Jenny Coyle agrees that it all goes by in the blink of an eye
There’s normal time, and then there’s kid time. Look at the photos from last year – a mere 300ish days ago – and you’ll barely recognise the children in them. That chubby little toddler with spaghetti hoops all over her face is now asking you (over and over) if you can go to the Disney shop to ‘pick up a few pieces’.
That little boy who loved nothing better than to cuddle up in the morning? First, you’ll need to dislodge him out behind his hair, or separating him from his beloved phone. If you want more than a grunt, you’ll need to offer an upgrade. Turn your back for as long as it takes to fill the dishwasher again and you’ll find that your babe in arms has developed pin-thin long limbs and is casually suggesting that you go for sushi. Or on a family holiday to Burning Man.
This is strange, in a Rip Van Winkle meets Dr Who rift-in-the-time-and-space continuum sort of way. Because whilst you clearly remember clearly endless, endless afternoon trudging around muddy parks, and the unmistakeable ache that only pushing two swings at slightly different speeds can induce, you can’t quite remember the moment that your tiny babies unfurled themselves into lengthy Big Kids.
There’s a burning injustice in all this. Those Lego-shaped indents in your insole, the rabbit-in-the-headlights reaction that hearing the theme tune to Dora the Explorer, the sense of neck-tightening panic as you realise that your kid is about to reveal what you really think about their friend’s hot dad to their friend’s pinchy-faced mother… All of these phases, stages and downright best forgotten lost months – in the great scales of parenthood, there’s a swizzery trade off between Hard Times and Golden Moments. (A ratio of 1 year to 1 moment, and that is scientifically proven.)
On the upside, you’re probably only short time-lapse away from the happy point at which they’re actually fully fledged adults. Then you can watch the tables turn as you cry with horror as your baby leaves home and a 25-year old looks back at you and wonders at what point you stopped being the centre of the world and turned into a Total Embarrassment.
By Jenny Coyle @missmitford