While the baby days are precious, watching your child grow can be just as lovely, writes Evelyn Lewin…
Im a baby person. I adore everything about them. From the tips of their tiny little noses to those adorable, curly little toes, Im in. I count myself incredibly lucky to have had three gorgeous little bundles. Ive soaked in their baby-ness, cherished the soft little noises they made and sat perfectly content while they nestled in my arms like I was still their home. From day one Ive loved them with such incredible ferocity, it took me by surprise.
But heres a secret: Though those baby days cause my heart to soar, its not all downhill from there. We often speak about how quickly those baby days fly, as though childhood and the years beyond are the disappointing finale to that incredible beginning. But as my oldest daughter turns seven next week I want to share some good news: the magic of being a mum doesnt end when your kids get bigger.
Sure, its not the same. My big girl doesnt fit in the nook of my arm and I cant spend hours just watching her and inhaling her sweetness (shed be mightily annoyed if I dared attempt such a thing). But its not like I dont treasure her anymore. I must admit I sometimes look at old photos and reflect on how sweet she used to be and yes, I miss her as a baby. But then I look at her in real life and realise how great she is now too.
For one thing, she makes me laugh. She has a wonderful sense of humour and is just so full of enthusiasm; she totally brightens my day. We also have fun together. She often grabs my phone and types in the name of the latest song shes into on YouTube. We then let loose and dance around together and you know what? Its fun. Like, actual fun (as opposed to the pretend fun I used to have singing Old MacDonald for the 700th time).
Being older also means my big girl is fun to talk to. Nowadays we have proper conversations about actual things. I love hearing her opinions and ideas, and Im fascinated by the way she thinks and the things she says. I must admit, having an older child also has some lovely perks. For instance, when I tell her were leaving the house, she no longer throws herself on the floor in rage. Rather she walks to the front door, puts on her shoes, and says, Okay mum. (I know.) And when I ask her to brush her teeth, she grabs her toothbrush, puts toothpaste on it, and does it herself. She then washes her face, rinses her brush, and puts her toothbrush back. (I know!)
Look, I realise my daughters probably sounding like a saint right about now and I admit that, like everyone else, she still has her moments. But sometimes I feel we get so caught up in savouring the baby days, we scare each other into thinking that, once those days are over, its all downhill from there. I disagree. Though I didnt think it was possible to love my babies any more than I did on the day I first met them, Ive found that, just as they continue to grow, so too does my love for them.
Photo: Trish Lee from The Tale of Bronwyn McCahon