I know, I know. Every parent says this like they’re THE ONLY parent to ever feel this way. But honestly, kids, you need to just slow down a second. Whilst they’ve been busy absorbing the sunshine and growing like my most prized pair of weeds (I do have a collection of actual weeds to show too), I’ve been playing catch up. Or at least, trying to.
I think I’m being outrun though.
When the kiddies were little – even more little than they are now – the milestones seemed so much bigger and so longed for. The first time they could sit up unaided, the moment they finally figured out crawling and then walking, and of course their first words. All those moments that get shared on social media and invite a slew of “awwww baby’s growing up too fast” comments from friends, family, and someone you met in the bogs on a night out once who somehow is still on your friends list. The baby and toddler milestones are huge, there’s no denying that, but once those boxes have all been ticked what’s left?
My kids are still growing just as quickly, but who cares about the milestone of Finn peeing without creating a fountain other than me? And what about Clara finally accepting that she doesn’t need the pink plate to eat her dinner? As their parent these are pretty major milestones, albeit everyday ones and not so Facebook worthy. The learning curve of life with kids rather than babies is far more subtle. In fact, without reminding myself to make a mental note of the firsts these days they often go completely unnoticed, uncelebrated and overlooked. And then suddenly I look at my kids and I see less and less of the baby in them and more and more of the child they are becoming. It’s in those moments that I find myself slightly bereft for the fleeting changes that I’ve missed and lost forever. When exactly was it that Clara started saying human instead of fuman? And when did Finn stop obsessing over Paw Patrol? All these insignificant things for them are actually pretty significant for me (and not just because I’m glad to see the back of Mayor Goodway and her stupid f-ing chicken Chickaletta). They’re reminders that each day, no matter how seemingly uneventful or inconsequential it is, my kids have probably learned something new. They may not have learned something I was hoping for to be fair, but that’s a lesson in itself- more for me though.
My plea’s for Finn and Clara to stop growing up so quickly will go completely ignored of course. They have absolutely no intention whatsoever of staying as my babies, they’re carefully watching the older children they socialise with, picking up new words and mannerisms. Whilst I’m learning to parent the children they are today, they’re busy becoming the children they will be tomorrow. I can’t quite catch up with them, and I won’t for a long time. I suppose this must be how my own Mum feels when she says she can’t believe she’s got four children in their twenties, one in his thirties and two grandchildren. Just as she was catching up with us all the dynamic shifted again and she became known as Oma as well as Mum. That’s how quickly time flies when it’s measured in parenting and not in hours, days, months and years. I seem to count time by when was it that the kids last ate/had a shower/been to the toilet (very short term), when did they last have their feet measured/go for a medical appointment/see their Grandparents (medium term) and when will they go to University/leave the nest/be socially acceptable, successful young adults (very long term/ultimate goal). Somewhere in among those mental diary entries is the everyday parenting, where time flies, not much gets remembered, and they grow out of their clothes faster than the laundry fairy can keep up. Somewhere there are the moments that I want to notice but somehow rarely manage to until they’ve passed. And that kiddies, is why you two need to just give me a chance to catch up with you.
I just want one day for life to pause so I can absorb everything about you both. That’s all, just one day.