It gets easier... and more confusing.

The fact is it does get easier, of course it absolutely does. They can talk, to start with. Well, at first they can talk a special language that only you can really understand because you're with them all the time, that can have it's own set of challenges but beyond that they learn to actually talk, communicate their thoughts, fears and feelings to you.

Trouble is that often, what they choose to tell you makes little or no sense.

They can tell you, for instance, that they're tired. Usually they communicate this by running around the house screaming their head off and then crying because a toy they thought was yellow is, it transpires, actually blue. Or by being a complete nightmare in a public place, or by whining nonstop about something you can't really put your finger on, becuase all you can hear is a constant, monotonous droning noise.

They might tell you they are starving hungry and absolutely desperate to be fed, but they absolutely will NOT have a carrott, a piece of fruit, some raisins or anything that isn't a chocolate biscuit.

I am often reliably informed that one of their little pre-school friends is their very best friend, or their worst enemy. Often the same child and sometimes on the same day.

They will tell you that they ate up all their lunch, but have no idea what it was. They had a busy and fun day at school, but they don't remember what they did. They want to go to the park and play on the swings, but not those swings, the ones over there (that turn out to be a roundabout).

They want to walk until you let them out the pushchair, then they want to be carried. They want to get down, then back up. They want their shoes and socks on and off - all at the same time. It is hard to be a toddler, and harder to be the parent of one.

But there are many positives to being on your side of the arrangement; You can articulate your frustrations (ideally to another adult, reasoning with a toddler is like talking to the wall), you can seek help from the right source when you have a genuine problem. You can tell what a genuine probelm is.

Not forgetting that you can drink coffee (or gin!), you can dress them in hilarious costumes at halloween to amuse yourself (or to embarrass them when they're older and trying to be cool), you can find other mummies to confide in and if you're really lucky you can rely on a friend or relative to babysit when you just need a night off.

You can also make the monsters under the bed vanish, kiss it all better, hug it out and be their safe place.

You can hear 'I love you mummy' and know that in that moment, they mean that with every little bit of their hearts.

Finally, you can try your best to remember that feeling the next morning when they wake you up at 4 am to tell you they need a poo.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.


Time... and truth

Time really does fly.

 

(Just look at the length of time since i last wrote a post on this blog for a good starting example).

 

A thousand quotes exist about it; how it flies, waits for no man, is precious and can never be re-lived. All these important people who said all these deeply profound things about time are absolutely right. Look at your little girl - 6 months already! - proof in itself that time's a trickster, it only feels like a few weeks ago that she was this tiny little thing that had just landed in our lives.

 

It doesn't mean, however, that it doesn't sometimes drag.

 

The days and weeks may be racking up at a rate of knots, but that hour before bedtime? Some days can it feel like an eternity. The 6 hours you spent asleep were more of a blink, but the 30 minutes you spent soothing her when she was upset could NOT have passed any more slowly. The time it takes to prep her bottle when she's roaring with hunger seens irrationally lengthy, too - and as for getting her actual food now that she's weaning, it just increases the amount of 'precious' time your child spends screaming at you.

 

I guess the message here is yes, of course you should "cherish every moment'' like they all say, but don't feel bad that sometimes you're wishing it away. It's in our nature as humans to want to fast-forward through the grim and/or boring moments of life and slow down the lovelier ones so that we can enjoy them for longer. Hell, even pushing the swing at the park for an hour becomes something you're keen to be finished with after a while. Becoming a parent doesn't automatically make you a saint, and complaining about the parts of your life you wish would hurry up and be over doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you human.

 

People forget that. Especially those who have grown up children, or younger ones (or no children at all) can forget that parents are people, too, and don't like to be criticised for their actions and judged for their attitudes. It's the only job in the world in which everybody has - and freely shares - their own opinions on what you should or shouldn't be doing, enjoying or even feeling.

 

The really important thing to remember - the truth, if you like - is that you aren't just the best person for this job - you are the only one who knows how to do it right. Yes, other people can be parents. But nobody else can be parent to your child. Ask for all the advice you like, and then take it, ignore it, use only bits of it, whatever you need to do to get through. And if sometimes you find yourself wishing the afternoon away because you just can't deal with the humdrum then have at it; nobody gets to tell you you can't.

 

The good news is that eventually, the time you spend listening to the critics will pass, too.

 

Lots of love from me x