As of tomorrow, we’ve been a family of five for 2 whole years! I’m trying to work out where two years have gone! Sometimes I look at the three of you and can’t believe you are all here and we actually have so many of you! Then other times I can’t remember a time before you were a trio- it feels like Ted has always been here!
We found out you were on your way on Mother’s Day! A complete and monumental surprise that if I’m honest, led to me hyperventilating! I was almost 6 weeks pregnant when we found out- I did ‘period maths’ in the car and got Jon to call at a mini Tesco on the Sunday evening under the guise of needing a loaf of bread but squirrelling a pregnancy test in the bottom of the carrier and sneaking it inside to find out our fate! During our previous battles to get pregnant I’d wee’d on hundreds of these sticks, the weight of a thousands dreams weighing down on my shoulders while we waited for the outcome that we worried would never come! This was the first time where I had no idea what I wanted the outcome to be- I had always had a niggle since Esme was born that we weren’t done and would maybe have another but there was nothing set in concrete and Jon was far from convinced that 3 was the magic number! When the word pregnant flashed up I had a huge surge of excitement but an underlying panic!! How the hell would we manage 3 kids aged 4 and under?!
I came downstairs and held up the urine covered stick to your Daddy- he was absolutely delighted, gave me a huge hug and instantly started googling people carriers while I sat battling the rising panic and breathing into a paper bag!! A complete role reversal for the couple who had differing views on a third!
But by the next morning, when the idea had mulled itself into my mind overnight, I woke up with a spring in my step and excitement was now the front runner in the emotions race!
We didn’t find out what flavour you were but I was pretty certain you were a boy! My pregnancy with you mirrored George’s more than Esme- I craved healthy food and didn’t have much of an appetite. With Esme I wanted ALL the cake and crisps and biscuits I could lay my hands on! Pregnancy was harder 3rd time round; still a dream in comparison to some but I was running round after the big two and was 5 years older than I had been when I fell pregnant with your big brother- I felt a bit more creaky and uncomfortable! Esme wanted a girl and George a boy- I secretly hoped you’d be a boy as I knew Esme, the mother hen, would be easily won over with a baby of any kind! Plus I hoped being the only girl would ward off her middle child syndrome!
Your original due date was the 7th of November but the 12 week scan moved it forward to the 2nd. I had an inkling you would be less punctual than your siblings who arrived on their due dates or just before but those ponderings did little to prepare me for the certifiable crack-pot that going over due would turn me into! I coped relatively well up until the 6th or 7th but from that point forward I was hideous! I sent messages to all of my friends who had gone past their due date to apologise for previously not being sympathetic enough to their plight! It was ridiculous; I was no more uncomfortable on the 7th of November than I had been on the 6th but psychologically I was a wreck. I’d got to a point where I genuinely believed you were never coming out; I woke your Daddy up at 3am the morning before you were born to demand that he took me to the hospital to get me a C-section immediately as you were clearly stuck! He tried to diplomatically point out that doctors tend not to carry out major surgery in the middle of the night because people are a bit irritated or fed up and then proceeded to sleep with one eye open for the rest of the night for fear I would murder him while he snoozed!
You made your appearance the next day. I refused to let anyone call the midwife for fear that the contractions would just stop (as they had been doing previously) if we actually acknowledged them. When she arrived I was 6cm but still wouldn’t get in the birthing pool as I was convinced that any second the whole contracting business would pack up given that you had decided to inhabit that particular space until your 18th birthday! I eventually got into the pool and you splashed into this world at 12.12 weighing a highly impressive 9lb 11oz. A dream labour and birth once you finally got going!
You were the epitome of a chilled out baby. The day you were born we went to the pub down the road for tea! You just slotted right in to our lives and made so little fuss about it that I sometimes forgot you were even here. I relished you more than your siblings- I knew there would definitely be no more this time so sat back and drank in the beautiful smell of your head and the silent cuddles at 2am when everyone else was asleep and snow was falling outside! I wasn’t crippled by fear of doing it wrong like I was with George and I didn’t have a mental 18 month old running around like I did with Esme. Yes the big two were demanding but in a different way and I could enjoy you a lot more.
You are a typical third born in terms of confidence but also in terms of all the cliches about you. Last week, you finally did your first class that was specifically booked with you in mind, rather than something you were dragged to because your brother or sister were going. I’ve just wrapped up your birthday present- A box full of Georges old and outgrown Paw Patrol toys that I found in his wardrobe that you’ve never seen but will love! There are a billion scooters and bikes in the garage just waiting for you to grow tall enough for! I’m sure one day you will get something that is new and shiny and just for you but I figure at the minute you don’t know the difference so I’m milking it! You are also so grown up for your age- a by product of older siblings I suspect. You very quickly shunned high chairs to sit on the same chairs as your siblings; I suspect the pram will go the same way soon but I’m clinging on to it for the school run as we don’t have time to stop and stare at every single leaf on the ground, at least not on the way there! I have a fantastic video of you free wheeling on a scooter at 15 months old; you push our hands away if we try to help you down the stairs or hold your hand when you’re walking. You are far too grown up to be helped, thank you very much!!
