Life Update: Ted Turns Two/Eighty

ruth crilly family

Ted is two today, which means that I must have entered some sort of space-time vortex since giving birth to him because I can genuinely say, without a hint of over-exaggeration, that it seems like only last month when I bought him home from the hospital.

ruth crilly family

I can still remember the argument that was happening in the hospital reception when I arrived to book in for my c-section, I can still feel the sting of the Clexane injections I was given post-operation. (The anti-clotting Clexane injections were, for me, one of the worst parts of c-section recovery. Self-administering injections when you’re also trying to work out how to breastfeed a hard-gummed, furiously hungry newborn is just no fun.)

ruth crilly family

But here we are, two years down the line, and young Master Ted can say “bum bum”, “poo poo” and quite a few other useful words and phrases. To me he still looks just like a baby – still has the fine, wispy hair, the round face, the funny little walk – but to everyone else I’m pretty sure he would be classified as a Proper Little Boy.

I mean he puts his feet up on the footstool to relax, for goodness’ sake. When he’s pacing he jams his hands in his pockets, he strokes his chin when he’s thinking; he’s one step away from smoking a pipe and wearing a monocle. He’s two going on eighty!

ruth crilly family

And I don’t like the idea of being without babies. Being a “person with babies”, or “a person with very small children” has been something of a comfort blanket for the past few years. It’s allowed me an excuse for always being completely exhausted, for never going out, for cancelling things and limiting my travel and taking long afternoon naps. What’s my excuse now? I’m still knackered (perhaps more so), I still shudder at the idea of going out out and spending time away from home becomes less appealing as the months pass, not more.

ruth crilly family

It’s a funny old thing, watching kids grow – a privilege, a joy, a source of great amusement and a definite constant reminder of good fortune. (I mean, two kids when you thought you’d have none; what could be a luckier win?) But at the same time there’s a sadness when each stage passes, there’s a sort of low-key panic when a familiar little quirk or habit suddenly ceases to exist and is lost forever in a jumble of confused memories and discoloured bottle teats. When you realise that they won’t ever cling to you like a monkey again when you climb the stairs, when it dawns on you one morning that someday you won’t need to pour their cereal or butter their toast. Nobody really wants an eternal (highly-dependent) infant but at the same time, it’s nice to be needed. To be put on that pedestal that makes you provider, protector and educator – a kind of demigod.

I’m convinced now that parenthood is mainly just enduring the constant swing from one emotional extreme to the other, multiple times a day, and then wondering whether everyone else is experiencing the same thing. In the space of five minutes I can feel pure, unadulterated elation, wondering how life could possibly get any better and thanking the stars for my good fortune and the next I can be completely flying off the handle, dealing with two consecutive screaming breakdowns, thinking about how the time I had my wisdom tooth sawn in half, filed down to the root and then sewn back under my gum flap was actually less painful than dealing with a particularly difficult bedtime session.

ruth crilly family

Babies are hard enough, but add in the calculated whining and moaning of a three year old on a mission to win the Battle Of Wills and you find yourself hiding in the airing cupboard silently banging your forehead on the side of the water tank. Clonk. Clonk. Give me strength.

Mind you, with the whining comes comedy of such unintentional brilliance it should be regularly documented for posterity. Angelica has become obsessed with Fairytale Role-Play. Mostly Cindarella – she is, of course, Cinders, even though I try to be very modern and encourage her to be the Handsome Prince (“but his looks don’t matter! Let’s call him the Funny and Kind Prince!”) or the Evil Step-Mother (“maybe she’s just really tired and sick of doing all the cleaning herself, let’s give her a break”). So I spend a lot of time riding around on a hobby horse, trying imaginary glass slippers on imaginary suitors (male and female) whilst Angelica sits on the sofa shouting “me! Me, me Handsome Prince! Over here, my foot will fit the slipper!”

ruth crilly family

I put in lots of time doing role-play and lots of time being a sort of toilet companion, sitting bowl-side and encouraging bowel movements to come forth whilst Angelica gives me a running commentary and progress report.

