It’s funny how quickly you forget what life was like with one, when you have two. Not that I would change things for a second; Little Monkey has completed our family and stolen my heart. But with two, I find I try to split my time between them, make sure they both feel included and have their needs met…which is, of course, impossible to do 100% of the time. If I’m not trying to stop Little Monkey from sticking his fingers in a plug socket, I’m explaining – for the umpteenth time – why you can’t swordfight with a one-year-old. There’s a good chance that at some point during the day, one, two or all three of us will end up in tears.
So today I took the opportunity to take a day off work and spend it with my biggest boy. Little Monkey went to the child-minder as usual and then it was just me and him. No other demands, no other responsibilities, just me and my first-born.
We decided to go to a soft play centre and met up with my close friend and her daughter. The kids have known each other since birth and are more like siblings than friends, and it was just like the old days, pre-family expansion. I was actually able to run and climb around places I really shouldn’t be lugging my body – and I’d forgotten just how much fun my lovely boy is. We laughed our way up and down slides (that were far too small for my hips – clearly a design fault, rather than a body issue) and it was wonderful to be able to fully enjoy his energy without having to be pulled in two directions.
At home we sat on the sofa and ate last night’s leftover pizza for lunch, which he thought was a real treat. We snuggled up together and watched Toy Story (ok, I may have dozed off for 20 minutes, but in my defence, I had over-exerted myself at soft play), we ate biscuits, got crumbs on the sofa and we just enjoyed each other’s company.
The rest of the afternoon was spent jumping off the sofa pretending to be Buzz Lightyear (him not me), sword fighting, being a ‘bad man’ trying to catch Spiderman (me not him) and dancing to Jessie J’s Bang Bang, which is probably totally inappropriate for a 3.5 year-old but he loves it and damn, the boy’s got rhythm.
When the time came to pick up Little Monkey, we were both looking forward to seeing him. But he held my hand in the car all the way to the child-minder’s house (a rarity) and I felt like I had fallen in love with my biggest little boy all over again.
When we got back to the house, the usual chaos ensued – Little Monkey made his way to the nearest plug socket, Big Monkey ‘lovingly’ rugby tackled him to the floor, he cried, I yelled and it was back to business as usual.
As I put Big Monkey to bed, we had an extra squeezy cuddle and I thanked him for a lovely day. As he drifted off into a pizza/biscuit/Buzz Lightyear-fuelled slumber, I remembered that I can actually be quite a fun, silly and patient mummy – and I must make an effort to bring her out more often.