In just a few weeks from now, we'll be finding out which primary school my eldest will be going to. The whole thing is becoming a bit of a hot topic and I hear myself saying to her, at least a couple of times a week, "Of course, once you're at BIG school..."
It mostly rolls off the tongue but sometimes those words catch in my mouth – how have four and a half years gone so fast? What happened?!
This count down to September feels like the approach to the dawning of a new age. I mean, school – that's what really marks the end of the baby days isn't it?
I'm going to save the panicky feelings about sending my daughter out into the world (and beginning that process of her gradually leaving us) for closer to the time. But for now, I find myself contemplating the blur of these last several years and wondering, 'how much is left of the old me?'
By the time Ava buttons up her new school coat, I'll have been immersed in all things small child for five years – quite an intense five years as well. We had our two wonderful babies one after the other; every major stage we've gone through, we've gone through it all over again 12 months later (or less in some cases).
The truth is, no-one enters into parenthood with a full understanding of the potential it has it to change them, and their lives, do they?
So let's see...
What I have more of
Worries... about the world, the future, the happiness and health of my family.
Eye bags... Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for the parents of new babies as they discuss how very much they're looking forward to their offspring 'sleeping through'. A perfect night's sleep is still rare for us. In fact, will I ever sleep again like I once did? I honestly don't think I will.
Tolerance... for example I'm more tolerant of things like poo and mucky carpets, but I think I am especially more tolerant of other people's children.
Joy... in the little things, like daisies that close up and go to sleep at night, and tiny sparkly pebbles found of beaches. It's been amazing to be whizzed back to seeing how the world looks through a tiny child's eyes.
Washing... it's not even funny how much.
Laughter... I think I've always had a fairly good sense of humour, thank goodness (the times I've had to draw upon it...). And children, as well as sometimes being hard work are, above all, very funny.
What I have less of
Worries... about the silly and insignificant things, why sweat the small stuff?
Me time... I'm not even sure the phrase 'me time' meant anything to me before having the girls. I mean, all time was me time wasn't it? I can't really remember what it was like. Perhaps the phrase was actually invented for mothers? Now I beg, borrow and steal time for me. Do I ever do anything useful with it? Hell no, I watch telly (sometimes with my eyes shut).
Style... I can not believe how much my children eat. Sometimes they eat more than me, and this is why they grow so much and need new clothes so frequently. Subsequently, the majority of my clothes are older than my children. Stylish I ain't.
Muscle tone... to be perfectly honest, I find this a bit annoying. I do quite a lot of heavy lifting (children, laundry basket) and I push things a lot (the buggy, the hoover) and yet I'm getting increasingly wobbly. I guess I should use stolen me time more sensibly. Hmm.
Sex... Partly the result of aforementioned lack of sleep, and partly reason for aforementioned lack of muscle tone.
Any grasp of popular culture... Latest film releases? Who's at number 1? Who won the Man Booker? I can't tell you. I know all the names of Peppa Pig's mates though, and all the words and actions to Wind The Bobbin Up.
Yogurt... I never get a bloody look in here.
? = Perhaps I'm a rounder version of Old Me, but I reckon I'm still me... you know, more or less.
More on Parentdish: 50 things motherhood teaches you