The story of my son joining our little world and filling it with smiles.
This boy, the boy in the photograph, the chubby-cheeked handsome little fella is my son. And he is 1 year old today. I am thinking about him a lot today, so let me tell you some things about when we met and our first year together.
This last year, this last wonderful year was the fastest in living memory! I really must go back and check that 365 whole actual days past because it sure doesn’t feel like it!! My daughter, now 4, seemed to be a tiny baby forever and the memories of that really linger even now but with him he was little for what seems like a few weeks and the images in my mind are so vague already. That’s the thing isn’t it with second or subsequent children, you’re so busy keeping all the cogs of life turning that time just disappears, alarmingly quickly. I am very conscious of this now, so I try to stop and take in moments as often as possible, you should do too. And I love photography so I try and capture our lives in still-frame when I can, showcasing our journey on the walls of our house. I love catching a cheeky grin from a frame in the corner of my eye as I rush down the stairs with the 3rd load of washing.
I am not with my son today as I am back at work, which makes me sad. I think about how he arrived into this world, as all mothers do, on more occasions than they’re probably comfortable admitting. Carrying a baby and bringing them into the world is one of those things that just cannot be understood by those who haven’t done it (sorry but it can’t!) It is physically and mentally life changing and stays with you always. Today I look back and I smile as I think of the mad dash to the hospital (with a 3-year-old in tow, reprimanding me for facing the wrong way in the passenger seat of the car and not wearing a seatbelt!). I thank whoever you should thank for the 1-hour 50-minute labour/birth experience, compared to the previous 32-hour epic marathon. And then I remember seeing him for the first time, bringing him close to me and this time it was like the movies (as I wasn’t a dribbling mess from being in labour for nearly 2 days) I couldn’t believe how perfect he was and how my heart just ached with love.
When I found out our second baby would be a boy I am not too proud or ashamed to admit that I was mostly completely terrified. A boy, what do I do with a boy? Our family is massively female dominated, ‘Girls Rule OK!’ I would be bringing an alien being into our lives. Well OK, a human baby but not one like me or my daughter. I felt very out of my comfort zone. Don’t they just run around roaring and using inanimate objects as weapons? What about drawing and doing stickers? What about sitting in restaurants with Mummy and Daddy having a nice meal, how the hell is this all going to work? Isn’t he going to rock the boat and unbalance the delicate equilibrium of our little family of 3? My husband and I had dedicated the last 3 years of lives to our daughter, everything we did revolved around her and we loved her to every corner of both our hearts, so how on earth would it be possible to love another small human the same amount? Where would that love come from? We were both phased by this, it just didn’t seem possible.
Hah! These thoughts make me laugh now. Yes, he rocked the boat and gatecrashed our world but in the most wonderful way possible.
Because my boy is just the loveliest little thing and has always been a very happy, smiley and content baby. My year off work with him and getting to spend more time with my daughter too was sort of life-changing really and has helped me to redefine what is truly important to me. This second maternity leave experience has been very different to the first. Yes better, but not because the first time was bad but just because the second time around you are naturally better at everything, more relaxed, comfortable in your own skin and slightly less emotionally challenged shall I say! Although him being a brilliant sleeper and breastfeeder, combined with not screaming relentlessly for 2 hrs every evening really helped! The boy’s not perfect though, every nappy & clothing change is a battle, being still is not a skill he is looking to excel in anytime soon. Items of clothing are often just abandoned if not 100% essential (got to pick your battles). And he is everywhere before you blink, can’t take my eyes off this one for a second.
However you’ll be pleased to know that my son does not terrify me and I am now confident in my role as Mother to a girl and Mother to a boy. Being flexible & adaptable are top of the parenting job description, so yes I can now make playdoh princess dresses in one hand and drive a Toot Toot car with the other. And anyway I hate all the gender stereotypes. My daughter has always liked cars and trains and my son (for now) likes dolls. There are challenges ahead and some of those that I will face with my son will be different to those I face with my daughter. But I am ready, bring on your best roaring and your most imaginative fake weaponry. I’ll be at the table doing stickers….
Oh and by the way we found out what happens to the already bulging parental heart, it’s all true, it does indeed just grow and expand to whatever size is required to engulf your babies in love. How could it possibly not?
At the end of this momentous year, I want my son to know what a pleasure it has been to get to know him and I thank him for bringing more happiness than I could have imagined to all three of our lives.