I’ve spent ages this month trying to figure out what to write about. The fact my daughter doesn’t eat anything? The fact that she doesn’t sleep but at all? (Another reason it has taken me a month to even get this opening written down) The fact that this month saw the could have been, might have been, if only had been due date of a baby girl we lost? The fact that a recent house move has unsettled my daughter enough for her newfound independence to shrink to Thumbelina proportions? The fact that getting into speech and language therapy has been a five-month bureaucratic nightmare? Or maybe the fact that Disney is pumping drivel perpetuating stereotypes directly into my tiny child’s brain?
Then I thought these are all quite negative aspects of parenting. Raising children is such a hard task that it is hard to fall into the trap of moaning all the time. I am tired all the time, I am frustrated most of the time, I am nostalgic of a long lost freedom, and sense of self. Some days are so difficult it takes all of my mental capability just to remember why I gave birth in the first place. So in a sea of all the bad/sad/mad stuff here is my testimony to the glorious side of having a toddler in my life.
I am someone’s whole world – yes, it can be exhausting but I threw a ball into a basketball hoop the other day and received a standing ovation, her face lights up when I enter a room, one of her only words is ‘mammy’. That can do a lot for a woman’s self esteem.
I feel with an intensity I never knew was possible before motherhood – the frustrations are exceptionally frustrating, but the joy is properly joyous!
I have raised a sensitive and caring little thing. Case in point – last week a friend was playing with her etch-a-sketch and she was not happy, but instead of snatching it away she went to find another toy to offer a swap. There is of course a downside to this mother goose persona when we are woken up at 4am by ‘ahhhhh’ because she has noticed the cat in the window. But she is gentle and kind and that is no bad thing.
I enjoy watching her turn into her own little person. She – who has a mother who doesn’t wear make-up or shave her legs – loves all things sparkly, knows exactly what to do with a pot of blusher, wants dolls and Barbies, chooses her outfits, loves to pose for photos, and loves a mirror! She knows when she wants a pram or when she wants a sling, she knows that she does NOT want broccoli! She knows when she is in the mood for Pocoyo and when she’s feeling more like a Bing bunny. She is a strong-willed bugger and I love her for it.
She still has the softest skin. Is there a better feeling than the velvety palm of toddler straight out of the bath?
She finds the simplest things entertaining. A giggle because I blew in her face, or a fun game of ‘where’s mammy?’ is enough to brighten my day. Maybe not after she has tried to wipe her own bum with one of my t-shirts – but almost any other day.
She is curious; she wants to touch, listen, and explore. The tiny cogs in her brain never stop turning.
The dead arm from a tired head resting there.
She is freaking hilarious. Everything toddlers do have the potential for You’ve Been Framed glory. In the past week alone I have watched her throw a ball into the ocean then look aghast, cry ‘oh no!’ and lift her arms in an unrivalled gesture of ‘well I don’t know how this could have happened’; she has walked into a lamppost; she has driven a dodgem terribly; she has learnt to roll her tongue so shows anyone she meets; she has been hit with a helium balloon which made her fall dramatically down with her hand across her face; and she has lassoed the cat with a belt. I am really hoping when her words do come I am going to be privy to proper comedy gold.
There is no one else I want to see more.
There is no one else like her.