes should be the magical start of a lifelong love affair.

Trying to be so noble about her shoes, bless her...

Sadly, my shoes were never any of those things. I have the most awful feet – long, thin and shallow. I was condemned throughout childhood and adolescence to have sensible shoes, black or navy with laces when I longed for pretty slip-ons or lovely buckles. The closest I came, I have no idea how old I was (9?10?) was a pair from Clarks. They were advertised on tv, with a little girl going through a secret doorway with a magic key, and the shoes had the key in the soles. I adored these, I think I walked on air when I managed to get a pair that fit. Then in no time I outgrew them.

Adulthood has brought the freedom to ruin my feet with shoddily fitting shoes but alas, not the money to buy them with. So I still have to be sensible in my shoeshopping. Luckily, I thought, I now have a daughter. I can live out my shoe-love-life vicariously through her.

So it was a horrible flashback when, in the middle of Clarks, I had to choose between what sensible and pretty shoes again. I’m quite sure a therapist could have a field-day with my overreaction to the whole event, but there you go. On the positive side, Emmy is only 9 months old. We have time, my precioussss…