3

I don’t call myself a blogger any more, not that I was ever particularly diligent, but I thought I would check in, as I like to hear how everyone else is getting on. Hello!

My boy was three last month! Cliché cliché cliché but time fairly zips along.

What kind of a boy have we got? He’s very smart, very confident (which I love, as I was shy and quiet, though few people want an obnoxiously over-confident child either) and pretty strong willed, to do partly with his nature and partly with his age. His insistence on picking out the exact biscuit he wants (generally from the bottom of the pack), for example, could be about the control a three-year-old wants to exert on his environment or simply him being a pain – either way, it’s a little tedious but hopefully will pass.

Although his speech is phenomenal, helped by his great memory, he still doesn’t say his “s” sounds properly, sticking his tongue between his teeth. I’m not sure at what stage I should think about addressing this. I find this lisp very cute and don’t want to make an issue out of it, but at the same time it would better if he didn’t have a lisp at 14. I think we’re due a developmental check around 3 so will ask. Like his lisp, I find the mistakes he makes with words, such as “amilo” for “animal” and “of” instead of “at” (as in “look of my picture”) very endearing.

He’s got a great imagination and loves acting out ideas. Someone gave us the fabulous Frog and Toad books by Alfred Lobel last year and we went through a phase of reading them all a few months ago. One day, out of nowhere, he said “This is my sad time of day,” which flummoxed me until I realised he was being Toad in one of the stories. So we went through the whole story in character, with me as Frog and him remembering Toad’s lines. He hides under the bedcovers and pretends he can hear scary noises until we count to 10 (or another number of his choosing, ahem) and, like Mister Jelly, realise it was nothing to be frightened of. I find this fascinating, as I don’t think I was remotely inventive like this as a kid. I haven’t got any TV channels hooked up yet, so we’ve just got Netflix and YouTube. He enjoys programmes like Ben and Holly and Max and Ruby but we’re not watching much TV, which is no bad thing.

I get “I love you, Mammy” a dozen times a day, which obviously melts my heart, though sometimes I suspect he’s sneakily doing it to divert attention or change the subject. I’ll still take it though. I wonder, of course, if he would be more rambunctious and less gentle with (male) siblings and a dad, but we’ll never know.

He’s still fascinated by sandpits, sticks and stones, which is handy, as we now live by the sea. And honestly, when we’re out walking on the beach collecting stones, I sometimes cannot believe how lucky I am at how things have worked out. After his annual heart checkup in November, I was copied on a letter to my GP about his condition, a “severe” case of aortic valve stenosis. We are so, so lucky this was picked up and corrected before we left the maternity hospital. I find it hard to think of kids in other countries who haven’t had the same opportunity. I don’t know if he would have died but he would have been very sickly indeed without intervention.

Things are going well at the crèche we moved to in September. I had been worried that he wasn’t interacting with the other kids, but that’s all worked itself out. I think he was finding it hard to engage because he was one of the youngest in his group and their communication skills were a lot better, so he was just drifting along pleasing himself. He’s settled in now and there’s a budding bromance with the largest boy in the class, who has been known to thump the odd kid now and then but seems to be settling down.

I think I’ve mentioned before how my boy gravitates towards males. For example, he idolises his 9-year-old cousin and was star struck when his class got its first male teacher. If my aunt and uncle visit, he’s only interested in my uncle. I don’t know if this is because he doesn’t have a father or if it’s just a young boy thing. Similarly, I wonder why he chose the oldest boy in the class to be his bestie after weeks of complaining about how this guy has been pushing people around. But we probably overthink these things, and basically I think he’s a very happy little boy at the moment.

We moved house in January at last, having started renovations on our wreck the previous April. A week after we moved, my Dad was transferred to a hospice after a Christmas diagnosis of cancer, on top of all of his other health problems. And a week later, he died. So the first few months of the year were pretty intense.

Trying to explain death to a three-year-old is hard. It actually helped that the guinea pig in his crèche had died over Christmas after getting untreatable pneumonia: I was able to explain that the doctors couldn’t get the right medicine for Grandad any more and couldn’t make him better. My little boy doesn’t really get it though, and seems to think my Dad is stuck in the hospital. Logical really because his Grandad had spent a good portion of his last 18 months going in and out of hospital but always came back.

My Dad was a very important male role model, so it’s tough on the little man, though he’s not upset in the way we are. We had a comedy moment last week when he mentioned “When Grandad comes back” and then dissolved into tears when I reminded him Grandad wasn’t coming back. “What’s wrong?” I gently asked, ready to yet again broach the subject of death. “You put the bread in the wrong side of the toaster!” So, not that upset then…

Oh and – dum dum dum! – we had the first mention of “Daddy” not long after he turned three. Arriving at crèche, maybe because some Dads were dropping their kids off, he said “We don’t have a daddy.” I liked that he didn’t say “I don’t have a daddy.” So I threw out my prepared line about some families having a mam and dad, some having just a mam, some having two mammies and so on. Then, that evening he piped up with “I don’t have a daddy.” So I explained again that “our family” doesn’t have a daddy. This is a milestone, as I’ve been waiting for this question more or less since he was born.

I’m not sure where it came from but am glad he asked. We had tried to read the Donor Conception Network book on this topic a while ago, but it went into more detail than I wanted at the time. I haven’t gone into the whole “Mammy needed sperm for her egg” thing yet because I don’t think he’s interested, though I can see the argument for doing it now before everyone gets embarrassed.

Basically, we’re all good! I will try not to leave it another six months before checking in again…

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