It’s about a family of dogs in Australia and it has that perfect blend of heart and humour (Picture: LUDO STUDIO/BBC)
We’ve all experienced those moments in life when, as if by divine intervention, something hits us at the exact right time and speaks to us on a deeper level.
A poignant love song comes on the radio at the exact moment you turn it on, or you catch a glance of an inspiring quote in the newspaper of your morning commute.
Or, like many moons ago in my single days, when I was contemplating drunk texting my ex at a party, before the sight of a mini gherkins at the buffet table quickly reminded me why he wasn’t worth the hassle.
But I never thought one of my most profound moments in motherhood would come courtesy of a talking cartoon dog.
Yes, this is my love letter to the kids’ show Bluey and how it recently saved me from a meltdown.
It was about a month ago when I sank into my sofa one afternoon, exhausted from a sleepless night and a full on day of tantrums with my toddler. He was teething, which feels like it’s become his default state. Since he was six months old, teeth have popped up from everywhere like a dental version of whack-a-mole.
I put CBeebies on in the hope for some distraction and was pleased to see Bluey had just started.
Most kids’ TV is just a ton of catchy songs and overzealous adults. Plus, something called In The Night Garden that is like if a fever dream had a baby with some space brownies.
But Bluey is surprisingly enjoyable. It’s about a family of dogs in Australia and it has that perfect blend of heart and humour that works for parents too.
This episode felt like a play by play of my life (Picture: Kat Romero)
In this particular episode, called Baby Race, mum Chilli reminisces about when Bluey and her next door neighbour Judo were babies. Bluey was first to roll over but Judo was first to crawl. And thus began the inevitable baby race. I sat up slowly in my chair, intrigued.
When Chilli realised that Bluey wasn’t reaching some of the bigger milestones, like sitting up or crawling, as quickly as the other babies in her local class, she was determined to get Bluey to be the first to walk. She became increasingly exasperated trying to get Bluey to take those first steps, only for Bluey to sit on the floor and bum shuffle.
I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand on end. This episode felt like a play by play of my life. My son was over 18-months old and he’d not taken his first steps. Most babies do so between 10-18 months but for some reason he had no interest in walking and I was starting to panic that he never would.
Chilli continued to try her hardest to get Bluey to walk but her efforts proved futile. And when Judo took her first steps in baby class, Chilli felt like a failure and shut herself off from her other mum friends.
I could feel tears starting to prick my eyes. This was one of the most relatable things I’d seen since becoming a mum. I’d stressed over every milestone with my son. I took any delay as a sign I was a bad parent. And I knew why.
I never thought one of my most profound moments in motherhood would come courtesy of a talking cartoon dog
I struggled after my son was born. A long labour and an emergency c-section didn’t help matters. The moment he was pulled from my tummy, I expected to feel that instant rush of love. But I didn’t. I looked into his big blue eyes and felt overwhelmed with fear.
After being cut open seven layers, I was sent home from hospital soon after with paracetamol and a pat on the back. That first night can only be described as traumatic. I felt like a bomb had gone off in my home and I was standing in shock surveying the wreckage.
This tiny little person lay on my bed screaming at the top of his lungs, and he felt like a stranger to me. The louder he screamed, the more I wanted to run. His screams ran through my body and triggered my anxiety like never before. At times, I felt like one of those cartoon thermometers that reaches boiling point and explodes.
Sometimes I’d imagine a kind and maternal woman coming to my door and offering to take my baby to look after. She’d scoop my son up in her arms and as she walked away, his cries would get quieter and quieter until eventually, my house was silent again.
I was quick to reach out for help and through a combination of medication and support, I slowly found my feet and my bond with my son grew. But I held on to guilt and shame over how much I’d struggled. If my son took his time to sit up or crawl or walk, it was my fault because I hadn’t instantly felt that love for him.
Like Bluey’s mum Chilli, I’d even shut myself off from other mum meet-ups. I couldn’t bear to see all these kids the same age as my son running around. It made me feel like a failure.
After realising that Chilli had been absent from classes, we saw one of the other mums Bella decide to check on her. Bella is a mum to nine kids and has learnt a thing or two about parenting.
‘There’s something you need to know,’ she told Chilli as the pair sat out in the garden together. Her eyes softened. ‘You’re doing great.’
Tears filled Chilli’s eyes and the pair hugged.
Then my eyes filled with tears.
So. Many. Tears.
Those three words hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like that meme of Dawson ugly crying. I was more emotional than when Rylan was told by Nicole Scherzinger that he’d made it through to live shows during Judges’ Houses. Tears streamed down my face as I realised the enormous amount of pressure and punishment I’d been putting myself through.
‘From then on, I decided to run my own race,’ Chill told her daughters. I nodded in agreement. There was no rush. My son and I would just go at our own pace.
And, of course, Bluey eventually walked. One day in the kitchen, we see the moment she finally decided to take to her feet.
‘I guess she just saw something she really wanted,’ younger sister Bingo mused, as it flashed back to baby Bluey reaching her arms out to mum Chilli.
And a few days ago, my son took his first steps. On a Friday night in an aisle of our local Sainsbury’s, he took to his feet and with his arms stretched out wide, walked towards a display of Mr Kipling’s baked goods.
I guess he just saw something he really wanted too.
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I never thought one of my most profound moments in motherhood would come courtesy of a talking cartoon dog.