Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Level Baby: Complete

I'm not really one for getting caught up with milestones.

Because amazing stuff happens all the time, doesn't it? All around us, every day. Crap stuff happens all around us too. So sentimentality at first teeth and unaided rolling over and such like has never really been my thing.

But this week the looming First Year milestone has been dancing around the periphery of my brain (alongside the mental reminder to book a smear test and buy some Olive Oil, the latter of which I've forgotten the last three times I've been to Tesco.)

My baby is one in a couple of weeks and all of a sudden it just feels so milestoney. Much to my surprise I've gone all knobheadish and smushy about it. I feel like I want to sniff his hair and drink in his babyness before he starts lobbing lightsabers at my head and asking me to pull his finger.

There are two explanations for this. I'm either broody, and should start making extra babies right away (having never felt broody before I think this is unlikely, no need to rush home husband). Or, and I'm fairly confident this is the reality, it has dawned on me that I've nearly completed the baby bit. For good. Like a level in a video game.

Level Baby: Complete.

Okay I know he's still a baby. But at 11 and a half months old he's walking and babbling and has 6 teeth and just isn't a baby baby. And once they turn one well that's it, isn't it? People start referring to their age in years, ("He's one, right?") and I'll probably find myself replying, "Well he's 14 months/17 months/22 months, actually." I mean how long can that go on for? "Yes he's 216 months old and living in Halls at University. Yes he's well thanks, still on the 50th percentile in the red book weighing 168 lbs."

The truth is, I've never much rated the baby bit.

My little pudding face, nearly a year ago
Some people love babies and feel the urge to give them a squish. I'm just not a baby squisher. I'm actually far more at ease with a child who lobs lightsabers at my head and demands I pull his finger.

This is probably just as well, because before long I will have two such children and no babies.

I won't miss the pasta-encrusted highchair and the reflux and the 5pm-7pm incessant whinging which makes me want to bash my skull in with the Leap Pad. I won't miss the need to cart around backpacks filled with baby paraphernalia.

But a milestone it is nevertheless.

He'll always be my baby, of course. As will his brother, who is three and a half. They will still be my babies when they are in their mid-forties with receded hairlines and mortgages. But they won't need me then.

Not like a baby needs his Mummy.

So I'm going to sniff his hair and sigh a few more times in the run up to his birthday. And then celebrate with a G&T in a tin (forever classy) and try to reassure my startled husband that I'm not angling for another one...

The Unmumsy Mum
[Unsurprisingly I forgot the Olive Oil (again) but I did book my smear test. Don't put it off ladies.]

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Parenting Rollercoaster

The wise philosopher Ronan Keating once sang, “Life is a rollercoaster,” and I'm pretty sure he was talking about parenthood. 

It's true I was fairly emotionally expressive even before having kids. I have been known to shout, "Pick a lane, any fucking lane, you wanker," whilst driving. I have also been known to laugh hysterically on drunken nights out and cry at those Britain's Got Talent VTs because it's the first time they've had the courage to sing since their cat died. 

I knew there was an emotional range there to start with.

But Christ Alive I’ve never known a rollercoaster of emotions quite like the last 3.5 years. 

Gone are the 'good days' and 'bad days'. Days are less easy to emotionally rank now. Sometimes I encounter the full spectrum of emotions in the same day. Sometimes I encounter the full spectrum of emotions in the same hour.

There are times I feel angry. 

Because try as I might to suppress those feelings of fury there is only so much food-refusal, sofa dive-bombing and incessant whinging that one mortal can take. I mutter, 'For fuck's sake,' at least 127 times a day (whilst sighing).

There are times I feel guilty.
Bastard sodding guilt creeps up on me and smacks me around the face. At times it's just a niggle of guilt but other times I swear it is trying to suffocate me, punishing me for getting angry and feeling bored and sometimes wishing I was at work. Guilt tells me I'm hands down the shittest mother in the entire history of shit mothers.

There are times I feel happy. And really bloody thankful.
Not just averagely-pleased happy but overwhelmed-with-joy happy, bursting with pride and gratefulness for all that I have and all that we are as a family. Times when I find myself laughing at hilarious things the boys have done or smiling like a loony from ear to ear, wondering what I could possibly have done to deserve so much greatness in my life.

There are times I feel scared.
Scared of how much I love them. Scared about letting them go out into the big wide world (okay pre-school, but it is bigger and much wider than the living room). I feel scared when I can't see them or hear them. Even when they had a sleepover at Nanny's I couldn't bear to look at their empty beds because I knew it would trick my mind into thinking what if.... what if the unthinkable ever happened. I can't even type it. 

And it all takes its toll, doesn't it? The laughing, then crying, then shouting, then worrying and then laughing some more. It's not surprising parents feel tired.

But I think I'm learning to accept it.
To take the crushing lows with the pretty remarkable highs and heed Ronan's advice about the rollercoaster.

We just gotta ride it.

The Unmumsy Mum