This Is Where We Are: a letter to my sons on Mother’s Day (4)

Having read about it here, I wanted to write about how I mother my babies day-to-day, every Mother’s Day. Here’s the fourth. A bit late this year!

Dear Future Versions of Henry and Teddy,

This has been my fourth Mothering Sunday, and you are three-and-a-half and twenty months, respectively. It’s the end of the day, and I’ve just walked out of your room feeling overwhelmingly grateful that you both go to sleep at night without fuss. I have three stains on my shirt and two on my trousers. I am cramming chocolate in my mouth, eardrums ringing from the unaccustomed silence, so tired I feel like a sack of sand. This is how our days end right now. But you both sleep well, and my giddy aunt, I’m grateful.

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Teddy, you’re the first thing we hear in the morning, usually around 6am. ‘MUMMAAAAAY!’ you bellow. ‘OUT. OOOOOOUT.’ One of us comes in to get you, and you’re standing ready in your cot, all that incredible white-blonde hair standing on end (so much of it we could stuff cushions, if we wanted. The haircut bills are killing us).

Somehow in the last year you became a person: lost all your chub, started taking up three-quarters of the bath, grew a little backbone of steel alongside your natural sweetness that still surprises us. You want what you want. First you try charm – and you have piles of it, all huge blue eyes and endless cheeks – then volume. Your lungs, bear. If you want to be an opera singer when you grow up, you’ll make a fortune.

Your talking goes a bit like this: ‘[gibberish], Tedder, BOOTS’. Or ‘[gibberish], Tedder, DRINK’. Saving the important information to the end, to make sure we get it. You love: your bedtime doggy, books, strawberry yoghurt, raisins, Sarah & Duck, Lightning McQueen (‘AAAAA-keen!’), and shuffling along with your tiny balance bike. You hate: a variety of foods on rotation, being made to nap when you don’t want to, being shut out of any room I’m in, and having to sit in the pushchair. Here’s a secret I probably won’t admit later: ‘sweetie’ was maybe your third or fourth word. High on the list. You are obsessed. We are kind of obsessed with you, in turn. It’s hard not to be. You’re an utter, utter delight.

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Henry, I catch myself looking at you these days feeling bemused and proud and sad all at once, because you are shooting into little-boyhood at a rate of knots. Long legs, thin face, wide eyes. You’re my little companion in the afternoons: joking on the way back from nursery, laughing when Teddy does something silly, cajoling me into playing games when I should be doing the hoovering. You talk in complex sentences and heartfelt ideas, to the point that whenever you’re struggling with something three-ish and I’m frustrated, I have to remind myself that you are, after all, only three. You are shy and find social situations intimidating, and you’re also prone to emotional explosion. We’re working on ways to make both things easier for you. While I’d rather step in and save you hurt, I’m learning to let you find your way through.

You love dinosaurs, animal documentaries, fish fingers and chips, milkshake, your bike, and your books. You’re so much better at eating than you were, but need some mild persuasion to get started. You go to nursery five mornings a week, and you’re thriving there. ‘I watched a video about a chameleon’, you told me today. ‘It changes colour and it has a sticky tongue to GRAB flies on leaves, just like THAT’. Then you asked me to list every other insect the chameleon eats, and I chickened out after about ten.

Anyway. I think a lot about you both, as I hope you can see. I worry about being too shouty and too severe, too tired and too switched-off. And I do get used up, sometimes. More than I’d like.

But boys, lovely boys, you’ll read this when you’re too big to crawl onto my lap on the kitchen floor like you did today, both of you jostling for space on my knees.

And I want you to know: I would not give a single minute of this, of you, away. Not to anyone. Not for anything at all.

With much love,

Your mother.

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Previous editions of This Is Where We Are: here (1), here (2), and here (3).

6 Thoughts on “This Is Where We Are: a letter to my sons on Mother’s Day (4)

  1. Gosh I’ve missed you. Didn’t realize it till I read this and the previous ones in the same breath. Almost teared up like meeting an old friend. So stupid getting attached through internet right? But hey your posts make me happy. And I’ll probably get back to my own blog shortly.
    But I’m in awe at how you manage house n work n kids all at the same time. I’m pulling my hair with just one toddler unable to get any time to myself. How about writing something about that?

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2015 at 9:27 pm said:

      Oh, and I am so happy to see you back here too, blogging friend! Welcome. I hope all’s well (and not too hectic) with you.

      I can definitely write about balancing work and kids. But don’t forget I’m in a different phase to you – H spends five mornings a week in nursery, and while I still have T, he does nap for about an hour and a half, so I get that time to work. Every phase comes with its own routines, and some of them you really are just hanging on by the skin of your teeth! Don’t beat yourself up. It’ll get calmer (and then crazier, and then calmer again!) x

  2. Ceri Davies on 18 March 2015 at 12:01 am said:

    Beautiful. xxx

  3. Oh it is so lovely to have you back Rachel. The new blog is beautiful and so is your writing as always. I haven’t ever heard anyone other than my 80 year old father use “my giddy aunt” and it made me smile so much this morning to see it written down! They are very lucky boys to have such beautiful letters to read in later years. xx

    • racheljeffcoat on 19 March 2015 at 9:25 pm said:

      I am on a quest to get ‘my giddy aunt’ back into everyday speech – it’s the best 🙂
      And thank you so much! So glad to be writing again. I really appreciate you reading, too. I do hope they’ll like the letters rather than thinking ‘my mother was a lunatic’! xx

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