Your favourite people in the world are your siblings (and your big cousin Jack). You have very different relationships with your brother and sister though you love them both equally. Esme constantly hen pecks you and tries to look after you! You two probably play more together, you go and join her in the play kitchen or when she’s drawing and you love to do silly dancing or running around games. George is your cool big brother who you look up to and try to copy. If he’s pulled a cushion down off the sofa and laid down to watch TV, you do the same. You love to play football with him and have a fairly impressive right foot! If they ever leave you for anything other than school, you go bright red with rage!! Where they go, you like to follow and woe betide anyone who steps in your way! You are the first of our babies to be a daddy’s boy! You run to him when he gets back from work and cry if he doesn’t put you to bed! Since I’ve been off work, you’ve evened the score a little bit but you still sit closer to his camp than mine given the choice!
You are hilarious and comical and so very funny. It feels like an odd thing to say about a child who is only turning 2 tomorrow but you have an uncanny ability to make people laugh! Everything about you is funny- your walk and your expressions and the noises you make. Even single words that you utter are comical- you snap ‘nope’ at people who ask for a cuddle in a way that speaks a thousand words and leave people crying with laughter. You are packed to the brim with character and everyone who knows you loves you!
Not everything has been plain sailing. Whilst you were an idyllic newborn and slept through much earlier than your siblings, you are also the one who has come closest to breaking us! You are now under a wonderful consultant who finally diagnosed you with silent reflux at the age of 18 months; a full year after the first symptoms began. A year in which you would wake in agony every single night, screaming hysterically for up to 4 hours. A year in which I would wake up covered in scratch marks from your tiny little fingernails as you clawed and writhed all over us in pain. A year in which both grown ups in our house came dangerously close to the cliff edge in terms of sleep deprivation and general ability to manage and cope with the world. I think it felt so much worse because the possessed screaming banshee we had at night was so much at odds with the beautiful, content little boy we had in the day.
You have also followed the Thornhill pattern and have been slow to speak. George really struggled with speech and Esme was also delayed (but then started speaking in full paragraphs all at once!) I’m not sure if we do something wrong or if it’s a genetic thing but none of you seem happy to part with your words. It certainly hasn’t held you back however! You can communicate pretty much anything you need through noises and pointing and dragging any available adult along at your will. You are finally starting to get those words out; my favourite being the very prolonged ‘GGGGEooooooorrrrgggge’ when you want your brothers attention- your favourite being the obvious choice of ‘NO!’ You also follow in your siblings footsteps with your ability to fall over your own shadow and injure yourself at will! This is not helped by the fact I barely ever see you walk- life is too much fun to take a steady pace, running at everything is much more preferable!!
I find myself flitting between wanting to fit you all with a pause button and wanting to know what the future holds for you. I’d love to have a magical window that I can peek through to see you all in 20 years time. I hope you are still close to your brother and sister- I’ve said before, my vision when I look ahead in time is one of you and your brother sharing a pint at the bar and ribbing each other in a way that only siblings can! Esme is there too but she was late, just got off the back of some scary dudes motor bike and is working her way around your groups of friends, flirting outrageously and flicking her hair!! It’s too soon to see what you will become, too soon to spot your strengths and passions. But I think we can already see what a sociable and personable man you will grow up to be.
I always feel bad when we talk about your arrival being ‘unplanned’ for fear that you interpret that as you get older as being ‘undesired’. Nothing could be further from the truth little dude. You have brought immeasurable joy to our lives. You make my heart happy and cheer up even the bleakest of days. My favourite bit of the day with you is just before your afternoon nap… we read some stories then you still have a bottle of milk and fall asleep on me like a new born; face resting on my chest (only now we have to fold your ever-growing legs around my sides!) I sit there for a few minutes, long after you’ve fallen to sleep, drinking in your warmth and the softness of your hair. And I thank my lucky stars that the universe knew we were wrong to stop at 2; there was a Ted shaped hole in this world just waiting to be filled with the miraculous muddle of madness that you are. The world and our lives are a better place for having you here and I wouldn’t swap our family of five for all the tea in China (and I really love tea!).
Now if you’d just start waking up at a time that starts with a 7, you’d actually be perfect!