The last days of babyhood

"She'll always be my baby, but she's fast outgrowing babyhood."
"She'll always be my baby, but she's fast outgrowing babyhood." Photo: Getty Images

I still regularly refer to my young daughter as "that little baby". For example: "When is that little baby going to go to sleep?" or "what is that little baby up to now?" But last night I realised my 16-month-old girl has shed pretty much all of the vestiges of her babyhood. She's now a little girl - and an increasingly cheeky one, at that.

The transformation's happened gradually over the course of many months, but to me it seems like an overnight thing. One day she's strutting poking out her buddha belly, and the next she seems to have grown an inch and has lost all of her baby chub.

I was giving her a bottle before her afternoon sleep yesterday and I thought of the finite amount of times I have left to do this - to hold her in my arms like a baby as she feeds herself to sleep. Her older sister, Miss K, is already getting too heavy for me to carry around. We still have plenty of cuddles but one of the few times I carry her now is when she climbs on my back for a ride down the stairs. These precious moments of them being small enough to sink into your arms just go by so fast.

One day my girls will be all grown up and my memories of them as babies may be blurred by all the passing years. I'll probably be trawling the thousands of photos and videos we've taken or reading over one of my blogs to remember. They won't be grabbing at my arm and pleading for me to hoist them onto my lap as Miss A is doing to me as I write this.

Perhaps I'm thinking about Miss A's graduation from babyhood so much because it's the last time my wife and I will be experiencing this stage, having decided to stop at two. I feel like we've really savoured Miss A's antics this time around in a different way than we did with Miss K for this reason. With Miss K we were riding the rollercoaster of first-time parenthood - experiencing the joys and stresses of a series of firsts. We feel so lucky to have had our two healthy, happy girls.

Now when Miss A grows out of her clothes, which happens fairly quickly, they'll be getting handed down to another family rather than to one of our future children. The trusty buggy is starting to show signs of wear and tear but it only has to last another year if that. In the next six months Miss A will move up to a big girl's bed and the cot will be broken down and leaned up in a dusty, cobweb-filled corner of the garage.

While I am dwelling somewhat on the past here I know there's an enormous amount to look forward to. Miss K will be going to school soon. Miss A's kindy career will begin. She doesn't know it yet, but over summer Miss A has a date with the potty.

I know Miss A is growing up fast but she'll always be my "little baby".