Not quite Peter Pan
I frequently tell the girls that they will always be my babies; even when they have babies of their own, they will still be mine. Recently, Bunny has come to understand what this means and will often mention it when I call her my baby girl in a moment of tenderness.
Yet this ‘baby girl’ has long slender legs that stride purposefully ahead of me, no longer dependent on my arms to carry them. Their owner has beautiful long blonde hair and huge, sparkling eyes that shine with delight throughout each day. This ‘baby girl’ will point out spheres and cuboids and tell me stories about Joseph’s coat, Noah’s ark and the nativity. She can back up her arguments with solid reason and persuade me to side with her or at least understand her point of view.
This ‘baby girl’ is fast becoming a lovely little girl with attitude and needs that far exceed the basics of survival. She knows that she was breastfed but wouldn’t have a clue how to do it now, she laughs with us as we try to persuade her little sister to use the toilet and cajoles her into trying to be a big girl too. She will try foods she claims not to like with more gentle persuasion than it previously took and she will regale us with tales of her play with her school friends.
Within the blink of an eye, my baby girl has disappeared and been replaced by the early drafts of a young woman. It is no longer impossible to imagine Bunny as a teenager or even an adult. The template is there and just needs some extra time to tweak into its final version. And like the redesign of a brand that becomes so normal it is increasingly difficult to remember what it was like before, so I am finding with my children. Those tiny babies, their images captured forever by modern technology, are so far removed from the little people curled up on the sofa with me that I can hardly believe they are one and the same.
I want them to stay little forever, yet at the same time feel such pride at seeing them grow and develop that I want to encourage them forward. They will always be my baby girls but I just have to work harder at remembering what that means.