I look at her now as she sits in front of me, unaware of my gaze and in her own little world. I watch her hands grasp her toys and I hear the characterisation in her voice as she marches the animals around the floor. She is a little girl. At this present moment a very happy little girl, playing contentedly in the middle of the room. My mind flashes back to a time not so long ago, when a much smaller girl lay in that very same spot. I picture the baby friendly floor-mat and can almost reach out and touch her musical toys, they are that vivid in my memory. Legs kicked and arms waved, we celebrated laughter and even the slightest of moves around the mat with that tiny body of hers. I remember having to move the mat away a few months after that when a rolling and then shuffling little miss wouldn’t stay still. My eyes could barely tear themselves away from her then, just as they can’t today. Only today, the baby is gone. She has been replaced by a girl of almost three years, a walking, talking, thinking girl with her own mind and her own ideas. I answer her questions (and there are a LOT of those at the moment) and I listen as she answers mine. I brush my fingers through her growing hair and wonder, at what point did this long, curly hair replace the little bald head my new-born had? I look at her dress, her little socks and shoes and picture a time when things like that were kicked off within minutes of us dressing her. A time when she practically lived in sleepsuits or vests, little bare legs kicking freely around and think about how much that’s changed. This girl helps choose her outfit daily, and if she were able she’d be in ‘boot-i-sull dresses’ every single day of her life. This girl in front of me makes me prouder each day, and shows me a love that I hardly thought possible. That tiny baby that used to lie there made me nervous, excited, scared and truly blessed to have her.
The two girls are one and the same, they are both my baby at different points in my life. In some ways time has gone fast but at the same time, I can’t imagine life without her. We have two children now, both beautiful, both amazing, but it was on the day that this almost-three-year-old was born that my life changed forever. I became more worried, I became more grateful, I became more tired and more exhausted. On that day my heart was fuller than it ever had been, I was happier, more anxious, more worn out and more proud. I became a mother. My life will never, ever be the same again. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.