Big and bigger

This past weekend Rob and I had a night away with these two. Number 1 and number 2.

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In Canberra! Harps and I smile awkwardly at the camera in exactly the same way!

It had been 16 months since we had spent some time just the four of us, which meant it was the first time EVER that both Rob and I had spent away from Maggie. She went to Grandma’s for the night, and by the constant photos of her giggling, laughing, devouring soup and roast chicken, she had the actual best time. Phew.

The girls and I spent a lot of the time saying “Oh I miss Moofy!” and looking at various babies and oohing and ahhhing and wondering how she was. It made me feel much better that they missed her as much as I did. What did we ever do without her?

I tell you what though, it was SO good to spend some time with these two. Two BIG girls that we could talk with, have dinner with, laugh with, make jokes with and have conversations with. Really engage with them and not worry about the baby crying, or getting them to distract her while I did 25 things at the same time. I realised just how much I have relied on them over the past year and just how much they help me with Maggie. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this baby stuff without them.

Look how big they are now. Almost 7 and 10 early next year. Sigh.

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We did lots of stuff they wanted to do (and some stuff we wanted to). We didn’t have to worry about prams, or sleeps, or Maggie wanting to walk, or have a tantrum about anything, we could just be. We went to Old Parliament House (what a great Museum that is) I loved seeing the old offices of the Prime Minister and various members of Parliament. So comforting. Look!

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Totally lucked out with the class bear this week. Look at Oliver! Much better than the last visit where he spent 3 weeks on my desk! I will be printing these shots out with pride for Harps to add into his diary.

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We went to the zoo yesterday because the girls LOVE it. Canberra zoo is great fun – small scale, all the animals, can knock it off in under 2 hours (ticking all the boxes for me).

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We walked around and while we were waiting in line I started to get a bit sad. Daisy is turning 10 early next year. 10! And we were talking about the fact that it all seems like yesterday that she was this little girl. Like Maggie and now she’s big. And knowing how quick those 10 years have gone, well do we have 10 more years of her at home. I’m sure we do, but you know, she’ll be 20. In a flash of an eye she will be TWENTY. And my Harpy Hoozles, well she’s 7 in a few months. SEVEN. It’s entirely not OK. OK, it’s OK if it means that she works out how to sleep through the night, but it’s mostly NOT OK.

We walked around the zoo and we talked about some of the places and trips we have taken. Mostly Harper looked blankly at us as she had no memories of them. And we watched all the little kids around us, toddlers losing their shit over the smallest things, the wind blowing the wrong way, the fact they couldn’t pat the lions or the giraffes not looking at them, you know, standard stuff. And I watched these parents, exhausted and getting excited for their kids to see the wallaby and remembered us doing all, not so long ago, and was grateful that we didn’t have a toddler to lose her shit over something. Just for a little bit.

We got home and the reunion was so sweet with our baby girl. The girls played with her and gave their undivided attention. I sat back and watched all three girls with a heavy but full heart. This growing business, it’s not stopping, on it goes. Daisy will grow and soon enough be heading towards high school. Harper into a bigger, more mature version of herself now that she already shows us glimpses of. And that baby? Well, she’ll be a big girl who can do things all by her self-es.

And me and Rob? Well, we’ll be sitting back and watching it all. Rob, ever patient and kind, knowing when to hug and rub my back when the tears fall for me. He gets it.

Today was an extra tough day for me with a 15 month old. One of those goddamn days where she was unhappy for who knows why? Teeth? Tiredness? The wind? Fuck knows! But it was a day that made me go “oh right, this. I remember this. Shit I don’t miss this.” For all you parents out there like the ones I saw at the zoo yesterday. With little kids? Hats off. It’s hard bloody yakka. It’s dead set exhausting and relentless and it wasn’t until I stepped away from it, that I realised and remembered just how hard it is. Add some extra babies and toddlers in to the mix? DEAR LORD. Hats off is all I have to say. Keep that enthusiasm up about the animals at the zoo, while they love it at the time, they sure as shit don’t seem to remember it down the track, but at least YOU had a nice day. Nice days are important with small people.

