Making the most of pre-school years has been on my mind a lot recently. Having your last baby, when your first is in their Reception year at school really brings home how quickly these years pass. I look at Lady Mck and am reminded so much of her eldest brother, who is now well and truly settled at school and no longer looks totally alien in his school uniform. I see friends sending their children to school for the first time this and it feels like yesterday that I was doing the same and the most scary thing of all, something I shall be doing again next year, as Nano starts in September 2015.
Days with small children and babies can be so, so long. So many tiny activities that they tire of easily, so many naps to make happen and feeds to do and tantrums to endure, but the years whizz by and before you even feel you’ve had time to breathe they are gone. At school, starting a new journey, that you are never quite as involved in as anything before. I never realised, before I had children, that so much of being a parent is about letting go in tiny increments, from the baby days onwards. I haven’t really come to terms with that and I am not sure I ever will.
I am already thinking of next September and how quickly my time with Nano has gone, even quicker than with Mini Mck. That’s the thing with second and third children, they have to fit around a family, not just a couple. Your attention is divided and so time passes even quicker. This seems particularly true of a middle child. Poor Nano was born when his brother was only just two, a whole year before pre-school and by the time we had Monday to Friday together, I was pregnant again and so basically in a bad mood for nine months.
And so, we have this year. Three days each week will still be ours to do what we choose and I am determined to make the most of it, to make sure he gets the best of me and that I enjoy the best of him. It’s not easy though. I remember saying much the same about Mini Mck and I’m not really sure I did make the most of those final pre-school days. I am not much for big days out, my purse doesn’t run to it and I find the thought of them quite exhausting, but I am going to make sure we do some things during the week that are just for him, have a little structure so that his needs and mine don’t get choked out by boring jobs, the school run and the demands of a baby. I’m only talking a gymnastics play session, or a morning spent at the park and the library. Just something where I can soak it in, try to bottle the memory before he’s all grown up and off to school.
We did some of that last week on our first day together since the end of the summer holidays. We made the most of the sunny weather and took a picnic to the “water park”, a local park that has a lovely play area, which includes water fountains for the children to run through, randomly squirting from the ground. We stayed there so long that when it was time to collect MM from school, there were no complaints from Nano at all. We had spent a lovely afternoon playing, chatting, getting wet (him), cuddling in a towel to get dry (him with the towel, me doing the cuddling) and even a sneaky read of the kindle while Lady Mck slept (me). It was simple, inexpensive and relaxed. In fact a perfect start to our pre-school year.
I really recommend enjoying and embracing the mundane. Nano is at the age where he wants to be my shadow. He wants to help with shopping and baking and making the dinner and I love that older toddler stage, where they become proper company. Someone you can actually have a conversation with. So, we try to enjoy the boring bits. Cooking together, punctuating a morning of errands with a cafe stop or a visit to one of our favourite playgrounds. This is the stuff I need to remember, the things I will miss when these days are over.
The added bonus this year is that I will have a little time with just Lady Mck too, with Nano spending some time at pre-school, something he is hugely looking forward to. I can’t wait to be able to focus just on her, but I must make sure that for some of it I really do. It’s so tempting to use that time for cleaning and organising or even the odd sneaky afternoon of Nashville and crochet and I am sure that sometimes I will, but I know only too well how fast it all goes and so I am going to take Fairy’s advice and embrace every cuddle. Lady Mck and I will be doing some baby yoga and massage again, but I am mostly looking forward to having the time to just lie on the floor with her, listening to her babbling and giggling as she learns to move and communicate.
Fairy have produced a lovely video, that they have asked me to share, embracing the #powerofsoft and encouraging parents to enjoy those extra soft and special cuddles while they are so freely. I warn you, you may need some tissues for this video…..
Sponsored post. All words and views are, as usual, my own.