Gone is the cot and the baby who slept in it.
Here to stay is the big girl and the big girl bed.
There are moments as a parent when you gulp with angst that they’re growing so fast, getting older so quickly. Taking down the cot, and putting them in a proper bed has been, for me, one of those moments. All those silent feeds, since she was 6 months, lowering her back into the cot in the darkness of night. All those times I freaked out, like the first time I discovered she had turned 180 degrees in the night. And the first time she was just stood in the cot, a prisoner in a jail where I was the warden and my milk was her reward.
She barely stretched the half way point in her cot when I first put her in it. It was for a nap on 7th March 2016: she was just 46 days old.
She loved her cot, though not towards the end when it symbolised being alone and locked up. She already loves her big bed, crawling all over it and enjoying a bedtime story with mummy and daddy sat either side.
Yet each time my lovely girl reaches another milestone, I feel a sadness simultaneously with the delight. The delight is easy to explain: there is not greater joy than watching your own child grown and learn and develop, doing things for the first time. But the sadness… that’s trickier.
For me, it is because each milestone triggers the memories of the milestones before. So I start to think about my baby before she could crawl, or roll, or even hold her own head. I start to think about my baby before she ate food, or said words. The baby who made only the smallest little snuffling sounds. I think of the baby who could do nothing but stare helplessly into my eyes as I cuddled her, fed her, changed her, sang to her. And so the sadness is because I am suddenly reminded of a time that has been and gone. A time that can never again be lived again.
It isn’t like returning to a favourite place on holiday, or frequenting the same restaurant. Once these days are gone, they are gone. One day my daughter will talk, we will be able to have conversations. If she’s anything like me, I’ll be silently wishing her to quiet down. Maybe I won’t be. Even if I am, I know I will be thinking about the days when she hadn’t even uttered her first word: Eddy (our cat). I will be remembering them, fondly, whilst also excitedly looking forward to what the future holds for this creature of mine.
Maybe it isn’t a sadness, then, that fills me when I reminisce about the moments of my daughter’s life so far. I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps that is why it is so hard to explain the feeling.
Everyone always said, even before she was born, “Enjoy every moment! It will pass so quickly.” It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them. I just didn’t think it would go that quickly.
Enjoy every moment. I know I am.