With the child's third birthday fast approaching, it is time to take stock. To look back over the past 12 months and see what I have learned. Namely:
1) A season is no longer a season: I'm quite sure that when I was a nipper we would buy wellies and woollies in the winter, and sun hats and swimsuits in the summer. Warm things in cool weather and cool things in warm weather. Hardly rocket science. But I appear to have missed the bit where everything changed, so it has taken me three whole years to understand that the season to purchase snow boots begins (and ends) in August and if you're after a decent winter coat, for heavens sake buy it before the start of the summer holidays.
2) Avoid cars: when every journey features a conversation along these lines it is definitely worth investing in a pair of stout walking shoes:
Child: "I need a drink of water."
Me: "I don't have any water."
Child: "But I need one now."
Me: "We will be home in five minutes. You can have one then."
Child: "I want one now."
Me: "I did not bring your water. And nor is there a tap in the car. Ergo, there is not much I can do to alter the fact that I cannot fulfil your request until we get home."
Child: "Can I have a drink of water?"
3) Sometimes you need to admit that you are fighting a losing battle: I have tried to persuade the child that she is not a cockerel and therefore that it is not necessary for her to wake at 5.30 each morning shouting cock-a-doodle-doo at the top of her voice. I have failed. I am very tired.
4) Be careful what you wish for: how I longed for the day that the child was toilet trained. But gingerly opening an eye to find her proudly waving a (full) potty above my head made me realise that nappies can have their plusses.
5) Expect the unexpected: possibly my favourite moment of motherhood so far came as I followed my stomping, growling two-year-old round the Natural History Museum and listened to her tell the many bemused passers-by: "I'm actually a brontosaurus". The following day I praised the child on her brontosaurus impression as she stomped and growled her way to bed only to be met with a withering look and the information that "I am actually a triceratops".
So clearly a lot left to learn..