Hello baby

You are six months old today and they have been the most exhausting and challenging six months so far.

They have also been the happiest and most joyful and we’re so happy you are here.

You arrived on a May evening, born at home in a water pool, as planned. We didn’t know you were a baby boy, as with your brother’s arrival, it was the best surprise of our lives. When I saw you, our new baby boy, I could never express in words how it felt to finally have you here. I remember that night as blissful; here at home with our team of incredible midwives. Once they left, and we carried you upstairs to sleep between us on your Sleepyhead, I can only describe the way I felt seeing you sleeping next to your daddy as pure elation. I knew I should sleep but how could I, with you here? And anyway, at any moment I couldn’t hear you breathing or snuffling I had to prod you to make sure you were okay.

You’re more than okay. You’re wonderful.

You may look like the spitting image of your brother, but everything he did, you don’t. You can’t take a bottle. Goodness knows we tried. Your colic that lasted three months but felt interminable, leaving you screaming night after night (after night after night after night) and me sobbing as I rocked and swayed and tried so hard to soothe you, but couldn’t. You are so easily bored, you need constant attention, just like your father. I work around you, I must; but what a challenge it is. You hate the car; some journeys are a nightmare. You still wake anywhere between two and five times a night. Some nights I feel I’m going mad with tiredness.

But you put your tiny warm hand on my neck in the early hours and it feels heavenly. Your beautiful eyes light up when you smile, you are so smiley, strangers comment on your smile in the street, the supermarket, the swimming pool. Your signature quiff, gone now, but it made you you for so long. Your giggle, it’s infectious, your great big gummy laughs, your dribbly kisses, the way you burrow your head into my neck, your splashing in the bath, the way you gaze at your big brother and he makes you laugh, and adores you in return.

Seeing my oldest baby become a big brother, it’s lovely. No jealousy from him, just love and endless patience at my tiredness, all the ‘I’m justs’ – feeding/changing/rocking/soothing your brother. He never seems to mind. I missed him when you first arrived – no one warned me of that. He was only inches away from me but there you were; tiny, clinging, needing. I couldn’t go to him and it was hard. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just writing your name now – I haven’t been able to write your name here these last six months; tiredness, yes, but almost a quiet disbelief that you are really here, after wishing for you for so long. We’re so lucky. Jonah Thomas Richard: we love you to the stars. We’re so glad you’re ours.

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Please look after this child

Sunshine image credit Pinterest

I can’t promise you
That I won’t cry
It’s a big milestone you see
One of the biggest, really
And the idea of you (so little, to me)
Going somewhere so big
Without me there, by your side
Well
It’s hard
But I’ll be brave, for you
At least I’ll try.

You are
How can I put into words
You’ll never
Ever
Understand
Until one day you perhaps have babies of your own
But you are
Like sunshine to me
My greatest treasure
And I can’t bear the ‘What Ifs’ just now
It’s all so unknown.

What if you are nervous
Without me there to calm you
What if someone makes you cry
Without me there to comfort you
What if you are overwhelmed
Without me there to reassure you
What if you are feeling lost
Without me there to find you?

But this I do know
You are so ready (though I am not)
And this great adventure awaits you
I am prouder of you than I can ever express.
And even though the thought of you
In your uniform
On that first day
Makes my eyes brim
And my heart ache
We are always by your side
Not always in person
But we are there.

And as a side note to your teacher:
Please look after this child
Take him into your care
When I can’t be there
I know he will try his best
Your patience sometimes he may test
But he is lovely
And kind
And funny
And sweet
I know you will do your best to teach him
And encourage him to play and learn and have fun
So as his hand leaves my hand
We say goodbye, off he goes
All I can repeat is
Please look after this child

Are you ready for this? I’m not ready for this.

Z jumping

This week is a week of lasts, because the time has come for nursery to end – or nursery work as we call it; mummy goes to work, daddy goes to work, Z goes to . . .

I was devastated when he started nursery. They had to bring me hot sweet tea to help calm me down and that was for the settling-in session. Oh dear. In my defence, it was the sight of his name tag next to his little coat peg that tipped me over the edge. Oh, that and the idea of handing my baby my baby over to another woman every day whilst I went off to work. That’s not to say I don’t love my work because I do, but still. MY BABY.

And now, just like that, it’s over. And I feel really sad. I’m not good with change, and as next steps go, this is more of a leap. He loves nursery and they love him. It’s been part of our lives for three years and so yes, saying goodbye is difficult.

