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you are four | countdown

We’re all, always on countdown, aren’t we? Countdown to bedtime. Countdown to holidays. Countdown to when he gets home and it’s not just you. Countdown to payday.

Some of you reading this will be counting down to the school summer holidays. I’m counting down to it, too, because this is the last summer where those six weeks don’t matter to me and my daughter. And it feels…well, it just FEELS.

Last year I wrote this about being the mother of a three year old. Now I’m the mother of a four year old, and a baby, and I’ve broken the back of being a parent of two. I’ve got through the early fears and the juggling, the jiggling and the¬†cleaving of my heart in two. Now I’m on countdown for another cleaving – the return to work and the start of school and nursery for two children.

It’s, of course, sod’s law that this period is accompanied by the transition by both children into a new phase of loveliness which transcends all the humdrum shite, spilt food and shouting. At four, Tibbs is shooting into creativity, conversation, jokes, tricks, songs, and emotional capabilities which astound me. Kissing her brother before me at nursery pick up yesterday. Waking before me, slipping into his room and putting his dummy back in last week. Identifying birds, flowers and plants with interest.

At nearly eight months, my sturdy, noisy son has formed a cheerier perspective on life. His movement is still rather basic, like Zoolander, he can only turn one way. But he turns, towards his sister, his father, the dog, me. He’s rolling into love, every time.

Yes, I need him to go to nursery, for his own development and for my professional and personal reasons. Yes, I need her to go to school. I want her to go to school. She has to go to school.

But how is one supposed to navigate it ‘all’? I’m so frustrated by my own inability not to see all this as just a countdown to the next phase. Feeling like I need to cram in the ‘this is the last time’ moments all the time.

Neither of my children understand that concept, and God knows I don’t want them to for a very long time. You see, I’m counting down to that as well, I can’t stop myself!

Time to stop.

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