Ted Talks! As in, he’s properly stringing together sentences and chattering away, which means we’re at that very weird turning point where you begin to forget that your child was ever a gurgling baby. (Sorry if you thought I was about to announce a Ted Talk coup; not happening. I don’t know what an earth I’d bang on about, to be quite honest. I’ve spent the last few months untangling undecipherable information about things like private servers, CMS and Firebase (still don’t even know what this is) and it’s all devastatingly dull.)
Anyway, I’m not sure I noticed this “just chattering” stage with Angelica, not so acutely anyway, because it happened quite a bit earlier and I was in full-on survival mode with a new baby and a toddler. So this time I’m savouring every little new word, every funny turn of phrase, every mix-up and mispronunciation.
Racing car is the most-practised phrase, has been for a month or so, ever since we went off to a wedding in France and my sister-in-law spent the entire four days repeating those words. It’s like it’s embedded in his mind, seared on. Wherever we go he sees racing cars, whether it’s Sainsbury’s carpark or the zoo. All cars count, by the way – even the ones that aren’t remotely racy.
But hallelujah! No longer do I have to try and decipher the wails – you know when toddlers want to communicate but simply can’t? And they just scream at you instead? No more of that, ta ever so.
“Weetabix or Rice Krispies, Ted?”
On the one hand it’s great, on the other it has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for long-winded decision-making sessions. I almost think that it’s best to remove any sort of decision-making responsibility from your children entirely because it makes your life as an adult so much easier, but I’m sure it’s probably vital for child development, blah blah blah.
“But Ruth, how will they ever be able to make important life choices if they were deprived of the chance to spend an hour deliberating over hair slide colours when they were four?”
“You’re right, Linda! This Ruth woman is a witch! Decision-depriver! Burn her, burn her!”
The whole family dynamic has changed this month and I have to say, it’s the biggest shift since adding an extra baby into the mix. Suddenly I have an empty house – totally empty – for six whole hours, two days a week! It feels very weird and so I do what I always do: squirrel myself away at the top of the house and work. It has confused both me and Mr AMR and I feel slightly redundant on those days, as though I’ve lost a job, even though it’s much-needed time to do stuff that I’ve been neglecting. Like titting around on the internet looking at holidays I’ll never go on and watching videos of political leaders falling over.
So there’s a sadness that it’s the end of an era but great joy in that a new one starts. I’m a very different person to the person that – five years ago – found out she was pregnant after six long years of trying. I had no idea how my life would change and I do feel that I’ve spent half a decade ploughing on through with my head down, just attempting to hold everything together and retain my sanity!
And now, I can see clearly. I look at my children and marvel at them and I’m noticing tiny details that before were lost in the general panic and chaos of the baby/toddler years. I mean, this phase seems to be presenting new problems in the form of “they can be absolute little terrors”, and I think it’s possible I’m more tired than ever, but I feel as though there’s some breathing space. I’ve been allowed to come up for air.
A note on the terrors thing: everyone, without fail, tells us how well-behaved and lovely our kids are. I’m not saying this in a boastful way, I’m saying this to give you context for what comes next, because when they are at home – not always, but often – they can be total gits. Moaning and whining, separately or together, to the point where you actually want to puncture your own ear drums with a kebab skewer.
When the moan/whine din reaches a crescendo, I do look around and wonder aloud – to nobody in particular – how the hell two children can be smiling sweetly at a teacher one hour and destroying their mother the next. It can be relentless! Especially when they both want different things and I only have two hands and also there is no blue bowl to put the pear slices into and obviously that is the end of the world.
“Blue bowl, Mummy. Blue bowl for pear! NOT PINK BOWL MUMMY! BLUE BOWL!”
“Mummy, Ted wants a blue bowl for his pear. Mummy. MUMMY!”
“Yes, Angelica, I am quite aware that he wants a blue bowl but unless someone brings me some clay, a kiln and some blue glaze and he wants to wait for a few days so that I can handcraft it, he will have to have the pink one.”
“Couldn’t you just pull one out of your arse Mummy?”
She didn’t say that last bit, obviously, she’s only four. Though it wouldn’t surprise me because she hears everything I say, even bad things that I mutter under my breath. And I have an entire catalogue of things that I have to mutter under my breath, especially when I’m driving. There’s a constant stream of expletives that silently mouth their way into the air, only seen by the person driving towards me when it’s not their right of way. I’m fastidious about rights of way. Those people that bulldoze through! When it’s not their turn! It’s just not cricket.
I have a whole other post to write about the strange shift in dynamic that’s happening at home, but I shall work on that tomorrow and try to incorporate some words of wisdom about running businesses at the same time as running families. It’s hard work but rewarding. See – there’s a pearl of wisdom already! You can have that one as a bonus preview – hopefully the other pointers will be less, er, Pippa’s Tips.
Right, I must be off – I have to play the role of “Romeo” in PJ Masks; it’s soul-destroying. He’s my least favourite character in the whole show. Although I’ve devised a way of playing him sitting down – I pretend he’s glued into his flying saucer (don’t even know whether this exists, but it does in my world) and that everyone else has to try and avoid his panicked laser beam shooting. He’s like a sitting duck, in a way, but his laser-shooting skills are just beyond, so he managed to fend off both Owlet and Cat Boy whilst still retaining enough power to keep up the force field.
One to add on the CV.