You know what else is difficult? When one of the staff innocently says ‘Yes, it is a big change isn’t it, going to school, that’s when you start to lose them isn’t it?’

Errrrrrm, what? You can’t casually say that to a mother who cries at the drop of a hat (or the sight of a coat peg) before turning away to tell the two boys at the back of the play area to put those spacehoppers down NOW or there will be trouble.

It stung. And I think she could sense it because she then said ‘Well maybe not primary school. But secondary school . . .’ Oh, stop, I can’t think about that yet.

It seems we can’t win – sad when it’s time to send them to nursery, sad when it ends. Today at pick-up the tears came as I arrived but I held it together. I’ve warned them this probably won’t be the case on Monday, but I hope I can remain composed enough to hug and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for taking my precious boy into your care. Thank you for hugging and reassuring him when he cried as I left, weighed down by The Guilt. Thank you for feeding him and reading to him and teaching him to write his letters. Thank you for making him laugh and encouraging him and for making him feel safe and looked after. Thank you for everything.

I might not be ready for this, but he most certainly is. School beckons.

And on we go.

Nobody knows it but me

Z leapingLast Tuesday 18th April was a date etched in my mind, because it was the date we’d be finding out if you would be going to our first-choice school for you. I’d joked about how if we didn’t get first choice it might send me into an early labour, but we did, and we’re still waiting on this baby.

The actual finding out part was something of a comedy of errors; our local government website said the emails would go out in the evening, then late afternoon, someone on a local Facebook group said they started going out at 5pm. At 6ish I received a text from eAdmissions saying an email had been sent . . . but it hadn’t. I spent a while hitting refresh and still . . . nothing. I went back onto the local government website, flustered, couldn’t remember my email and login details. I asked (screeched at) Adam to run upstairs (I don’t run anywhere these days) to bring me my copy of The BFG, where I’d written down and stashed this crucial info. I then realised I was on the wrong site, found the eAdmissions site, flustered a bit more about logging in and then, there it was. Your name and confirmed first choice school place.

I shouted the news to a delighted Adam and broke into heaving, uncontrollable sobs. You looked at me, alarmed and I’m sorry for that. ‘Mummy’s just so . . . so happy you got into your school!’ I sob-exclaimed, which is true, but also isn’t.

It’s a great school, close by and is one of the reasons we chose to live where we do. Some of your friends from nursery will be going there, and I think by September you will be ready for it too. But I just don’t know if I will be. Because it seems so big, and though you are tall you seem so little to me.

Certainly, since turning four you have changed a lot, we have even more brilliant conversations now and your observations and mannerisms are fascinating. You start a lot of sentences with ‘You know mummy’, you regale me with tales of dinosaurs and yesterday you used the word palaeontologist five times in a row and I was like a goldfish. You tell ‘jokes’ – ‘Mummy/Daddy, I’ve got a joke. There was a poo-poo and he walked across the road and there was another poo-poo and he was squashed HA HA HA HA!’ You’ve mastered the art of taking selfies on my phone and you find it HILarious. You can draw your letter ‘Z’ and sort of write your name, you write out your number 4 and you can undress yourself. These things you do that make you seem more grown-up are, I find, a bit deceiving.

Because you still sleep with your arms up by your head, like a baby.

If you hurt yourself or get upset, you cry for me.

When I put you to sleep in your ‘down bunk’ at night, you snuggle down away from me, but you reach your little arm back to touch mine, to make sure I’m still there.

You still cry for MoreGuin and he goes to nursery with you.

You let me cuddle you loads and sometimes say you wish you could hug me all day. You’ll be a teenager (gasp) in no time at all; I know you won’t then.

You are sweet and funny, loud and mischievous, kind and cute, energetic and sometimes exasperating.

