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My little girl is all grown up

(46 Posts)
motherinferior Wed 02-Feb-05 09:05:46

DD1 is four today. And I feel a bit sad.

It's not that I feel the last four years have 'just flashed by'; far from it, they've been a long hard slog, and have frequently reduced both DP and me to weary tears. But four is so very definitely not a baby or a toddler any more - and she isn't, she's a definite, funny, articulate, clever little person. I can see (as her lovely childminder said this morning) just how ready she's going to be for school, and how much she'll get from and enjoy that - which is an enormous reassurance to me as she sets off into the future. But that's just it: the future. I can do babies, and I do love having babies (slog and tears admittedly involved). This is something very new, and I do feel sad at saying goodbye to what we've had before. DD2 is getting on for two, and really babyhood's a thing of the past in the Inferiority Complex.

I do realise that my misgivings are also to do with my own history - my parents are good at very small children, and then everything goes to pieces, and our relationship deteriorated pretty well permanently from my early teens. I know that doesn't have to repeat itself - that this isn't necessarily the start of a long, permanent and harrowing goodbye. But I'm still worried.

So please reassure me that four and five and six year olds are utterly fabulous, and that this is the start of something really special!

weightwatchingwaterwitch Wed 02-Feb-05 09:12:54

Honestly MI, four and five and six and seven year olds are fantastic! I can't comment beyond that as we're not there yet but I once posted here that I wished I could give birth to (well, be given actually) a ready formed 4 year old because life is so lovely with them. Plus SO much easier because you can have wonderful conversations with them and they are such fantastic company and a joy to be with, on the whole. And your girl thinks Barbie is an alien and she's a princess with GUNS so I feel sure you've got a fabulous time ahead of you. Hey, that's the thing about our parents, we can so see where they went wrong and make our own, different, mistakes instead Things you can do with a 4yo:
take her to the cinema
take her out to supper with a reasonable chance of decent behaviour
Read all the best books you'd forgotten from your own childhood
and a million others. This really is going to be lovely, I bet you. Come back and have a go at me in a years time if I'm wrong but I don't think I am!

Fennel Wed 02-Feb-05 09:12:56

my dd1 is 4 and I think it's great - 4-8 year old are just lovely, so keen about everything.

and it's so great to be past the worst of toddlerdom

nailpolish Wed 02-Feb-05 09:12:57

HUGS MI, you dont have to be sad

i have 2 dd's, 2 yrs apart too

Carla Wed 02-Feb-05 09:21:19

MI, I know exactly what you mean. It's like sand slipping through your fingers, isn't it? I just want to freeze mine, too. WWWW is absolutely right though, of course.

I was looking through photos the other day of when dds were about 1 and 2, and got all gooing about it. However, I remember that stage being one of the hardest I have ever had to cope with, too. They're still gorgeous, but in different ways. I absolutely adore my children - they are my world, but engaging in a bit of navel gazing the other day I realised how lucky I am that I really like them too. Hope that makes sense!

Carla Wed 02-Feb-05 09:21:40

As people, IYSWIM!

Pidge Wed 02-Feb-05 09:23:37

Just think of all the fab activities you can do with a 4-6 year old that a baby can't appreciate. Plus she will just get funnier and more entertaining.

I used to be horrified looking at other people's toddlers when my dd was a baby - what hard work, I thought, and how irritating they are. Now I think 2-3 year olds are great and babies a bit boring (hoping to change my view on that in the next month ). And I suspect I'll feel the same way about 4-6 year olds - you just adapt to the stage your child is at and find that age the most adorable and interesting.

JanH Wed 02-Feb-05 09:32:24

IME they are incredibly entertaining all the way through primary school - 4-7 are sweeter, but 7-11 do and learn such interesting things and are really quite educational to have around, and there's always something coming up to look forward to.

They learn things at primary school now that we (well, I anyway) didn't get until secondary, but in a much simpler way so that even simple me can grasp them, and looking at their books at parents' evening is a total joy. And the conversations (serious and silly) you can have with them...loads to look forward to, MI!

Bozza Wed 02-Feb-05 09:32:59

I think you put that really well Pidge. I remember when DS was about 8 months old and sleeping through to about 5.30 am and having naps in his cot and being really sociable and engaging so basically past that really difficult, colicy early baby times I wanted to freeze time. But our relationship continued to grow and he will be 4 in a couple of weeks, going to school in September (will definitely be ready) and I'm sort of feeling the same again.

Enjoy your DD's birthday MI. For the first time this year, DS has got definite ideas about what he wants - presents he would like, what kind of cake, who are his friends he wants to invite. Think it is lovely to see his individuality develop.

Fennel Wed 02-Feb-05 09:46:25

Pidge you are right. now dd1 and dd2 are nearly 5 and 3.5 I can't seen anything good about toddlers, they are so much nicer now! Babies are lovely though I would love dd3(9m) to skip the years between 18m and 4!

crunchie Wed 02-Feb-05 09:58:06

MI I know exactly how you feel, however DH and I often say how we can't wait until dd2 is the same age as dd1 (ie nearly 6 instead of nearly 4!) Although it seems like wishing your life away I would much rather reason with a 6 year old than a nearly 4 yr old. For example we went on holiday and I didn't pack any skirts (skiing holiday) I have more than 2 hours of tantrums as dd2 wanted to wear a skirt. No matter how many times you say it is impossible that doesn't register with a 3 yr old

Our elder dd (6 in March) is great (some of the time) She comes in from school having learnt really interesting things, she asks intellegent/funny questions, she can (usually) get dressed in the morning and she is learning to get her own breakfast!! (selfish mummy, means lie-ins on weekends!!) I am starting to see a real rounded person who, although ifuruiates me at times, I can finally explain WHY and reason with her.

