Taking Stock

This week our precious little boy turned three and the anniversary of him doing so was duly celebrated with a teddy bear themed picnic, the longest game of Pass the Parcel in living history as O, having got the measure of it, clutched hold of the parcel declaring he was waiting for the music to stop and, of course, cake (though much inferior to last year, A).

There was, after all, much to celebrate.

O has in these 36 months learned to roll, to crawl, to eat, to walk, to talk, to scoot, to count, to kiss (the best kisses ever) to recognise the first letter of his name plus a few others, to work out when his parents are saying no when it could, if persistence is applied, mean yes, to recognise that chips are the best food in the world and if spotted no other morsel can possibly be consumed, to observe that no, mummy doesn’t have a willy like Daddy and O so therefore it must be ‘broke’, to reply to the question “are your listening ears on?” with “yes, but they are set to cheeky”, to turn every stick into a “piaw piawww” despite, I’m absolutely sure, him never ever seeing a gun, to stand up in front of his friends and their parents to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar” after first announcing its title to all and sundry like one might a Bellini aria, to call anyone wearing a dress a princess including, to her delight, his mummy when, feeling pretty haggard, she pulled on an old dress direct from the loft (“keep up the charm son, you’ll go far” says S), to say please and thank you regularly as who could possibly refuse the “peeeese?” of a toddler even if it is in relation to biscuits for breakfast, and of course to reflect us back at ourselves by the repetition (albeit sometimes with customisation) of the things we so regularly and unconsciously say….. “I be one sec….”, “Just a minute….”, “I doing something…” “You want a word Mummy?” or one of his best….”Mummy….” cue sigh of impatience at my interruption, “I talking to Daddy”.

But the passing of time has been marked in other ways too. 24 months ago, a day after O’s first birthday, we three moved from a flat just up the road to this rather ugly beast of a pebble adorned house. Waiting for the sale to go through we celebrated the fact that we would no longer need to store our pram in the car boot to solve the logistical problem of manoeuvring its hulk up a flight of maisonette stairs with a newborn baby in the other arm. But not long after both paper and money changed hands the excitement turned to despair. Bare of furniture the damp wallpaper could now be seen peeling away in swathes from the walls. Taps could be heard dripping. The carpet we had thought was brown was actually probably taupe until forty years of filth had collected in its pile and worse still the previous inhabitants……a family (or two) of mice…..had somewhat inpolitely opted not to move out.

So whilst on the one hand time has whizzed past in true blink-and-you-miss it fashion as we’ve watched our baby so very quickly become a boy, it has managed simultaneously to crawl past as we have beaten our house, kicking and screaming (and by that I think I mean us….not the house) into a space which finally feels like ours. Not much of the original remains other than a few structural walls and a bit of ornate cornicing in the hallway. I like to think this blog has documented both the highs and lows but in truth the highs have been few, the lows many.

“Do you ever…” a friend asked recently as I sat reeling off a list of things yet to do before the house is ‘finished’…. a status that feels much like the horizon in that it slides away on each advance, “sit back with S and look at what you’ve achieved?”

This weekend we did.

As we lay on our new lawn having said farewell to our teddy-bearing guests we sipped at Prosecco and peered back into the glowing interior of our house, it’s newly installed bifold doors flung back to welcome the friends we are so privileged to have around us. And I realised, perhaps late in the day, that my persistent quest for the capital aitched ‘Home’ which I’ve materialistically managed to morph into meaning a kitchen, or a lounge, or a chair, or that stag lampshade…… is actually not home at all. It’s just a place…..admittedly now a comfortable and I’d like to think attractive place …..that keeps the Home that really matters safe and warm.
My two boys.
One big.
One small.
I stand corrected. Big.
He’s three after all……

Stones found in the river at this year’s holiday in the Lakes



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