In the May days after Oscar was born, I remember feeling an urgent need to recall every single last detail that was going on in our newborn bubble. I’m talking the great, the good and the beautiful.
From Oscar’s sweet noises and mannerisms, to how he looked as he slept. That powder blue sleep suit. Those midnight blue eyes, now coloured cocoa. How big his little, often cold hands seemed on his tiny frame. How James and I were just enveloped in a love like no other we’d felt before. How our home was full of cards and blooms. How I played Brandon Flowers’s The Desired Effect album and Mumford & Sons’s Wilder Mind on loop. The way the pink and white rhodendrons percolated the park. How the afternoons were warm, and muggy and sunny, apart from that day sometime in week-two of Oscar when big fat raindrops fell as we walked as a three, ice cream cones in hand, Oscar sheltered under my tasselled, woollen shawl.
Two more summers have passed since then. Now a toddler, our day-to-day is a little different. Things aren’t soaked up with the same intensity or at the rate they were when Oscar first arrived. We get on with things. Life and routine and I’ll say it again, life – makes it more of a challenge to just be in the moment, day in and day out. And I kind of hate that. Of course Oscar brings us untold joy, laughs and delight on tap – but in some ways in the early days, while in one sense time passed heart-wrenchingly quickly – in other ways it felt like there was a slower pace for thought. More time for absorption. Now Oscar says or does something and before the week is out – he’s onto the next thing, the previous fleeting phase or favourite word forgotten. When I look back on a week gone by, it can be difficult to differentiate in my mind the days as individuals. Sometimes I really have to think – ‘what was it we did yesterday?’
So with all that in mind I’ve noted a handful of highlights from Saturday, September 23rd. An especially good day, in that Oscar – aged two years and four months – was on exceptionally good form. We had no tears. No tantrums. Just smiles, giggles, so much unrelenting sweetness and a tad mischievous cheek.
These snippets are a reminder to future me reading back as to why this age, is my favourite so far – and a window for parents with younger littles as to the kind of adorableness you’ve got heading your way.
- 6.45am: My alarm sounds. I don’t get up. James announces he’s going to the bathroom, and Oscar, who was sleeping between us sits up in bed, in the still dark room and shouts: “Daddy! Waaaaaaaaait!” before sliding off the bed, and padding down the hallway after him, repeating: “Wait!! Waaaaait!” as he goes. He’s never said this word in context before. Wait, that is. And James and I, bowled over by the cuteness, intermittently gush about it for the rest of the day.
- 8.30am-2pm: Driving to Cardiff to visit Oscar’s grandad, and he doesn’t make a single complaint throughout the long journey. Instead he’s smiley and content, chattering away, and when I grin at him he flashes me the cutest mischievous one-dimpled smile you ever did see. Almost every time he sees a house en route, he points and exclaims: “Grandad’s house!” And then when eventually he does see grandad’s actual abode, he shrieks “Here, we’re here!!” and kicks his legs excitedly.
- 2.15pm: Oscar high-fives grandad, cuddles him and then proceeds to empty his toy box all over the living room floor. He then pretends his own shoe is a telephone. “Hello daddy,” he says, expression serious as he holds it to his ear and speaks into the sole. We accidentally bang heads, and Oscar kisses mine better.
- 3pm: Oscar & I drive to Penarth to buy James’s birthday cards and once in the shop, he points to pretty much every gift going and says: “Oscar’s toys.” Walking around the busy town he holds my hand and the usual tug of war of getting him to stay put in said position never materialises. We just hold hands without a battle, and it’s absolutely lush.
- 4-5pm: Penarth seafront. As soon as we park up the words “ice cream” start tumbling out of Oscar’s mouth again and again. We get a vanilla cone to share and go and sit on the pebbled beach where he’s mostly interested in throwing stones and pointing out to sea at the boats, labelling each and every one as “pirates!”
- 6pm: Arriving back at grandad’s, my father-in-law’s neighbour pops her head over the fence. “Hello Oscar!” she says. “Hello!” he replies, waving, before following it up immediately with “Bye bye!”. “Have you had a good day?” she asks him. “Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” he blasts. “He’s hungry,” I offer by way of explanation, which is the truth. He also knows his cooked dinner is ready and waiting for him on the other side of the closed front door, because I told him as much a minute earlier. “Ooh what’s for your tea?” she perseveres. “Hungry!” says Oscar. “Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
- 7pm: Oscar as always, does not want to sleep. Bedtime is for playing in his eyes – imaginative play. It’s one of my favourite times of day with him, where he makes us pretend ice creams, cooks us make-believe pizzas, plays hide and seek under his duvet and climbs on top of me telling me I’m either a car or a boat. And while he does all of those things as usual, he also becomes fixated on being able to see his shadow on the bedroom wall, bemused by the fact that if he lies down it’s nowhere to be seen. “Hello shadow,” says Oscar earnestly, before waving and blowing it a kiss. Just before nodding off, as he slumbers down he tells me his shadow has gone. “It’s gone night night,” I explain. “Just like Oscar.” “Gone shadow,” he says. “Night night. See you soon.” And he falls asleep in my arms.