When you go into that school, a brand-new place filled with so many new faces and things for you to learn and adjust to, I can’t be there when you are sad. Or if you hurt yourself. Or what if someone says or does something that might hurt you? I can’t bear it. I want to protect you forever at the same time as knowing I can’t possibly. You are independent and that will grow. All the things that make you you, I know them so well. The new people you meet won’t though. The times when you are vulnerable and we are there to dry your tears, your innocence, your sweetness. My lovely little boy; I hope you encounter so much love and kindness, and return it too. You don’t know yet what an awful place the world can be, and we want to protect you from it for as long as we can. I hope you will be lucky enough to meet great friends, to be confident and strong as you go through school, to not experience suffering at the hands of bullies, again; I can’t bear it. These are the worries I can’t escape from, and they will be true as you go through your life at every big stage. It’s what being a parent is, I suppose, and I’m going to have to toughen up to it. I’ve said it before; I promise not to embarrass you at those school gates on that first day. Letting go of your hand will be as hard as handing you over on that first day of nursery. But I will be brave, I promise. I’ll obviously come home and cry my eyes out, but that’s standard. For me, anyway.

For the last time . . .

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With approximately three-ish weeks to go until the arrival of your brother or sister, I keep finding ourselves in our usual routine thinking ‘In a few weeks’ time, this will all be different . . .’ and it feels strange and exciting and a little overwhelming all at the same time.

Four years you’ve been in our lives for, the best four years yet, and now you are four and soon the three of us become four too. It is everything we’ve wanted, but doesn’t feel real, not yet, and won’t until the baby is here.

What does feel real is that soon our morning routines will be different. You get up with your daddy, which is a total result every morning for me, because I Hate Mornings and that will never change. I love seeing you and hearing your voice and the way you come running in armed with all your teddies ready to start the day – but luckily you want to start it with daddy, not me. A new baby isn’t going to remotely grasp the concept of Mummy Doesn’t Do Mornings though, so I’d best make the most of it now.

Our evening routine, that’ll change too. I love this time of day; your pjs and stories with us, lying next to you in your ‘down bunk’, which I now have to haul myself in and out of like a giant tortoise. Just lying next to you this evening, you look so little in there, and you reach your hand out to touch my arm to check I’m there; I’m always here for you, but soon it will be different, when there is another little person to share the love. Don’t you worry your gorgeous, big-haired little head though, there’s more than enough love to go around.

You are so sweet about your impending new sibling, ‘Leafy’ or ‘LovelyFace’. You say hello to and kiss Baby Bump, you say how happy and excited you are, you are so affectionate and funny and kind. I suspect after a few weeks of them being here the novelty will quickly wear off, but it’s a joy to share this time with you, as I grow increasingly bigger and more breathless and uncomfortable by the day. The idea of you meeting your baby brother or sister for the first time is the best thing ever.

I can’t wait for it, but equally I can wait whilst I enjoy these precious last few days of us being three before we are four. And really you should be thankful this baby will be such a distraction for me come September, to hopefully prevent me from being that wailing mother at the school gates, desperate not to let you go. Frankly, I hate the idea of our precious Thursdays and Fridays together ending, whilst knowing I should be thankful we have them at all. You’re going to be an amazing big brother and Leafy or LovelyFace is so lucky to have you. As are we.

 

The Worry O’Meter

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If I worry enough, will that make it okay?

So, motherhood. It’s a whole new realm of worrying, isn’t it? I read recently that when it comes to being a parent, there’s a very (VERY) fine line between all-consuming love and sheer, never-felt-before fear. Oh, the FEAR. Are ‘What’ and ‘If’ the two scariest words known to mum? And dads, of course.

I pondered this earlier, when I found myself having a little cry whilst reading some info on the schools’ application process. Me having a little cry about anything related to important changes in Z’s life is not uncommon. Yes, I cried (stealthily) during our first school visit, no I could not help it, yes my husband was mortified, no I did not care. It was just too overwhelming; it’s the school we really want him to go to, but he is little, and it is very big. Denial is key.

Thus, I found myself wondering today: these things I worry about so much, if they are worried about enough, will they go away?

SCHOOLS
Beyond those school gates (pleeeease let them be the gates we want oh PLEASE) is a world in which we can only go with him so far. We can hold his hand until it’s time for him to go off into that playground, in his new uniform with his little coat and bag. Then he is gone (until home time when I will be the happiest person in the WORLD). Our baby boy. The absolute love of mine and Adam’s life. I am reassured that the teachers are kind and caring and he will be welcomed and looked after by them. Hopefully some of his nursery friends will join him.

