Has anyone seen my little girl?
I'm not entirely sure when exactly it happened, but somewhere,
somehow it happened and no-one told me. I first noticed sitting in
my car one day when I turned around to find this little girl
sitting in the car seat in the back. No not the baby I thought I
had, but a real, proper, 100% genuine, little girl. It was one of
those moments when you turn, look, turn back again, realise just
what it was that you're looking at and jerk your head back around
with a startled stare as your jaw hits the ground. That was the
moment that I realised that my little girl was growing up.
I should have realised when we got the note from our day-care to
say that Maddie was going to be "graduating" from the babies' room
that she was in to the toddlers' room. It just never sank in.
Of course there were the moments of extreme gushing pride from us
as parents that our daughter was indeed growing up, but really it
was a realisation in name only until that day it actually
Personally I blame day-care. Don't get me wrong, our day-care is
absolutely fabulous and they do so much with Maddie in terms of her
learning and keeping her stimulated in ways that we could never
imagine us being able to do at home. They keep us up to date with
all the little milestones and achievements that she has along the
way and let us know about all the good things she is doing. The
other week when I was dropping her off one morning on my way to
work, I had a chat to one of the teachers who was particularly
impressed at how Maddie had grasped the concept of "tidy up time"
and was always willing to lend a hand to help out, especially with
her still being quite young (OK so we'll see if she's still willing
to help out at "tidy up time" when she's a teenager, but that's a
bridge we'll cross when we come to it). This sort of information is
fantastic to get and makes you proud as a parent that somehow, in
your own muddling through kind of way, you actually managed to get
something right. My issue is that no-one tells you that your
child is growing up so fast and it's not until something happens
that lets you see it for yourself, that you actually realise
It does however make you appreciate the time that you do get to
spend with your child, particularly these days where families like
ours do need to have both parents working full time to get by. As
she is growing up, Maddie is getting more and more interactive. Her
vocabulary is expanding and new words seem to be emerging from her
mouth now on an almost daily basis. She likes to inform me while
driving in the car on the way to day-care that she has seen a "dog"
out the window and it goes "WOOF!" She is very definite
about her likes and dislikes and she isn't afraid to tell you all
about it - "NO!"
Right now Maddie is all about trying new things and showing us
just how clever she is. If she had her way she would be
dressing herself, but she just can't seem to figure out how to get
her head through those darn holes. This very evening while Maddie
was with me in the kitchen supervising the cooking of dinner, she
was showing me how well she can now jump, accompanied of course by
the "Jump! Jump!" commentary.
Maddie is also gaining a sense of family - not just with Mummy
and Daddy, but with her Nan and Poppa (pronounced with a shout and
two exclamation marks, "POPPA!!"), her Aunty Karen and (Uncle)
Timmy, and all the other surrogate Aunts and Uncles made up from
our cousins and other extended family and friends. And with that
sense of family comes a sense of belonging and finding her own
little place in this world that of course revolves around her.
No matter which way you look at it, there is no escaping the
fact that children do grow up. This brings me back to my
original point that there should be some sort of mechanism to
remind us more regularly that our children are in fact doing just
that and growing up. We as parents should not have to be put
through the stress and sudden shock of one day realising that our
beautiful babies have disappeared and been replaced by equally
beautiful little girls and boys. We need something like the red and
yellow marker flags on the Amazing Race to let us know that we're
on the right track and the accompanying clues about what our next
challenges are going to be. But we also need to sometimes be able
to tape the journey so that we can look back on all the things that
we have accomplished along the way. Certainly that's not too much
to ask is it?