Oh time, you strange beast. In the last two weeks, Botany started school and celebrated her fifth birthday. FIVE! AT SCHOOL! These two milestones have made me jubiliant and melancholy by turns. While she's still on the small side compared to her peers, she's suddenly looking so grown up, neat and tidy in her little uniform, hair in two plaits, marching obediently into the classroom off to be educated. On her first day, I grabbed her up to give her a congratulatory cuddle and she pulled away, chiding me, "Mummy, I'm too big to be carried now, I am a school girl." Yes, Botany, you are.
It all seems to have happened quite quickly, and yet in other ways time moved like molasses over the past couple years. I recall those endless treacle slow afternoons, wondering how the hell to fill the time with a toddler, the minutes moving backwards as I counted the eternity to bedtime. I remember many evenings when after the grand finale tantrum, I finally was able to stagger to the kitchen to eat my own dinner and tidy up, muttering to myself "just keep going, just keep going, just keep going" and wishing it would start to get easier.
What I didn't fully realise until now is that the getting easier seems to coincide with her growing up and to some extents, away.
To add to the sense of Large Transitions chez Mare, we are also settling Colt into nursery this week. In case I haven't mentioned it before, the plan is that Knox, having profitably sold up his business, has decided he wants to take some time at home, looking after the baby. However, we also think it's a good idea to have the safety net of external childcare resource and given the scary length of waiting lists, we decided not to turn down the rare chance to get the baby into Botany's old nursery. Colt is still going two days a week where they are welcoming him with open arms and a large supply of dribble bibs. As for me, next month, I'm going back to work (gulp) full time.
It all feels like the start of an uneasy passage into the long grass- my main expectation is that in the coming months I am going to experience a constant sense of being harried and pressed for time.
On the upside- and (oh please Baby Sleep Gods, do not smite me down for saying this publicly), Colt seems to have inherited his parents' love of the zzzzs. Roughly around the time I stopped breastfeeding him (on which subject more another time), he started sleeping through the night, bar the odd squeak of protest when he loses his binky. By sleeping through I mean he goes to bed clutching his lovey Flat Donkey around 7pm, wakes or is woken for a bottle of milk around 11pm and then is peepless until about 7am. A couple of mornings, he slept until past 8am, causing me to do that wake/check clock/panic/sprint to baby's room to check breathing thing. He has his breakfast and then he goes back to sleep for a couple more hours. I don't necessarily expect to last forever but in the meantime, it's all very pleasing. So while I may end up running around like a headless chicken in the coming months, at least I will be relatively well rested. When I say "relatively", I mean as opposed to the deranged, sleep deprived zombie mess I was when I went back to work after maternity leave with Botany.
And on that note, Colt is waking up.