I used to roll my eyes when doting parents would harp on about their children growing up too quickly. To me then, as a young woman without kids, it all seemed a bit sentimental. I mean, children grow up don’t they? They get bigger and move onto new exciting phases of development – it’s just part of life.
But now, as a mum myself, I can totally relate to that slight tinge of panic that your child is growing too fast.
As we hurtle towards Frog’s fourth birthday I’m reminded of this time four years ago. I was getting ready to go on maternity leave, nervous, excited and more than ready to welcome my baby into the world. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, which – for us – added another element of suspense to what was to come.
Fast-forward four years later and we’ve been through a lot as a family. We’ve survived me working crazy hours, we’ve gone through the agony of waiting to find out why our toddler wasn’t walking (hello, hypermobility) we’ve worked and saved our backsides off to buy a house and we’ve relocated 200 miles across the country.
It’s been such a busy few years I sometimes worry that I haven’t made the most of the little moments with Frog. There are only a few months left before she’ll go off to school and her new baby brother or sister will arrive, completely changing our family dynamic and the daily routine.
But rather than wallow in the unknown I’m determined to make the most of the time I have with my nearly four year old, making the effort to do things together in the times when she’s not at pre-school.
As she gets older she’s become my little mate, chatting to me about all sorts of random things and regularly making me laugh. She comes out with corking conversation starters, (“Do you like One Direction Mummy? I like the one with curly hair best.”) and observations, (“Daddy doesn’t say ‘gravy’ – he says ‘grer-vee’. Is that cos he’s from Woch-dayle?”).
The last couple of weeks have seen us taking an impromptu picnic to a local nature reserve, make countless trips to the park and spend an afternoon painting old flower pots in the garden.
I’ve tried (but not always succeeded) to juggle my workload so I’m not dealing with emails or on the phone while Frog is around. This is an art I’m yet to completely win at though.
As my diva child gets nearer four and my belly grows with this new little one, I’m aware our opportunities for time together just the two of us are slipping away. So I’m determined to make the most of them while I can.
And I expect the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine feels the same way…