And here we are, a whole three years into life as a family of three. Three years of life as parents. Three years of winging it, finding our feet and establishing who we are in this role. And three years of this little boy learning, growing and bringing so much light into the world.
How do things differ from when I wrote about life after two years? It honestly feels like yesterday I wrote about life two years in.
I would say this last year was perhaps the steepest learning curve for us all. It was like the first two years we were lulled into a little false sense of security. It was all so wonderful. He slept like a dream. We'd solidly bonded and attached perfectly. He was so happy being looked after by Dadda and then his auntie when my husband took on a new adventure working in a school.
But when he turned three, it was like all that we knew was flipped it on its head. We experienced huge sleep regression, he just wasn’t eating like had before and he was becoming incredibly fussy. This, I am told, is all normal and age appropriate and we never really stressed too much about it. But it was certainly challenging to begin with. All of the sudden our little boy who we’d kiss goodnight and lay him down in bed was now refusing to lay down, screamed for us to lay with him and we had to hold his hand to sleep. This freaked us out i'm not going to lie. Probably more than it should of but it’s because we had it so good that this change was massive (at the time). A year in and we still have to sit with him for five to ten minutes as he drifts off and then stealthily manoeuvre ourselves out of his room avoiding the god damn creaky floorboards. But now? We know the drill. It isn’t new and scary anymore. All these changes prepare you and build you up ready for the next thing, definitely.
We had to start thinking about a move to pre-school last year too. I know every parent says it, but I guess you’ll never feel ready for your baby to go somewhere different, spend a morning with someone else and make new friends. And it was a wobbly start for us all. He didn’t seem to like it. It wasn’t like his nursery before. It was more structured as it was part of the school. No waltzing in late, you all have to drop off at 8:45am and it’s a little chaotic in the cloakroom with 25 kids putting their jackets away, having tantrums, not wanting to leave their parents while others run in and start playing straight away. It was a learning experience for sure. And he found it hard to start with. We really have to tackle transitions a little differently with him. He has already experienced change in a big way in his short little life. Yes he was only fourteen months when we brought him home for good and switched up everything he ever knew but he will remember. He will have memories of those feelings. So in the moments of upset and drop off’s going not so positively, we had to be mindful of this. And it’s not easy when you have to get to work and also want him to love going so that you know you can leave him happily each day.
I’d say it took a couple weeks for the tears and hand grabbing to stop, but he got there. He loves it at pre-school. He has made amazing friends and despite having my doubts about pre-school and the curriculum in general, I know he needs this. The learning and the structure is good for him. Some kids don’t and that’s fine too, they all have different needs. But I feel really happy knowing we made the right choice for him here.
Which leads me onto his development. A year ago, the speech still wasn’t there really. Phrases were and we could communicate with each other perfectly, but maybe not to those who aren't his parents. His progress was okay but it was behind the milestones. (If you’ve read anything from me before you know I don’t panic about milestones). I said time and time again I knew it’d just click. He is my boy. No one knows him better than me. And today he is talking so bloody much we can’t shut him up! Even when he’s eating! He used to say things like “Daddy hungry!” but now slowly the connectives are coming. He'll say “Daddy I am hungry” or “Can we go to the park please”. The other day I was cleaning the bathroom, he popped his round the door and pointed to a bottle of cleaner and said “Daddy where’s this come from?”. It sounds so simple but just hearing that little phrase made me so happy. He’s getting there and we’re doing all we can with the help of the wonderful key workers. He may well need additional support when it comes to reception at school. And we’re there for him. To support him and in his own time, he’ll get it. You cannot force anything with these little ones.
Oh, talking about forcing it… he potty trained himself over night too last year. Because we waited til HE was ready. He told us he wanted to do it and overnight, he nailed it.
“NO…. I don’t like it!!” has become the phrase of the year also.
This last year we finally received the life story book. It was a reminder, a big one, that we actually adopted our little boy. We’ve always said we’d be open from day one. No big Eastenders cliff hanger reveal.. “You’re adopted!!”. He’ll know from the get go. It’s lost on him at the moment I’d say but soon it’ll be a good time to discuss it. We’ve mentioned birth parents and the fact his family is made up of two daddies who entered his life when he was a baby. But he could not give a monkeys right now. I am telling you, as the speech and understanding of family life develops, we’re going to be in the supermarket and he’s just going to pop out with “Daddy, do I have a mummy?”. And then the conversations will start there in the cereal aisle. Mark my words…
It’s been a big year. We’ve all learnt a lot. More than in the first few months I reckon!! It just proved to me that you may think you’re settled. You’re good. You’ve got this. Then these little creatures will prove you wrong, mix it up and turn it all upside down. But is that a bad thing? It certainly hasn’t been boring. I thank the universe every day for this little boy making me the man I am today. I owe him everything and more.