Come Friday I will have a big, grown up FOUR year old. Our baby boy Freddie, our much-loved guinea pig child will have been on this planet for four whole years. It’s cliche to write, but it really doesn’t seem possible. I was thinking today how much I, how much we have all changed since he and S arrived. You have a vision of what life will be like when your child is born, and a vision of your future. Some of which is fulfilled, and the rest…well… you know what Forrest Gump said about chocolates? Yup, that. Expect the unexpected, be prepared to swallow your pride, and embrace being the parent you never thought you were.
Here are some things I’ve learnt since venturing blind into the wilds on parenting…
Becoming a parent really strips away who you are to your core- all my strengths are highlighted, all my weaknesses brutally exposed. I have realised that I am the most patient person when it comes to explaining things and answering questions about all kinds of random stuff. I am definitely NOT patient when it comes to being woken in the night for ‘no good reason’ i.e. not being ill/ needing a wee, and I find bickering/fighting/wailing as a result of the aforementioned bickering/fighting likely to turn me quite shouty. I will happily read/do craft stuff/ build train tracks/go places, but ask me to ‘role play’ or pretend to be a train/tram/the 119 bus and my heart will sink. I will fulfill the request, but it’s certainly not the parenting area that I excel in!
That no one else will ever have the ability to change my moods/sense of well being like my children do- it frightens me sometimes that people so small can have such control over my emotions, that I can be an on-top-on-the-world, beaming, proud-as-punch parent one minute, and a sobbing, sniveling, failure-feeling mother the next. No job has (thankfully!) left me sobbing big, fat, ugly tears at the end of a bad day like being a parent- thank bloody god for biology and bonding. I could easily have ditched my two for good on certain occasions if I didn’t love them so!
That time really does fly fast. The baby stage feels like a whole world away now, even though it was only two years ago for S. I really hope I still remember all their special moments in the future, and I guess this is why I like blogging so much- you have those memories written down. I also realise now that I’m not a massive ‘baby’ person, that I actually much prefer the ages they are now and can talk to them and not have to change nappies anymore.
I wish we had never stressed about getting F to sleep through the night when he was a baby. We read the books, scoured the internet for sleep advice, tweaked routines, yet nothing ‘worked’. After 9 months he slept through. With Sasha, she went through the night with bugger-all input from us by 9 weeks. We should have gone with the flow more, as I believe now they just do it when they’re ready, and even now they don’t always sleep through. *wails*
That I actually enjoy peace and quiet more than I thought. I have always classed myself as an extrovert, and someone who enjoys socialising and the company of others. When you’re a parent you have small people (rightly) demanding your attention near enough 24/7, it’s lovely in so many ways, but also bloody draining. Often if Adam is out, and the children are in bed, I will sit in silence reading or surfing the net, and it’s HEAVEN. I appreciate time alone so much more now. Which may or may not make me sound like a miserable git.
That having children 15 months apart was actually relatively easy at first in my very humble opinion (newborns sleep a lot). Then it gets harder when you have a moving baby and toddler who just want to push and bite each other, but then gets easier again age 2 and 3 as they can converse and enjoy playing proper games with only a small amount of biting thrown in. The small age gap is starting to pay off, and the lovely dynamic they have now means we’ve decided that we probably won’t have any more children- we are worried that a 3rd child just wouldn’t work with them and our family. I am just going to live vicariously through friends of mine who go on to have lovely large families!
Before you become a parent you can have all sorts of ideas about what you would and wouldn’t do when you have children. I always very judgementally frowned upon co-sleeping, yet it’s something we still do sometimes and has saved our sleep sanity on many occasions, and I’ve surprised myself by actually really liking snuggling up to a small warm body every now and again! We also used a dummy to plug the screaming cake-hole that was Freddie’s mouth at 4.30am on the first night back from hospital after he’d bawled solidly all night up until that point- before then I never wanted to use one. Let’s just say I am soooo much more open minded now!
I am coming to terms with the fact that I can only try my best as a Mum, and have the best intentions, and that despite all this there will be times most days/weeks/months when I screw up somewhere on the parenting spectrum. I can only keep plugging away, and hope that by the time they are both grown up there haven’t been too many monumental cock ups.
Before having Freddie, I never, ever thought I would know so much about the London transport system as I do now. Due to having a travel/vehicle obsessed child I now know almost every train route in London, every station on the tube (he has a map that we look at religiously!), and most bus numbers and routes in SE of the Capital. You can never predict your child’s interests, and as a result of his, I’ve spent an hour at a time. At East Croydon Station. Running from platform to platform watching different trains pull in and out. Now, that really is true love…
That I know everything and nothing about my children. I can feel I know their bones, and what they’re thinking and feeling. Then they turn things on their head and have an amazing ability to shock and surprise me, even at such tender ages. Which I like. It keeps me on my toes, and makes me realise what incredible little individuals they really are. And as much as it makes me feel sad thinking about it, that they are free-thinking beings who will never be mine to keep….
Linking up with ‘Let’s Talk Mommy’ and ‘Share With Me’