I could wax lyrical for paragraph after paragraph about how wonderful it is to be spending my first Mothers’ Day as a mummy.
But I don’t want to do that.
Instead, I want to take a moment to appreciate the best mummy I know: my wonderful wife.
She (half) jokingly tells me all the time how lucky I am to have her and she doesn’t mean just as a wife, although obviously I am incredibly lucky to be married to her, but instead she means as half of our parenting team. And she’s right. I don’t know if it is because she is a woman or if it is just by virtue of being, wonderfully, her, but I know how fortunate I am when I hear my other friends with small babies talk about their own husbands and boyfriends.
I guess there is an element of the fact that we have two babies to look after instead of one, but she has never considered not getting up in the night and leaving it all to me. Whereas other “dads” have resumed their weekend golf days and nights out, my wonderful wife would never dream of missing out on time spent with the babies unless it was a break we were both being given together. My friends talk about how their partners can’t settle their babies and just seem to make them scream louder, whereas L seems to often have a more calming effect than I do – although of course the one area I do still trump her is that I have the “magic boobs”.
She hates having to spend so much time away from us all. She calls herself the Strange Lady, saying how she only appears in the mornings and the evenings; she says the girls wonder who this strange lady is who only shows up twice a day. She jokes, but she worries that they don’t know her. She is reassured when a grandparent hands her back a squalling baby and she manages to settle them. Because of course they know her – they love her, it’s obvious.
I love the way the girls’ faces light up when she walks through the door. Whether she’s been out at work all day or is just coming back from the toilet, their little faces break out into wide grins and their eyes go straight to her.
I send her pictures and updates throughout the day. I tell her what we’re up to and send her messages from Claudia or Imogen explaining how the day is going and I know she checks her phone constantly – even sometimes when she shouldn’t – because she’s so eager to find out what we are doing or see another beautiful photo of her daughters.
She likes to remind me that I didn’t change a nappy for the first two weeks of the girls’ life. This is an outrageous lie! It was about four days and it was because after the birth I couldn’t get out of bed without it taking about five minutes or without help.
The birth was traumatic – probably more for her than for me – but she was amazing. As the midwife told the doctor she couldn’t stop the bleed, as I went pale and started throwing up, as the doctor called out for code red and the room flooded with people, as she thought she might lose the person in her life she loved the most (besides the two brand new babies who lay in a cot across the room), she just gripped my hand and told me to stay awake.
And then after, when I couldn’t get out of bed or walk across the room to pick up my crying babies, she was so attentive. Day and night she was there to hand me my daughters so that I could feed them. She changed their nappies and dressed them and swayed back and forth with them. All the things I couldn’t do. All I could do in those early days was feed them and everything else fell to her. Even once we were home, I was still on crutches and she still made sure I had everything I needed. She would hold a glass of water under my nose, with a straw sticking out, so I could have a drink whilst I fed the babies. She made sure I had enough to eat and prepared bottles and fed them when I was too exhausted.
So whilst I might argue that it certainly wasn’t two whole weeks that she changed every nappy for, I can’t fault the wonderful care she took of me and our daughters in those early days. And it’s never really stopped.
She misses us all so much when she’s at work and we miss her. When we worked out our finances and realised it made no sense for me to return to work permanently, she didn’t get annoyed that she has to work whilst I get to stay at home. Instead, she was pleased, happy that the girls would have a parent at home with them, instead of a childcare provider.
In the morning, she gets Immie up and changes her nappy. These days Immie often sleeps on her tummy and when her mummy goes in to see her, she lifts herself up on her arms and flaps her little legs inside her sleeping bag like a baby seal, giving her mummy a big beaming grin that says good morning. Some mornings at the weekend, I will go in to Immie instead, and L will snatch a couple of precious minutes with Claudia, who is sleeping in our bed pretty much full time at the moment. As she wakes she does the biggest stretches.
In the evening, L gives Claudie her bath. Now they are bigger we bath them together, but we still always bath the same baby. She splashes and shrieks with delight. She doesn’t mind getting water in her face, she just splashes away, soaking her mummies and her twin too.
If Immie wakes in the night, L goes in to her. She gives her a bottle and they have a cuddle. Sometimes she sleeps right through and the next day L tells her that it’s okay to wake up, that she likes seeing her in the night for cuddles. She likes having Claudia in our bed too. She likes being able to look over at the two of us curled up together. She likes to kiss her bald head, which is rapidly becoming less and less bald.
She sings to the girls. Silly songs about poos and wees but they love it. She shakes her hair at them and they giggle and reach out and grab it.
She is so good to all three of us. We all light up when she walks in through the door in the evenings. I don’t know if my wife knows how truly amazing she really is and how much I really truly love her and what a totally brilliant mummy she is.
I hope she knows now.