Last week I took the smallest one to get his hair cut for the first time. At 14-months-old he is very much a baby – still crawling, still breastfeeding, still waking in the night – and his hair is the one thing that makes him look even remotely toddlerish. Sandy in colour, it’s mostly straight, with a few subtle curls that come and go depending on the weather. While I loved the delicate flicks at the back of his neck, his hair had reached a point where it flopped down over his forehead and into his round, brown eyes. Yes, the hair cut had to happen.
I immortalised this milestone, naturally, by snapping photos, filming a short clip for my weekly vlog, and asking the hairdresser to please put some of the snipped hair into a ziplock bag so I could keep it forever. What I didn’t do, however, was feel sad. Not once did I lament the fact that he is growing up. Not once did I utter the phrase, “Where did my baby go?” Actually, now I think about it, I might be one of the only mothers out there who is happy that time passes quickly, that babies become toddlers, that my youngest child will turn into a school kid before I know what’s hit me. Honestly, that thought excites me more than I can say.
The thing with babies is, they’re a lot of hard work. Requiring constant supervision, constant feeding, constant changing, it all gets a bit overwhelming. Sure, it’s quite lovely to snuggle a newborn baby, but not so lovely is the broken sleep, the unexplained crying, and the feeling that you may as well live your life naked from the waist up because you’ve always got your damn boobs out. It might be fun to get down on the floor and play with a crawling baby, but introducing food, and dealing with incredibly mucky nappies, and attempting to fit your life in around naps and routines can be a bit of a drag. Maybe it’s just me, but I reckon older kids, though not quite as cute, are much more enjoyable.
When I got pregnant with my second child (i.e. my first planned kid), I wanted a baby. I wanted the chance to relive all the experiences I’d had with my first, telling myself that I’d take more notice. That I’d enjoy it more. That I wouldn’t keep looking forward to the next stage, like I’d often done with my eldest. I was going to live in the moment, and I was going to love it. And, for the most part, I did.
When I got pregnant with my fourth baby, I wanted a child. I wanted another little person to balance out our family, and to give my son – who was often left out by his older sisters – his own little playmate. And while I love my baby fiercely, I adore listening to his giggles and watching him clap his teensy pudgy hands together, I think I’m going to love him even more when he’s older. He’ll be able to play with his siblings, and tell me about his day, and walk beside me instead of having to be carried or pushed everywhere we go. He’ll learn to dress himself, to use the toilet, to sleep all night in his own bed. He’ll participate in our family outings, and he’ll make it through the day without needing a nap. Ten pin bowling, mini golfing, family trips to the movies… I can’t wait until all six of us can enjoy these things. Together. I can’t wait for my baby to become a boy.
It’s true that infancy is fleeting. It’s true that I’ll never get this time back. And yet I’m happy that my children are growing every day. I still enjoy the stages they’re at, I appreciate who they are at this exact moment in time, but I will never be sad that they’re getting older. I’ll never wish I could go back to the newborn days. Each morning when I wake up it’s like I’m a step closer to freedom. Freedom to be less Frazzled Mum, and more Carefree Fern. Freedom to be me. Soon my baby will not be a baby. And I am one hundred percent okay with that.
– Fern xxx