Whenever I look at my baby daughter - whether she is sound asleep in her moses basket, feeding contently or giving me a big cheeky smile - I don't want these moments to end.
With your first child you can't wait to reach the big milestones. We rush to wean onto food, impatiently anticipate their first word and step, even look forward to that first painful tooth popping up.
Perhaps its excitement at becoming a parent, mixed with trying to keep up with other mums and a need for reassurance that we are doing a good job. But we seem so keen to reach each milestone as soon as possible, eager for our children to advance beyond their age, that before we know it they are not babies anymore. I know everyone says it but its true - they grow up so fast.
As they grow into toddlers and young children, it is all about how quickly they can potty train, learn to count, learn colours, shapes and numbers. At baby groups there's lots of talk about whose child is doing what. Within families and friendship groups, children are often compared. Even with the best will in the world it's hard not to get caught up in this competitive behaviour. It can be a lot of pressure, and combined with the worry we secretly put on ourselves that our children are not developing as fast as they should be, it can make us rush through these moments without really appreciating everything that came before them.
I know she will walk at some point. And then spend most of her time running away from me. So I will treasure the moments that we have now, while she is perfectly content in my arms and she, like me, is in no rush to go anywhere.
I know we have lots of amazing experiences to look forward to as she grows but right now I want things to stay this way for as long as possible. It would be nice to be able to just press pause for a while.
Right now she needs me. She relies on me. She only knows love. She knows nothing of the hurt and sadness in the world. In fact, she knows nothing of the world at all, outside of her loving home and family. She's so little, and new. I don't want that to change. But it will. And much sooner than I would like. She's already starting to lose that new baby smell.
This time round I am in no rush. I won't wish away her childhood in anticipation of the next milestone. I want to take my time to enjoy it. I think sometimes we pay too much attention to what the books say, what other babies can do, the choices other parents make, instead of listening to our own instincts and enjoying our own journey.
Of course I will still celebrate the milestones. I will be so proud of all the firsts and welcome each new chapter in her life. In our life. But at the same time, I will miss the chapter that inevitably has to come to an end. She won't be a baby for long. Let's press pause and enjoy it.Suggest a correction