Two years ago yesterday I wrote this letter. A week today Kate turns 2. I am struggling a little with this birthday. I don’t usually feel this way and it took me a while to realise why this one is so difficult for me. The fact is that I have JUST got used to the fact that we have two children, and now my baby is turning two. Where did those two years go? They have been the hardest two years of my life, and suddenly I feel that a fog is lifting and I am in control. It is a very long time since I have felt like this. But I look at Kate and there is no more baby there. Just a willful, independent toddler. I think that part of me feels like I really missed out on some stuff along the way. I guess that is how it is with second children.
Time to put all that aside though and concentrate on the good things. I feel something approaching normal again. It is a combination of things I think, the right dose of antidepressants, getting more sleep, Mr C being at home a lot more, Kate being that bit more independent and being able to get around more.
I haven’t managed to write very much recently. I always think that is the case when things are good. I have been being really creative and throwing myself into sewing and making and doing the things that I love. I have been spending time with my children out and about. I have made two new friends and now have people to see each week, and new friends for Kate too. I feel a bit more normal. Today I knocked over a cup of milk just after pouring it and after smiling to myself at the though of ‘crying over spilt milk’ I realised that not so long ago that is exactly what I would have been doing. Giving myself a really hard tuime for being clumsy, calling myself useless and a crap mum because I had made a mess and probably shouted at the kids to stay away. Today, a smile, a wipe and no harm done.
And that is the key to a lot of how I am feeling I think. I suddenly gave in and decided that I was just going to do what I needed to do to get through each day, and then week. So if I am tired I use my free time to sleep. I make an effort to keep the house reasonably clean but I don’t tidy and clean it every time I have child free time at home. If I feel inspired and want to make something I just go and do it for a couple of hours. I do the ironing and watch Gossip Girl on Netflix. I don’t bath the children every night.
Life feels good. And no matter how hard I have found the last two years some really wonderful things have come out of that time. New friends, new hobbies. New confidence in myself and my abilities. New interests, new opinions. I am more open about how I feel.
When I was first pregnant with Kate a friend came to visit and she was in the early months of having two children. She started to say that it is a good idea to wait before having another one because oh, the chaos, it is so hard. And I told her I was pregnant and we laughed about it. She is an amazing mum and person and I was so supportive of me when I was having a hard time. And over the past two years, when people start talking about a second child, I really have to bite my tongue to stop myself screaming “DON’T DO IT YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. YOU WILL NEVER RECOVER. IT IS MADNESS I TELL YOU, MADNESS.” Back then I took some comfort in the people that told me that after the first year everything gets easier and then it will all be good. Well for me it took two years not one. But I am here, at this point now, and I am so relieved and so happy.
Now it is time to think of the future. Piran starts school in September, and then Kate and I will have a lot of time together just the two of us. And I can use that time to enjoy my baby girl as much as I feel I should have when she was smaller. And it will be even more fun because now she can talk, and laugh, and run and walk and play. And drive me completely bonkers of course, but that is half the fun.