And remember this. Before you can even say Twirlwoos, this shit is OVER. You’re left with big kids who perform concerts at the Opera House. Who get ready by themselves, and sometimes, even, go to sleep at night and stay in their beds all night. And before I know it, in the same blink of an eye that it’s all gone, we’ll have an adult on our hands.

We can’t make it stop.

So breathe in that baby smell. Despite the protests and tantrums, hold them close and be in the moment. It will pass. If you can manage to get a hug from those big kids, hold them even tighter. And pat yourself on the back. This is hard bloody yakka, but how important is it? Raising this next generation. Who will be just like us, sill wondering how the hell we are meant to be grown up.

Huh.

So what did you get up to on the weekend?
Anyone know how we can slow this all down?

Comments

  1. I honestly don’t know how to slow it down. I wish I did. My boy is now 17 and I tell you, it has gone in a blink. Like really so fast that, in fact, I got proper depression when he turned 17, my middle girl turned 14 and my BABY girl turned 10 this year. And that was all after me turning 50 last year. Just take it ALL in. ALL of it! Take those hugs while you can. I only get them from my 10 year old now and they are just THE most precious things in the world. We know we are making great people but I’m not ready to let go just yet. Gosh!

    • I know the next 10 years are going to be like that for us. Hold on Beth…it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Thanks for the reminder Deb x

  2. Lisa Aherne says

    Brilliant, thought-provoking post. I love what you have to say, time and time again. Thank you.

  3. My Maggie is nearly 5 and Mabel just turned 3. All too real. How does it feel so slow and so fast simultaneously? The days are long but the years are short, right? Dammit.

  4. Beth, you always manage to make me cry!!
    Our little guy is just over 1 and hubby and I are both a bit sad that our little tiny, fall asleep on your chest, baby phase is all done now.
    And our big girl just keeps getting bigger. I took her out for a babycino (she corrects me if i call it a cup of froth, how very grown up of her!) this arvo, it’s been so long since I spent 1 on 1 time with her like that. So so lovely to not get distracted.
    Just need to soak them all in.

  5. I think the word bittersweet was invented for this feeling. I try not to delve into melancholy when I too feel the shifting of time, watching my kids growing way too fast. My advice would be: Lots of photos and videos, you Mums and Dads of little (and not so little) ones!! Those funny conversations and things they do jot them down in an exercise book that you keep handy in your handbag or in the kitchen. Remembering your adventures or the funny things they said and did will crack you (and them) up and it eases the pain a tiny bit. All the best, Liz XO

  6. I don’t know how to make it stop because my baby boy is turning 8 in a couple of months and his sister will be 6 next March. They were just BABIES!! And I know that I’ll blink and they’ll be teenagers.

  7. Needed that
    X

  8. As I sit here patting the two year old to sleep & the three year old is still wide awake & the two teenagers are supposed to be going to sleep but I know they are sneaking iPads or phone in bed, I take a deep breath. I’m having a week where I feel like I’m losing my step in my parenting game. My patience is below zero, I’m not getting much done & im just over it most of the time. But you are right, I know you are SO right when you say time flies because I have an almost 17 year old who I talk to about what he’ll do when he finishes school NEXT YEAR!! And I am NOT ready for that. I look at his manchild face & then I look at his 3 year old brothers face, that is very similar, & I can’t help but think ” mate, it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was a 24 year old mum & you were the 3 year old & you would hold my hand & wrap your arms around me any chance you could”….and now I’m crying because being a mum is just hard & wonderful & heartbreaking & heart expanding all at the same time.
    Thank you Beth. Thank you for always sharing & making me feel the feels x

  9. Just keep making memories – as I always say – You don’t look at photos of your new kitchen when you’re old but I will keep looking at all of our travel photos – money well spent! now we go to food and wine festivals and watch pride and prejudice and drink tea and red wine together and they sleep all night and study and work hard and are good people and great company. I still remember that baby smell though and hope I always will.

