Four and a half months... that is the time we have left with life as we know it. The countdown is on and before I know where I am at I will be packing off my biggest baby to start big school and my littlest baby to start preschool.
I have this overwhelming feeling of time running away from me, an all too familiar feeling since becoming a parent it would seem. Time keeps racing on, and right now I feel like I'm desperately grabbing at its tail, willing it to slow down.
On Monday the preschool manager grabbed me at drop off time to confirm that my little lady has a place for next year. It's a popular preschool with very good reason, and with the birth boom of previous years she wouldn't have got in with two years to spare before starting school. Her big bro will have done only one full year at preschool; which is a combination of it being what was right for him, for me, and what was possible with oversubscribed preschool provision dealing with said birth boom. But our little girl was born after that boom, and as a result has the luxury of a little more choice, and so we've decided that in September the time will be right for her. She is a little clingier than her older brother, more reserved in new situations, but also more mischievous and will definitely benefit from the structure of preschool. And what is most important for me its that she is also desperate to go... a consequence of watching her brother trot in so happily each morning to play with toys she is desperate to get her hands on. And strike while the iron is hot I say, rather that she start this year when she wants to go, than we wait another year and she maybe doesn't want to.
She'll only be doing three mornings a week, and I know she is going to love it. She's going to love having something that is just hers, and I'm hoping it will make it easier for her to deal with the gaping absence that will be her brother all day from Monday to Friday.
Then in the late hours of Wednesday night (or maybe the early hours of Thursday morning) we got the little man's school offer through. We were expecting to be allocated his fourth choice school, or maybe if we were lucky his third choice. So to be allocated his second choice (my first and second were level pegging and kept switching position up until the point I had to submit the form) absolutely made my day. We were very surprised, and are totally over the moon about it.
I think that big school is going to be a big adjustment for us all; him being gone all day, all week. I feel a bit bereft for all the play opportunities we are going to miss out. No more Mummy and Son time in the afternoons while we argue over who won at snap or spend ages leafing through books together. I know that I am going to miss him terribly, so goodness only knows how his little bestie is going to feel. She generally starts asking for him an hour before pick up time as it is, and that's with a lunch time pick up.
I have no doubts about his readiness for school. Academically I know that he is more than ready. And preschool has definitely seen him grow up, learn independence and begin to understand the need for all the routines that make a classroom work. I am sure he's going to flourish at school.
Me on the other hand...! But that's another story. And this post isn't about me. It's about my beautiful babies and the astonishing rate that they seem intent on running at these milestones and then hurdling them like they are a meer pebble on their path.
Change is an inevitablity of childhood, of life really. And the role of mother changes constantly. Things don't stay the same forever, and they shouldn't. When you're in the midst of the sleep deprived new born days you feel like it might last forever but it doesn't, it is all fleeting and ever changing. And over time you go from being absolutely anything and everything that baby needs, to being gradually less needed over time. I know that my children are ready for these next steps, and I know that these changes will happen, and that they need to. And that as their Mummy my role continues to change, and is about letting them go a little more and helping them embrace that change.
Change is good.
But in four and half months time, looming just the other side of what I hope we'll make the best summer ever; my children will be taking those early tentative steps on a path. A path that lasts them through to adulthood, and with any luck beyond... education! It's a path I feel passionate about, and one I can't wait to explore with them in places, but it is their own path, and one that will ultimately lead them away from my path and off in their own directions. And while I can't wait to see where their journeys take them, a part of me (the one I fight because I know she wouldn't do these children of mine any good) would just like to keep them little, and close to me, just that little bit longer.