So you are two. Birthdays are huge when you’re that age. You’ve actually doubled your age from last year.
What wisdom can I impart to you? My childhood was so different, a long pearly string of home made playdough, playground visits with other kids of all ages, listening to children’s radio drama, and potty training sessions learning the alphabet.
Not like yours, rushed from this place to that, woken from your slumber in the morning, to be seated 40 minutes later to have breakfast next to a horrible kid whom I am told you do «a great job of calming down».
Snuggles, puzzles, boobs
But perhaps I am a better mother than I would be if you were home with me all day. I’m not fit to give my attention undivided to you, days on end, the way a stay at home mum should be. I’m way too scatterbrained, always thinking of something else. I save up my focus for you, so we can do puzzles on the sofa when we get home from nursery, or snuggle under a blanket reading a book. I hope that’s enough.
Every weekday morning, you snuggle in bed with me to have some morning boob as your dad hits the shower. Then it’s our turn, and you always want to place your little shampoo bottle next to my big one on the bath tub, up against the wall, when we’re done washing our hair.
Every Saturday morning, you help me mix the batter for pancakes, stirring it carefully so it doesn’t go stringy. You watch me, impatiently, as I fry them in butter, and you eat them as you go.
I want you always to be like this, content, completely unaware of yourself, skillfully observing the world, picking up new trick, never missing a beat.
I want you to know that as you get older, you’ll find that strangers aren’t hugely dangerous. They can be kind and interesting.
You will find that peppers don’t actually taste horrible, they are a bit slimy, yes, but very sweet and delectable when they’re roasted in the oven with some olive oil and perhaps sea salt and balsamic vinegar.
When you’re in school and I’m allowed it, I’ll pack you a lunch every day which doesn’t just consist of dry bread with spreadable cheese or pate. I’m sorry you have to eat that, at least twice per day.
I’ll pack you a personal portion of fruit so you don’t have to stuff your face with apple as we have it for dessert, worried as you are that, like at nursery, some bigger kid will get the last piece you had your eye on.
You will find that your friendlines towards other kids, how you smile at them, share a toy, reach out a chubby hand for them to hold while you’re watching TV together, your playfulness with them, it will pay off. They’ll be older and more adept at reading your signals, and will stop just rushing off when you’re just getting ready to play properly.
I might not be at home teaching you your colours, shapes and making sure you learn as many new words in the weekdays as you do every weekend.
But I’ll be in a position to give you the option of becoming an independent thinker. I want you to keep questioning the world the way you already do, to facilitate you gaining the tools to express your opinions and back them up with observation, to never accept having to put up with something mediocre if you can think of a better way of doing it.
I hope your second birthday is all you have hoped for. For weeks, you have talked about blowing out candles, of presents, of singing, twirling, dancing, cake. And for the next year, I hope the moon shows up every evening for you so you can tell it good night before you snuggle down with your dolly under the blankets.
I will keep loving you always, and marvel at how, every day, you wake up with a smile, reaching out to me, ready to face the world.