Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Age before cuteness

Mummy blogs rather tend to focus on the early years. Indeed FDMTG was born alongside my twins charting their early years from their first smiles to their first words, examining the contents of nappies in minute detail and sharing the perils of bedtime for four boys. I suspect this trend is due to the comedic potential of small children, twinned with the acres of boredom that stretch between moments of note when your child can neither speak nor walk.

I know that I am as guilty as any mummy blogger of seeking to preserve those precious moments of baby- and toddler-hood. To use my blog to stroke their golden curls, to suck in the fragrance of a warm and milking babe in arms, to capture those ephemeral bubbles as they burst at bath time. I used to believe that there were just a few fleeting golden years of childhood, that were provided to ensure that you could cope with older children once their cuteness was buried under sulky moods and ill judged pre-teen fashion fads.

The image of your dungaree clad toddler smudged with yoghurt would somehow blur the edges of an acned teenager throwing a strop over pocket money, allowing you to retain some degree of maternal love long after the cuteness that first won your heart had worn off.

As usual I was wrong. I find that as my children grow older I grow ever fonder of them. Of course I have not actually hit the teenage years yet, but there are certainly plenty of hormones stewing within my volatile 10-year-old to give me an inkling of what lies in store, but I'm not scared anymore.

Yes his chubby cheeks have slimmed down and he wouldn't appreciate me covering his bottom in kisses any more, but it turns out that the fulfilment derived from having a sarcastic exchange with him, or discussing The Fault in Our Stars with him is far greater than basking in a toothless baby smile.

Yes we fight, he was horrified at my heartlessness when I failed to cry while reading the aforementioned Fault in Our Stars. But then we make up as he almost had to carry me out of the cinema as I sobbed uncontrollably at the celluloid version of the book. We hurt each other occasionally as we share the same mildly cruel sense of humour, but he is the only man to whom I will willingly apologise and he melted my heart by bringing me a bunch of flowers after a particularly contentious exchange.

I have discovered that while a deliciously cute toddler offers a hit of sweetness like a swiftly gobbled chocolate, an articulate and sceptical pre-teen is to be savoured like a fine and complex wine. Sure I can't make him giggle by blowing raspberries on his tummy (though I could still try, he's not that grown up), but I can discuss the relative merits of religion or whether or not it's worth wading through the arcane language to get to the heart of Shakespeare.

So while now I might feel a twinge of nostalgia in the making as I watch my twins run the obstacle race at reception sports day, their little legs pumping under their shorts as they pound to the finish line, their little arms reaching for me when I tell them it's time for mummy to go. Now I am comforted by the thought that this isn't the end of the line when it comes it feeling your heart contract with love for your children, in fact the best is yet to come.

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