When you realise your baby isn’t a baby anymore
I don’t know when it happened. I know it wasn’t an overnight thing, nothing ever is. You were a baby. Completely reliant on me for everything in your life. But somehow, my baby, the tiny one I first held in my arms just a few years ago, isn’t a baby anymore. Suddenly, you are now a little person with a big personality. And opinions, huge, colossal, epic opinions.
So when did it happen? Was it while I was busy cooking dinner or asking you to tidy your room? Was it at daycare under the watchful eye of your amazing teachers? Surely it wasn’t happening while you watched hours of Doc McStuffins and Tangled? Or maybe it just happened. A culmination of our daily adventures, our chats in the car, the added responsibility that we are giving to you with the impending arrival of your new sibling.
While your father and I could once talk about anything in your presence, we now find you interjecting into our conversation and asking us questions. So. Many. Questions. We have had to become smarter with our mummy and daddy jokes and can no longer talk about you while you are in the room. You don’t like that. And you aren’t afraid to tell us.
I could once convince you of a fact, whether it was true or not but you now question me on everything. You are more inquisitive and want to know the answers, the real ones, not just the answers that I want to tell you for my own convenience. You know that there is a world out there, beyond our doorstep. It might only be the beginning, but you are developing an understanding of how the world works. Even if you may still see yourself as the centre of it.
Just last week as I was folding the towels you were so eager to help. I watched as you picked up the towels and asked me where to put them. It feels like just yesterday I was folding towels while you lay on the mat beside me waving your teensy hands in the air. You love helping me load the clothes into the washing machine and always call out “be careful mummy, don’t hurt yourself” while I’m hanging out the washing. You are such a helpful and caring little person.
And your imagination. Where did that come from? One minute you are cat crawling on the floor asking for pats and the next you are covering your hand in blue chalk to give yourself Elsa powers. You run around the house looking for Doc and Donny McStuffins to play with and consistently tell me that princesses don’t have wands, only crowns.
Your father Kristoff and I Princess Anna, watch on with pride as you Queen Elsa rules over the dogs Olaf and Sven in the backyard Arendelle. We have all been given our place in your imaginary worlds and we take them on with pride and enthusiasm. The dogs are just grateful you haven’t hooked a sled up to them yet. Please don’t do that.
I love watching your friendships develop. 12 months ago you would play next to your friends, not really paying much attention to them unless they were holding a toy you wanted. Now you are always talking about your friends and asking when we will see them. What brings me the most joy is how you jump with excitement when we do arrive for a playdate. It doesn’t matter if you have seen your friend yesterday or a month ago, every time your reaction is the same.
Opinions are another matter. I suppose I have always encouraged you to have opinions. As a baby, I would talk to you constantly, asking your thoughts even though I knew I would never get a response. I am not afraid to share my opinion so perhaps I am to blame. I am so glad that you have opinions, they will stand you in good stead for the road that lays ahead of you. But do you really need to share them with us so loudly and proudly? You don’t think you could give your poor mum a break every so often and just do what I ask?
Probably not I suppose because after all you aren’t a baby anymore. You are a person. A tiny, grown up person going about finding her way in the world. Forging your own path to a happy life full of love and laughter. And you are going about it the right way. Don’t let me rest, not for a second. There will be plenty of time for that when you are a real grown up and I look back on photos from your childhood wondering how that tiny person of mine grew into a real adult with a life of her own.
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