The voices of experience

Free range baby
Free range baby

Bethan was blowing raspberries intently at the carpet with a purposeful expression on her face. It turned out she had got her hands on her sister’s pom-pom monster, which Catrin made at preschool, and she was about to eat one of its three eyes.

Bethan can roll and wriggle herself the entire length of the living room at speed these days, reaching for all manner of objects discarded by Catrin and changing her nappy is like attempting to secure a crew of street dancing octopuses in straight jackets. She also, at 6 months old, fits into clothing which Catrin wore at her first birthday party. I half expect her to request driving lessons and fill in a UCAS form tomorrow.

Meanwhile Catrin has learnt how to tell white lies and how to manipulate using emotional blackmail, (“I HAVE washed my hands”; “I’m still poorly…I want to watch Boj”). This, I guess, is a normal stage of development (like spontaneously coming out with the phrase “are we nearly there yet?” and then repeating it over and over again).

Each stage of motherhood brings its own challenges…as one aspect becomes easier another pops up and pulls on your trouser leg as you try to walk forward, sometimes tripping you up. What makes it all so much easier, though, is knowing that so many other parents face exactly the same challenges…and far harder ones besides.

Over the past few months I have been reading about the experiences of others and chatting with new and old friends and people I have never met about being a parent. It makes me feel more ‘normal’ and, as my girls grow, so does my confidence (despite occasional wobbles). Who knows what Bethan will attempt to shove in her mouth next; what tactics Catrin will deploy to watch her favourite cartoon or which challenges will crop up as they grow and develop at the speed of light…but I’m sure I’ll find someone else who has been there, done that, got the T- shirt and then wiped the baby sick off their shoulder.

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