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Those “My baby this week” emails never seemed to let up.
Every week they arrived in my inbox, pre-empting how my daughter was starting to assert herself and flagging up what mobility milestones were just around the corner. I used to find their frequency unsettling.
“I’ve never liked change – a teacher once told me I thrive on familiarity and routine (which sounds a bit dour, I know)”.
So every Saturday morning a knot in my tummy tightened as I read how my little bundle of black hair was becoming more independent.

You often hear “they grow up so fast” – but nothing prepares you for the sheer velocity of it, particularly in the first twelve months when they do more growing than they ever will in the space of a year. Apparently, by two, toddlers can reach around half their adult height…terrifying! Trying to keep up, let alone stay one step ahead, is exhausting. And sentimentality slowed me down. For a while I stopped counting how old Olive was – so when anyone asked I’d say nine months, because she was the last time I counted (two months ago). I had to be cajoled into turning her pushchair round so she could sit front-facing at twelve months. And was I still breastfeeding (albeit barely) at 21 months because Olive wanted to? Probably not.

But at some point (I’m not sure when exactly) she stopped growing for the sake of it and I started to see where she was headed. No, she doesn’t sit passively smiling back at me in her pushchair anymore – she says “hello” to flattered passers-by and waves (with both hands) at buses until someone on-board waves back. And she would out me if I let anyone believe she was any younger than “twoooo” (she likes to hold up both index fingers and say “twoooo” when anyone asks her age, even though she’s not yet). I find her more enchanting everyday. So grin and bear the growing pains (and open those emails), because now I honestly can’t wait to see what she does next.

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