He is three. It’s gone by in the blink of an eye. That happens when you are in the middle. So much of his life has been slotted between an elder one potty training, starting nursery and school and a younger one growing and being born, that I hardly noticed him turning from my baby into a boy. As I look back at his early baby photos, I almost feel they are of someone else. His brother’s early days are seared into my mind. They were my first as a mother and were so hard, with a baby that resisted sleep. His sister’s are fresh and new and I feel I shall never forget them, although I probably will. He was squeezed in the middle, newborn days passed amongst the blur of raising a just turned two year old. He was just so good at being a newborn, a complete natural and so the days panned out with little incident. Now it is his turn to have the boyhood rites of passage. We have left nappies and pushchairs behind and they have been replaced with teeny tiny pants and his first scooter. Pre-school is looming in the distance and his final year before school is here already. He weaved himself into the fabric of our family so quickly and easily and is only now stamping his wishes on it, which is both frustrating and wonderful all at the same time. The quiet baby has turned into a noisy, chatty boy with his own ideas and needs. I need to pay more attention or it will be gone too soon. He is polite and fearless. Stubborn and gorgeous. Still all about the eyes. Big blue pools of thoughtfulness, framed by the lushest eyelashes I have ever seen, that seem to grow even bigger when big toddler tears fall out of them. Wrenching his independence from us and still wanting to cuddle. Wanting to be a baby and big boy. A muddle of contradictions and extremes. In another year he will be utterly changed again. Blink and you miss it, they say and we roll our eyes as we wade through another pre-schooler day filled with tiny tasks and tantrums, but they’re right. So don’t blink.