Embrace the little things

Written by Amanda Coop

“I CAN’T believe I’m going to be double figures,” my nine-turning-10-year-old says dramatically.

“I feel so old!”

I chuckle at her definition of “old”.

“Kiddo, you’re not even close to old,” I tell her.

“But it’s been 10 years, Mum, 10. Whole. Years.”

She’s not the only one who’s been thinking lately about the decade that has passed since I took a glimpse of my first baby and gasped in wonder at how we had managed to make the most beautiful girl in the world.

Three-and-a-half years later we were joined by the most gorgeous little boy in the world and although I tell him how cute he is, he corrects me – “I’m not cute, Mum. I’m cool.”

A decade of parenting feels like a milestone for hubby and me as well. How is it possible that it feels like forever but no time at all? While I love watching them grow and learn and do new things, seeing photos of them in their smaller, chubbier days tugs at my heart.

To those just starting out in this parenting debacle, I’m not going to say anything as stupid as “enjoy every moment” because honestly, if you enjoy cleaning up poo-explosions or dragging a screaming toddler off the supermarket floor in front of a stunned and rather disapproving audience, then there’s probably something slightly wrong with you.

I don’t expect you’ll relish their first major vomiting episode (spoiler alert: it will happen in the middle of the night, it will involve every piece of bedding in their room and I hope you have a backup of that favourite comfort toy) and toilet-training is not something I can honestly claim to miss.

What I will say is embrace it. Make the most out of every day. There is something good in even the crappiest of days, even if it’s just watching your beautiful little person sleep peacefully after pushing you to the absolute end of your tether.

Take lots of photos – and be in lots of photos with them. I’ve always been a camera-dodger and being on the wrong side of the lens too often in their earliest years is probably my big regret.

If you’re going to co-sleep, enjoy it. Be comfy. Be safe and sensible about it (safe co-sleeping guidelines can be found here: Co-sleeping with your baby | Red Nose Australia).

Don’t feel guilty. The decision is entirely yours – but if some twit offers you the advice “once you put them in there, you’ll never get them out”, ask them how many adults they know still co-sleeping with their parents. More accurate advice would be: “Once you put them in there, they’ll kick you in the face 42 times and manage to take up an entire king-size bed even though they weigh 12 kilos.”

Apart from that, just love them and do your best.

And when it comes to glitter, just say no.