My worry is the teenage years (saw Brat Camp last night, full of middle class drop-outs) and therefore I am trying to be tough right now. So far my favourite time has been since she turned 5, and without wishing away babyhood I can't wait for DD2 to get there.

binkie Wed 02-Feb-05 10:50:47

I wonder if it's the hugeness of birthdays altogether?

They always get me, and ds too - the night before his he said sadly I don't want to be four, I want to stay three.

There's something else as well - projecting here, but I minded about dd's birthdays because she was such a fabulous 2yo, so how could she be as good as a 3yo; but then she was, so how could she be as lovely a 4yo ... etc. etc. But guess what, she goes on being glorious in just the same unforeseeable way, save each year it's More So. And yours, as we know, is the same!

(PS I ran into our lovely tutor last night at the launch of her new book.)

Catbert Wed 02-Feb-05 10:59:46

Aw - your post made me well up! Having only 2.5 and 11month old DDs I can see everyone's point of view here, and your post echoed almost exactly what my friend said about her DDs (now aged 9, 7 and 5) and how she looked at other people's children, and was slightly scared as to whether she would LIKE children, because she always LOVED babies and toddlers - but she constantly raves about them, and is completely felled by their attitudes, conversations, cleverness, and general marvels they allow you to share with them on the journey through childhood! I always think of this and try to enjoy what I have now, and enthuse about our future journey together.

Also - IMO, teeneagers are DESIGNED to be difficult and rebellious, as it starts the process of REAL separation which is what we are all signed up for - creating the next generation of adults who will fly the nest and begin their own individual lives! Perhaps we all forget that sometimes!

motherinferior Wed 02-Feb-05 11:08:08

oooh, you're all making me feel better. I realise that also, now she's a bit older we have to reconfigure a bit on how we all live together as a family (something we still need to work on, as we're not brilliant at it!). Interestingly DD1 is terribly keen on talking about 'her family', too.

She is fun. Very good fun. And obviously quite thrilled about being FOUR.

Twiglett Wed 02-Feb-05 11:38:30

Oh MI .. I could have posted that .. DS is 4 in a couple of weeks and he's such a gangly little child .. not a chubby toddler any more

will wipe my eyes at how resonant your posting was, and go and read the replies hoping to salvage a little dignity along the way

scotlou Wed 02-Feb-05 11:53:51

0 - 2 Bad
2 - 3 Better (ds anyway - dd probably worse!)
3 - 5 Best!!!
And hopefully it will get even better.

My opinion anyway - I can't "do" babies and wish I could give birth to 3 year olds!

Cam Wed 02-Feb-05 11:54:25

Oh yes mi 4 is fab! This is the start of their massive educational learning curve - reading, writing and rithmetic! Wish I had the memory retention skills of a 4 year old!

sobernow Wed 02-Feb-05 12:03:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cutekids Wed 02-Feb-05 12:06:05

my 3 kids are 4,5 and 6 and all turn 5,6 and 7 in the first week of May!!!Because they're all so close in age,i've watched them in "stages".It seems to me that they grow up in 3month stages and it's amazing how quickly they grow out of the "terrible twos" into the "terrible threes"....! and suddenly into the "fabulous fours".Yes,I call them the "fab fours" because I really think this is the biggest turning point in kids.All of a sudden,they're less selfish,less demanding and you can reason with them and have proper chats with them.No more lugging buggies around everywhere.Yes,I think 4 is the turning point.But they get better and better as they get older and older.I think my kids are the most amazing,beautiful things in the world and we need to savour every moment.

ThomCat Wed 02-Feb-05 12:15:15

Oh MI - bless your heart. You're so lovley. Happy Birthday to your big little girl! She's always going to be your baby. Hope you all have a fab day.

CountessDracula Wed 02-Feb-05 12:18:05

Oh MI STOP IT you are making me blub at work!!!!

Anchovy Wed 02-Feb-05 12:43:39

MI - I'm taking a lateral view of your concerns and the obvious answer is....have another baby!

moondog Wed 02-Feb-05 13:09:27

Happy Birthday to your dd MI!
Well, I think 4 is a faaaaabulous age! I enjoy my dd more and more each day because we are able to do more and more exciting things together.
I love the fact that she sleeps properly, doesn't need nappies,doesn't need a bloody pushchair (oh how I hate the wretched things!)can eat properly, entertains herself, can swim, doesn't nned constant surveillance.
Need I go on? It is so liberating to be out of tyhe door in about 3 minutes as opposed to 15.

Ds (6 months) is a darling-a textbook perfect baby but to be honest I resent the limitations he puts on the things I want to do with dd. I am looking forward to palming him off on a babysitter evry now and then when we return to the UK next week, wicked cow that I am!

Happiness is......tripping gaily up three flights of stairs with noone else to get up them but yourself.

NB Read your article in the 'glossy' in a bookshop in Ankara on Sunday! Nice one!

sis Wed 02-Feb-05 19:22:37

Happy birthday to your gorgeous daughter and don't worry, the best is just around the corner - I have loved being a mother even more after my son passed the fours mark!

tigermoth Wed 02-Feb-05 23:16:54

MI I see I'm just in time to wish Happy birthday to your dd, though she's probably asleep by now.

Tons of reassurance heading your way. From my experience, you can do more with children, they show more of their personalities and the best thing of all is, they start to nurture you back. There's more give and take. I can draw strength and comfort from my sons, they are genuinely good company, I want to hear their judgement on things, they tell me things I didn't know. Can't speak for 11 year olds and upwards as we haven't got there yet.

I do miss my baby sons, it's true. It's as if we were visited by fairies but they have left and we now have two hulking great children in their place. But I love childhood - hated leaving it myself. Watching my sons step into childhood, and sharing their childhood with me, is something really special.

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