As he runs into the kitchen with an oversized mixing bowl on his head and one of his enormous, mischievous smiles, my heart spills over with warmth and love. Who would have imagined that my once tiny, fussy, high needs little bundle of blotchy pink skin and tears would have turned into such a happy little toddy? But here we are on a Sunday afternoon, me trying desperately to get through the enormous pile of washing so we all have underwear next week, and him emptying out the pan draw to find more ‘hats’ with which to make me giggle. What on earth would I do without him?
I think back to less busy weekends, before we had a baby, as the radio presenter announces another tune for our ‘lazy Sunday’ and my husband and I exchange snorts of laughter and rolled eyes. But the early morning wake-up calls and non-stop days are worth it to spend the day being silly with our favourite person in the world. It stands to reason then that when we finally sit down after putting him to bed, and the subject of having another baby comes up again, it is with a pang of guilt in my heart that we start the conversation.
We always spoke about having two children. It just seemed to make sense, almost like the world was designed with that number in mind. Tables of four at restaurants, family rooms at most holiday destinations involving two single beds and a double, and the fact that most ‘normal’ sized cars can comfortably fit two car seats in the back, before needing to move up to the dreaded people carrier (dreaded by my husband that is – they don’t align with his Stig from Top Gear expectations of a vehicle).
We never wanted there to be a big gap between our children either. I think the idea of them happily playing together at the play park or on the beach has been a vision I have had for many years when thinking about kids. My little partner in crime is just about to turn 17 months and overnight seems to have really come into his own. He is a lot more independent (and to be perfectly honest, a lot more fun) and weekends, although still very much centred around spending time with him, are once again something to really look forward to. We can finally start booking in trips to places that he will actually enjoy and participate in.
So here we are, discussing everything from the financial implications of maternity leave, additional nursery fees, our ages and current jobs, to potential star signs for a possible new addition, and all I can think is, “What if my little prince thinks I don’t love him anymore because of the new baby?” I picture his funny little face racing round the kitchen with his mixing bowl hat, ‘helping’ me to hang up the clean washing, and I feel a little bit sad that I will have to share this time, to add to our family. There is a little ache inside my chest as I recall our cuddles on the sofa earlier on, snuggled under a blanket watching Mr Tumble, as he slowed down enough to realise he was getting tired and going up for a nap would probably be a good idea. My precious little one. My first born.
When I was returning to work after a year on maternity leave, my biggest fear was that he would think that I no longer loved him as much. I had to go back full time and the long days apart from each other might make him question my love for him. Everybody reassured me that our bond was unbreakable and that, without question, we would just miss each other and really appreciate the time we had together. And you know what? They were right. We are closer than ever. No amount of time spent apart seems to alter the fact that he knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am his Mummy and I love him with everything I have.
As we sit chatting, my husband reminds me of a similar conversation we had roughly two and a half years ago, when I was worried that having a baby might take away from the love that we had for each other, and that not having as much time together might really affect our relationship. I smile knowingly, a little bit embarrassed. He’s right. There was no need to worry then, just as there is no need to worry now. Our hearts have the most amazing ability to grow and expand when you need them to. If we are lucky enough to add to our little family, then I look forward to my heart growing some more… and to my eldest little monkey teaching them how to make Mummy laugh x