On Friday afternoon, with everybody healthy and not an antibiotic in sight, we decided to head to the park on the way home from school. It was the first time in weeks that I felt I managed to spend quality time with my boys, focusing just on them without coughing a lung up or wondering when I could take another painkiller.
Unfortunately, it wasn't as idyllic as we'd planned. Don't get me wrong, it was lovely. There was fresh air, trees to climb, snowdrops to admire and not many tears. But I was really struck by how completely different my boys are at this stage. They may look like peas in a pod and I have to admit there are some baby snaps where I'm not entirely sure which baby I'm looking at. But at 19 months and almost 6 years, they couldn't be more different.
The almost 6 year old is fantastic company at the moment. Proper conversations are had about science, geography, natural history and of course poo (he is a boy after all). He has inherited our love of books and is devouring Famous Five novels, which brings a tear to my eye remembering how I did too but also infuriates my feminist principles (boys have to get more pocket money than girls? Go boil your head Julian).
Then there's the 19 month old. Oh. My. God. Fiercely independent, everything has to be on his terms. Now he's mastered the art of walking, any other mode of transport incites a full on tantrum. Dinner served on the wrong plate? Expect food to meet floor very swiftly. If daddy speaks to him at the wrong time (which could be any time, day or night, at the dinner table or in the bath, it changes daily), the bottom lip is employed and much pouting ensues with the occasional bout of stomping.
It's all a phase, I know it's a phase. But my god it's an exhausting phase. I honestly don't remember it being this bad with Bigger. Maybe time has erased or altered my memory. Maybe it's just because there is such a contrast between the boys and their behaviour just now that Bigger seems even more of an angel compared to the ball of rage and frustration that is Littler.
They only thing that has cheered me up about the whole situation is this classic thread on Mumsnet. Absolutely hilarious in true Mumsnet fashion, it has saved my sanity and reminded me of the Mumsnet mantra "this too shall pass".
Onwards and upwards as they say...