On Saturday my eldest boy Mr.3 turned four. (Mr.4 on here now!) And thus, my third year of parenting came to a close. I’ll be honest: it’s taken me a while to finish this post, as while I love my Mr.4 very much, his third year was at times a tough one for me, and not without its challenges.
I think most parents would take time to reflect, when their child celebrates a birthday. I did, and initially the memories foremost in my mind were the difficult, frustrating moments – such as toilet training battles (while juggling a newly-born Mr.1) and terrible tantrums (the term ”terrible twos” is a farce!)
So prior to Mr.4’s birthday, I wasn’t feeling sad or emotional. On the contrary, I was ready to celebrate him being that tiny bit more mature!
But then the day before his birthday, I was on the floor with him in his bedroom, watching him play “car parks”. (The game car parks involves a meticulous line-up of favourite Matchbox cars, usually parked side-by-side on an angle, along the edge of the rug. Cars then are moved in and out of parking spots when a new car is waiting, etc.)
As he talked me through his car park scenarios, I studied Mr.4’s face for a while, and realised I could still clearly see the face of the tiny baby that we brought into this world four years ago.
And promptly burst into tears.
So much for the lack of emotion I’d felt about his birthday.
Mr.4 gets very concerned if he ever sees me cry, which isn’t often. I explained to him, sometimes people cry because of love…and not because they are sad. The other day, he told me all the people he loved, then pretended to have a cry…and said “I’m crying because I love you so much, not because I’m sad, Mummy!” 🙂
So anyhow, I guess it hit me. Four years now since we became parents.
Four years since I first felt that overwhelming protectiveness that a mother feels for their child – for my little 5 pound 5 baby, under double lights in the hospital’s nursery unit.
The fury I felt when I came into the nursery and found him crying, his tiny eye mask had slipped off, and a midwife had not yet helped him.
Being confused and powerless when a midwife stripped my baby son’s clothes off trying to wake him for a feed, forcing him onto my breast – when he was too small to feed properly, and I was struggling to feed him. My instincts were screaming at me that she was wrong, but as a new mother, I wasn’t yet confident enough to trust my instincts over a so-called professional’s advice.
Four years since we gingerly brought our first baby home on a cold wintery day, bundled up in a blanket, with the smallest hat I owned for him too large for his tiny head.
Then those first few months, expressing milk and comp feeding, giving him 20, 40mL top up feeds.
Leaving him at childcare to go back to work when he was 8 months old, and crying all the way to work in the car.
Seeing him take his first steps down the hallway, encouraged by a set of car keys on a chair (such a boy!).
Watching as he saw his little brother for the first time, holding him carefully and giving him a tender kiss.
Walking to kinder on his first day, him with his backpack on, and watching as he ran off to play.
Smiling as I watch him at swimming class, or at the park – he is so full of energy, excitement, enthusiasm and a love of life.
And so here we now are, my baby boy turning four!
Now, that tiny baby is a super-active, bright, spirited little boy…with an obsession for trains, a love of rockets..and of course Matchbox cars. He amazes me with his sense of humour, and how articulate he can now be. He truly loves his little brother: when Mr.1 is crying, he pulls funny faces or says silly things to cheer his brother up. His absolute enthusiasm for life can sometimes be exhausting..but it is also amazing!
So after I’d finished my little emotional cry, I asked Mr.3 what he had liked about ‘being 3’. These were his answers:
“I like my flashing pen”. “I like Teddy”. “I learnt to climb over high things”. “Pretending to be a crane”. “In summer, I like cool drinks and wearing sunglasses”. “I like my new swimming goggles”. “I like playing with Ava at kinder”. “Eating bananas” (was eating a banana). “Going on train rides”. and…
“I wish I could be on the MOON for my birthday!”
Well, I’d have your party on the moon if I could! Happy Birthday to my treasured Mr.4.