‘Good morning, I’ve got no eyebrows’.
Such was the greeting I received from my three-year old this morning. His eyebrows (in case you were concerned) were entirely intact, as were mummy’s, daddy’s and Sam’s (we did a census). Ah, the musings of a three-year old; a threenager. And here I am, the mother of a toddler and a pre-schooler. At least I think I’m qualified to say that. It doesn’t quite feel right to say that I have a baby and a toddler any more. The ‘baby’ has a mouthful of teeth and a head of blonde hair and makes a dash for any staircase he senses within 20 metres. The older one lists all the reasons why he can’t eat his vegetables or shouldn’t go to bed and asks you to help him tell the time.
I’m writing this on the eve of my youngest child’s first birthday. A year ago I was packing my hospital bag and feeling anxious about leaving my (then) only child for a night or two (with his grandparents, we weren’t expecting him to fend for himself). Now I’m baking a birthday cake for a kid who eats ham sandwiches and pom bears and arranging actual school visits for his older brother.
I was hoping to write an insightful and virtuous piece when the baby reached nine months, all about how we’d turned a corner and everyday life was on the up. Nine months came and went and my post remained unwritten. No corners were turned in everyday life, and although things were much easier than in the early days and we no longer had to deal with incidents like this, I was still feeling very much in the trenches. Sam’s reflux had not magically vanished as it had for his older brother (I know, shouldn’t compare) and I was still knackered and generally feeling like I was failing at parenthood.
So, are we an advert for the perfect 2.4 children family now, a couple of months on? Of course we’re bloody not but things are a darn sight easier. Some days my domestic skills would give Mary Poppins a run for her money and others I struggle to butter a piece of toast. It’s taken me a year to work out that the three of us go stir crazy at home, so I try to pack up and go out as much as we can manage. I’ve amassed a year’s worth of tricks to pull out of the bag when needed; some standard (TV and fishfingers); some maybe slightly less so (speaking in French to divert the older one away from the tantrum he was hurtling towards).
At the risk of coming across all sentimental (although I won’t apologise for it, what with my baby turning one on the day my mum should be turning 66), these last twelve months have been a bit of a rough old ride. Reading through my blog posts, that’s no secret. Was I suffering a touch of PND? Quite possibly. Though after a few £100 therapy sessions, during which I mostly thought about how many pairs of shoes could have been purchased instead, I concluded that the hormone imbalance of having Grave’s combined with breastfeeding and the general day to day as a mum of two young children were more than likely the causes of my struggles.
It’s taken time, tantrums (mine) and a few brisk conversations with various people but the old me is definitely on her way back. I’m carving out the opportunities and energy to do what I enjoy; running; socialising; writing (ahem, when my head and my children are in the right place at least) to name a few. In 10 days time we move into our forever house. We’re currently modeling it on the very on-trend ‘building site chic’.
So as kiss the curls of my baby and replace the sleepy, flailing limbs of my first-born, I will admit to feeling pretty flipping pleased. I can’t bloody wait to move house and begin that exciting new chapter. And as for the journey that has been this last year, well, I reckon I’ve certainly come a long way, baby.