It was my birthday last week. My third birthday as a mum. My second since covid began. And I feel like I’m getting into my stride with both things. Although I do find the parenting easier than the pandemic. At least with parenting I can tell the two year old what to do and explain why we do such a thing, and he’s two and he trusts me so he usually goes along with it. Usually. He even reminds me when we head out that I need my mask.
He is a riot these days. Full of talk, and getting new words every day. I kind of forget that he isn’t a baby anymore and can understand more of what I’m saying. I’ve had to start paying more attention when I’m talking around him, the mere mention of the word bus and he is putting his shoes and coat on for an outing. And if I mention Grandad or a car he immediately starts looking out the window for him. The fact that Grandad lives two hours away means he won’t just be popping by on a whim. Well, not regularly.
He is as independent as ever, and absolutely knows his own mind. Which I love, and I encourage, but sometimes it makes life difficult. I have to remind myself and the Dad that we are the parents. The toddler should not be the one dictating to us. I mean, nor should we dictate to him, we don’t run that kind of household, but we are the authority figures. Well, I am anyway. Mammy is usually right.
But this knowing his own mind thing comes with challenges. He is outgrowing all his clothes, but is against any new ones I bring home. If I try to put them on him he screams and kicks. Or sometimes just point blank refuses. But after he has worn something once he is fine to wear it again. It’s just the newness of it all he abhors. Working on that one.
The night before my birthday I went out for dinner with some ladies from the neighbourhood. Women I have gotten to know over socially distant drinks during lockdown, and through many odd and meandering conversations in group chats. We decided to take our socially distant driveway drinks on the road and head out for a meal together. An actual sit down meal. In a restaurant. With wait staff and cocktails and no washing up. It was slightly surreal, but wonderful.
Before leaving the house, while I was getting ready I had a moment. I looked at my reflection and thought ‘Oh. There she is. It’s been a while.’ It felt like the first time since, maybe since before I was pregnant, that I felt like myself. That I felt like the outer view matched the inner sense of self.
And then I couldn’t help noticing the stack of books next to my bed. It resembles my stack of to be read books back when I was at uni. When I had free time and leisure and knew not how to spend it. I have actually finished four books this year. I know, that’s not a lot, but considering everything else that I have on my plate, and the fact I usually pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow, I am impressed with myself. That’s more books than I have finished in the last 2 years combined. And I intend to finish at least one or two more before the year is out.
This birthday thing isn’t all that bad. This year I got the gift of re-acquanting with myself, and I really like it. It’s a slow process but the results are worth it.
After my night out at a REAL LIFE restaurant, I spent my birthday morning watching Gecko’s Garage with my 2 year old, keeping a careful eye on him as he tried to drink milk from a cup and praying he doesn’t spill it all over the couch. But all he managed to do was give himself a milk moustache. A cup of tea, his company and cheesy kids shows was a pretty good start to this year. I hope lots of my mornings are as relaxed and happy as that one.