Greetings, friends. I’ve neglected you. I’m sorry. It’s been one thing after another: Visitors, play dates, parish council work and a multitude of horrible bugs that caused a half-term wipe out.
This evening marks the end of an era. A very special era. An era when a tiny pudgy hand in mine was omnipresent; wherever I went, she went. A magical time when I could tell her the sky was green, and she’d believe me. When cleaning out our chickens was the highlight of her day, and the delight on her face as she was handed the scrubbing brush was tangible. The tiniest things have pleased her: A bowl of washing up and soapy water, a tea set with some water to pour, paints and play dough and being able to play with her sister’s toys when she’s out.
But tomorrow she will be out, too. Tomorrow, Medium starts pre-school. She’s only doing two mornings a week, yet it feels like a colossal change. My little friend is going to be taking her first steps towards independence, and I’m not sure I like it.
Medium is brilliant. She’s inquisitive, brave and friendly. A natural leader with bags of confidence. She’s excited about “Goin’ a pee-schoo” with her Buzz Lightyear backpack and her glow-in-the-dark dinosaur plimsolls, although she’s not worked out that I won’t be there yet. Big has promised to do ‘good big sistering’ and look after her. I think it may end up being the other way round.
I wonder if pre-school know what trust is placed in them when we hand our tiny littles over to them. Do they realise that they have our whole world inside those four walls and how hard it is that we are shut outside? I have nothing but admiration for Big (and now Medium’s) pre-school. They’re wonderful ladies who truly care about their charges, but what if they can’t settle my Medium if she gets upset? What if they can’t decipher her two-and-a-half-year-old patois? The tiger in me is curling her lip and ready to snuggle my cub back in our cave and never let her go (do tigers even live in caves?). She’s such a special little girl. I’m going to miss her.
Tonight I will go in and look at my Medium sized baby as she sleeps. I will burn the image into my memory. My little lovely the night she was still all mine, before new influences entered her world. I will still be holding her hand as she takes her first steps as a little girl tomorrow. The day might mark a new stage in her ‘growing up’, but she’ll always be my baby.