Introducing Sarah, our new guest blogger, LadybirdMum. We are really excited to have Sarah writing for our blog and are so looking forward to reading her monthly posts on books, babies, toddlers and life as a working mum with a delightfully busy and curious little boy. We really hope you enjoy it too. And now, over to LadybirdMum for her first post, suitably titled, ‘Firsts’.
‘KACK-KACK!’ he exclaims gleefully whilst pointing to a duck.
‘YES!’ I agree, ‘Yes! Quack-Quack, duck, that’s right, duck!’
Then he looks serious and shouts ‘Shun, SHUN!’ and I continue to beam as he points at the fat yellow sun.
‘Can you see the flowers Zach?’ I prompt.
‘Fowarr, FOWARR!’ he shouts, his finger jabbing at the image of a light brown squirrel.
‘Nearly!’ I assure him, grinning like a fool.
Hello, I’m Sarah. Before I continue chatting about the joys and jostling’s of Being Mum to a Nearly Two Year-Old, I’ll briefly introduce why I’m writing as LadybirdMum for the lovely Ladybird blog.
For ten years, it was my privilege to work at Penguin Children’s, publisher of so many of your family favourites, including Where’s Spot?, Peter Rabbit, Each Peach Pear Plum, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Hairy Maclary and The BFG to name but a tiny handful. When I see the little Ladybird or Puffin on the spines of my baby’s well-loved books, I see in my mind corridors that are an explosion of colour and imagination and stories. I see rows of black and white photos of some of the most iconic and beloved authors and illustrators in the world. Inside the building, where these wonderful stories are brought to life, I spent hours thinking, talking and writing about stories all day long. For someone who loves books, it was a magical place to be.
Yet all good things must come to an end. It’s important to try new things and I tried to be a full-time working mum. I tried so hard. To sum it up quite simply; it’s not for me. It’s a very personal decision. I choose more time with my son whilst being a freelance copywriter and still doing a job I love. I am extremely lucky. Lucky to be here right now, writing to you.
But anyway, enough about me. Let’s get back to the business of talking toddlers. It seems silly to say ‘I can’t believe my baby is nearly two’, because he was born nearly two years ago, and so this is the order of things. This time last year, as we approached his first birthday, my head was filled with the ‘This Time Last Years.’ This time last year we were at the hospital, this time last year (a long time later) we discovered our baby was a boy and we fell in love with this tiny, screaming bundle. This time last year we arrived home as three, this time . . . you get the idea.
His first year was one year of interrupted sleep, days and days of not knowing what day it was. Endless tears, panic, is this right? Is he alright? Too hot? Too cold? What will I feed him, what will he wear, is he teething again? How do I know WHAT TO DO? You don’t. It all works out anyway. The worry and tiring times were balanced with his first smile, meeting family and friends, his first beach visit, first flight, laughing and sitting up and crawling for the first time, saying ‘Dada’ or ‘Mama’, feeding himself, splashing us with bathwater, swimming underwater, his first Christmas, first party.
So many special first moments.
Now. Nearly two.
His first steps, his first shoes. What a special occasion that was (nice one, Clarks). His first commute (!), leaving his first nursery and starting his new one, his first slide, his first staircase adventure, his first trip to the dentist – he got three stickers. Yes, I’ve kept them. I was goldfish-esque at his first stringing-together-of-words, though they weren’t those three words I’d been longing to hear. Not that ‘Done a poo’ isn’t useful information to have, but still! The heart-melting moment he repeated after me ‘I luh Mimmy.’ I didn’t cry I didn’t cry.
I cried a little bit.
His first real tantrum. The one where he lay prostrate on the floor, screaming, really screaming, beating his fists and turning purple because I wouldn’t let him scoop crisps from the bin. My husband Adam and I looked on, astonished, whilst trying not to laugh at the lunacy of it all. I’d recently read a description of a toddler as ‘an emotionally unstable, mini dictator.’ And as we gazed at him raging on the floor, oh how these words rang true.
As I sit here, waiting for his birthday present scooter to arrive (he’ll love it; I’ll be a nervous wreck), it’s so nice to reflect. And to wonder; terrible or terrific twos? How bad can it really be?
Will he wake up on his second birthday suddenly transformed into some kind of devil child? Somehow I just can’t imagine it. Not my sweet, kind, cheeky, mischievous, funny little boy.
Famous last words?
Am I really naïve?
Thank you for reading my first LadybirdMum blog post. If you’d like to share any of your baby and toddler ‘Firsts’ memories or anecdotes on the Ladybird Facebook or Twitter page, #LadybirdMum, we’d love to hear from you.