Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Secret Lives: The Mystery of Childhood

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Secret Lives: The Mystery of Childhood

There have been times of late when I have felt that there has been an almost imperceptible shift in my family. It took some time for me to put my finger on precisely what had changed but I felt like I woke up one day and everything just seemed that little bit easier; that little bit less of a struggle. There was a little more time to put the dinner on, put the clothes away and get the hoover out. Fortunately, I managed to restrain myself from doing any of those things. Sure, I am still answering copious summons to the toilet where I am often greeted by a bare bottom being thrust in my direction thereby allowing me to “check” that the use of the first half of the toilet roll was sufficient but the other needs, whilst still plentiful, are not relentless in the way they once were. My children are discovering their independence and I am celebrating and lamenting in equal measure.

Where are you going? 

For the first born, the start of school has heralded a change in our relationship as she now spends the majority of her waking hours during the week away from me. I realise that the concept of school is not a new one and I probably should have been prepared for this but I don’t think I was ready for the her having a whole world away from me and for me to know so little about it. Don't get me wrong, I ask lots of questions, of both her and her teacher to try and gauge the pivotal moments from the day but the answers often just act to generate more questions. "Is she happy?", "Is she popular?", "Is she confident?" "Did she actually eat those peas she said she did at lunchtime?" I suspect I know the answer to the last one.

The school girl 

Meanwhile the youngest, while still having a temper like a bear with a migraine is, on occasion, to be found entertaining himself in his bedroom when his sister is not in the house. He can largely communicate to us what he wants (or "neeeeds") and whilst it may generally incur a negative parental response the resulting tantrum is half hearted and short lived. 

His two days at nursery are the highlight of his week but once again, due to his ability to mingle reality with a Paw Patrol storyline and his inability to understand the concept of time, his day often remains a mystery too.

He spent the day in a stab proof vest.
A STAB PROOF vest people!

It would seem that my babies are forging their own paths (albeit not too far away) and have elements of their own lives in which I am not allowed to partake. This theme seems to extend to their own sibling relationship. I longed for the day that I would take on the role of understudy; no longer being roped into playing pretend and having to act out multiple scenes from various Disney films but when I chance upon them playing together and hear the resultant peals of laughter I desperately want to join in. Unless, of course, it is Peter Pan then, quite frankly, they are welcome to leave me out of it.

The thing that I am struggling to define is exactly how I feel about it. I swing from the ache of a huge void that must be filled to relishing the freedom to pretend that I am doing the laundry when I am really scrolling down an Instagram vortex. Whilst I am (extremely) tempted to start the process all over again I am not sure one more child would ever be enough for me and that is ignoring the fact that with the life choices we have made we can barely afford the two we already have.

My friend once said that she often heard of someone with two children debating the third but rarely heard of the parent of three debating a fourth and therefore we must deduce that the third is one too far. However, she then went on to have a third so I don't listen to her anymore.

I think for now I am going to enjoy the minutes of freedom that their nugget of independence affords me and open a book or run an extra mile. I might just savour the relentless having relented even if only for a moment and spend a little more time choosing to ignore the housework rather than having to.

They still hold my hand... For now. 

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