Babies No More

I’ve loved every (well almost every) moment of being a Mum so far. The laughs, the loves and the challenges it brings, but with my youngest turning 7 in just a few weeks and my eldest about to turn 9, it’s suddenly dawned on me that they’re not babies any more. They’ll always be my babies of course, and although I still want to cherish every moment and freeze time at every given opportunity, I wouldn’t want to go back in time any more.

Some may be sad those baby days are over, others may see this as proof there is light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I’ve realised that this is just another stage that I would like to freeze in time forever, but there are definitely some aspects of parenting that I don’t miss!

You can structure your day without having nap times blocked out

We were always very disciplined when it came to routine. As teachers, we were used to our lives being governed by timetables and found that our children were as predictable as clockwork too, so when we suddenly realised that we could accept invitations at any time without having to worry about when they were going to nap, eat, poo, it was so liberating!

You can have a shower while the children are awake

This was actually my prompt for writing this post. Yesterday, the children were at gymnastics, and rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to drink some tea while it is still hot as I would have done until quite recently, I decided to go for a run (yes really, read about my mission to get fitter here!). When we got back, I quickly got some tea for the children, and asked if they minded me having a quick shower while they ate it. And I did! They may have walked in several times for emergencies, such as needing to know if Qatar is the only country in the world beginning with Q, but I was able to shower and then have some unstinky (me not them!) snuggly time before bed.

A ‘family film’ might actually be something that you genuinely are interested in watching

Going to watch the new Star Wars film was the defining moment here. All four of us equally excited. We didn’t even have to miss any of it to take the children to the toilet every five minutes!

You can wear jewellery

My sister in law recently had a baby. She’s gorgeous in every way and I love my cuddles, but how do 4 month old babies instinctively know which of your bracelets are most likely to break or choke them and then choose those ones to try and eat?! Nowadays I wear my jewellery with pride and for the most part, manage to keep it saliva free!

You can go out for an evening meal

The first time you can book a restaurant for an evening meal – as in actual evening rather than the 4:30pm type of evening meal you’ve had to endure in order to be back for bath time for oh so long – is amazing. A 7pm meal where you can wear nice clothes and aside from a few colouring pencils (and perhaps an iPad for emergencies), nothing else is needed!

8pm is not the middle of the night!

My daughter now finishes Brownies at 8pm. Sometimes we nip into the shop afterwards to pick up a few bits. Nothing exciting here, apart from the fact that 8pm exists again!

Homework is for the children

This term, my daughter has had to complete column addition and subtraction, giving her answers using hieroglyphics and complete a 500 word original story. My son has had to learn his times tables and find interesting ways of displaying them and create 3D models of Tudor houses. Obviously I’m on hand to help with homework, but essentially it is work for them, to extend their understanding and develop their ability to work independently. Which leads me nicely on to the next one…

You don’t have the pressure of having the class bear to visit

This is tongue in cheek, but who can honestly hold their hands up and say they didn’t feel the pressure to get out and do exciting things when Billy the Bear came home for the weekend?! The last time we had the class bear, he’d been to Paris the weekend before and climbed the Eiffel Tower. Aaaaargh!

Babysitting can be free

Older children don’t just pop round for lunch or tea – they have sleepovers – the holy grail for the children concerned and the parents alike! Until of course you realise that you haven’t returned the favour yet and it’s your turn to host a handful of 9 year olds…

You can wee on your own

Yeah right, just kidding – did you really think I was serious?! I’m still waiting for this day, will it ever happen?!

So, moments to cherish or light at the end of the tunnel? You decide, I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Growing up too Fast?

“Mummy, can you come and help me please?”

“I’m on my way!”

About 10 seconds later…

“Mummy, I’ve asked you already, can you come and help me?”

“And I’ve just said I’m on my way!”

“Well it doesn’t look like you are, this is doing my head in!”

A different occasion, walking home from school, making a tortoise look like a Ferrari:

“Come on, giddy up!” (in retrospect, this was perhaps an odd thing to say, but nevertheless)

“Mummy, am I a horse? Do I LOOK like a horse?!”

My big girl is only in her 3rd week of school. She’s doing fantastically, and is already learning to read and construct simple sentences. I think her class teacher is an absolute genius. Given that I have trouble leaving the house with 2 children, I find it amazing that she can get 30 of them ready for outside, inside, lunchtime and PE all in one day, let alone help them learn things, and remain so calm throughout it all. Primary school teachers are truly very special people!

I wasn’t one of those mums who sobbed as I waved her off to school for the first time, she was definitely ready to go, and I found it very difficult to be sad, when all I could see in her eyes was excitement and enthusiasm. Who was I to dampen that?! But all of a sudden, my daughter has developed this immense sense of sarcasm. She’s pretty intelligent so somehow it’s still quite endearing and she can get away with it, but I’m definitely going to have to keep an eye on it or she’s going to rival my sarcastic skill!

The rhymes and the toilet humour are now in full flow too, it’s amazing how the poo jokes are the same ones I used to find hilarious when I was little (ok, perhaps I am still incredibly immature and have to stifle sniggers and fake disapproving looks even now)!

The fact is, I’m actually quite excited that my daughter is growing up (and my son too!), but I feel sometimes like I’m wrong to feel this way. Obviously I’m tinged with emotion that she isn’t that newborn baby that I held in my arms any more, and I get incredibly googly and broody when I do see newborns, but there have been so many times when my husband or I have said what a fantastic age our children are at, and how we wish we could just freeze time and keep them like it forever, but then a few days down the line, they’ve learnt to do something else, reached a new milestone, and that just fuels my excitement and pride even more. What will they do next?

Last night was such a gorgeous moment, when my son went to choose his bedtime story, and then took it into his sister so she could read it to him (she knew it off by heart!), and they sat on the bed together, while she let him lift up the flaps and say what animals were underneath, then continued with the story. My husband and I just hid round a corner and watched. A month ago that wouldn’t have happened, but it was such a beautiful moment, and I’m now looking forward to a few weeks time, when perhaps she will actually be able to read the story.

I’m not wishing time away, I’m just trying to treasure every single moment, but is it weird that I’m more excited than sad about my children growing up? I’m sure when I have to buy my son his first razor I’ll feel differently but for now I’m going to embrace it!