lifestyle · parenting

A summer to remember.

Someone told me that I will remember this summer for the rest of my life.

“You only get one season with a baby, and just a few years with a toddler. Before you know it, you’re back at work paying the bills. You end up missing so much of the good stuff; milestones pass you by and soon they are all grown. Enjoy every second and treasure each and every minute because these years don’t last long.

Soon they will be grown up and you’ll miss the sleepless nights and tantrums; the kisses and perhaps most importantly, having them all to yourself. School comes quickly and real life never slows down even if you wish and dream for it too. The greatest regret you can have as a mother is not enjoying the wonderful times that you have; while they are occurring. The housework will wait and so will all of the useless and humdrum worries, their childhood however will soon be gone.”

You know what? I think she might be right.
The past few years have been a challenge (having two small children will do that) but ultimately after I had mostly kicked the Post-Natal Depression out of my life, it’s been a truly wonderful (if occasional infuriating) experience. I’ve grown into a better person for having the experience of two amazing girls needing my constant love and attention.
Do I miss having a whole uninterrupted hour of not being poked, prodded and swung off? Oh of course I do; but I wouldn’t have it any other way, even on the days when I’m at the end of my tether and ready to consider if day drinking might be the way of life for me.
Thankfully that isn’t often, though I do swear under my breath more than I care to admit. Interesting fact: hearing “Damn it,” said in a sweet, angelic two-year-olds voice is only cute and funny until other people realise what’s she’s saying.
True story.

Two beautiful girls, both growing so fast and learning even faster. We’ve just started potty training Evie who is now two years old! TWO. How did this time jump happen? Can someone please tell me how to slow it down?

It seems like just a few days ago that she was sleeping on my bare chest in the hospital. I was gazing in pure wonder at her tiny face, hands and feet. Kissing her little head and whispering “I love you,” so many times that I was sure she would never, ever forget.
I told my friend this and she nodded with a bittersweet smile and replied with; “it gets faster every second but they will always stay your babies no matter how old and busy they get.” This is a beautiful thought, though if I’m honest it’s also perhaps a little daunting to know that the job that I spend every second of every day doing will ultimately last a lifetime.

This summer has been amazing! The sun has blazed down and the rain has mostly stayed away. Truly glorious in every way, except our newly laid grass turning to straw. That was… We’ll go with annoying.

Yes. Annoying.

We have played in the garden, sang, danced and laughed at the silliest of things. We learned new skills and perfected the old. Enjoying almost every second while coping with the stresses and anxieties that come hand in hand with parenthood. Cursing our mistakes and taking our triumphs for granted when we should have been overjoyed at how wonderful we have had it.

Toddle’s hat obsession has reached a whole new level where even the lids off of jam jars reach the lofty heights of fashion accessories. Oooh, la la! She has perfected talking in sentences and has started the dreaded “I want” stage.

“Nope. Nope. And nope! Sorry, sweetie but ‘I want’ only get granted occasionally and only if they have a ‘please’ attached for good measure.”
“It’s still a no….”
*Thinking ‘for f**k sake. Ground please swallow me whole,’ while smiling at the other staring people and saying “toddlers; aren’t they fun?Hahaha.*
At this point I kind of feel like a broken record but apparently it is a passing phase as long as I don’t give in. Fingers crossed that this advice is correct and no one else is enough of a dick to say; “awww, you’re just being mean. Buy her the sweets already…”

Thanks, dude, that was the opposite of helpful! A small note to any strangers who want to get involved in someone else’s parenting: DON’T unless the kid is in danger or is being mistreated. Not just being denied sweets and another new toy to add to her countless millions! That is how you become enemy number one and make an already stressed and embarrassed mummy or daddy feel ten times worse than they already do!

As for those smug-ass childless/ pregnant with your first child people who love to say in a carrying whisper; “my child will NEVER behave like that.” Looking forward to seeing you eat your words later when your stood in the centre of the supermarket and your kids screaming for a paper clip and not listening when you try to explain that toddlers don’t actually need paperclips. They are also very swallowable so toddlers possibly shouldn’t even have paperclips. Besides the point, why the Hell is the damn thing so interesting. It’s a bleeping PAPER CLIP!

Thankfully I come from a massive family with more kids than it’s possible to count so I knew that even the children that are usually well-mannered, calm and cooperative can become unholy little poos at a moments notice. No kidding myself here, my toddler is mostly good but when she’s bad… She is enough to make a Saint curse the air blue.
No joke.

My sweet baby Lily has figured out how to crawl and walk along the furniture and we can’t help but grin at her proud little smile and loud bragging, “BAA BAA BAAAs”. Is there anything more beautiful than the look of a child who feels like they have accomplished something amazing? She loves pushing her little wooden truck over the lawn and attempting to push her sister. 10/10 for effort but not quite there yet. We were also given a massive leftover cardboard box and both the girls and the cat (and my partner, but shhh I didn’t tell you that) have delighted in making box forts. Great fun with the added bonus of keeping them out of the sun and mostly out of mischief.
BBQ’s have also been plentiful and so has the gin. All in all it’s been the type of summer which I hope to remember forever.

I keep trying to convince myself that I am in fact a good parent regardless of my cranky ways and anxious need to both keep them safe AND let them explore. It’s a hard balance and honestly, I don’t quite have the hang of it yet, but there is time. Provided I don’t fritter it away like it’s always so tempting to do. I think that we spend so much time wishing away the sleepless nights and tantrums that we forget to hold on to the tiny slobbering kisses, the big boisterous hugs, and the “lub ooooos”.

If I could do the past two years over again I would spend less time worrying about what I’m doing wrong and more time celebrating now many things that I am doing right. Spending less attention on the unsolicited advice and more noticing how my children are thriving regardless of any of the silly and unimportant mistakes I’ve made. Finally, I would be gentler on myself and allow myself time to learn because no one ever truly tells you just how much you have to learn in a mere instant in order to care for another human being.

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