I haven’t written about William for a while. At least not in the form of a post all his own.
Partly this is because my little boy is growing up – did you know that he’s 28 months now? That’s Almost two-and-a-half for those who never understand why parents don’t just say: “Two.” I suppose, when they are this dinky, every month counts. We started with days and weeks after all.
But yes, he is getting older, and this means many things.
Firstly – life is easier. Toddlers aren’t easy, don’t get me wrong. But I can move without a baby attached to me. My nipples are mine again. And, dare I say it, but I’m really getting the hang of motherhood. And he’s getting the hang on being his own little person too.
Secondly – photographing two year-olds must be the hardest task in the world. Too big to roll around and smile goofily at the camera. And too little to understand: “Bill? Billy? Just stand there okay? Yes?” I like to call my shots of him ‘candid’ but realistically – they are just blurry.
Thirdly – I’m not going to wean him from this blog completely, but one thing you do learn is that they have their own minds, opinions, voices, and I don’t know if I want to shove him in your faces every five minutes. I’ve never been the sort of mum to share potty shots, or naked bottoms anyway. But I want him to look back on this blog and look up, smile at me, and say: “God, you really love me don’t you Mum?” Yes Bill, I do.
But Bill. Sweet little guy. Where are you up to?
A little memory to start.
On Monday evening, I got stressed. Our cheap oven (a last-minute purchase when we moved in and there wasn’t an oven to be found) likes to smoke like a chimney. I attacked the smoke alarm with a tea towel as it never stops going off (hi five for health and safely) and William was intent on doing the opposite of what I’d like him to. As I tried to cook, and he played with Mark, we had the same old in-and-out of the kitchen game. He wanted this, he wanted that, he stole things, he got angry with me. And I just wanted to get him fed and in bed. I felt like a mean old mummy.
Then, just as my patience was wearing thin and I was kicking myself for the No Drinking On a Weekday Rule, he said:
“Hi Mama! What you doing? Ooo you cooking! Can I help?”
And my heart melted.
He dragged his little stool over to the counter, and he helped. He added the coriander into the dish. Helped me stir. Reminded me not to touch as it was: “Too hot Mama! Careful!” And when Mark joined us and put his arm around me and kissed my cheek, and we praised William together, I just wanted to bottle it up. Film it. Remember it. And I remember blinking and trying really hard to commit this to memory. Please don’t let me forget the feeling.
And William can be a little rat bag. He’s fully aware of when he’s pushing boundaries and being cheeky and he revels in it. Not in a naughty way, but he is like me. He’s headstrong and want to do things his own way. And I don’t say that in a ‘generic proud parent’ way. Because it’s both a strength and a downfall – I’ve 26 years of experience. And it can make for some long days.
He gets angry now. And it’s so funny to watch. Because I think I get angry about such massive things – like inequality, forced-opinions and bullying (silly word, big meaning). But he gets angry when the cats go outside and he can’t pick them up: “Oh Gatsby! You too hebby [heavy]!” And he gets angry at being told no. And he scowls. And my goodness it’s hard to keep a straight face.
He does this thing, where he holds one arms across himself, with his fist balled up, and he swipes his free hand across it, almost as you would when you strike a match. It’s almost like his sign-language for TODDLER RAGE. And he scowls, narrows his eyes, and pouts. And this God-awful noise comes out of his mouth and it’s the most angry grunt in the world. And he does it with such force that his hair flaps like Michael McIntyre’s. And I have to breathe and force down the corners of my mouth. I have to absolutely avoid eye-contact with Mark too – or else both of us will end up in fits.
Bill also likes to be free. Not just in the ‘let him loose at the park’ sense. But in the ‘let’s take our clothes off’ sense. Most nights we go and check on him and he’s stripped off everything and is lying there, spread-eagled and we have to pray he’s not wet the bed. Sometimes, we’re too late. Sometimes, we’re all clear. And other times he’ll be in his PJs sleeping like an angel. And it’s quite normal to be woken up to our bedroom door opening to find a naked child grinning at me, holding Teddy and Mark Cow (his name choice, not ours) and saying: “HAI MAMA!” It’s terrifying and funny in equal measures.
As for adjusting. Bill, in many ways, is lucky that his parents split when they did. And that he met Mark when he did. He can’t remember any different, and, in fairness, his dad is the first to agree that working hours meant that we parented separately for the most-part anyway.
He’s quite happy to spend time with all of the people in his life. But there’s nothing like the smile that Mark and I get when we pull up outside my parents’ house and he runs towards us, looking like he couldn’t be happier. That moment is probably my favourite part of my working day. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and this heart of mine aches for my baby.
His voice is my favourite part of him. The ability to converse with my son. It’s beautiful. It’s funny. It’s the one thing that this mother has looked forward to since the day she first held him in her arms. He’s very articulate. At least, from what I can gather. He did throw himself in words, and I suppose part of me wonders if we’re the same that way. He just comes out with the funniest things and listening to him play on the floor beside me just makes me smile. He’s always rescuing cows and horses from some sort of dastardly fate and the cries of “Oh noooo! HALP! I rescue you!” fill our house up with happy imagination.
I really love my son.
He forced his way into my life. He threw my plans out of the window from his home in my tummy. And he has forced me to open up my mind and look at different paths to follow.
It has not been an easy road for us. In the last 28 months, and even the nine before that, my life has changed insurmountably. But I am writing this, from a lovely office in rainy Manchester, on a salad-fuelled lunch-break, with the man I love sat on the other side of the room, and a family home, with two black cats waiting for me.
And it’s all because of a little boy. Who is currently at his great grandparents’ house with Granny. Showing them his nursery report, while children’s telly plays in the background.
Speaking of nursery report. This just about sums him up.