Sometimes, I wish I could freeze time. Stop everything moving, stop us all growing older and just live in a moment for a little while longer.
This summer was one of those times.
I’ve never really had a whole summer with my son before. He was born at the end of August, I returned to work the following August, and then for a couple of years we had a 2-week summer holiday together, but the rest of the time he was in nursery as the Greek God(zilla) and I both worked full-time.
However, now that I have stepped off the hamster wheel, this summer he was all mine!
I was excited for us to have so much time together, but part of me was a bit nervous about how I was going to entertain a 4-year old boy for 6 whole weeks.
Would he be bored? Would I be bored? How would I get any work done?
Before our week in Devon, I worried he would not enjoy playing on the beach for more than 10-minutes before complaining about the sand. Well, I was right about the sand, but he loved searching for crabs in the rock pools and bobbing up and down in the sea on his bodyboard. Most evenings, we ate out at a local pub and found a table right next to a children’s playground at the bottom of the beer garden. It really was a wonderful and relaxing week away.
Back home, we met friends for lunch, went to the cinema and watched a Sky at Night show at the Planetarium. All perfectly civilised!
We went to Crete towards the end of the holidays and I admit I was concerned when the Greek God(zilla) decided that we would not rent a car for the week, as I did not think a 4-year old would want to sit on a beach and relax with us all day. He didn’t. But, he was happy swimming in the sea for hours at a time. Every day, he’d pop his armbands on and we would take turns to be in the water with him. It was the most fun we have ever had together on a family holiday.
As my son is getting older and gaining more independence away from me, I find I am enjoying my time with him even more. Not that I did not enjoy the days when he was crawling, needed nappy changes, afternoon naps and had to be fed at very specific times of day or all hell would break loose – I loved that stage too, but we were not as free to enjoy all of the things we can do together now.
Swimming in the sea with my son is far more fun than pushing a buggy along the seafront to find a shady spot for lunch; and visiting the Planetarium is infinitely more exciting than a morning spent at Tumble Tots.
He can tolerate queuing without requiring a snack and I do not lose my place in the queue chasing after him when he runs off to grab someone else’s snack.
He has grown into a brilliant little lunch companion. There is no longer any need to strap him into a high chair, or pack an assortment of toys, books and puzzles to occupy him while I shovel food into my face. We study the menu together and then he decides what he would like to have. Pizza. Always pizza.
And, although I still go into the toilets with him, he can wipe his own bottom. I do not need to pack a handful of nappies, spare change of clothes and baby wipes.
I do not have the fear that I have forgotten the baby wipes.
He can dress himself, brush his own teeth, play happily by himself. Obviously, he is thrilled to bits if I get down on the floor and play cars with him, but he’s just as happy racing against Batman.
I spent a lot of time in the early days trying to make him laugh. A tickle here, a silly dance there. Now, he likes to try to make me laugh. His silly dance routines are hilarious and even more so now he has informed me his unique ‘choreography’ was taken directly from the Greek God(zilla)’s legendary footwork on the dance floor (kitchen floor).
On his 5th birthday, he was more interested in the gift than he was in the superhero themed wrapping paper. The following day, when I turned 41, he couldn’t wait to give me a present and even told me it was ok to eat cake for breakfast on your birthday.
So we did, because he will not always be 5 and want to share his birthdays with me.
I wish we could stay 5 and 41 forever.