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Family dynamics

07th May 2017

‘I am still learning every day as a mum’: a letter to my son as he turns two

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Turning two – it’s almost a bigger milestone than the first birthday.

After all, even as a one-year-old, they’re very much a baby still. But by the time their second birthday rolls around, you definitely feel that your little one has shaken off that baby phase and is embracing all things toddler.

In short, they’re growing up. Fast.

And now one Co Kerry mum, Aifric Rice, has written a heartfelt letter to her gorgeous son, River, as he turns two.

Here are her words in full – and make sure to check out Aifric’s brilliant blog too.

Dear River,

You turned 2 today. How did that happen? This past year has honestly flown by, more so than the first year.

As I look back, I think about how far we have come and how we have come to here. I found the first year quite hard as a new mom and adapting to so many changes. You were born in London, 2 weeks overdue and you still had no intention of coming into the world so I ended up having an emergency c-section. As scary as it was, thankfully all was well.

Excitedly, We brought you home shortly afterwards and you cried and cried and didn’t sleep but I had prepared myself for that. Mentally and physically no matter how much you ‘prepare’ yourself, it is so overwhelming becoming a parent when you are fighting sleep, all of your senses are suddenly heightened so each time you would cry I would almost jump out of my skin.

However, you were so beautiful and everything and more than I had imagined.

We soon discovered that you had colic which explained so much crying as you were uncomfortable with trapped wind. I began getting quite anxious in the first couple of weeks, I found it hard to be on my own with you because you cried so much, I felt like I wasn’t doing things right as you didn’t sleep or settle and I was exhausted.

Your dad had to work so it was just me and you in our tiny flat in London. The Emotions I felt were so up and down and it was incredibly lonely in those few hours I was on my own during the day. I remember walking around Kilburn one day for hours to try to get you to sleep and get me out of the isolating flat.

I had so much love and fear all of a sudden that it can be quite overwhelming to grasp and so much responsibility  to get your head around. I was your mom and would do anything in my power to protect you.

My emotions were also quite raw from having such a bad experience with the birth and aftercare, I would cry at the thought of it when I looked back. I was quite traumatised from the whole experience. As my pregnancy was, luckily, the smoothest, I wasn’t expecting to get such a shock when it came to the birth.

My body was going to know what to do, right? At least that’s what I’d been told.

I decided to go back to Ireland a while later so I had family with me to help with you which I really needed. I just wanted my own mom all of a sudden and she was so helpful as was Gary, my stepmom, my brothers and sisters, all of my family in general and those few close friends that have seen me at my lowest and also at my best. I needed them all like I had never needed them as much before.

I was so naive before you were born thinking I’d be back home in a few months to ‘visit’, that I’d be able to do it all on my own, how wrong I was. After being home for awhile and going back and forth to London, I soon realised it wasn’t what I expected at the beginning of motherhood.

I had pictured us in London as our life was there, or so I thought, but one thing I learned from becoming a mom was, it was no longer just me to think of, you were now my priority and no matter how much you plan things they don’t always work out the way you thought.

Moving our whole life back to Ireland was really hard, as in my eyes I hadn’t planned on ever moving back but it was definitely much easier having family around to help. You loved having so much company too as you have such a social personality.

Looking back, I’m not sure that the quality of life would of been as good in London as it is here for a busy little boy like you are.

Full of laughter and mischief you have reached so many milestones in these first two years. You shuffled on your bum and hopped so fast for months and months and boy were you fast!! I always knew you were going to talk before you walked. Your vocabulary amazes me daily with your new words. The first name you said (and it wasn’t an easy one!) was your uncle ‘Naoise’ which you said so clearly and proudly.

You are a real little boy who loves his cars, buses, trucks and tractors. You’ve just started to distinguish between the different ‘me me’s’ which means beep beep for cars. Everything has been a me me until the past month and now all of a sudden you are roaring out the window at the truck or bus.

You took your time with walking but you weren’t walking long when you were practically running shortly afterwards.

Once you grasp something you’re like a rocket and there’s no stopping you. You’ve got such determination and courage.
Sleeping has thankfully become much better, I’m lucky that you tell me when it’s time for your bottle and to go to bed. You just know at the same time every night when it’s your time. You even tell me when you want a bath with the duckie (which is every 2mins as you love them) but I can’t get over how my little boy has gotten so grown up and independent.

I am still learning everyday as a mom and I’m so lucky to have you teach me new things all the time.

Since you turned one the time has truly flown by, to think that I have a toddler I can’t believe it. As I’m writing this and looking back at how far we have come together as a family, it is awakening.

I look forward to learning so much more about you and about myself, as your mom that I am so proud to be.

Happy Birthday Pooks,
We all Love you xxx