My boy and me. Oh how he’s grown, and I have too. He was my first baby, the one who made me a mother. He broke me down and built me back up and taught me how to be a mum. I look at him sometimes and can’t quite believe that he is the same boy that I saw on my scan photos, grew in my tummy and held as a newborn. We’ve been through a lot together and it certainly hasn’t always been easy. It’s been wonderful, and I’m truly privileged and honoured to see him grow, but it hasn’t always been easy. Being the mother to a strong, independent, clever, cheeky and brilliant two year old has been exhausting and amazing at the same time. He amazes me with his intelligence, curiosity, love and compassion every day but I often find myself desperately trying to stay one step ahead of him in terms of setting boundaries and making sure I stick to my word while at the same time trying not to squash out all of the wonderful spark that makes him him.
Lately we have turned a corner and out from a chrysalis of tantrums and stubbornness has emerged a beautiful butterfly of a boy. He’s a delight (mostly). We have proper conversations and we do things together. He’s helpful: fetching a pack of wipes or nappies or a muslin for me if I ask, and he loves to help me cook and bake. I cherish this time of being one of his favourite people to be around, and someone he thinks has all the answers. Or at least, the person with access to Google and YouTube who can find an answer quite quickly …
Yesterday we were chatting about what we wanted to do with our day. Shall we go to the park? Catch a train to Saltaire, or Bradford? Or a bus to Ilkley? A bus please! So we did. We waited in the bus station and he sat on one of the little seats without me having to hold his hand or the reins on his bumblebee. He told some old ladies that we were going on a bus adventure and they thought that was a fun thing to do. He climbed the stairs on his own and we sat on the top deck so we could see everything. He pointed out all of the things that he could see (farms, tractors, wind turbines and animals) and was so good. He came into shops with me and I bought him an umbrella. I’d been promising him one since we went to Harlow Carr back in February and this was the first child friendly one I’d seen that didn’t have Mr Tumble/other characters on it. He was thrilled and insisted on having it up even though it wasn’t raining!
He sat on the benches by the bandstand to eat his snack and then have a drink before we headed off for a wander through the ghyll on Wells Road. Looking at the water and the waterfall, the leaves of the trees, the bridges, gates and paths, picking up little conkers that had fallen off too soon and asking questions with every breath. As he stood on the bridge to peep through at the water I realised that I hadn’t been to that part of Ilkley since I was 37 weeks pregnant with him. Oh what an adventure he has led, and continues to lead, me on! I was a different person before I had him and I much prefer the person that I am now. How he has grown. He’s perfectly companionable and marvellous in every way. What a lucky mummy I am.