It's true, kids grow up overnight

Sometimes it can seem like your child has grown up overnight.
Sometimes it can seem like your child has grown up overnight. Photo: Getty Images

Whenever I have a night away from Miss A, I come back and she looks so much older to me than when I dropped her off. It seems ridiculous but if I miss even a day of her life it feels like I've missed out on something.

My anecdotal, and unscientific, observation that Miss A had crossed another threshold in maturity, after the girls stayed at grandma's last weekend, was backed up by two other people on the same day, who made unsolicited comments that they thought she also looked heaps older to them.

It's a hard thing to try and pin point. The intangible things are the hardest to describe. But being a writer I'm duty bound to give it a crack. Firstly, she has acquired more ability to communicate about the world. She's far more verbal, especially in the last week, so I'm getting more insight into what she's feeling and thinking. She's not just pointing at stuff and naming things anymore. She's interpreting the things around her now and telling me what is important to her, and why.

This step-up in cognitive function has given her face a different look. Instead of a mixture of emotion all coming out in quick-fire bursts, she's displaying more of a knowing calmness. Her looks and emotions are more distinct. She flashes a smile of mutual understanding when I make an ironic joke. She initiates jokes of her own and she thinks she's hilarious (which I have to concede she is). I used to get a lot of blank stares and wonder if there was anything going on inside her head. Now I can tell what she's thinking by her face. She's really come alive.

She's interacting on a much older level with her nearly five-year-old sister Miss K too. Instead of tagging along and annoying her older sister they're playing together a lot - making up games together even. Yesterday Miss K sat down and read her stories. In the near past Miss A would have just grabbed the book and tried to rip out the pages. Instead of climbing on Miss K's head, she'll go over and sit next to her or sit on her lap. That's a step up in maturity. Wait, scrap that last one. As I wrote that Miss A barged Miss K over, sat on her back and pulled her glasses off her face. Now she's chasing Miss K around the living room.  

She's graduating from her high chair. Sometimes she sits at the little kids' table to eat. This automatically makes her look older, though she still steals food off Miss K's plate when she's not looking.

I'm not sure what strange growth hormone is in her food, but I swear I can almost see her growing. She's getting so tall and hard to lug around now.

With Miss K we were so busy trying to work out how to do the parenting thing that she just seemed to morph into her current form almost overnight. I find it hard to remember what she was like as a 17-month-old (the age Miss A is now). I think I'm being far more observant with Miss A, thinking about and recording her development, so the way she was doesn't just melt away with the passing of time.

- Essential Mums