I love books; reading to my children was one of the parts of parenthood I always looked forward to.


After our second son was born, he received Julia Donaldson's  "A Squash and a Squeeze" as a gift. Naturally, my toddler decided it was his gift so I read it to them both that night.


In my newborn, sleep-deprived and overwhelming love-haze,  the name made me conjure up thoughts of those lovely soft newborn cuddles and those tight toddler squeezes. But after reading it (and counting every goat, pig, hen and cow on the inside pages) I realised it's basically like parenting. 


You think you have no time or space before you have babies, but the more babies you bring into your home the more your realise you had loads of both. Our house is steadily becoming a squash and a squeeze. We vowed we would embrace the Scandinavian style approach to wooden toys but without realising it we were living in the world of plastic fantastic. There will always be something getting broken, someone squabbling, someone raiding the fridge and someone wanting to dance on the table. And as our babies grow up they will all be sent off one by one to college or work. But instead of rejoicing about how much space I will have and how clean and tidy my house will be, I know I will miss the madness, the noise and the squabbles.


So, while still in my newborn haze and my toddler roller coaster I am savouring these days of madness.


The moments of sheer joy on my son's face, when the whole family does as instructed and dances in our pjs, as he "plays" BINGO on his toy guitar. 

Michelle Greaves: mum of two boys, writer, photographer, traveller, secondary school teacher.

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