The other day when I collected Ellie from her weekend with Daddy I found myself engaged in a rather grown up conversation with my little girl. It went like this:
- Ellie ‘I feel a little bit sad’
- Me ‘why Ellie?’
- Ellie ‘because I want to be with Daddy’
- Me ‘oh, I know’
- Ellie ‘I’m a little bit happy too, because I’m with you’
- Me ‘oh I see’ (pause whilst I thought what to say…) ‘well we both love you very much’
It wasn’t the most constructive answer…but it was quite frankly the best I could muster in the moment. Whilst the conversation inevitably prompted a range of thoughts (material for several posts I feel!), but one thing it did remind me of yet again was that my little girl is growing up.
As we move towards Ellie’s 5th birthday I realise just how grown up she’s getting, most specifically how much she’s changed since starting school. I remember lots of people saying that they grow up suddenly when they start school and they aren’t wrong, although I don’t think it’s quite that simple.
There are many things about Ellie growing up which I love. I love her growing independence like getting herself dressed and doing her hair. I love that we can have a proper conversation and that she’s growing into a little girl who is keen to learn and knows her own mind. It’s fair to say that I do want to encourage her to grow up and help her navigate that journey.
On the other hand I can’t deny that I do love the fact she isn’t all grown up quite yet and I don’t want it to happen too fast. I love that she still watches cbeebies, that she still wants cuddles from her mum and that she still goes to bed at 7.00pm.
Of course if I could pick and choose then she’d grow out of any and all tantrums, be able to get her own school bag ready and choose to eat vegetables every time I cook them. Alongside that however she would continue to want bedtime stories, need magic kisses from mummy when she bumps something and still occasionally let me do her hair and choose her clothes for her (ones that match!).
Joking aside, watching my beautiful girl grow up is amazing but I don’t think I’m the only mummy that also feels just a little sad that, as exciting as it is, I’m losing my baby.
The biggest challenge for me in all of this though has to be making sure that I balance the demands of life so that I get to enjoy Ellie growing up and remember to savour each and every moment.
So I’m making three promises to help me do just that:
1. Make sure that we aren’t always in a rush for story time and cuddles before bed
2. Try not to say ‘hang on a minute’ more than 75% of the time when Ellie asks me for something (it’s important to be realistic!)
3. Sometimes just take a minute to simply stop and watch Ellie…literally a moment to see her growing up
As always, I’d love to know what you think so please do get in touch either via the comments below or on twitter (@sharonmsmyth)