It’s strange how these things go. Through the 40 (37 in my case) weeks of pregnancy on a first baby, time drags, it slows down, yet once that tiny bundle is placed in your arms, time races forward as if to make up the difference. It’s a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time, though some of those endless sleepless nights feel like the clock is going backwards. I’m suddenly the owner of an 18 month old, a boy, not a baby, and I’m terrified to blink again in case he heads off to college while I’m not looking.
On 24th of March 2014, after 35 hours of anticipation, test-driving every labour drug known to man, and a failed induction leading to c-section, I first got to meet my little man, my little Eliott. When I say he was tiny, there is no exaggeration – he weighed five and a half pounds and rocked a jaundiced fake-tan-esque look. I had no clue what I was doing, and was terrified and elated all at the same time. Something in me told me this was it now, there was no way I was to make a mess of this, he was too perfect to wreck.
Since then he’s turned into a proper little boy, with opinion and attitude and dance moves galore. He’s a dog lover, the least subtle flirt I’ve ever met (apologies to all blonde women everywhere) and though they’re rare, the loveliest hugs and kisses I’ve had. He likes to “read”, even if the books are upside down and he flips through the pages quickly, skipping what must be the boring ones. He loves Peppa and Fireman Sam, and nearly died with excitement when he got to see real life fire fighters on a fire engine the other day, shouting “Nee-Naw-Nee-Naw” at them from his buggy.
From the day he was born, I was told he looked like me, since then that has been repeated many times, but also that he’s definitely the spit of my brother – who I never would have thought I looked like, but there you go. He’s finally after growing out his combover look, and his dark brown hair has turned into beautiful blonde curls. We’ve battled with an umbilical hernia and some lactose intolerance, but overall, he’s had a bit of a charmed life.
He’s changed me. I’ve turned into a person who can have full conversations about poo, who sings along to the Bing Bong song when there are no children (or episodes of Peppa) to be seen, who is now so used to using the buggy as her pack mule that the idea of shopping without it doesn’t bode well. My priorities have changed, they are much less about myself and much more about him, and other people – I am incredibly grateful for the support friends and family members have given me, and so am trying desperately to not take it for granted in any way. I’ve grown a whole new respect for childcare workers – I knew they worked hard, but wow, how they do it with many, many kids I have no idea, as I’m exhausted after a day of entertaining one! Through my darkest times battling my black dog, he’s been my reason to get out of bed in the morning, my reason to keep going, my distraction from the bad thoughts going on in my head.
He’s now 79cm; more than half of my 152cm.
It’s been a while since we weighed him, but he’s definitely a lot heavier than his initial 2.5kg.
He wears 4+ Nappies from Tesco and Aldi, or a size 5 in pull-ups for the days he won’t lie still long enough to close a nappy.
If it can be climbed, he’s on it, and unfortunately, if it can be dived off of, he’s likely tried it and got the bruise to match.
Since moving to his big boy bed (a double bed, I didn’t get one of those until I was 20!) he’s been generally sleeping 7.30-7, with maybe one or two quick wake-ups and easy shushings back to sleep. This is much appreciated, as you can imagine.
He’s got some words, talks away to himself, loves his “dog” that goes “woof woof”, he knows that “ducks” go “quack quack”, loves his Mama and Dada, Nana and Gok-Gok/Anda, his Yaya (other Nana), and of course his favourite word “No”. There are some “yeah” and “Yes” moments, lots of “wow”s and even more “uh oh”s.
He doesn’t walk, he runs. He’s a tornado. An avalanche. A surge of nature and I’m tired just looking at him.
He has the dance moves to The Wheels on The Bus (multiple verses) and Twinkle Twinkle down.
As much as he might protest some mornings on creche drop off, looking at him interacting and playing with others when he doesn’t know I’m there, I can see how much he loves it, how well he’s fitted in and how happy he is there. It’s brought him on in leaps and bounds, in his interaction with other kids, his routine and I can only hope his immune system.
He’s a feisty independent little man by day, but at night time still likes to pull me close to him as we snuggle up at bedtime, listen to the words of the songs I sing him, songs like “I will”, “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “All of Me” and (on rather desperate nights) “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. He’s quick to wave me off in the morning as he heads in to play with his little friends in creche, but drops everything and runs to me in the evenings, arms open for a massive hug.
I look at him and feel I’m doing something right (most of the time). The early days are a blur and I don’t know how we got to here so quickly, but I’m cherishing these little moments before I blink and he’s in a school uniform (already on lists for Junior Infants 2018, scary stuff).
18 months in the blink of an eye. Happy Half Birthday Little Man.