I’m pregnant and huge and out of breath after reading two Thomas the Tank Engine stories followed up by a chaser of The Gruffalo, and frankly I’d quite like to have a cuppa tea and a lie-down in front of Ali Wong. But it is Spawn #1’s third birthday tomorrow and I’ve got to get my Mum on. There are presents to wrap, balloons to inflate and (most importantly to Spawn #1), cake to bake. Besides, cups of tea at this time of night aren’t exactly wise, given that I already have to get up three times in the night for a wee despite forced dehydration post-3pm.
So. As I contemplate getting my A into G, I can’t help but look back at what was happening this time two years and 364 days ago. Husband and I had just had homemade burgers for dinner. We make darn good homemade burgers. Mine was probably unnecessarily enormous; it normally is. We’re talking hash brown, fried egg, bacon, patty, plus of course all the vegetables because #healthy.
But full-term me was exhausted so I stumbled into bed pretty early. I was naked beneath the duvet; it was way too much effort to get into pyjamas that didn’t fit anyway on a sweaty and gross summer’s evening like January 5th, 2016.
Shortly after 10pm, my waters broke and I delicately widdled on the floor as I made a dash for the bathroom. I remember sitting on the loo for a few minutes to gather my thoughts, as the miraculous fluid that had kept my unborn child alive in my womb for the last 40 weeks and five days gushed then dripped out of me, before calling out to Husband to ask him for a mop.
Three years on and life is certainly different. Sleeping in doesn’t exist anymore. Even on the occasion Husband and I get a night to ourselves, my ruined body clock rudely awakens me at sparrow’s fart.
Spawn #1 doesn’t understand what personal space is either, or if he does he’s quite happy to give it the big finger. If I’m sitting at one end of the couch and he’s at the other, within minutes he will have crept his way so close to me that my right butt-cheek is hanging off the end. If I move, I’ll inevitably fall off the other end too.
Three-year-olds are very good at telling you what they like and what they don’t, so I’ve become very good at bargaining. Don’t want to eat your dinner? Eat seven more mouthfuls and then you can live your life again. Until then, I control you, bro.
I’m also quite happy to sing in public these days. The two of us have joyfully sung endless rotations of A-B-C through the aisles of the supermarket just to keep him from remembering that I said no to a lollipop.
But then there are the lovely things. The times when Husband is away for work and I’ve had such a shit day manning the fort back at home, and Spawn #1 says, “I love you, Mummy,” and those four little words have made me cry. And then he says, “Oh, Mummy’s sad,” and he strokes my head like I stroke his when he’s sad, and I have to tell him that sometimes tears can mean the opposite.
Or when I pick him up from daycare and one of the other kids yells across the floor, “Spawn #1’s mum is here!” and Spawn #1 responds with a gleeful “MUMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” and races across the centre to show me his paint-splattered clothes and inform me that he’s lost his shoes for the fourth time that day and that he’s spent much of the day practicing his alphabet.
Or when he goes down slides. Or when he sees meerkats. Or when he opens the freezer for an ice block. Or when he does wees and poos on the toilet and says to himself, “I’m so proud of you” because that’s what I say to him.
Motherhood is life-changing, and sometimes it’s bloody hard. I say ‘bloody’ but I really mean much stronger language but I’m trying to be a better person.
But nothing can prepare you for the good things, the beautiful things, the special things that you pocket in your memory bank for those harder days. The hard days are hard, but the beautiful moments are glorious.
To my almost-three-year-old: you’ve made me a better human. Thank you. I love you. And Mummy is happy. Very happy.