Yesterday’s outfit choices revolved around one dress.
Taking so many photos of my daughter’s quirky taste, I have had another chance to savour just how much I love this little person. I forget often that she is only two and a half. She seems so much older in many ways. When I carry her up or down the stairs her long body just wraps around me and her hands always play in my hair. Little, and yet hardly a toddler anymore.
We got caught in a rainstorm yesterday and by the time we got home, all three of us were soaked. The rain was coming down so hard it was hurting my face, and Ava’s little cheeks were lashed bright red. I felt awful. I couldn’t carry her, like she wanted, because Ezra was in the sling, and I knew we had to get home as quickly as possible. As soon as we were inside, we took off all our clothes and snuggled in bed, eating ice lollies, whilst Ezra nursed and Ava told me all about her day so far. She wanted to look at ‘baby Ava photos’ so we did, and she looked so tiny in them. Her little 8 month hands grasping a pint glass full of water and chugging it down. That made her giggle.
She’s still my baby and will always be of course. She still needs me, but in different ways now, preferring often to play upstairs in her room or in the garden. When she’s in a mood with me, she likes to tell me off. And she is still very attached to me. But she’s two and a half. (I’ve always loved how attached she was, expected it to be this way as it was for me as a child, and have actively encouraged it. I expect we will do just the same with Ezra.)
Yet even this is changing. She doesn’t always want me if she’s upset. Sometimes it’s Daddy too. And there are certain people who she will happily go off with – sometimes unexpectedly, like yesterday, when she went off to play with Callum, Coral’s partner, for quite a while.
I want to savor as much time with her as possible. Even on those long, slow, difficult days, when she is being incredibly willful about everything and it is much harder to bask in her loveliness, she is still my baby come bedtime, wrapped up in blankets with sleepy, rosy cheeks.
Everyday something changes and she learns something new. She talks about how she is ‘such a big girl now’, and she is compared to Ezra, so new and little. But I hope she stays a child – with that childish magic – as long as she wants. So many of us miss it once its gone. Immersed as we are in a culture which does everything possible to take away that magic as early as possible, I feel like it is my job to guard it and let Ava, all my children, create their own worlds for as long as possible. Sometimes I get a glimpse of what that was like – just a momentary flashback of abandon – and I long to be able to shake off all my heavy adult ways and go back there to that place I can barely remember, that is Ava’s whole world right now. Long may that continue.