For what feels like years, I've been having to remind myself that Oli is 'only two'. He follows his five year old brother around daring to believe he can do everything Max can do, and possibly better. 'And I are? And I are?' he'll say - as both question and declaration - hoping to put a dent in Max's claims to be the best at biking or running or digging in the dirt. 'And I are?' And now he's 3 and about to get some mornings to himself at school. Despite my earlier post about the three month eternity of the school holidays, this time of year feels packed with emotion. The children are getting older, which means I'm getting older, and while I want one, I don't necessarily want the other. And even as I want what is passing I need to say goodbye to it before it goes. A new daily landscape emerges as we settle in to new routes to new schools, and the inevitable need to get up even earlier in order to get places on time. New interests seek to be accommodated while I suddenly mourn the loss of all those unstructured days of pajama breakfasts, mega constructions and impromptu walks in search of sticks and puddles. My parenting has to shift around a bit to feel comfortable with the new age groups in the family and the different interactions. Taking on (even small) responsibilities at the children's schools feels like a weighty commitment. Was there really a time, five years ago, in the days when I had just one infant to care for, when I would take a lunchtime nap? The very concept feels extraordinary.
So in celebration of things moving on a little, Oli turned three and he had some friends round to acknowledge the fact. We slung bunting up around the garden and he ate large quantities of a cake designed to look like an airport runway. And once the party was over and three of the four beds upstairs contained slow-breathing boys, I snuck a look at some bad quality recordings of me, taken in the middle of last year, where I am trying to get Oli to say 'dotta bridge'. And I said goodbye to that little boy so that we can welcome what comes with the three year old version.