It often doesn’t seem fair to be the second child. With the first, everything is about them. Attention, decisions, time management, milestones and so forth. With the second, you just kind of have to fit in with the general flow of things. And I am sorry about that. Don’t for one moment think you were forgotten or side-lined. I saw everything you did, I heard every whimper you made and I wiped away every tear, just as I did with Bubble. Only I did this whilst multitasking – whilst I was making dinner, standing on Lego, or trying to pack a bag for the 112th time before leaving the house. I still felt you pain and your joy and I think you have bloomed into such a wonderful person and treasure to be around I am being to think I did ok.
With you, it is all or nothing. You are either so enthusiastic and passionate about something that you do a little jig and giggle, or you plant your feet firmly in the “no” camp and won’t budge for love or money (figuratively speaking). I respect the way you are so clear about what you want, but it also drives me totally insane most days. Sometimes I feel I could have a stab at negotiating peace treaties between war torn countries with more success. (Special sorry for dressing you in clothes that were mine having just found them in my parents attic – see cardigan as a fine example!)
I’m sorry you were born practically with the TV on. Bubble waited until he was 2, but then issues with breastfeeding you and being climbed on (and bitten at times) by him meant I had to use the distraction method that is known to us as “Fireman Sam Saves the Day”. Thus, bringing you up with the belief that you were born in a fire station, with incompetent and reckless people struggling to get through an entire day without causing mass disaster for entire communities. Thanks Fireman Sam for giving me those few precious moments feeding my child in (relative) peace.
I’m sorry I sometimes forget you are there. Not only as a baby when we were adjusting to having 2 small human beings to be responsible for and went to bed whilst you were still in your bouncy chair downstairs (briefly), but now also. You play so quietly and independently I can actually sit and have a coffee whilst scrolling through the deadlines. Or I can flick through a cookbook and begin to form an overly-ambitious-and-certain-to-end-in-pasta-and-pesto-as-a-backup plan for dinner. These moments of peace catch me by surprise. Now Bubble is at school they are popping up more than I expected. I find myself hiding my phone under a cushion when I realise that I am not actually engaging with you because you have made it so easy. It’s a fine line to walk. “Don’t smother” or “don’t ignore…” and I think it goes pretty well for us in general. But I am also aware that these days are numbered.
You make me laugh and you absorb information as if via osmosis. I want to enjoy these days also. It has taken me a few months to get over Bubble starting school and only now am I keen to do things in the day that I know he would have loved to do with us. That guilt that he is missing out on fun times with us is well established and will hang around for some time I expect. But I noticed it wasn’t fair on you. We were almost in limbo, both of us waiting for Bubble to return home and being utterly frustrated with him when he did! For now, however, let’s you and me have some fun.
I’m sorry that I still let you be the ‘baby’. By 19 months Bubble was walking up and down the stairs (assisted) because he had to. I was hugely pregnant. But you are 2.5 years old and I have only recently been firm about not carrying you down the stairs. What a fool! But it was a conscious decision also. You are my baby and I guess I don’t mind holding onto that feeling of being needed, or depended on to see you safely to the ground floor. Especially as you are our ‘last’ baby. Your apron string ties will be cut in their own due time. Meanwhile you will continue to throw yourself off the table onto the sofa whilst my stomach flips.
I’m sorry I get bored. As much as I love playing games, hiding in exactly the same spot 20 times in a row (as directed by you) does lose the glimmer of fun. As does playing ‘cars’ for more than 5 minutes at a time. It’s simply not my Thing. I love that you keep trying to motivate me, dragging me onto the carpet, but it just doesn’t engage or interest me. Sorry! Likewise, sorry for being such an arse when we are cooking. It turns out I’m actually not a fan of spreading flour around the kitchen in the mild hope that a few grams might make it into the bowl. I know it’s all about the process. But when you begin with “eat it?” questions whilst undertaking ‘step 1’ of cutting up butter it does drive me to despair.
I’m sorry you snore like a train. Not a quiet electric one, but a full on old fashioned steam train. You have swollen lymph nodes and these don’t seem to cause you any pain, just bouts of excessive dribbling, mild asthma when you are not well, and the snoring. Wow. The snoring. You are the most extreme cuddle monster in bed. You will not only envelope yourself around me, but you want your face on top of my face leaving me chocking on your lovely blonde locks. Disclaimer: I do not always think they are lovely long locks at 3am. But as you have fallen back to sleep we whip you up and transport you back to your own bedroom simply because of the noise! It is not fair I know. I feel it also. But it is the way that it goes for now.
I’m sorry Bubble has started to make other friends. You absolutely adore one another. It is priceless to see the sorrow when you say goodbye at school and the utter joy you both express at the school gates in the afternoon. But as Bubble is older and can ride his bike he is off playing with the ‘bigger’ boys and leaving you behind looking longingly out of the window. Your time will come little one. Your time will come. Meanwhile, you sure can hold your own when you both play fight on the trampoline. It is something I have learnt not to stand and watch. Too much for my nerves.
And I’m sorry for not being a better version of myself. When I haven’t slept well (as in the last 5 years) my patience is shot and I can get cross over the silliest thing. I am sorry. I am sometimes a different person than I thought I was. But mostly, I am sorry because I get tired. I’m not talking the kind of tired that is felt by all parents after a long week, but the daily tiredness which sometimes sees me having to lie on the sofa at 7.30am simply to take 10 minutes of rest to rejuvenate myself for the rest of the day. The deep fog of tiredness that weighs the body down with lead and makes decisions close to impossible. I can’t say the 5.30am wake up time of you both helps, or even the 4.15am alarm for Gravy to get ready for work, but I used to be fitter than this. Now I sit and play, or drive my toy car in circles rather across the living room. I want you to know that I am trying to keep myself healthy for the long-term, but this translates into being a bit more boring in the here-and-now. And I am sorry for you, for Bubble and for myself. I used to be so fun and energetic, only now it fluctuates more and it doesn’t seem fair. Sometimes it can suck having a mum with MS.
I may not be the ‘go-get-it’ role model I had in mind when I saw myself as a parent. But you and your brother are both the most adorable, challenging, frustrating, glorious and wonderful children that I could have ever have hoped for. And in that way, I am truly blessed.
Thank you Squeak, for being you and for bringing such mischievous joy to my day. Now take that packet of butter out of your mouth and come and give me a big beautiful cuddle xx
ps. Most of all, I’m sorry I keep trying to cut your hair and getting it so, so wrong!!