My timehop is entertaining reading at the moment.
4 years ago I was 39 weeks pregnant; MrHSS had been sent to the Isle of Wight to give evidence in a trial (in hindsight, my concerns that the weather would be so terrible the ferries would stop and he would be stranded there forever were probably slightly unnecessary in a hot July); I was having daily arguments with the shop we’d ordered our pram from as it still hadn’t arrived and they wanted to give me a black one not the red one I’d ordered; and, having organised his paternity leave in March, MrHSS’s work suddenly said he couldn’t start it on the date we’d planned.
Ticking away behind this was the undercurrent of extreme anxiety that had been running through my entire pregnancy. 2 years of trying to conceive, fertility treatment and a miscarriage left me unable to believe I would ever bring a live baby home. I wasn’t really stressed about the colour of my pram (well, ok, I was a little bit but…it wasn’t about the pram). Looking back, I can see that my mood during my pregnancy with Bean1 was not ‘normal’. In short, I was a nervous wreck.
Labour didn’t exactly go to plan either but then, finally, after everything, Bean1 was here. Our perfect – and perfectly healthy – baby girl.
Today she had her first solo session at school.
Next week she will be 4.
She’s still so little. But at the same time she’s also so grown up. She is setting out on her own into the world. She is going to school and now, for a large portion of the day, I won’t know what she’s been doing. I will have such little control over what happens to her.
This is mostly good. She is going to love it. She’s articulate, and confident, and downright feisty. She’s nearly fearless. She cuddles snakes and a couple of weeks ago zoomed round a Go Ape course leaving much older children in her wake. She keeps an eye on her little brother when we walk down the road and stops him from going to close to the road just as often as I do. She can cook scrambled eggs completely on her own (supervised, obviously!). She’s starting to read, and to write. She wants to learn and soaks up new knowledge like a sponge (especially if it’s about something gruesome).
But it’s hard. I’m finding it hard. She is still only 3. She has been alive almost a fifth less than some of her classmates have. I’m feeling guilty. Suddenly time is slipping through my fingers and I’m conscious of how often I’m saying to her ‘you need to do this yourself when you’re at school’. I look at her brother and think about how much more we expected of her (‘you’re a big sister now’) at the same – and a younger – age. Maybe this is the peril of the first born, always rushed to the next thing, the next stage. If only I could slow time down just a bit.
This is what they do, though, of course. Children grow. And watching it is pretty awesome, even if I do miss that tiny little newborn.