When we were in Greece last October, sitting by the pool in the last of the summer sunshine (with a slightly subdued Scrip), we got chatting to another couple staying at the resort. They had a 2 and a half year-old, Cameron. In amongst the general anecdotes and advice I like to soak up from parents slightly ahead of us, I remember them saying how slowly the first six months go, and then how everything speeds up, and before you know it, your baby’s 18 months and you wonder where the time’s gone.
For me, it was probably the first eight months that went at the most leisurely pace. I was grateful for that as time went on – I remember being on maternity leave during the summer and revelling in the fact I had a few months of sunshine (hopefully) and Scrip gradually growing and changing stretching out in front of me. But, as I’ve said before, the first three or four months were pretty tough and I vividly recall counting down the hours from around 5pm until my husband came home, and being particularly relieved when the weekend came around.
At eight months, Scrip started crawling competently, and I went back to work, part-time. I was still getting my weekly and monthly baby updates (‘your baby at ten months’) and reading them as much as I could, but each month seemed to roll by much more quickly, and my newborn became my baby and then my little toddler. Her first birthday was suddenly upon us and before I knew it she was 13 months, and developing all the time. Cameron’s parents were right.
My going back to work hasn’t been a great return – for a number of reasons. But on particularly bad days, I really resent the fact that I’m travelling away from my little girl and won’t see her for at least 10 hours. And sometimes, when I come back, I feel she’s changed in that short time. It might be a new ‘word’ or a look or just general attitude, but it really is true that the rate of development at the moment is incredible.
It could be that I’m noticing it particularly because I’m not with her all the time, but in one way it’s amazing to see her grow up in front of me. After all, I’m always trying to teach her new things and I’m delighted when she picks them up. But in another, it’s quite scary how quickly it’s all happening. You never know quite what to expect as a new parent (and I still class myself as one of those) but one of the ways in which I’m having to change is by reminding myself to embrace and enjoy the newness as much as possible.