I debated for a while whether I should make these thoughts public; I thought, so long as Husband Dearest and I know these things, what do other people have to do with it? However, given that, increasingly, this blog is a portal into the Monster world, it’s only fair to give a rounded view of it – and this post is how I feel about my Monsters, warts aside.
Monster Major – What I want you to know:
You are one of the sweetest, gentlest souls we’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing. They used up all their compassionate dust when they made you. It worries me how vulnerable this will make you, but at the same time, I bask in your innate benevolence whenever I see you with a baby, an animal, someone feeling sad, but most often, when you think no one is watching. You have such a gentle touch, and every move is so thought out. Your careful nature transpires in everything you do, and I could sit for an eternity watching you arrange something ‘just so’. Traditional hitting out toddler tantrums are such a rarity for you, and when they do happen, the fear and disappointment in your eyes breaks my heart. Your tender disposition may set you on the back foot in the more ferocious aspects of life, but please never change that; you will be a lover in a sea of fighters.
Sometimes I wish I could toughen you up. But I don’t really mean it. It can get frustrating to see you in tears for the fifth time, because a friend has touched your arm. But you know what you do and don’t like, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes I wish you weren’t so emotional. But then I see the empathy this supplies you with, and my heart wants to burst with love for you. When I see you weeping because things haven’t turned out the way you imagined, in your painstakingly rigorous toddler plans, I want to weep too, because I get it. You’re me, twenty-odd years ago and I know what it’s like for people to go “Don’t start crying again!” because they’ll never understand how much it means to you to have things turn out right. Yes, in many ways, you’ll need to toughen up; it’s a hard-knock life out there, and people won’t have time for your emotional pedantry. But for now, I’ll look after you and I’ll try to remember that you’re only like this because you come from me.
You drive your father insane. And you also make him the proudest man on the planet. Never, ever doubt your father’s adoration of you. He may not understand why not having a particular fork can result in a puddle’s worth of tears, but he will be your (second) biggest cheerleader in life, and he loves your many little quirks. We both could watch you for days in your imaginative world – telling us about the shark under your bed, and having to tip-toe around the house so that we don’t wake the bears. We wish that you didn’t have to grow out of feeding us invisible pieces of pear and hiding in your non-existent cave. You make each day such an adventure and neither of us could be happier with the person you’re shaping up to be.
You eased us in to parenting. Yes, we looked like we were struggling in the beginning. But looking back, we didn’t know how good we had it. Yes, you were a bloody nightmare to feed. But we didn’t know about your allergies and your screaming and refusal was your way of telling us. You were and are amazing. The first time you properly cried, we took you to A&E – we were so unused to seeing you distressed. You made us grow up fast, but we enjoyed and were ready for that journey. You gently guided us into our parenting role – you weren’t needy or demanding, and most epically – YOU LET US SLEEP. We grew together, with you, and you took us from a couple to a family. I’d be lying if I spun the cliche, ‘we loved every second of it’, but we did and do love a lot of seconds.
You hide your light under a bushel. Even those that see you week in – week out, don’t see your abilities and intelligence like we do. You’re not, and never have been, a performing monkey. Much to my frustration, I could never show off your new found talent in public – whether it was walking, talking, singing, reading – you just never showed off. I love that you’re humble, but I hope you know how special you are. As a teacher, I honestly believe all children are special, but you, my love, are extra special. I wish I could list off your many specialities to anyone who would listen, but for now, I’ll settle for just me and Daddy, every night, unashamedly reeling off the things you do that amaze us.
