The Starter Mom: Where did the time go?

by Nicole Loughan

braniac-babyMy children are simultaneously growing up too fast and too slow.

My daughter will soon enter kindergarten, real school, for the first time. In case you are a starter mom like me and didn’t know, back to school starts almost a few year before the new school year. School registration for kindergarten started for most districts in October. Almost all parents in my district are already registered because in March the district arranges face to face meetings with the principal. From there it’s time to brace ourselves for an onslaught of information packets and back to school meetings.

The entry paperwork for school requires an original birth certificate. I couldn’t find it in the file cabinet so I had to go through my daughter’s baby box. I reminisced looking through all of her baby things, like her tiny cotton hat and hospital bands. The tiny circles meant for her infant legs fit perfectly around my middle finger. I felt the weight of her growth in that hospital band, looking at her wrists now half the size of my own. In just four and a half short years she grew into half an adult, yet I can barely recall time passing. I was holding my emotions together until I called the doctor’s office to request her immunization records. As soon as the receptionist said, “Is it that time already?” I broke down.

“Already” is right. How did time go so quickly? I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that I was e-mailing my husband daily updates on her size in my belly, “this week an olive, next week a grape!”
Suddenly, my little olive is the size of six pumpkins and ready to go out into the world without me.
At the same time it’s all going too slow. My son’s potty training has taken all of eternity, or so it seems. I would love to hit the fast forward button and go right past the wet pants, floor cleaning, and underwear rinsing. I need two life remotes, one to speed things up and another to slow things down.

Moments I would like to pause are the evenings were we cuddle up and read books together. I sit in a rocking chair and my children each jump into my lap, picking a leg to sit on as I rock and read “Good Night Moon” for the hundredth time. Or those moments when they were babies and would touch my face and stare into my eyes as intently as if they had just discovered a new jewel. I miss those moments when we would communicate with smiles and cooing.

Things changed before I knew it. Our baby toys, what’s left of them, are bagged up in the attic. Gone is the thrill of the drum that lights up when you hit it, there is no more joy from the puppet with a bell on his hat, nobody wants to push the paw button for a song on the Laugh and Learn Dog. Forget about the book with the squeaky toy between the pages. My daughter now wants my Kindle or to go to her friend’s house down the street and my son wants to push cars down ramps and watch Mickey Mouse.
I know it’s the natural progression of things that children age and their tastes change, but it’s still hard when you stop and realize how fast it’s all going. I can’t help but wonder when time will slow down again.

After filling out my daughter’s school paperwork, I popped over to the Facebook page of a friend with nearly grown children and saw something that gave me a clue to how long this time distortion lasts and it aptly described my feelings. In the caption of a picture of her son’s college acceptance letters she wrote, “I’m not ready for this yet?”

For a full listing of requirements and district cut-off dates for local kindergarten registration in:

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