There was a moment, about two and a half years ago when I seriously thought we weren’t going to make it. Life was crazy. To you, sleep was the enemy, as was food (or at least keeping it down), resting, car trips, prams, shopping, planes, cafes and any movement more than 1o meters from our house. Basically, anything that we thought would be easy BC (before children) was a complete and total disaster.
It wasn’t your fault. Brought up on a diet of Family Ties, Full House and Growing Pains your parents truly believed that there was nothing that couldn’t be fixed in 30 minutes. Parenting books with easy to follow schedules and friends who outwardly appeared to be handling their own new-borns with ease checked us into the penthouse suite at the Delusional Hotel, where babies sleep straight through at 6 weeks and Mums and Dads read papers in Cafes over coffee on Sundays.
In your typical way you surprised us, finding giant holes in our “strategies” and deficiencies in our plans. Although we were slow getting there, we eventually learned that you had your own way and that if we just listened to what you were telling us, things would be easier.
You did things in your own time, in your own way. You didn’t really crawl, instead you rolled around the room until you learnt to stand, which quickly turned into your favourite form of motion today; running. You got your teeth later than anyone else but learnt to talk by 14 months. You first word was shoes and you’ve been arguing about which ones to wear ever since.
You’re me in so many ways. You simply can’t sit still. Ever. Your like a supernova, spinning and twirling throughout the day, faster and faster, excitedly getting into anything you can with every fibre of your being until your head hits the pillow like a stone. You’re imagination is boggling and your ability to pick holes in an argument; concerning. My parents are laughing.
You’re your mum as well. Kind, caring, affectionate with an infectious laugh and a ticklish neck. You’re deeply passionate, great at organising others and excel in getting the world to spin the way you need it to. You also hold a special spot in your Poppy’s heart just like your mum does. It will take me years to undo the spoiling that both of you have received.
You’re not really a toddler now. You’re in a big bed, go to big swimming and play the role of a big sister. In those rare moments when you are still and we talk I find myself speaking with an adult, someone who can reason and deduce and have an opinion. As I said, my parents are laughing.
Well done on making it this far. Thanks for showing me that singing in public is fine, that my preconceptions of relaxed parenting are just that and true happiness really is as simple as a shoulder ride to the park to play on the swings. Thanks as well for giving your parents the wisdom to know that the challenges we are having with your baby sister will pass. Thanks for not breaking when I dropped you off the ladder at the local park, for keeping me sane when we spent those two nights in the hospital and for making Saturday morning grocery trips a highlight of the week.
Well done on thriving despite your parents theories, flailing and failings.
Happy Birthday Missy, our Illiterate Infant v1.o.
What have your children taught you? How have they surprised you? Were kids easier or harder than you expected?