A small snapshot of my Valentine’s Day evening.
A few weeks ago, I came across a piece of writing about toddlers. The sentence that has sat with me since is: ‘You will never be this loved ever again.’ How strikingly, heart-tuggingly true. Toddlers love unconditionally, wholeheartedly. They haven’t yet learnt that their parents are fallible. Toddler love is an all-encompassing, fierce love that says, ‘Me me me! I am the only important thing.’ But also, ‘You you you. You are my only important thing.’
On the evening of 14 February, we spoke about taking off his wet T-shirt and putting on a dry one. Then, in front of the open cupboard, we established that the only garment he wanted to wear was a fleece hoodie with a polar bear on the front. I pointed out how hot he would be. He agreed. ‘Hot!’ he said, pointing to the polar bear. But still, the possibility of a T-shirt was out. He was going with the bear or he was going bare. Fair enough.
Outside, he wanted me to push him around the garden on his car, an arduous activity I do not love. I’d only just managed to put him down, after carrying him around the house for 20 minutes. (We are also going through a big ‘Up! Up! Up!’ phase. In truth, this ‘phase’ has been going on for close to two years now.)
Using my mad mom motivation skills, I managed to convince him that he could push himself around much better than I could. (‘Look at you! You have power feet! You’re doing that so well by yourself!’) Phew.
Later, we ran relays (‘Touch the purple flower! Touch the fence!’), drew a picture, played the piano, blew bubbles and read a book, all before bedtime.
Parenthood requires endless enthusiasm. But if we’re there to give it, we receive endless enthusiasm back.
You will never be this loved again.