I’ve reached another little check-point in parenthood, and life in general. You know those times where you kind of stop and feel the need to take stock of things? It’s a desire to capture something. A feeling, a moment, a phase. There is something really special about the place we’ve found ourselves in right now. Being this little dude’s Mammy has suddenly morphed in to something more. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the transition from toddler to little boy. I definitely feel as though this happened recently. I just have this fire in my belly. This sense of overwhelming excitement when I think about him. I’m watching him when he’s here and I’m missing him deeply when he’s not. It’s a bit magical or something.
He’s three now, this little human of ours. Three years of laughs, tears and endless questions. Three years of second-guessing and high-fiving ourselves. Three years of the world looking and feeling entirely different. We’ve grown together in these years. We’ve learned how to be parents but specifically we’ve learned how to be our son’s parents. That’s a different experience altogether. You see, he’s not the baby from the books. He’s not the toddler that the apps talk about. He’s Billy and he’s everything that Billy is supposed to be.
When he was about six months I remember closely watching the Instagram account of a famous person. I loved following their journey through parenthood and family life. I particularly loved the toddler stuff. The funny stories and situations they found themselves in. The stuff that goes hand in hand with caring for a toddler. The good and the bad. I loved the honesty. One particular photo comes to mind. It’s etched in my memory and for a long time I didn’t really know why, but now I think I do. It was a photograph of their son lying in bed with about ten giant toys. The caption described his obsession with doing this nightly. It was his new “thing” and they just went with it. The photo made me giggle. It was actually really beautiful. A perfect little boy asleep with everything that meant the most to him in the world. He had a packet of crayons, some dinosaur toys, a plastic pretend toaster and, well, his mammy and daddy. What more could a three year old want. It made me giggle and imagine the little boy that our tiny baby would become. I couldn’t wait to see what he would look like. I dreamt about the clothes he would wear and the way his voice would sound. It felt a million years away.
For the last week Billy has insisted on hiding things under his pillow. Toys, soothers, a bottle, a hair-brush. Whatever he deems worthy. He decides upon things he would like to take to bed and he promptly begins the ritual of hiding them under his pillow and then patting the pillow down after he lays it on the items. He sometimes says “see that Mammy” and he always says “now”. It’s a triumphant “now”. He’s proud of his work and can rest easy now.
I don’t know what it is is, but this little ritual has stopped me in my tracks. It’s just so….little boy? It’s not a baby thing and it’s a little more than a toddler thing. It’s funny and random and brilliant and it’s MY LITTLE BOY. How on earth does one go from dreaming about being pregnant to actually mothering a little boy? It’s incredible. I find myself watching him lately. His body is getting bigger but his breath remains as gentle as ever. And his feet – oh mother of God his feet are one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. Softer than anything I’ve ever felt. Little works of art carrying this perfect human around each day. Transporting him to places and moments he’s creating with us.
His little voice is adorable. The voice I wondered about for so long. His favourite sentences are that he “can’t beweive it”. He tells me I’m the “best I ever see” and that “you love you so much” (he loves me so much). He understands EVERYTHING and he is absolutely incapable of being fobbed off. He holds us to everything. One day he asked for a packet of crisps. I told him he could have them after his nap and it worked. I smugly sat down for my coffee and was shocked to see he had risen 8.9 minutes after falling asleep. He trudged in to me, heavy on his feet, and looked me straight in the eye.
“nap done. Need the crisps, green packet now OK?”
I couldn’t do anything but laugh. I also couldn’t argue. I’m a woman of my word and he’s a little boy who remembers every single one I utter.
The truth is I am struggling in certain parts of my life recently. My heart is heavy and it’s not always easy. I’m grateful for everything that comes my way but I’m anxious a huge amount of the time. It’s just life right now and it’s hugely down to stuff I can’t control. I know though, for absolute fact, that the universe sent me this little boy at the perfect time. He helps me walk further, create more and live in the moment for the first time in my life.
He’s my little boy. He’s got curly blonde hair and a laugh that’s infectious. He never stops eating and he’s still “not a sleeper”. He sometimes says bad words and he always says sorry. He adores babies and he hates to “get a fwight”. He knows how to turn Youtube on and he strokes my face if I’m sad. He’s my little boy and he’s exactly the way my little boy should be.