But what I do not know is who else he will meet. Who will he play with? Who will be friends with him? Who will help him if he needs it? Will they be nice to him? Naturally, the idea of anyone not being nice to him feels me with a blinding fury that I can’t even express. It’s hard to hear terribly sad stories of bullying and not panic. Children can be very cruel. Often without even meaning to. But still, they can. And on the flip side? I know what a sweet, generous, funny, loving and playful little boy he is. He knows how to behave kindly. Just as I have to trust he will make lovely friends, I have to know he’ll be lovely to others, and hope with all I have that he will settle and be happy, and these worries will remain abstract, and turn to nothing in stone.

NITS
Do school and nits not go hand in hand? Oh, but the very idea of them makes my scalp crawl, let alone the reality. The day they happen will involve shrieking and not just their arrival in Z’s luscious locks, but in mine. Because my long hair is extra thick and curly, and whilst I dream of a head of glistening SJP-esque curls (at its finest during SATC), this remains a dream. Unless we are enjoying very hot temperatures, my left-to-dry-naturally hair leaves me resembling a backcombed Brian May crossed with Worzel Gummidge. It is very attractive. You can imagine why nits will be such a problem. Apparently, they hate products, so it will be V05 mousse and Elnett all the way when they strike. Those little critters will be bouncing away from our big bouffants STAT, I hope. Maybe the extent of my worry on this will make it not *quite* so bad after all. But that’s probably clutching at claws. Blyuuuuurggggghh.

ACCIDENTS & ILLNESS
Everything becomes a potential hazard when kids come along. Not just the obvious; roads, steep stairs, open windows, ponds, but those kitchen counter edges, unattended hot drinks, an oven door left open – the list goes on. I feel constantly alert for the things he can damage/be damaged by, I am always trying to second guess what will hurt him. Nine times out of ten this worry comes to nothing, and it’s a blessed relief each night when he is asleep; another day done, another day safe. Tick! But recently we had a scare, when he came home from nursery very distressed, with a rapidly rising temperature. He screamed when I turned on a light upstairs; he couldn’t bear to be in any light whatsoever. You know what word immediately burst into my mind. And you know that once the ‘M’ word is thought, you can’t un-think it and dismiss their increasing temperature and drowsiness. Or their inability to even be comforted by TV because it’s too bright. Even though Paw Patrol makes me want to hide from the TV too.

To cut a long story short, 111 were brilliant and sent paramedics, they in turn were brilliant and because they must be ultra-cautious with these symptoms, we went by ambulance to hospital and stayed the night, so Z could have antibiotics on a drip. Holding your screaming child in the back of an ambulance, distracting them as the doctor finds a vein for a cannula, soothing them as they lay in a much-too-big-for-their-tiny-body hospital bed . . . Well, it’s all of those worries come true, whilst being immeasurably grateful it isn’t worse, and hopefully never will be.

WILL HE BE . . . OKAY?
Just . . . will he be healthy and happy and safe? That is all. Right now, he is only three and a half years old. He is a pure, sweet soul who knows only love. He is protected and knows nothing of the horrors of the world out there. I want him to live a life of adventure and excitement and exploration and endless possibility, whilst equally wanting to protect him and never let him feel a moment’s anguish or heartbreak or fear or sadness ever. Becoming a parent is absolute, unconditional love. It is also accepting the worry, which starts the day you know you’re expecting and is there every day. Not all day, every day, because how would we ever get anything done? But it’s what we signed up for and it’s here to stay. Now how about some Valium for that first day of school? And a nice hot cup of tea. Possibly laced with brandy.

Summer memories to last a lifetime

It’s September, which seems mad, but what a summer it’s been. We’ve been so busy having so much fun I’ve not had time to write it all down, but that’s what helpful picture galleries are for in years to come. They’ll jog our memories as we remember The Summer of Making the Most of Zach Not Being at School, aka being fortunate enough to go on some lovely trips, because we are lucky enough to have family and friends who live in/have homes in France and invite us to stay . . .

Villefranche in April:

 

Menorca in June:

 

Morzine in July:

 

Valberg in August:

Dieppe in September:

Croyde in October:

Norfolk in November:

I am constantly aware of how fast time is going, how fast you are growing up and I want to make sure I don’t take any of it for granted. There are so many things to try and remember, my phone is filled with notes. I keep trying to think of witty and interesting ways to write all about it, but what am I waiting for? If I lose my phone I’ll be kicking myself, so here’s a recent selection, in no particular order:

