As the spring draws in and the sun teases us with hints of summer, I’ve become more aware than ever of my three year old’s impending fourth birthday and first day at school. Frog’s growing up.
It’s evident in her speech – some of her sayings leave me speechless (“I can’t POSSIBLY do that!” and “It’s too rubbish!”) being my least favourites of the moment. It’s evident in her growing limbs – suddenly she doesn’t fit into her favourite pair of tights or leggings. And it’s evident in the fact she chatters non-stop about when she starts “Primary school like the big boys and girls Mummy”.
In an attempt to grab hold of these last days before school with both hands, we’ve been enjoying more time at home together recently. Rather than rushing about from one place to the other, we’ve had afternoons in front of films or doing colouring at the kitchen table. There have even been a few occasions of baking, despite the panic I feel at letting my child loose with a packet of flour and some eggs.
Last week we took advantage of a break in the spring showers to get outdoors, heading up to the heath at the top of our road. We hadn’t been there before, although we’ve walked past it once and driven past it countless times. I’ve been waiting for the weather to get better, dreading the idea of losing a welly boot in inches of thicky, gloopy mud.
We chatted as we wandered up the road, about the daffodils and which is the best Olly Murs song to dance to (Dear Darlin’, apparently). And when we got there we collected a few leaves to make a picture once we got back home. There was even a tree to climb – which became a ship to sail, a horse to ride and an elephant to explore on.
When an afternoon stretches before me with hours to fill before the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine gets back from work, I try to switch off from my own work deadlines and remember that these days before school are limited. They won’t last forever.