I didn’t think it was possible but as time goes on I feel like I love her even more. The feelings I have for her are incredible. They’re scary. They scare me. I’m like a raging tiger mother – I would kill for her. When she hurts herself (which is often) I can hear her cries behind cement walls and plasterboard. They sear through my brain, sending adrenalin to my limbs and I am by her side without seconds.
‘What happened, are you ok, let me see, oh poor thing.’ And then I swaddle her and she cuddles into me and I distract her or pop a dummy in her mouth. I do anything to stop her crying and make her laugh. Her crumpled face pains me. I cannot stand to see her hurt.
She seeks me out now for comfort. She comes looking for me, to cuddle. To run into my arms. She will sit on top of me watching TV and if she’s tired, rest her head on my chest. In these moments, I almost cry. They are the most perfect mother moments you could ever have. I think this is what it’s all about.
The difference between now and some months ago is monstrous. We are chilled. Everything’s cool. Yeah, yeah, we say, as she hauls herself up onto a wooden stool and balances on one leg, wobbling. Other family cry out and rush to her side. We don’t flitter an eyelid. She does this a hundred times a day. Trying to stop her is futile. Climbing is her THING. And who are we to deny her?
She has become very skilled now with her movements. The high chair was packed away long ago and she stands on a kitchen chair at the table, eating, playing with crayons, reaching for what’s in reach. She pushed the chair over to the counter one day and now she knows how to connect things together to get what she wants. And she wants everything. Dare to snatch something away from her and she will hit you with an ear-piercing scream, so loud you might just hand it straight back.
I know that we are spoiling her. We give in to all her demands. We have become those parents who give their kids everything just to shut them the hell up. I thought I would be better than this. More rules. Stricter. Standards. But you try minding a one year old 24 hours a day and see where your resolve goes.
It disappears somewhere between the toy bombed sitting room and nappy covered cot room. It melts in the laundry basket so high you think the washing machine might break. Your resolve, like your appearance, has waned. Nothing matters anymore. But her happiness.
We have a childminder now. It’s just for one day a week, but she happily toddles off and is in a state of excitement when we bring her home. Giddy. Running at the sofa and slamming into it and shouting ‘weeeeeeeeeeeee’. We have a babysitter too. We are finding ourselves again. And when we close that front door and head off into the night, I feel exactly like her, giddy, holding my arms out and running straight into the pub crying ‘weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeha.’
She still has no words. Sometimes I worry that she is behind other children, some of whom have a small vocabulary by now. But when you watch her babbling on the TV remote or holding out her little hand as you talk, mimicking your voice and gestures, you know that’s it just a matter of time before the gabble becomes good, the language is on its way.
I am so positive about the future now. It’s like we’ve come through the baby blindness and ahead of us is more joy, laughter and cuddles. I am so excited to see her grow and watch her learn. I am so proud of her. I think she is the cutest, funniest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in the world. But then, I’m biased. That’s what being a Mammy is all about, isn’t it?
Here are some of the things she did this month. The list is not as long as usual, because she hasn’t been as crazy.
- Ran to me and her Daddy who were having a hug in the kitchen. Thought she was running over to join in – group hug style. Felt a stab in leg. She had a thumb tack which she’d taken from the notice board and desperately trying to stick it into my leg. Brat.
- Ate all the crayons. She loves them. She nibbles and chomps on them and goes ‘pbleugh’ and spits them out and looks at you to say ‘these are disgusting’ but keeps eating them anyway.
- Punctured her tongue with her tooth by walloping her head off the cot. At the moment she has three bruises on her face, two blue and one yellow.
- Finally let me cut her nails – I distracted her with a wind up toy after her bath. This is was a proud mammy moment, nearly as proud as giving birth!