Monster Minor – What I want you to know:
I knew you’d make waves. From a few weeks after we found out we were expecting you, I began saying ‘the world is going to know this child has arrived,’ I just knew you’d make ripples. But you haven’t just made ripples. You’ve made waves, and I have no doubt that there are tidal waves to come. You cause a ruckus everywhere you go, and whilst it drives me bonkers, it works. You make your presence known and you command a room. I will live in awe of your ability to have everyone turn and see you. Yes, you’re attention-seeking, but nobody seems to mind this. You crash-landed into our lives, and literally, seconds later, chaos began. And it hasn’t stopped. You were born in water and, without going into details, you really really did muddy the waters and cause a stir on the way out. Our life would be a calm sea without you, but a calm sea never made for a skilled sailor, and you make the rocky ride worth getting sea sick for. I’ll live the chaos a thousand times over if it means keeping you the bright star that you are. You’re our little hurricane; you threw all of our pieces everywhere and each time we think we’ve pieced them back together correctly, you storm a little more. Life will never ever be dull as long as you’re a part of it. And we’d never have you any other way. (Ok, well, maybe I’d have you a bit calmer, but I’m trying to be sentimental.)
You have a remarkable ability of making everyone fall in love with you. No one is immune to your charms. I have never seen anything like it. You say jump and people say how high. You hold up your arms to a stranger, and they feel no choice but to pick you up. (And this happens far much more than I’m comfortable with, please stop it.) You seem to capture people with your smile and I can honestly say, I think you light up the lives of everyone you’re around. You’re a cheeky little button (that’s an exceedingly polite way of putting it) but no one seems to mind the minute you smile. You know everyone loves you and you love that everyone loves you and you expect no less than everyone to love you. It’s not unrequited either. You’re free with your love; I’m hard-pressed to find someone you’ve met that you have haven’t loved. You reward your admirers with kisses, cuddles and your numerous ways of showing affection. I often think that you arrived into the world with an excess of love, and you don’t think twice about dolling out a generous portion to the nearest smiling face. I worry that you’re too ruthless, reckless and scattily-minded for this world, but so long as you keep your loving, charming, beautiful ways, I’m sure they’ll take you far.
You’ve made us do all the things we never said we’d do as parents. I never thought I’d crack halfway through giving my child a telling off, but the way you laugh at my cross face has me in stitches. I never thought I’d undermine your father’s parenting choices, but your melting eyes get me saying ‘Oh he’s only a baby’. We never thought we’d let ourselves be dictated by our children, but you rule the roost and we’ve found ourselves your humble and reluctant servants. For months, you banished Daddy to the loft because you decided our bed was your bed, and Daddy wasn’t part of the picture. And like love-struck fools, we let it happen. The amount of times in your short life that we’ve vowed to be tough and let you cry it out, only to crack three minutes in and smother you with cuddles until you sleep. We bow to your every whim, and as self-declared tough-love parents, it’s been a real shock to the system. Your uncanny ability to get your own way and leave us feeling like the perpetrators is unrivalled, and I really do fear for what you have in store for us next. I can’t believe how you’ve become the boss of the house at only 15 months, but I secretly envy your ability to do it leaving no bitter feelings and only further deepened devotion to your chubby little self.
You have Daddy wrapped around your finger more than you’ll ever know. He is besotted. I know he could cry when you wrap your arms around his neck, and, last night, when you told him ‘I love you,’ in your crazy, unintelligible babble, I think he would’ve stopped the Earth to be able to bottle that moment. He gets your mayhem in a way that your brother and I can’t understand, and he loves the fracas you cause everywhere you go. You get your bulldozer ways from him and I know he’s proud of that mini me quality. Like so many others, he can’t resist your charms, but, let me tell you, he’s a very charming man himself. As guarded and fairly introverted beings, your brother and I will never ‘get’ the open, self-assured, what-you-see-is-what-you-get aspect of you. Daddy does. You and Daddy are peas in a pod in so many ways. And Daddy is a pretty big fan of himself, and so, by logic, he’s a pretty big fan of you. Every quality that made me fall in love with your father, you have in abundance. And it’s just gorgeous to behold the two of you amplifying it in each other.
Well done if you got through this without vomming in your mouth. I worship the ground my monsters walk on but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to throttle them on a daily basis. Likewise, I can be furiously cross with them but secretly respect them for their individuality. Raising children is about contradictions; it’s about running yourself in circles because your love for them makes you disappointed, cross and upset at the undesirable situations they put you in. But it’s this same love that makes you start afresh soon after. To all those out there fruitlessly attempting to shape their spawn – I salute you!