Monday, October 21, 2013

When something happens by mistake

We are talking to my parents, Elsie sitting on the sofa next to me, the conversation on loudspeaker so she can join in when she feels like it.

'Did you have fun with your friend yesterday Elsie?' my mum asks, 'what did you do?'

'She did a wee wee in her pants!' Elsie says, enjoying being the one to share the thrilling news.

'Oh dear, well accidents happen' my Mum says. 'I saw a photo of you both drawing.'

'Yes. And stickers!' Elsie remembers.

The conversation turns to me and my current low mood, prompted by broken nights and a baby who seems to be having an incredibly hard time teething and not helped by a ridiculous early-morning collision with a parked car.

'It was so stupid!' I moan. 'I was going slowly, there was loads of room but I just wasn't concentrating and it's just another thing I've got to deal with now.'

My parents are kind, tell me their own stories of mindless scrapes and I see that Elsie's tired.

'Enough about my car accident, it's time to get this little one to bed. Say goodnight Elsie'

Elsie turns her big brown eyes on me. 'The car done a wee wee Mummy?'

Friday, October 11, 2013

old father

Everyone says it, in one way or another. Time flies! Where does the time go? Time's passing so fast... but I can't help but feel it flits past us even quicker than for many others.

I was in the pharmacy asking for advice about an infected eye that was bothering Molly recently. The pharmacist was offering different options for washing it - boiled water, camomile... I told her how I was still breastfeeding and asked if the antibacterial qualities of breastmilk that the midwives raved about were still relevant. She looked down at 8-month old Molly in her pram and back at me 'well, yes, they do say that it helps, for babies.' I listened to the rest of her advice and paid a ridiculous amount for individually wrapped, sterile wipes but all the time I was screaming in my head 'she IS a baby!' She may wear clothes aimed at children double (yes double) her age but this is my baby!'

It brought to mind an episode this summer when Marek and I were showing the girls the maritime museum in Greenwich. Molly was on me in the sling and Elsie, still two years old at the time, had decided to sit in the buggy while we walked around. A lady, spotting Elsie being bumped down some steps, adressed us across the room. 'She's getting a bit old for that isn't she?' she said, with a disapproving tut. I was so surprised I did that thing where your mouth smiles, your eyes say 'whaaa?' and you make a kind of 'huh' noise. Only later did I think I should have asked her just how old she thought my little girl was, before suggesting politely that she mind her own business.

Our babies came out as big as most 3-month-olds. They ate and ate and continued to grow and develop at astonishing rates. Elsie is a lively but thoughtful giggly 3 year-old who towers above most of the others in her ecole maternelle class. Molly is a solid smiley crawler who loves nothing better than grabbing toys from her big sister's hands, squealing all the while. They are big but they are tiny. They have so much time ahead of them, I wish it didn't feel like we have somehow been cheated of the time when they were tiny little babies. My babies are still babies finding their place in this world. I wish this world would allow them to grow more slowly. Slow. Down. Time.