In just over a week, my "little boy" will be two. The run up to his first birthday was tough. I think for any parent that first birthday is such a mixed blessing. It think, in a lot of ways, you just feel you've got the hang of babyhood, and its gone, whoosh! So many of my friends who had babies the same time as I have had Joseph have either had another, or are pregnant again. And I can see why.
As Joseph is turning two, I am aching for babyhood. I miss those special snuggles, the bottles, the night feeds all of it. How strange is that, but I do. I miss padding around at 3 in the morning with just my tiny baby for company, sharing a quiet bottle (I couldn't breast feed but that's another story) and listening to Classic FM waiting for him to bring his wind up and finally settle back to sleep.
I even miss the nappy changing! Changing a highly mobile, opinionated little person is hard work!
Last year I was plagued by "this time last year" syndrome, which is pretty universal amongst my mummy friends who have had similar experiences. I felt so paralysed by that time, I felt trapped in it, the emotions, the fear, and the guilt. Conversations replayed in my head, I felt paralysed, and found it very hard to move forward.
This year, its different, I think in a sense I have come to terms with it now, the illness I had, the need for Joseph to be born early, all that he went through to be here with me now. I feel I have made peace with it.
However, now I feel plagues by a whole new set of emotions. Babyhood is well and truly ending. Yes, Joseph is still a bit dependent on me, but with every passing week, we get closer to the time he will be going to school. Next year he'll start formal pre school and the year after, he will be gone, full time school.
I have two main anxieties in my head. The first is how far "behind" his peers he is. When someone asks how old he is, I still get the incredulous looks I used to get when he was tiny. I see other 2 year old boys and Joseph is no where near them in lots of ways. I know that developmentally he will catch up, and I can rationalise it, but it still scares me sometimes, that he will be behind for a long long time, and that I have made his life harder than it needs to be. That old guilt thing.
The second thing is, what will I do? How will I make this work? I always though after Joseph I'd have another baby, but clearly, this won't happen for us. I was planning to foster children, but we've been waiting a year now, and seemingly, no further forward than we were at our first application meeting.
I'm 39 next month. I feel stuck, and scared at what the future holds. I know I need to grab it and move forward, but I still have no idea what I want to do, who I want to be! And time is slipping away. All I ever wanted to be was a mum, and now I am, I realise that it may not be enough, and certainly won't pay the bills!
I don't want these lazy days of toddlerhood to end. I love my days, playing, singing, watching Joseph develop and learn new things every day. But they will end.
Time to start thinking about what the future holds and where to go to next!