In six-ish weeks, Flo and Archie will be a year old. These children are a mystery to me. One minute they’re tiny nose-tubed scraps, wearing dolly-sized clothes, doing spoons in the same moses basket – the next, they’re chasing each other around the house in crawling races, dragging bottles off the wine rack and climbing the entire staircase the minute the baby gate’s left open an inch. It’s beyond belief how quickly the last twelve months have gone and I really struggle to remember much about the early weeks and months at all. I tell you it’s a good job I started this blog or I’d not even remember who I was.
In five weeks, Evie will be five. FIVE. Unbelievable. I ask her if she sees herself as a big girl or a little girl – “I’m both Mummy.” I like that. She’s a thinker, my Evie. I like that too. She likes to have a good old think about stuff and then ask me about it when we drive somewhere. “Mummy, where is God and why can’t we see him?”. “Mummy, why isn’t a snack the same thing as a treat?”. “Mummy, why do you call people who drive badly ‘idiots’?” ”Mummy, why do you still have a big tummy even though Flo and Archie aren’t in there anymore?” The existential stuff I can handle but the tummy one gets me every time. I fear I must prepare a set of ‘defensive lines to take’ in true PR consultant style, in readiness for such conversational onslaughts so as to avoid tears (mine) on the school run.
I like to do a bit of thinking myself. Last weekend, when I was feeling a bit flu-ey, I had a little lay in bed in the daytime and did some thinking while I watched the snow coming down. I think I might have stared at the snow a bit too long because I got a bit delirious, thinking about whether this ought to be the year I find religion, whether surgery might be an option to get my stomach flat again, whether it will be OK for Flo to have the same haircut as Evie when she’s older or whether that will just look weird, and whether I’d rather our children be employed shelf-stackers or unemployed graduates.
My husband tells me I think too much and that that’s why I don’t know how to relax and that I should try to be a simpler soul and not worry myself with so many of life’s dilemmas. I find that a difficult concept to get my head around. How does one even go about thinking less? Before I had children, I used to do a lot of yoga as I thought it might help me think less. But lovely though all that stretching and deep breathing was, I found all the resulting inner peace a bit empty and quiet. Now I’ve got three kids and run my own business (nope, still haven’t got over the novelty of saying that), I’m stiff as a board and take only very shallow breaths but I find the inner clanging of random and often anxious thought upon the next soothes me to sleep a treat.