  • ‘Mummy my legs hurt! I need some magic cream!’ (for growing pains)
  • Charlton Lido on bank holiday Monday morning just gone, me swimming and you running over to give me kisses and big hugs whilst I was in the pool and you stood at the poolside with the sun behind you
  • Speaking of swimming, you swam for the first time in the sea with me in Villefranche in August and it was so special, the sunshine and the green water and you splashing away (before we went for dinner and realised our flight had left at 7am that morning. Oops.)
  • ‘I want a little bit of breakfast now’ (at 6pm)
  • Absolutely beside yourself with despair ‘I don’t want to eat a broken banana! Fix it, fiiiiiiix iiiiiiiit!’
  • ‘Mummy . . . mummy . . . mummy . . . I love you.’
  • ‘Can I make honey now?’ (proceeds to empty out any available washing baskets and roll around in it and run around with it on your head)
  • ‘No daddy you’re being rude you’re a silly man! I’m not your friend anymore!’
  • ‘I am so excited!’
  • ‘Now then Zachy who do you love more than anyone else in the world?’ ‘MoreGuin!’
  • ‘Oh yes mummy, you’re my favourite little boy.’
  • ‘We are so happy on holiday aren’t we?’
  • ‘I’m not going to nursery work are I?’
  • ‘I miss Arthur.’ ‘I miss MoreGuin.’ ‘I miss my pegs.’
  • Every morning when I go to brush your hair, you run and hide under the bed
  • Every evening when we try to brush your teeth, you roll away or run away or scream and say ‘The gates are shut’
  • Walking home from nursery and you go on the tall wall, so I can pick you up higher and you can be closer to the sky
  • ‘I’m making you chocolate eggs!’ (brings me Lego bricks filled with sand)
  • ‘I missed-a you so much today!’
  • ‘You are my pile of treasure.’
  • ‘You are the cuddliest bear I’ve ever seen.’
  • ‘You are my plastic bucket.’
  • ‘You are my cherub.’
  • ‘I like softing Charlie cat best you know.’
  • ‘Merci beaukook!’
  • ‘Mummy you look like a steam train today and a lovely mummy.’
  • ‘This bath is too wet!’
  • ‘But I don’t like onions!’ (whilst eating a plate of fish fingers, mash and broccoli)
  • ‘What was your favourite part of today?’ ‘Being with you.’

Slow Down

A friend shared this on Facebook this morning and it made me BAWL. It’s beautiful, but made me wail great big heaving gasping sobs. Attractive, I know.

I thought I’d be okay watching it a second time, but that was very naive of me. I was relatively composed (aka gently weeping) until the father-sees-his-daughter-as-a-bride bit and then I lost it. Again. I love you mum and dad.

And Zachary? Stop growing up so fast xxx

 

The Overly Sentimental Mother’s Guide to a trip to A&E

zande2Disclaimer: He’s absolutely fine, phew.

Things I am not cut out for:

The split second after seeing my son whack his head into the sharp corner of a kitchen counter.

The sound it made, which I keep hearing long since it happened.

His screams as the deep cut in his eyebrow bled and he cried and cried in my arms.

The sick feeling I get when I think about if it had been a few centimetres lower.

The sight of my child lying on the blue hospital bed, looking up at the lights in A&E, as the kind nurse gently cleaned and glued the cut. I distracted him by reciting all the Thomas engines, and promising him a new one next week. At that point, I’d have promised him all the engines on Sodor.

Things I may not be cut out for, but luckily for me, these lovely people are:

My first aid trained sister-in-law, who took immediate charge of the situation, cleaning him up and getting ice whilst I held him tight and tried not to bawl too.

My brother, who was calm and laid-back and practical, everything I was not as we worked out what to do.

The pharmacist in Sainsbury’s, who confirmed yes he needs to be looked at, better safe than sorry, whilst my head was a blur of What If He’s Concussed/Scarred For Life/Am I Massively Overreacting/Oh But Look At His Poorly Cut/Ooh I Like that Picnic Blanket No This Is Not The Time To Shop.

My parents, who drove us to A&E and stayed with us for two hours and looked after us and helped keep Z entertained.

The Senior Nurse, Joan, who made everything okay and reassured me and put Z so at ease.

My husband, not with us this weekend, who reminded me that this is no doubt the first of many minor accidents. Argh!

This in the same week that my husband was knocked off his bike – thank goodness he’s fine too. Could everyone stop having accidents now please? My worry lines are going through the roof.