“It’s going to be stinky Mummy, I can tell. Here it comes, no that was a bottom burp! Here it comes – no a bottom burp again Mummy! You need to be patient. This might take all week.” Indeed.

Mr AMR and I have, with a sort of silent agreement, slipped into alternating the morning duties. So one day I’ll get up with Ted, who wakes up about seventy billion hours before sunrise, and the next morning Mr AMR will. Now I hate this arrangement, because getting up on your own, in the dark, when you haven’t had enough sleep, is really, really depressing. I don’t even like it in the summer. The thing I hate most about it is that it makes me resentful. Yes, I could spin things around and marvel at how I get to spend an extra couple of hours with my cherubs, alone, but at the same time, getting to spend an extra couple of hours in the bed – alone – sounds pretty good. No responsibility, no noise, those extra hours are the best quality of sleep you can ever have. If you could bottle the feeling that is “someone else having full resposnibility for your children whilst you half-listen in a snoozy, in-and-out-of-sleep sort of way” then you’d be a billionnaire. Because knowing that they are safe, that they are happy, but that someone else is temporarily doing everything…is golden. Bloody hell.

barry the iron giant

I taunted the Big Freeze and then it came; we’ve been more or less snowed in since Friday morning, with a particularly cold night icing things over and sealing the deal. Mr AMR has managed to get out – nothing can thwart Friday Fish n Chips – but there’s no way I’m skidding up the hill just to fetch a pail of water. Apparently my car is four wheel drive (who knew?!) but I’m still not setting out on the road to disaster; we have frozen croissants and Mint Magnums, what else do you need for crying out loud?

Right, off to try and make Ted a dinosaur cake for his birthday. If the results are particularly bad then I’ll show you a picture for your amusement. I’m going to fashion the legs and neck from chopped up chocolate mini rolls and make the head out of a cupcake – what could possibly go wrong?

Read all of my life updates here – I’ve written one every month since July 2015.

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  1. Catherine
    February 6, 2019 / 10:19 am

    I have a girl, then a boy, with exactly the same age difference as you. My little boy is just about to turn seven months. I stumbled across your work when I was googling how to cope with two under two in a stressed overwhelmed haze, and honestly felt like your post on that was the most helpful and comforting thing on the subject I had read. (Then realised I had first seen you in the documentary you were in when you were younger – what a journey – girl to woman!) I now follow your posts for a glimpse of my future. It is uncanny how things you will mention have been in my thoughts – i.e. when I saw the title of your post Christmas blog I had to laugh out loud as my husband and I had had the mother of all fights when at the start of the Christmas holidays I was all excited and he had said ‘You know, this isn’t going to be a holiday’. I thought he was being a painful pessimist, was so cross with him for bringing the mood down and vociferously let him know this, but well…just let’s say in the end…and this is an understatement…that you were right. In this post, just a couple of days ago I was lamenting discoloured teats and trying to clean the darn things, so I had to laugh at that too, the things on which parenting focuses your mind:)!…. Well, anyway, I live far away from friends and family in a foreign country where I can’t speak the language and for me your posts and videos are a bit like having a whimsical friend nattering away in the background, in this time of maternal isolation. There you go – you do a community service you didn’t even know you were doing, so just wanted to express my appreciation for the virtual company! This is a lovely post and one I think when you are old and grey you and Ted and Angelica and Mr AMR will read and reminisce over. Greetings from the other side of the channel!

    • February 7, 2019 / 1:15 pm

      Thank you, what a lovely comment. xx

  2. khawlah
    February 5, 2019 / 3:35 pm

    My daughter turned two last mont, for the past two years I had similar feelings to you. Every time she passed a stage I would literally have a nervous breakdown from the sadness of realizing she grew up and was no longer in that stage. If I remember something she used to do and that I don’t have it on video or pictures I become sad for days and sometimes cry.
    It is so exciting and fun seeing her grow and learn to talk and do things, as simple as putting on her socks or combing my hair or picking up her plate, but at the same time I can’t help but reminisce about her Baby Days and how they went by and wishing I could see them again. When I see videos of her from last year I am shocked, she literally looks like another person!

