3 Going on 13. Help! Where's My Baby Gone? by Amber O'Brien
I have spent my crisp winters day picking out my daughters nursery unifrom which lead to me dressing her up in it and taking a million photos of her until she insisted I put my phone down and get her out of, and I quote, "these horrible clothes." After sending the photos of Hattie looking far too grown up around family members, I could feel my heart just aching. I wanted to cry because my Hattie was no longer my baby, she was finally a little girl.
I am incredibly proud of who she is and who I can see her turn into. She's caring, funny, head strong, stubborn and so beautiful but somehow I find myself missing her baby self. I am sitting here, listening to her little peaceful breaths on the baby monitor and I am just feeling awfully sentimental. I did something no mother should do when in this state, I pulled out Hattie's baby album and I just miss everything about her as a baby - even the finding sick in my hair, clothes and even once, my mouth but most of all I miss the days where she used to fall asleep on my chest, the days where I used to watch her fall in and out of a milk coma.
I feel like I sometimes took the baby days for granted. I yearned to hear her voice and imagined what her toddler self would be like and now I am sat here with a 3 year old little girl who grew up in a blink of an eye. I can no longer feel her stubbly ginger hair against my lips or simply cuddle her in a babygro.
I remember I used to be up every two hours with a newborn Hattie, attending to all her needs and every night I would think the same thing. I would think, only a few more months and she'll sleep through or when shes a toddler she'll be so much easier to handle, I wont have any anxiety when I leave the house. How wrong was I?! Three years on and Hattie still doesn't sleep through the night, I struggle to get her to have a bedtime routine and my aniexties most days are through the bloody roof. Hattie no longer cries for feeding or burping instead she crys because I've served her food on the Peppa Pig plate instead of the Shimmer and Shine plate. She cries because she doesn't want to get out of the shower even though its taken me half hour and three tantrums later to get her in the shower in the first place.
Basically, parenthood is hard no matter what the age of the parent or child. The worries don't disappear - they just change form and shape. Life moves too quickly, so quickly in fact that even though I have been with Hattie everyday since the day she was born, I actually feel like I've missed a huge chunk of her growing up. I absolutely love having a three year old around me. I love her funny stories, I love hearing all about her crazy dreams and her new little faces she pulls but I so miss the fresh new baby smell and her little baby giggles.
Children grow up in a blink of an eye so try and enjoy every moment as much as you can. I am not saying you can't google "why does my child hate me?" at 3am when you've been up every half hour with a baby that doesn't need changing, feeding or burping and you're stuck on what to try next. That's completely normal, that's motherhood. And motherhood is also wanting to get on the floor with your child in the supermarket and show them what a real tantrum is like because lets face it, you have much more to scream about than your child does. What I am saying is, instead of sitting there, wishing the time away, like I did after many sleepless nights, enjoy the now. The future becomes the present far quicker than you'll ever think. Take it from me, my baby is getting ready for school and it still feels like yesterday I brought her home from the hospital.
Hi, I'm Amber. I'm 23 and I live in Wales. I have a beautiful daughter, Hattie who is 3 and is a little wild. Writing for me is an escape. I write about the good, the bad and the down right ugly of parenthood. Sometimes being a mother can be very lonely and writing is a way to make me feel connected to the world that's right outside my front door. I aspire to help people with my words and to bring my daughter up to be a strong, independent, lovely woman. Since leaving school at 17, I forgot how much I enjoyed putting pen to paper until I had Hattie. She made me realise just how much writing can soothe the soul and help you feel a whole lot better about any given situation.