Later, and beaming with pride after being given not one, but two stickers for being so good, Zach was smiling and chatty as we left the hospital. I gave in to the stress of it all and cried, quietly observing to my dad the sheer terror that it must be to have a child in hospital, seriously ill.

Something Z has started saying a lot recently is ‘I love you.’ He often follows it up immediately with ‘You are a poo-poo Mummy!’ or ‘But I’m not your friend anymore’ or ‘Mummy I’m putting you in the bin!’ What can you do? Kids are strange.

But tonight as we drove home, he held my hand and simply said ‘Mummy I love you so much.’ Sentimental as I am, another time this may have brought a tear to my eye. But I just smiled and said it back. Times a gazillion. Because earlier there really had been something to cry about.

And even though What If What If What If keeps circling my thoughts, I’m going to keep that at bay and concentrate on the fact Z and H are both absolutely fine, we are lucky, and I need to lie down.

Here’s talkin’ to you, kid

ice creamIn the car on the way home from Whitstable last weekend, you asked me to take off your wellies, and then your blue socks. There was some blue fluff on your hot little feet, which I started to brush off.

‘No mummy!’ you exclaimed. ‘It’s the blue fluff’s home!’ I paused, taking in what you were saying, and you continued ‘The blue fluff won’t have a home!’

Then I reached for my phone, to make a note. Over the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time thinking ‘Write that down!’ and making a long list, because the things you are coming out with I don’t want to forget.

And later on, I thought about how full of wonder and innocence and delight you are; that you can think of your feet as a home to sock fluff is pure three-year-old magic. I can’t keep track of all the brilliant/funny/irrational/lovely things you say, but I can make a start here.

IF IN DOUBT, SHOUT IT OUT
Tree
It’s important to stand your ground once you’ve decided to commit to something, especially something you feel passionate about. Be sure to see it through. Like that time a couple of weeks ago when we walked into the dining room and I turned on the light. Well, that was your job, wasn’t it? As you made clear by screaming ‘‘I want to turn on the light I WANT TO TURN ON THE LIIIIIIIIIIGHT!’ You certainly made your feelings known, same applies to those recent cries of:

‘Mummy stop looking at me!’
‘Daddy don’t talk to me!’
‘Noooo I don’t want food! Yoghurt isn’t food it’s special!’
‘I don’t like you anymore Mummy/Daddy. You are not my friend!’
‘I don’t LIKE abiblobi (ravioli) it’s poo poo!’
‘My name is NOT Zachary!’

In some cases, logic need not apply. If you say it loud enough, you’ll still be heard.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
You ask some awesome questions. You haven’t so far been through the constant ‘Why Why Why?’ phase, but one of my favourite recent questions was ‘Why is Up sad mummy? I feel sad when Up cries.’ We were watching Pixar’s Up together, you thought Mr Frederickson was called ‘Up.’ I had a moment and then wrote it down. You followed it with ‘But we are happy aren’t we mummy? I want everyone to be happy.’ Your heart is so big; I wish you could only ever know happiness and not what a horrible place the world can be.

STOP SAYING THAT!
Trolley
Ahh, joy, we’ve reached the stage where you love to shout, loudly in ideal places like the supermarket or a café: ‘MUMMY’S GOT A WINKY!’ or ‘MUMMY YOU ARE POO-POO! YOUR HAIR IS POO-POO MUMMY!’
And I know, I know the more I tell you not to, the more fun it is, so I must try and style it out better. Possibly by pretending I’ve never seen you before in my life. This morning you told me I look like a potato, which is infinitely preferable to all this talk of poo at the top of your voice. But you are three, and I’m sure it’s going to get worse before it stops.

BUT SAY THAT ALL YOU LIKE . . .
Every now and again you’ll catch me completely off guard, by saying ‘I love you’ before I’ve said it first. You’ll ask for a cuddle or for us to just sit with you, you say ‘Mummy I need you’ or ‘Daddy is so kind isn’t he?’ and it makes us catch each other’s eye and grin like fools. You love your trains and dinosaurs and declare all of them your favourites, and will run around in small circles exclaiming ‘I’m so excited!’ at the prospect of playing with them. You sing the Thomas theme song and ‘read’ stories to us, you do dinosaur ‘ROARS!’ and tell me that when I grow up to be a big boy like you, I can use toothpaste too (?). It feels like we spent so long waiting to hear your voice and be able to talk with you, not at you. And now it’s here and it, like you, is magic.