This time last year Ethan was preparing to leave preschool. He had had his school visits with his "big school". I remember attending with him (along with a tiny baby Felix who didn't really move and didn't mind being stuck in a buggy!!) and thinking how small he appeared in comparison to the children currently in the reception class, in their uniforms, knowing the teachers, knowing where everything goes. They seemed so grown up and now, one year on, my own little boy is just the same as them - at least in the eyes of the new school Mums attending the settling in mornings with their preschoolers. In my eyes though, he's just the same.
Accept he's not, is he? If I look at it objectively, if I look back at the year as a whole, I can see so many changes, physical, emotional, educational. He is taller. He still seems diddy in comparison to much of his class but I know he's grown. I can see the evidence in black ink marked up on our wall chart. He's actually shot up by about 7cm in the last year. He can read. He wasn't able to do that a year ago. He can write far more than his name. He can write phonetically. Even if words aren't spelt correctly, they sound right when you read them out. He can count far beyond 100. He talks to me of diagraphs and trigraphs. Things I am supposed to understand but at not yet 5, he is already talking to me in a language I am struggling to decipher! Just today, on the school run, he said "Mummy, let's count in even numbers!".
This time last year, the stabilisers on his bike had just come off. Today he whizzes around at breakneck speed and is about to move onto his THIRD bike (when you include the balance bike he had from age 2). An age 5-8 BMX with skulls on it!
He can swim almost without any support. He will jump in the pool and go underwater. All things he wasn't doing a year ago.
Right in front of my eyes my little boy is disappearing. I just want to press pause. Each morning I drop him at school and on the walk home, find myself tearing up behind my sunglasses. How can this be? Where has this year gone? How can he be moving into Year One? He's not ready, is he? Yes. Yes he is. It's me who isn't ready.
I know he still needs me and boy do I cling to that. When he is ill, it's me he wants. I have to admit that in some weird way I rejoice a little when he is ill. It's a rare chance to hop off the cartwheel of life and just be together (well, as together as we can be when Felix is jumping all over us). I can keep him home from school for a day or so and we can have some time. It feels like precious stolen time. Life is SO busy these days, the weeks pass in a blur and one day runs into the next. There hardly ever seems to be time to stop. It it's the week, we are busy with school, swimming, dance class, reading homework.. If it's the weekend we are busy going out and about, visiting friends and family. If we get the chance to have a day at home, the car needs washing, the windows need washing, the lawn needs mowing, the fences need painting. There is ALWAYS something.
This is why it is speeding by so fast. That and the fact we have Felix. He adds a whole extra layer of busy to the mix.
Sometimes, I fantasise about a time a few years from now. When Felix is 3 for example, maybe at preschool a few times a week. In my fantasy I get more time to work on my blog, time to look for a job, time to myself. I also have two lovely boys in my future fantasy; Ethan will be 7, Felix 3. Those are nice ages I think. I suspect that this will be the "golden time". The boys will be young enough to still be sweet and un-jaded. They will still question everything and enjoy being with us, like to snuggle up on the sofa together. I can image us as a family of four getting out and about. Camping, travelling, going to a festival. Unencumbered by baby gear, nappies, buggies etc. When I have a hard day dealing with Captain Energy (Felix) I think of those days.
I worry that Ethan doesn't get enough of my attention at the moment. It's worse than when Felix was a newborn. At least he slept more in the day then and I could have a conversation with Ethan uninterrupted. These days, with Felix only napping for about 20 minutes all day long and not sitting still for a moment in-between I get very little time I can dedicated solely to Ethan. This is another thing that makes me sad. My little boy is slipping through my fingers and I don't have time to catch him.
Gosh, I am getting maudlin! I have Slipping Through My Fingers by Abba going through my head and tears forming in my eyes as I sit in a busy Starbucks. I don't want him to turn 5 in two weeks. I don't want him to move into Year One. I want him to stay in my arms forever so I can stroke his cheek and smell his wonderful "Ethan" smell. Unless he farts. Then he can get the heck off my lap ;-)
I'm just going to share the Abba lyrics so you can all blub along with me and then I'm going to eat a Krispy Kreme donut.
Slipping Through My Fingers - ABBA