I have just been staring at a photo sent home by son number two's nursery. It's of him last summer, aged two, at his nursery sports day. It's hard to believe its almost 12 months ago as, in that cliched way, it seems like just yesterday that his chubby little legs were propelling him down the field in the egg and spoon race. But now looking at those soft baby cheeks I see how much he has grown up over the last year and I can't help but feel a pang of nostalgia as I realise how quickly my boys are growing.
As we wade through the early weeks with the twins its easy to wish away the constant feeding and wakeful nights, the boredom of sticking to a six-week-old's schedule and the inconvenience of having to pack everything but the kitchen sink into the car for a five minute trip to the supermarket. But looking at this old photo of boy two and realising just how fast he turned from a toddler to a little boy, I know I need to hold on tight to every moment of the twins babyhood as it will be gone before we know it.
Although I do relish the independence growing children offer, allowing me that all important time to myself and perhaps the ability to earn an honest crust again, a little piece of my heart breaks with every 'last time' in my baby boy's lives.
The last time I attended a Gymboree class with boy number one, my throat closed with held back tears as I remembered taking him there a just a few weeks old to lie bemused in a babygro at the antics of Gymbo the Clown. As I drove away on the last day of nursery the tears flowed as I knew I would never never drop him at its brightly coloured door, that I wouldn't go to another washed out sports day in the nearby park, chat with his adorable teachers or watch him waltz off hand in hand with his best girlfriend to play in their garden.
When he started school last September I found it hard to reconcile the tall boy standing in front of me, so handsome in his uniform, with the deliciously, pudgy little baby who had, it seemed, been sleeping in my arms just weeks ago. Sometimes I still snatch a glimpse of that baby in a certain angle or expression on his face, but then its gone, replaced forever by this tall, gorgeous young boy.
This hankering for the past is part of the reason I ended up as a mum of four. Last year as I looked at what I thought was my last baby boy throwing off his nappies, learning to feed himself, racing out of his buggy and on the brink of starting nursery every day, I was in an agony of longing for one more bite of the baby cherry.
I wanted one more chance to stroke the silken curve of a baby's cheek, to lose myself in the liquid darkness of that impenetrable newborn stare, to hear that first word, witness that first step, hear uncontrollable toddler giggles as I push a swing higher and higher and watch one more baby grow up.
Since I ended up with two this time round, I am hoping that this double dose will be enough to cure me of my baby addiction forever as there are only so many times a mummy's heart can break as she watches her boys on their journey to become men.