Why We Love Our Toddlers

Thank you, my darling toddler, for just being you.

Thank you, my beautiful, awe-inspiring child for filling my life with unimaginable joy (and more than a little chaos). Thank you for making me complete (and, a significant amount of the time, a little bit insane). Thank you for teaching me about life’s simple pleasures (and for teaching me to accept that simple chores completed twice today already will likely have to be completed again before the day is out).

Thank you for decorating the house...

You’re right. We really were very unimaginative when we painted it in shades of off-white, hoping to achieve stylish spaces that exuded light and airiness. That big smear of chocolate you made by wiping your cheek on the wall in the living room actually matches the cushions! And should I ever enter the house and forget where the kitchen is, the line you drew with non-washable felt-tip the entire length of the wall in the hall will show me the way.

...and for helping me garden

I understand that waiting for those tomatoes to turn red is just too much for you. Never mind. After months of tending those plants (which I grew from seed by the way, do you remember?), rather than plucking ripe juicy tomatoes for glorious summer salads, I will just look up recipes for green tomato chutneys which will take up space in the cupboard for all eternity – or until we move house.

Thanks for saving me pounds...

...on the phone bill. Just imagine how many calls I might have made by now if the phone was EVER where it should be on its cradle! The telepathy thing isn’t coming on that brilliantly, though, if I’m honest. Daddy never seems to receive the message ‘bring more wine’.

...and for helping me make new friends

like the woman who answers calls for the emergency services...

Thanks for all the long weekends

...which are always extended by several hours, what with your fascinating ability to wake up at 5am every Saturday and Sunday (or sometimes, amazingly enough, even earlier if it’s one of those rare occasions that I went out the night before).

Thank you too for the interesting beauty regimes...

I do remember reading that avocado is excellent for one’s skin – although I’m not sure about your particular method of mixing it with snot, and transferring it from your face to mine with that expert lunge/sweep manoeuvre. Especially when I already have my make-up on.

…and for being so honest

When you pointed at my thighs, laughing, and said ‘jelly!’ it was a turning point for me. Really.

Thanks for teaching me the true value of money…

I thought, what with frivolous purchases of shoes and luxurious make-up having been replaced by cautious purchases of Start-Rites and wet wipes, I had learned to appreciate it. But what really clinched it for me was looking up just as you posted that £20 note through the minuscule gap in the floorboards.

…and for boosting the local economy

...by, for example, providing work for the exterminators, who come to catch the mice, who come to eat the food that you somehow manage to deposit, in minute amounts, all over the house in places that should be impossible to get to.

Thank you for making my heart swell...

...not only with the love I have for you, but also with adrenaline – when I catch you on the third ‘rung’ of the bookshelf, because you’ve realised there’s a valuable vase up at the top (possibly the only thing in the room you haven’t yet licked).

...for filling the silences in the house...

...with giggles, farts, excruciatingly high-pitched screams, the brain-numbing babble of battery toys and – rather brilliantly, even when you are sleeping soundly in your bed – a deafening roar when we turn on the TV, which you have invariably switched on to maximum volume.

...not to mention the silences everywhere else

In the library, for example, when we returned your story books and you were sad to see them go. I’m not sure, when the sweet librarian suggested you could take home a different Peppa Pig book, it was an entirely appropriate response to turn purple, scream bloody murder and repeatedly try to bite her. But still, she didn’t call the police or anything.

Thank you, darling, most of all…

...for being right next to me when I woke up this morning. The fact that you prised open my sleepy eyelid, and then tried to lick my eyeball, is by the by. Even if not quite THAT close up, like every other morning of my life, you were still the very first thing I wanted to see.