In a lot of ways the last three years have gone quickly. You grow and change so swiftly that often you get up in the morning and Daddy and I comment that you’ve somehow transformed yet again in your sleep.
But in other ways the last three years have been the longest of my life. It’s not generally considered “normal” for a mum to say that but I’m saying it. I think and say a lot of things that other mothers don’t.
Much as you have changed in three years I have changed too. Transformed, like a butterfly. At least I hope I’ve turned into something more beautiful. The person I was before you were born is nothing but a blurry memory now. I can hardly remember how she felt or what she thought about or how she reacted to life. I have spent the last three years violently renovating how I think and sometimes I can only remember the new me. I think this is a good thing. I’m fairly certain I’m stronger and better.
The last three years have been a personal journey for me but, more importantly, they have been a journey for us too. You have changed me a great deal and taught me so much. I was so unwell after you were born and I tried so hard to make sure it never affected you and I. I worry about that sometimes but then I take a good look at you, and how you and I are together, and I know we’re just fine.
You are growing into such a bright, funny and loving boy. You are so affectionate which everybody loves because your cuddles can make a bad day melt away. Grandad says you are therapy and I know exactly what he means.
You love puzzles, cars, Play Doh and painting. You love Hungry Hippos (even though you cheat) and you love all animals. You love your grandparents and aunts & uncles so, so much – it makes my heart swell with pride. You have so much affection for your cousins and friends. You are sociable and silly and full of energy. You get so wonderfully excited by the simplest things. You come out with words and expressions every single day that make me burst out with surprised laughter.
You are also exhausting and demanding. I often can’t keep up with your constant demands for snacks and attention. You defy me often and whine when you can’t have what you want and sometimes that is just too much for Mummy and Daddy. My patience wears thin and I wonder how I’ll get through another hour.
The difference between now and when you were first here is that I know I will get through it. I know that a parent’s strength, energy and patience are apparently limitless. We hit the bottom and yes sometimes we cry, or shout or have to hide away for a few minutes, but in the end we take a deep breath, steady ourselves and reach even deeper to find even more reserves. Or we admit defeat and put CBeebies on while we recharge ourselves a little.
Daddy and I aren’t perfect, and sometimes we feel bad about that. But you don’t care. You love us as we are. You have seen us lose our tempers, you have seen us bribe you, you have seen us give in. But you’re still a good kid. You’re still growing into this adorable, hilarious, clever little boy and that makes me so proud – of you, and also of ourselves.
Because no matter how many buttons you press, or how stressful you make our day, when we’ve completed 50 bedtime rituals and you’re finally tucked up under your quilt you reach out and pull me close and squeeze your little arm around me so hard everything feels right in my world. And I know I’ll have the strength for another day.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Caterpillar. Continue to learn and laugh and love. Continue to help me spread my butterfly wings. Continue to teach me how to be a mother.