Earlier in the week, I wrote about how sad I was that my youngest is starting nursery school. Not so much the separation – he has been in childcare for a couple of years so that I could work, so we are well used to that. No, more the fact that him starting proper nursery feels like the passing of yet another stage of our family life, and the realisation that they are all growing up faster than I can get my head around.
What’s worse, there seem to be whole chunks of their babyhoods that I just cannot remember. I know the last eight years have happened as there is photographic evidence of varying quality, but I’m extremely sketchy on the details. Whether this is a normal side effect of motherhood, or age related, or early onset marble loss, who knows, but I’ve decided to do something about it and list five things that I’m loving about my kids right here, right now, and then revisit a couple of times a year. So here goes!
One – they are good company! It is just lovely, and fascinating too, getting to know them as they develop their personalities and opinions. I love the fact that as they get bigger, our conversations are getting bigger too. It’s refreshing to realise that you’ve just spent a whole hour chatting to your kids without a single interjection of ‘please can you share nicely’, ‘don’t forget to say thank you’, ‘no, I do not want you to poke my tummy with a toy umbrella so you can see if there is a baby growing’. I used to look forward to Thursday nights because the Husband works and therefore I could get the kids to bed and I could go to bed right afterwards…now I look forward to them as a chance to have some chilled out time chatting with the big ones about anything and everything.
Two – doing things together. I need to be more alert to the opportunities for this. For example, I was getting ready to go out for a run on holiday (miracles do in fact take place, here in Wales) and my biggest boy asked if he could come along. I wanted to do a reasonable distance so it was on the tip of my tongue to say no – then I realised that he could easily manage it on his bike, so he put his helmet on and off we went – he even did us a mid-run selfie! We’re going to do this more often, and he’s also asked if he can try out running one day with me too, so who knows I might actually get a running buddy out of it!
Three – they have, very recently, started playing imaginary games together for decent periods of time. By decent, I mean a couple of hours, so enough time for me to give the house a quick once over. If I wanted to. Which I obviously never do (I’ve got LearnerMother to play with, after all). But it’s good to know that I could clean, if an emergency arose. And more than that, it’s lovely to listen to them all. (I thought I should stick that in, I mean this post is supposed to be about what I’m enjoying about my kids and I’m not sure that enjoying the fact that they leave me alone in peace and quiet is quite in the spirit of it.)
Four – I love watching them help each other. It makes me so happy when I see the big ones showing the littlest how to do something – and they are much more patient than I am! This week they have been especially lovely – the youngest does not approve at all of nursery school, but I’ve overheard several (unprompted) conversations between them where the big ones have made a real effort to reassure and encourage him. And it’s not just helping each other – they have a great memory for items on the shopping list that I’ve invariably left on the table; they can get iPlayer and Lovefilm through the Wii, AND they pick up the windfall apples for 20p a time – bargainatious exploitation it may be but I reckon can just about live with it.
Five – reading together. I know I am not supposed to say this, but this has not been a non-stop unadulterated joy. I’ve always done it, and the kids have always enjoyed it, but after the 7684th reading of the Hungry Caterpillar (yep, my kids know what they like, and they like what they know) the shine does wear off a bit. Recently however, reading to them has become a whole lot more fun – they’ve started to get into the idea of having a chapter a night of a longer book, and even the littlest will sit and listen. We recently finished Five on a Treasure Island, and I’ve just started on A Little Princess with my girl – she is absolutely entranced, not only by the story, but about the fact that she is reading a book that I loved too at her age.
So there you have it – five things I’m loving about my kids right now.
What about you? What are you loving, right here, right now, about your family?