Well friends, the arrival of my 45th birthday on Monday heralds the end of this year in the life of a 21st Century Mum.
The idea was to record the days of my son’s first year so that in future he could look up what I thought and what he did and how it all came about without having to guess, as I have had to do, at the events of these formative days and wonder what caused all the trouble.
I also knew that many of these nuggets about his earliest experiences would be lost in time and so I hoped to provide a treasure trove, which he could plunder and savour long after I am gone.
My lasting memory of my own mother’s death is the overwhelming need to read something she had written. I turned our family home upside down looking for some account of her inner life, but found nothing.
And inevitably, this account has ended up being as much about me as it is about Snooks, a diversion for which I hope he will forgive me when he comes to read it.
So with this one last chance I shall now try to capture him, once and for all, in all his 22-month-old glory.
We have just returned from having lunch together at the local café, a treat afforded by the excuse that there in nothing in the house to eat. This afternoon we make our weekly supermarket run. We need all our strength for that.
Snooks was deliriously tired as his (and my) days start at 5am with a long snookle in bed accompanied by a daily war of wills over whether he can use his free hand to do unthinkable things to my other, apparently available, breast. I will spare you details but think of a clumsy but very eager teenage boy on his first date and you are pretty much in the picture.
However notwithstanding the glazed eyes framed by alarming dark circles he managed to conduct himself with real solid gold charm throughout.
I was proud of this little boy who sat beside me on the wooden bench seat instead of in the high chair provided and said: “Nice to see you mummy,” – apropos of nothing.
His ability to spout phrases which I have never used to him, (and not always cheesy 70s game-show host ones either) continues to astound. Where does he hear these things?
Wolfing the ham from inside his sandwich (always one or the other – carb or protein. He never eats the two together. Is he on the Atkins perhaps?) he perused a book about tractors and farm machinery, announcing the colours of each piece of equipment and its position “at the back”. He also observed aloud the colour and comparative size of the wheels of each one.
He spends a lot of time these days with his head on the floor watching the motion of the wheels of the toy vehicles in his life – trucks, trains, diggers, steamrollers, tractors, cars, scooters, buggies, the vacuum cleaner…
He sees shapes in the world, picking out a rainbow in the arc of a playground climbing frame and last weekend clocking a ‘triangle of birds’ in the sky.
He loves to draw and presented me with a ‘butterfly’ he had created with a lovely series of purple and pink loops. Butterflies are his current Favourite Thing. Last month it was ladybirds.
He loves to give cuddles (please oh please make this last) and can often be found in playgroups lying spread-eagled on top of the largest teddy bear. If necessary he will make do with another small child.
He eats chicken with the gusto of a starving dog but will not touch any fruit. He has fallen in love with chocolate and occasionally stands in the kitchen stamping his size five feet demanding chocolate fingers.
He can count to five easily and with a little help can make it to ten. He reads numbers right to left but recognises all the individual numerals.
When he does eventually start nursery (at the most he will go for three half days in his preschool year to prepare him for school) he may end up, as I did, teaching rather than learning.
In a previous post I promised a second part to ‘Things You Thought You Would Never Do’.
The truth is, all of this, all of these months have been full of the unexpected. Five years ago I would have told you that I would never have children. I assumed that to be the case. Then along came the Engineer, surprising me by being the only man I could ever have married. Then a chat about babies over afternoon tea changed the course of my life in the time it took to order a scone.
But nothing has surprised me more than my enjoyment of motherhood. It’s hard, it is overwhelming, it is exhausting.
It is beyond my wildest dreams.