Having a little boy turning three does funny things to a mum.
For some reason, the journey from newborn to one was something I could accept. A one year-old was still very much a baby to me. And then two – he was still chubby. He was still babbling. A toothy grin. But three? Well, it’s safe to say I have a little boy.
The NCT, supported by Pampers, have found that the First 1,000 Days are the most influential in your baby’s life.
Day 1,000 for me will have been 9th March 2015. It was a Monday. I don’t have any special memories for that day. But I do have many special memories from 12th June 2012, until then.
I remember trying to work out tiny nappies. Make sure I put them on the best way (and the right way round) so they didn’t leak. I remember tiny sleep suits and realising that, actually, my newborn baby looked better in those than any tiny outfits. He looked perfect. Snug little toes, hands enclosed in built-in mittens. Still curled as he used to be in my tummy.
I remember the first smile. A genuine one that no one could say was down to gas. I knew because his eyes lit up and were trained closely on his mother’s face, my face.
I remember how small he looked in his car seat, when I got home from my first day at work. My mum left us. He sat smiling at me from his comfy seat. And I unbuckled him and cried big fat tears at the relief of being reunited with my almost-nine week-old baby. I felt a great sense of achievement just in surviving that day.
I remember expressing milk in the stuffy server room of my old work. I was devoted. I ignored the jokes about my milk in their tea. And I kept at it. I was never embarrassed. I was determined. If I couldn’t be there. I could do this.
I remember him turning one. Finally sleeping through and the sweet relief of my first full night’s sleep in a year. And the realisation that it would happen again and again.
I remember the cake smash I organised with my mum. We didn’t realise how much cake would be eaten. How messy he would get. And how much we would laugh.
I remember the first steps. The falls. The proud toddler smile. The bumps. Oh the bumps. The pain that goes through you when you feel like you should have seen it coming.
But then the stumbles turn to strides. And then before you know he’s no longer wobbling towards your open arms, with unsteady feet, and instead he’s running away, giggling. “Can’t catch me!”
And yes. The words. The phrases. The phrases of old, coming from the mouths of the new. The absolutely side-aching laughter that makes you feel like you’re being treated to a personal stand up show. Bill, aged two.
The first “I love you, Mama.” And no matter how much it is said, it will always be as special as the first time you heard.
The hand in yours. The arms around your neck. Those bright blue eyes. The way he says “happy” or “anymore”.
Just every part of him.
The first 1,000 days of his life were the best 1,000 days of mine. Sure, there are challenges. Sure, I’ve never been more tired. But I’ve never been happier.
Here’s to many more.
And to, one day, starting from 0 all over again. With a brother or sister.
You can find out more about this amazing study on the NCT website. And I’d recommend grabbing some tissues before you watch the video below.