A couple of months ago I uttered the fateful words “I’m loving this age” to my girlfriend. I was of course referring to motherhood and specifically toddlerhood. Our then 2 (+3 months) year old boys were in her backyard, bare bums, larking about under the sprinkler. Good times. The quintessential summer activity. My dear friend, who happens to be my kindred spirit when it comes to many things in life including parenting boys, interestingly didn’t respond to this statement. No secret that she is the clever one. She did smile but in hindsight I might have been imagining this. Anyway, fast forward a very short couple of months and it appears the gods of smugness were listening to this conversation and far be it for me to think I’ve got this parenting thing nailed because I now have a two and a half year old. Yes please, I will have ice cream with that humble pie and pretty please with sprinkles on top. Allow me to preface everything I’m about to say by declaring that Charlie has my whole heart. My whole world turned upside down and inside out the day I became his mother. I fell in love, a love not known and after the shittiness of infertility and IVF I still pinch myself that this little being is mine. My son. Only at 2.5 he is very much not mine but very much himself. With opinions, ideas and spunk that for the most part I love. Except when those ideas conflict with me needing to do things like, I don’t know, leave the house to go to work.
In the space of these short (but long) months he has become fiercely unpredictable. Nappy changes come only after tense negotiations, dinner time is akin to presenting a meal to a panel of Masterchef judges whilst simultaneously holding your breath and ducking for cover lest you end up wearing it, teeth brushing is exhausting and leaving the house is a logistical exercise in strategy and master planning.
Evidently all of this is caused by disequilibrium (because if you google “freaking crazy toddler driving me mental” this is what you’ll find.) In the midst of this though I see a tiny little human wrestling with some adult sized feelings with absolutely no clue how to work through them. In one single moment he will lose himself completely, flailing about, no obvious rhyme or reason, lost in a sea of watery emotion. He doesn’t want me, he doesn’t want daddy and when he doesn’t even want a box of sultanas we know we are in deep shit. So all I can do is stand back and hold my breath as my little boy sorts it out in his own way. Moments later and really they are just moments, his sobs subside and his divine little hand takes mine. I hug him tight and close, breathing slowly as if in doing so I’m teaching him to do the same and I know we are good. At this point I realise how we are all just spinning on our heels.
One of the very first pieces of advice I got as a new mother was “this too shall pass” and I know that this is just another time that will pass. In the meantime, I relish all of the spectacular things this little boys says and does. He is smart and kind. He is funny, very funny and loads of fun. He is thriving and developing and growing. He makes friends with bugs and spiders, he is fascinated by trucks, cars and fire engines. He loves books and most unfortunately loves the Teletubbies and not so unfortunate he is fond of Curious George. He thinks Norman from Fireman Sam is annoying (like I said, smart kid) and he runs and jumps with zero sense of self preservation. He is so cute it hurts my eyes. More than anything else in the world though he is healthy and happy. What else matters?