I am very aware that I am making no new claim when I say that motherhood is a condition filled with woe and wonder.
You draw amazing strength from your children, and in return, they leave you drained.
I thank my lucky stars every day for my beautiful, happy, healthy little boy but I still think how beautiful, healthy and happy I might look sprawled across a beach chair in Thailand with a giant bucket in front of me.
My dear son was the main reason I managed to get out of bed in the mornings after my father’s recent death, and all my friends know how grateful I am to him for that. What I failed to tell them is that I meant it literally:
‘Get up mummya! GEEEET UPPP!
‘Get up mummy I want CERREEEAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL’
‘Just a minute darling, *yawn* mummy is a little bit sleepy…’
‘I WANT CEREEEEAAAAALLLLL!!!! Nooooooooowwwwwwww!!!!!!!’
A quick glance at my phone would confirm that this was 5:50am. Cbeebies wasn’t even on yet. That’s how you know it’s too early for your child to be awake.
Nevertheless, the age of three is a pretty magnificent time, there’s so much going on:
The acquisition of speech is remarkable and often incredibly funny and cute, and there’s this persistent drive toward independence, this desire to be a ‘big’ boy or girl. Unfortunately you don’t often get to choose which task your offspring wants to perform on their own. Cue milk all over your carpets, broken plates, broken bones. While you appreciate their kind offer to help you with the housework, it’s always *a little bit unfortunate* when they clip an expensive picture frame with the end of the broomstick.
Yet one thing I can never understand is how my toddler son decides that he’s perfectly capable of diving headfirst into a swimming pool with no arm bands on, because he wants to swim ‘all by myself‘, but whenever he goes to the loo he shouts tyrannically at me from the end of the corridor:
‘WIIIIIPE MY BOTTOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!! MY BOTTOM IS GIRTY!!!!!’
And I wonder what his last slave died of.
This particular phase of (ahem) motor development is something I would, frankly, rather speed up. But then even that has elements of cuteness.
After a long bed wetting spree, I started doing the clever mum’s trick of picking up their child late at night in their sleep and taking them to the toilet.
As the sun rises I invariably hear the ‘MUUUUUMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYAAAA‘ calls coming from his bedroom, but this time he is smiling proudly, absolutely beaming, and he announces,
‘Mummyaaa??‘ (that’s how he pronounces ‘mummy’)
‘I didn’t wet myself tonight!!!!’
I am tempted to let the incontinent little rascal into my secret, that this is actually all due to the astuteness of his very clever and talented mother, but decide I’ll be gracious and let him bask in the glory of this achievement all by himself.
Especially as he flings his arms around my neck, kisses my cheek, and says
‘Mummya, I love you SOOOOO much…’