Our little baby blossom, Eleanor Joy, has in fact not been a baby for quite some time now, I’ve shared thoughts on this before…but lately, I’ve looked around at our new reality, our new normal, everyday stuff and life, and realised we are deeply entrenched in Toddlering. I am the Mother of a Toddler.
I read recently a parenting article on the concept of the different children you will encounter on your parenting journey, even if you have just the one child. Huh. All these children, the wee babes, the defiant preschoolers, the cautious primary schooler, the exploratory pre-teen – all the one child, but in many manifestations. Each one will come and go through your life and family household like seasons, inevitable and unstoppable, but each one will need to be recognised, acknowledge, celebrated…before they move on and a new child emerges. The key is to catch glimpses of each child, savour them, hold them close and treasure them before they slip away. It’s also entirely normal to mourn the loss of each child, for they will never return. The juggling act of parenting I am finding is not only in the everyday busy-ness that we all face, but the balance between holding onto our babes and letting them grow. Some phases I imagine are quite fleeting, to be present and celebrate them takes patience and awareness that I admit I lack at times as a Mother, but I’m learning.
So Eleanor grows. Every day. Unstoppable and indefinitely. She has grown both physically in the past month (so tall!) and also in her skills – her speech and communication, identifying colours and shapes, her abilities to help herself more, identify problems and solve them herself. Of course with all these developments comes big emotions, internal struggles parents of toddlers know all too well. We are Toddlering. We are running and jumping and leaping in bounds – days are full of swimming lessons, outdoor play, play dough, craft activities, drawing, puzzles, songs, books… and Peppa Pig. Bloody Peppa.
I know all too well that our ‘baby’ blossom will seem extremely grown up and BIG once our baby sprout arrives. If I think she has grown a lot in the past month, she is about to explode in enormousness once I have a newborn babe again in my arms! I know, I know. But in the meantime, I’m trying to be present, to acknowledge the toddler that has emerged from our placid baby girl, before she too slips away and a big girl sister emerges.
In one of my first letters to Eleanor I wrote of the golden days of her newborn hazy days in our cosy farmhouse…but I’ve come to realise that these are all the golden days. All of them. The long ones and the easy ones, the ones we spend at home watching far too much Peppa Bloody Pig and the ones spent out doing Toddlering activies. The ones that start at 4am with a bucket of coffee or end in a warm freshly bathed blossom in flannelette pyjamas ready happily for bed. The golden days, like our child, grow and change and slip away and return renewed as a new child and a new day, all the time. Constantly and inevitably.