Something that happened recently made me realise how grown up the twins in particular really are becoming. Maybe it's because they are my last children and I do still think of them as the babies, I'm not sure, but they are now far less reliant on me for so many things. When they were born, each stage they went through always seemed to last far longer than it had with my older children. Perhaps it was just the monotony of caring for twins that made me feel this way. Weaning them it felt as though I needed to sprout some extra arms, octopus style, just so that I could deal with each child and help them with their food. Potty training seemed like an eternity, constantly asking "do you need a wee?", piles of pants and trousers to be washed daily. I think when your are in the throes of any of these types of child related events they often feel like they'll never end, but with twins, for me at least, everything just seemed to meld into one great big never ending drag.
Fast forward then to last week. We were cleaning out our shed (minor mouse infestation!) and I found the proper swing seat for their garden swing. I wondered when we would need to swap the baby seat that they have been using for the last two years for the one I had found. A quick google later and it turns out that the baby seat is only suitable until three - they are about to turn four, so I swapped the seats over. I thought I'd keep the baby seat just in case they weren't ready, but after an afternoon of wobbly swinging and some falling off they have both worked out how to use the new seat. I'm always mindful of not making our children grow up too soon, or pushing them on to the next stage before they are really ready, but it seems on this occasion I was wrong! Dd2 has even managed to get on to the swing by herself a few times, she is so proud of herself (you may at this point be saying "so what?" but she is quite tiny and still in age 2-3 clothes). She made me take a picture, although this was mainly because she wanted to put it in her "talking box" for pre-school (more on that another time).
Like a lot of mothers this week, I have been comparing two particular photos of my eldest daughter, one taken on her first day of primary school and the one I took on her first day in high school, just a few days ago. Yes, obvious I know, she's grown up as you'd expect her to, but seeing the two pictures makes me think of all the frustrations that she's had over her time at primary school, learning to read and write, making new friends, changing schools, all things that at some point she has had trouble with. I know we've both got challenges still to come but the girl I see in the most recent photo is responsible, organised, patient, keen to try new things and a great friend. She makes me so proud to be her mum (although she probably doesn't realise this).
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that regardless of how many different things parenting has thrown at me over the last 13 years, sometimes, just sometimes, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. It might have taken me a while to get there but whether it's a large tunnel or a small one, the end is always quite pleasing to see.