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and memories Ruth, they make me happy and helped me a lot.

  3. Jenny alden
    February 4, 2019 / 10:11 pm

    I really admire your ability to put these feelings and thoughts into such lovely words. What a pleasure to read. My little one is 2, I miss the little people he was at each stage and I feel a bit like it makes me more aware of my own mortality which can be overwhelming. Also imagining one day I wont be here for him! My granny always said its the best time of your life when your children are little. X

  4. Sevda
    February 4, 2019 / 7:31 pm

    Oh and use some of the best comments at the end of each chapter.

  5. Sevda
    February 4, 2019 / 7:27 pm

    Will this be your book? I think it would sell.

  6. Gillian Pidler
    February 4, 2019 / 11:40 am

    I have to make caterpillar cakes for my 19 year old for the 14th!! I love making their birthday cakes and only wish I’d found the joy of baking when they were small. I hope Ted had a fabulous day! The time goes by so fast, enjoy every second of your little blessings Ruth.

  7. February 4, 2019 / 10:34 am

    Whenever I get that sentimental feeling and contemplate having a third one I open the “early stages pictures” I have on my phone and remember that even getting up at 6 am on a Sunday is better than being woken five times and night AND getting up at 6 am on a Sunday. But yes, bittersweet.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  8. Sophie
    February 4, 2019 / 9:45 am

    You’ve beautifully summed up what so many of us experience having young children. We had four in four and a half years, and it was such an intense and emotional time. But, now that my eldest is approaching 14, I can honestly say these older years are simply wonderful. Yes, challenging in other ways: teenage drama, growing bodies, and more, but it’s now that you get to witness quite how clever, insightful and amazingly thoughtful they can be. And when they’re all grown up, I’ll feel fully qualified to be a nurse, teacher, nutritionist, fitness coach or hostage negotiator!

    • February 4, 2019 / 10:27 am

      Hahaha, so true!!! But wow, four under 4.5…. are you still sane? x

  9. Leigh
    February 4, 2019 / 1:39 am

    My daughter turned two in September. I feel so lucky to have her, luckier than I have any right to be. I’m completely in love with her, and she’s so funny and smart and adorable. Her daddy will ask her if she’s a daddy’s girl and she’ll say, “No! Mommy girl!” Lol. I just love her to absolute bits. Enjoy your little ones, Ruth. Having them is the best part of life.

  10. Anna
    February 3, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    Time for another?

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:57 pm

      Hahaha, no chance. Mr AMR says. : )

  11. Elizabeth M
    February 3, 2019 / 6:47 pm

    Happiest of Birthdays Master Ted!! Your children are just precious-enjoy and God bless!!

  12. Farah
    February 3, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    So beautifully put. You have an amazing way of putting into words all the little nuances of the joy, the pain, and the hilarity. I too feel I have been in a space-time vortex since my babies were born. And my eldest is turning 11 in a few days! Lost in space for a decade with no end in sight! And while I am a “toilet companion” far less these days just yesterday my youngest, 6 yrs old, sick in the night and pooping and throwing up at the same time (oh my god– must get a wastebasket in there that is washable and not a basket!) said to me “I wish I could flush my problems down the toilet mama!” You and me both buddy! The misery, the grossness, the sweetness and the precious fleeting moments all happening at once with children. Time flies when you are having fun? Oh, and I still count 2 as a baby myself!

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:58 pm

      Oh bless. And yes, wicker + puke is not great! x

  13. Eva Eckert
    February 3, 2019 / 2:46 pm

    Hahaha I love the post so funny …. and so true :-)

  14. Jo.C.
    February 3, 2019 / 1:46 pm

    Aww, Happy Birthday Ted, hope you have a fab day and that you enjoy your cake.

