There are so many ways in which I’ve changed since producing and giving birth to two bumps.
1. Hilariously – I used to think I was ‘tired’. Tired! If I got woken up at 8am on a Saturday by a neighbour’s barking dog it would almost bring a tear to my eye. How on earth would I last til bedtime? Now, 8 am is considered a glorious lie in sent from the Gods. Tired also applied to strenuous things like just getting up and going to work five days a week. Now, I have to do that, plus prevent a toddler and a baby from flinging themselves off of things and poking sharp things into their eyes. Cooking them healthy dinners and cleaning up various bodily fluids! Tired!
2. If I thought one baby was tiring - well of course it is - I wonder what on earth I did with all my free time when I had just one mini dictator to parent on my last maternity leave. This time around, it's as good as a multi-tasking assault course of making lunches and dinners, cleaning stuff and wiping things. Entertainment for a toddler and entertainment of another sort for the baby. Naptimes are the holy grail times of the day - and if you strike absolute multi-tasking parenting gold of simultaneous nap times...well is there anything better? Surely someone will arrive at any moment with my name engraved on a shiny trophy for achieving the ultimate daily aim - a whole hour or even more to yourself! It would almost make you delirious. Time you should probably spend washing your hair or putting away the clothes. Usually, I'm just so grateful for it I spend most of the time basking in the glory of the peace and quiet and lying on the couch drinking coffee while the mountains of washing stack up and laugh at me from their various piles of messiness.
3. I now find myself spelling words in my mind, or even worse, spelling them out loud to people long past the age of that requirement. Would you like some M-I-L-K in that tea? How about a B-I-S-C-U-I-T? Excuse me, can you point me in the direction of the W-I-N-E, please? Because Toddler is some sort of child prodigy genius (yes, I'm biased) and can pre-empt when I'm about to speak of things that he's not supposed to have, now I have to go round spelling stuff. He also has some form of supersonic hearing so if I even begin to tear at the wrapper of something I might want to secretly inhale when he's not looking, he suddenly appears beside, me out of nowhere, with his little hand sticking out for his share of it. And also, I've noticed, he must have random psychic abilities too. Let's say I rustled the wrapper of a packet of lettuce and rustled the packet of a bag of chocolate buttons... HE KNOWS.
Did you know that things can smell sticky? No, neither did I. But they do. I could walk into a room now and smell the sticky thing from ten paces. How do they get sticky in the first place? Well, apart from the obvious sticky hands mauling them all the time, honestly, the rest of the time it's a complete mystery. I don't even let myself wonder what the stickiness even is, it's just one of life's great mysteries, along with where the other socks go and why the nappy will always, always, land sh*t-side-down.
4. We're moving into the WHY Section of Toddlerhood. But why? Why? Ok, why? And your own sarcasm can come back to bite you on the arse and make the Why game ten times worse.
'Why do I have a willy?'
Cos you're a boy.
'Where your willy go'?
Out for a walk.
'I was only messing, Willies can't walk'
And so it goes. It's best to exit the murky waters of Willies and Other Things Like Them as quickly as possible with inquisitive two-year-olds, or next thing you know they'll be asking random strangers in Aldi 'You have willy?' True Story.
5. Now I don't give a crap about the actual state of myself anymore. I'm not just talking about the lack of effort you put into doing your hair or makeup - previously something that you would normally have done every day regardless. No, this is another level altogether. Last month I had actually gone a whole day unknowingly sporting a sticker of a fish on my forehead. Down to the shops and everything. I'm not sure I even cared all that much when I noticed it either and casually peeled it off as if it was meant to be there all along.
6. There are other nice changes too. The things they come out with can melt you in seconds, and make you cry with laughter. Watching him chase a wasp around the kitchen because he wanted to know if it wanted to have a 'go' on his scooter and telling it 'aww you're so cute' because he hears me saying it to his little brother all day long.
7. The huge satisfaction and warm fuzziness that comes when you can see them working things out. 'I DO IT!' is a familiar phrase to anyone with a toddler I'm sure. When you spend ages trying to teach them manners over and over and then one day they do it completely unprompted! To see his imagination develop. He'll often grab his Bullseye stuffed toy and shout 'BULLSEYE TO THE RESCUE' before trying to rescue an imaginary disaster from taking place.
8. But maybe the biggest change is how I seem to be just morphing into my parents, doing things I swore I'd never do. Things like dressing them in matching outfits - how I detested that as a kid! Of course, I realise now that management has the right to change the rules at any time, and so I shall! Ever since Rian was born, each stage he's gone through and now each stage Alex is going through, I keep thinking is better than the last. It just gets more and more fun - more challenging too of course, but every day I wake up and I think, I just can't wait to see what new things they do today and what new ways they'll change me too.