Dear Rex…

I’ve always wondered why in the fuck parents have birthday parties for babies. I mean, it’s not like they know what’s going on, give a shit or remember, is it? I never thought I’d be someone throwing a fucking great party for my son’s first birthday, but here I am, yet again, being that person I was so quick to judge (wrongly, I’m happy to admit) in the past.

After a day of non-stop organising, cake-making, present and BBQ sorting and garden fixing, I sat down this evening to finally write Rex’s birthday card, and was, all of a sudden, overcome with emotion. So much has happened, it’s actually a little hard for me to comprehend. But, more than anything, I think, the emotion came from the realisation that my little family has simply managed to reached this milestone. And this party is just as much about celebrating Eamo and I becoming parents and not killing each other in the process as it is about our little boy being one.

As I contemplated what to write in his card, ‘what a fucking year’ was on repeat the whole time, alongside some stand out moments, both good and bad, which I thought I’d share…

  • The night we bought Rex home from hospital, I was so overwhelmed with terror and responsibility that every time I went to take a mouthful of my microwave lasagne, I burst into tears. I was a right sorry state!
  • When Eamo finished paternity leave and went back to work, I mustered the courage to put Rex in his carrier and take him and Freddie out for a 10-min walk. This is going to sound ridiculous, but, to this day, I still consider that one of the bravest things I’ve ever done and was beyond proud of myself for getting us all back in one piece.
  • Spilling lukewarm tea all over Rex when he was seven weeks old, hysterically calling 111 and feeling like the worst mum in the world, despite the amazingly lovely nurse on the phone telling me that absolutely was not the case.
  • The first time Rex smiled at me, with purpose, and I felt like nothing else in the world mattered or existed except he and I.
  • The pride I saw in Eamo the day he held Rex in hospital and the pride I see in him every day as he watches his son grow is something that will never get old. I genuinely could not have chosen a better man to be the father of my child.
  • The time I started to realise things weren’t quite right, and what I was experiencing wasn’t just the baby blues.
  • In contrast, the time I realised I had an army of truly amazing people behind me, who literally couldn’t – and can’t – wait to help me kick this illness to the curb.
  • The two fundraisers I’ve hosted as Mother Bluffer, which collectively have raised around £3000 for local postnatal support services.
  • Biggest highlight is undoubtedly just becoming Rex’s mum and the knowledge that I am partly responsible for creating the beautiful little human asleep in the next room.

There are so many more but I have to stop somewhere, right? Tonight I’m going to sign off with an open letter to the main man himself…

Hello monkey face.

I remember calling you that after one of the very first times you smiled at me.  We did, indeed, have a cheeky monkey on our hands.

Tomorrow you will be ‘one whole year on the outside’ old, and I have to admit that you’re old dear is feeling a tad emotional, mate. I’m sure I’ll harden up as you get older, at least I hope for your sake I do. Otherwise I’m sorry to say I’ll still be that mum waving you off and shouting ‘I love you’ at the school gates when you’re 15 😉

I’m not going to lie, things have been a little bumpy since you arrived this time last year. You have tested me and your dad, both separately and together, in ways I could never have expected and sometimes it’s been hard. But sometimes it’s been absolutely wonderful. So for your first birthday I wanted to quickly tell you 10 things I love about you…

01. I love the way you smile. Big man, that shit is infectious. Every time I see your smile, it makes me beam from ear to ear. Even when your mouth is full of food, milk, vomit, Freddie’s biscuits, all of the above, there ain’t no bad mood your smile can’t fix.

02. I love how you go batshit crazy when the Paw Patrol and Digby Dragon theme tunes come on the TV. And how when you do, you look to me and/or your daddy for us to join in with you. I love how you want to share your excitement and happiness with us.

03. I love how you are so confident, secure and safe that you engage with perfect strangers when we are out and about (although please don’t do this when you get older. We will go through the Stranger Danger code at a later date). A smile at the man waiting to cross the road, a cheeky grin at the lady in the supermarket queue. I love how you bring light to people’s day’s, to the point where they drive past shouting ‘we love your little boy’. That did actually happen by the way, ask your dad.

04. I love how much you love Freddie. He was here for a whole eight years before you arrived and you have well and truly put his nose out of joint. But, he’s definitely starting to embrace having a baby brother, who lays on top of him and grabs his ears at every available opportunity. Watching the two of you play together fills me with a feeling of love I didn’t know existed.

05. I love how to you try to climb up my legs like a little monkey. If I stand still for a second or go to a different room, it’s not long before I feel little hands pawing at my legs to be picked up and cuddled. I wish I could bottle that feeling and keep it forever.

06. I love how you love yoghurt so much you cry, and I’m talking sob, when the bowl is empty. You are certainly your mother’s son.

07. I love how you fart almost as much as me. And when you do, they’re impressive even by an adult’s standards. Bravo, my darling. All you need in life is someone you feel comfy farting infront of, always remember that.

08. I love how you are totally not afriad to poo whenever, whereever. And that you are very vocal about it too. I think we’ve now groaned our way through most of the coffee shops in Bath and boy am I proud of you for it.

09. I love how when you have a tantrum, you go rigid, hit your belly, shout, wail, and I love how when I start laughing at you for having said tantrum, you very often can’t help yourself and join in.

10. Finally, what I love most of all about you, my darling boy, is that I have the privilege of being your mum. I will always be open and honest with you, and I struggled with us in the beginning big man. I never thought I was worthy of being your mum, or any good at it. But if the past year has taught me anything, especially the past few months, it’s that you don’t care whether I’m good at stuff or not. All I need to be good at is being here and loving you. And that, monkey face, is something I will never, ever fall short on. Despite all the struggles faced this past year, know that, if I could go back knowing how hard it would actually be, I would do it all again in a heartbeat just to have you in this world and part of my life. Feels like words will never truly do how much I love you justice so I will just have to spend the rest of my life showing you.

Happy 1st Birthday to the best decision I ever made.

All my love, always.



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