Three Things I Never Thought I'd Do As A Mum
Eat as much fast food as we do. Actually, it's not really the food, it's the Drive Through delivery system. On a bad day of tantrums and bad tempers (and that's just mine) the combination of a soothing drive, someone else cooking, food he likes, and not having to toddler wrangle in a crowded cafe is sheer bliss. The pulling funny faces in the mirrors at each other is kinda fun, too. I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I might just have to get used to doing this a couple of times a month. And saying, "no love, they don't do beans and sausages here" each time.
Shout. I still think I do too much of this, but it's getting better. It started when he fought free of my grip and went running off, gleefully giggling, down the middle of the road. The only thing that stopped him in his tracks was a banshee bellow, delivered at my full (and not inconsiderable) volume. I'm getting better at picking my moments, but for a while after that, every time he did the opposite of what was asked, I saw him in my mind's eye running out in front of a bus. A friend calls this The Fear.
Love This Much, This Fast. There's a saying in adoption: "fake it until you make it". It's about demonstrating and modelling loving behaviour in advance of feeling the love, accepting that it can take time to form a bond and feel that strong attachment. I haven't had to do much faking. Sometimes it feels like he's forcing my heart to grow, to fit him inside.
Four Things I Hoped I Would (And Do)
Embrace The Mess. There are stickers on my loo seat. Breakfast cereal behind my sofa cushions. Ball pit balls everywhere. Crumbs everywhere he can get to, and everywhere I could swear he can't. It's hard to get in the shower sometimes, because of the legions of bath toys. I never get to tidy or dust our bedroom (although his is spotless!) There are books upon books upon every surface. I am now adept not only at laying my hands on every kitchen utensil and pan without having to look at them (which I could do before) but also setting my feet between the building blocks, bouncy balls, toy phones, toy steering wheels, bobbins, soft toys and sundry ribbons and string that migrate onto the kitchen floor, also without looking (which is a new skill). I love this. All of it.
Get Outside. In all weathers. The trick is to make sure you're wearing wipe clean clothing, too, because at some point he's going to find the mud – even in a drought – and at some point he's going to want to ride on your shoulders. One day we came home with mud, cracker crumbs, snot AND leaves in my hair*. Result.
Paint. I'm not arty, but I always loved playing with paint and crayons, and I didn't my lack of artiness to mean he didn't get to play this way. Although it takes more time to prep and clean up than he spends doing it, it's worth it. See above.
Love This Much, This Hard. It hurts. It takes my breath away. It terrifies me so much I wake up wondering how I'll manage when he leaves home (!). It's sheer joy and unadulterated euphoria. It's perfect and real and wonderful. And forever.
*Yes, I could wear a hat. But only for about five minutes before it becomes a game...