William is now three months away from three. And he is now the little boy I couldn't ever imagine when I was pregnant. I didn't know how to be a toddler mum, let alone a little boy's mum. At the time, I could only just appreciate how a newborn would feel in my arms.
And what I have learned is that children really are like sponges. Like trifle-soaked sponge, dripping in the good stuff. That's my son. Dripping with sweetness and things to share.
He can recount pages from books to me. And he knows not only animals, but types of animals. He knows his chameleons and isn't content in just labelling it as a "lizzer". And don't you dare call a Dalmatian a dog. Nuh-uh. That is incorrect my friends.
And it's more than that. It's the context he picks up. He knows when is the right time to use a phrase. And he now pipes up if we are having a "Mama and Mark" conversation in the car, particularly if we mention him.
This weekend just gone, we went to the farm, as you might know if you are unlucky enough to follow me on social media and the like. And we had such a nice time. I was just so happy. I was wandering around and smiling and enjoying myself and it only really changed slightly when William ran up to us - an only child - and asked if we would come and play with him on the bouncy castle.
There were signs and rules. Big kids should try and avoid going on with little kids. Play nicely. Children must be accompanied by adults at all times. And there were weight and height limits in metrics I'm not that great with - I'm a stone and foot kind of gal. And other parents were getting on this beast of a castle, complete with tunnels and a passageway to the huge ladder and slide at the other end.
And I just nudged Mark and said: "Mark will go with you. Mama's too fat."
And Bill didn't care. Mark didn't care. They went and I sat down and I did, at the time, feel sad, because I'd have loved to have seen what it was like inside (in fact, I sent Mark in with the camera in the end so I could see) and I wished I could play with my son.
But I was frightened. I didn't know whether I might break it. And would I fit through there? Or would I fall over trying to get under that bit, or over that bit? I just chickened out. I let my past size and my terrible self-image hold me back. And while I loved watching them emerge every so often, with rosy cheeks and happy breathlessness, I did feel a little left out.
But it was soon forgotten when we were reunited, shoes back on, and watching the delight on Bill's face as he fed a little lamb a bottle.
That was that.
It was days ago.
And I'd forgotten.
Until my family stopped by briefly last night. Only for a minute or two to collect an iPad that I'd loaded with programmes for my Gramps who is in hospital for tests (he's fine and on the mend). And my Grandma sat me down and said:
"Now, I don't know if you told him this or he's just picked it up, but when we asked him about his trip to the farm, he told us about the bouncy castle. And he said that he played with Mark on it, but that, well, that Mama was too fat."
The lump in my throat was there.
The dread in my stomach.
And the horror.
And actually, the pain. The pain in thinking of those sorts of words coming out of my innocent little boy's mouth. As casually as I'd said it.
I hear women speak often of the responsibility we have in teaching our daughters to be proud of themselves and their bodies. And to love who they are.
But what about our boys?
I somehow thought I was immune to that. But that's the thing. Boys are no different. I want him to grow up and be proud of his mother and all women, and not become used to the negative words I so often use to describe myself. I want him to consider women for who they are and not their looks, something I place too high on a pedestal.
And I never want to hear him describe himself in that way either.
Health is important to me. I won't glamorise my previous weight with labels such as curvy, or womanly, because, in all honesty, that's better suited to the size I'm at now. But even now I carry excess weight. And my health could be improved dramatically.
But I held myself back from having a moment with my son. From living my life. And from having fun. I put those road blocks up and I ruined it for myself because I was too self-conscious and too negative.
And I also made an impression on my son. A massive one for me. And yet, I imagine, this time around, it was a new phrase and a simple offhand addition to his word bank that grows every day in his head. Of no real consequence and just the same as when he learnt the word 'violin' the other day.
"Mama? What violin?"
Something this Mama plays too often.
"Mama? What fat?"
Right now, that's not something I want to fill your head with, little boy.
Focus on learning the special words.
And forgive me for polluting you with my negativity.
And for missing out on how special you are.
And for holding us back.
My lesson learnt.
I'm going to try seeing myself through your eyes. Because you see things much simpler and much clearer than I do.
For everything you learn from me, I learn my biggest lessons in life from you.