  10. I so needed to read this today. My kids are driving me NUTS today 3.5 and 2.5 years. When do they stop being SO relentless? WHEN??

  11. Loved reading this. So for book week I arrange to see a couple of authors presenting about their books to grade 1,2’s. I hope to do this next year when I have some baby sitting but right now I’m content to just keep researching what works. The school is near the zoo, so my sister comes along with the intention of the 11 month old and 5 year old having a frolick around the zoo while I slip away for 2 hours. The day was a sparkling Melbourne day until we were munching on crispy chips in the open air cafe and the sky had a toddler tantrum of epic proportions. We race to the car, and I install two car seats with hail smacking me in the head. The baby is stuck in the pram, taking it in his stride until he realised what was going on. Cue the banshee style wail. Finally in the car my sister departs and I manage to rummage a towel from the twilight zone of the back seat to dry my hair. I depart for the school when I get a call, they haven’t got any house keys. The sister and my cherubs under her charge divert to a play centre while I go to meet my author friends. I get lost, arrive late, am soaked through to my underwear, manage to give the vice principal a book pack with my author info through chattering teeth and proceed to watch an hour presentation, taking notes and photo with a shivering hand. A quick chat with my friends about their presentation through shivering teeth then home via peek hour to meet the family who are locked out of the house. I guess I could have given up at any moment when it all seemed too hard, but life with babies and small kids is hard and I have very few moments to solely concentrate on something only for me. My books are my soul balm and sharing them with children in the hope that perhaps one of my books might spark their interest in reading as a lifelong pursuit. That is worth the sacred yet sometime excruciatingly difficult moments of mayhem away from my babies, in order to follow the little dream in my heart of being an author. So a long story short, I am trying my best to enjoy this baby stage and not long for the school years where I hope to make school visits part of my every day. Until then, back to babies that behave like koala’s clinging to me for 15 hours of the day and 5 year olds who tell me they are carrying rotting flesh to the village to feed the dogs to make them healthy. Yours truly #reluctantminecraftmum

  12. Love love love this….. yes, that baby stage is so exhausting but oh so good as well… I am entrenched in ‘Teenager-hood’…. The mind games and eye rolls are all something else to behold but before we know it they will be out of that stage and on to the next. xx

  13. Oh Beth, you never fail to post JUST things like this, just when I need it most! I am sinking under the weight of being a stay at home mum to a 2 (in 2 days!) yo and a 3.5yo who are at either end of that toddler stage and I just keep wondering if we will EVER get out of the freakin’ trenches. I felt the same about the ‘baby’ stage and absolutely rejoiced when my youngest turned one. Just you wait to see me crack open that bottle of bubbles on Thursday when I can truly be done with the ‘2 under 2’ business. Whilst it’s a few years before we have school and children who do not need naps and 6pm bedtimes, your post reminds me that we WILL get there. Thank you, again and always, for getting me teary because you, just KNOW!

  14. I’m in the middle of babies – even my eldest, at almost three and a half is still a baby. But I don’t mind when he creeps into our room in the middle of the night and hops in for a cuddle – because I know that in the morning, he’ll be so happy he got to sleep with us. He gives us both the biggest hugs, tells us that he loves us and that we are his very best friends. You can’t tell me that that will last forever – so I’ll hold onto it whilst it lasts {even if there are four – and a half – in the bed and someone kicking me from the inside}.

  15. This! Makes complete sense to me, I get it!
    I have a 14 and a half year old, and a 7 and a half year old, and I am hanging onto that little-ness as long as I can! I have no idea how it goes so fast, but we are dealing with girlfriends, and high school, and a real paying job for him too. Scares the bejeebers out of me.
    Made me all teary reading your blog about it all.
    I get it, all of it.

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