You survive the early years; the no sleep; the fear; the colic; the reflux; the tears; the weaning; the tantrums; the potty training; the sick in the hair; the wee on the carpet; the food being thrown all over the damn place; the korma poo from tip to toe; the frustration; the crawling; the toddling; the accidents; the trips to A&E and then you emerge wiping yourself down with a pre-pre-teen. And by God, it’s GOOD.
I know that the teenage years will come around too soon and then he’s likely to turn into an angsty horror with doors being slammed, swear words being thrown, sneaking out at night, me driving around trying to track him down, fearing for his safety, and of course the whole not loving/liking me– that’s going to hurt. But right now, this transitional period, where he’s more of a help than a hindrance, is pretty sweet.
This list has been a collaborative effort by myself and midwife/mama extraordinaire Clemmie of Gas&Air fame – both of us Mothers to 8-year-old pre-pre-teens.
1. He’s an early riser so he makes me a cup of tea, almost every day.
2. Sometimes he makes me breakfast too!
3. She makes breakfast for her little sister
4. He can make a sandwich for himself (and me)– a good one.
5. He looks after his little brother so I can cook dinner, take a shower, have a rest
6. She takes her little sister downstairs leaving M&D to have a lie-in
7. He fetches me things
8. He fetches his own things
9. She does jobs for me
10. She can use the sky remote without my help
11. He remembers stuff that I forget – like what day it is or where my keys are
12. He tells me interesting things he’s learnt at school that I don’t know
13. He doesn’t need me to wipe his bum or dress him
14. She ties her little sister’s shoelaces
15. She does her little sister’s seatbelt up
16. He doesn’t need me to keep a constant eye on him
17. He reads to himself (phonics can be pretty frustrating)
18. She reads bedtime stories to her little sister
19. He writes me sweet messages and leaves little notes for me
20. He promises me he will never leave home or get a girlfriend or want to go travelling without me
21. He makes me promise I will always live with him
22. He gives proper hugs
23. He gives compliments, fashion advice, life advice.
24. He tells me I look like a teenager (!!)
25. I can read his writing and make sense of his school work
26. We can hang out and it not totally exhausting
27. We can go watch feature-length films together and we don’t have to leave the cinema half-way through
28. We can go out for dinner and it’s actually enjoyable
29. He can read and order from the menu, making his own decisions without coaxing or force
30. He’s funny, like real funny with an actual sense of humour
31. We have shared interests – such as listening to Hozier and singing along (he knows all the words) etc.
32. He can make his bed and tidy his room
33. He puts the washing away
34. He hoovers
35. He can ride his bike for miles
36. He can ski as fast as me