    My brother has just had a baby (2wks old) and although there is a beautiful baby it just brings back all those memories of no sleep, feeding, sore nipples, bottles, nappies, no sleep, puking and oh, did I mention the no sleep. I do miss those days but I’m so looking forward to when my two can do things by themselves, doing their hair for one. My eldest is 11 and her body is ‘changing’ which hit me hard, I wasn’t expecting that it seems so soon, but I realise they do need to grow up….but just not yet!

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:58 pm

      Oh wow, so early isn’t it, you only just get used to them not being babies and WHAM! x

  15. Sofia
    February 3, 2019 / 1:29 pm

    Absolute pleasure to read, Ruth. My little boy was born a couple of weeks after Ted, I have been reading your monthly updates in earnest. Have another if you are missing the baby stage! Please do a post on potty training! Perhaps we can go through it together, ha.
    Love from a long time reader, first time commenter x

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:59 pm

      Hahaha, I hadn’t even thought about that with Ted – is it two that you’re supposed to start?! x

      • Sofia
        February 4, 2019 / 1:14 pm

        When did you start with Angelica!? Did she have signs of ‘readiness’? My little boy will shout at me to go away and hides behind the couch to poo (in a nappy). He will sometimes watch TV on a potty chair, but refuses to sit on it with a bare bottom. Any tips would be greatly appreciated? Can you remember how you did it with Angelica?

  16. Sandie
    February 3, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    Gosh, that was a fast two years! Happy Birthday Ted :)

  17. Marjorie
    February 3, 2019 / 1:04 pm

    This is incredibly sweet. Still more years ahead with them clinging to you. My 5 year old granddaughter sometimes jumps on me unexpectedly, wraps all limbs tightly around my body, digging her head into my neck as if she were some sort of octopus trying to physically mold the two of us together. There is nothing better. You sound like a wonderful mother. One who recognizes and appreciates the small moments, which in sum are our lives.

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:59 pm

      Thank you so much, that’s very kind x

  18. Suzi Hamilton
    February 3, 2019 / 12:19 pm

    Happy birthday Ted! Beautifully written as always Ruth. Although I will say the horror of clexane isn’t only something c section mummies have to endure. I took a haemorrhage during labour so got the joy of two months of jabbing myself with those little torture devices but it’s much better than taking a clot I’m sure:) xx

    • February 3, 2019 / 11:00 pm

      Oh really? I didn’t know that! But yes that makes sense. Hideous bloody things!! xx

  19. Katy
    February 3, 2019 / 12:05 pm

    Lovely post Ruth. Very evocative for us mums with older children; and many of the same feelings still apply as they grow. Happy Birthday little Ted! (and good luck with the cake Ruth… the novelty cake making anxiety doesn’t get any less unfortunately as the years go by!!) xx :-)

  20. Helena
    February 3, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Happy Birthday, Ted!
    Ruth, you are a ray of sunshine for all of us here. Thanks.

    • February 3, 2019 / 11:00 pm

      Thank you Helena, that’s so kind x

  21. D
    February 3, 2019 / 9:24 am

    Soooo good, sitting on the loo (when do you peek at your phone when you have a 2 year old?!) and reading your hilarious discussion with your daughter about pooing!!! Boy, almost falling from the toilet I’m laughing so hard. Have to hurry, my little stinker heard me laugh, he’s coming to investigate :-)
    Thank you Ruth, that was was a fantastic post.

  22. Anouska
    February 3, 2019 / 9:05 am

    I know exactly how you feel about the little cherubs growing up so fast. My little man is only 3 months old and already I feel like time is slipping past. I swear it was only last week that I bought him home and stared in panic as he cried for a bottle!

    I used to scoff when people said enjoy every moment as you’ll miss it, now I truly understand what they mean!

  23. Beth Sontag
    February 3, 2019 / 8:27 am

    It does my heart good to read your words. I am old enough to be your mother but I miss those years so much. Drink up! It passes much too quickly. I always felt so privileged to be a stay-at-home mom. Often exhausting, mostly wonderful.

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