He’s ready, I’m not …

Duke 1st Day at Care

I’m not going to lie, Duke has pretty much raised himself. The fourth, and final, instalment in my ‘from the womb’ series simply hasn’t needed too much of me.

Duke strutted out into the world as if he had always been here, and thinking back, I find it hard to remember a time when he wasn’t.

“Me? A baby? Pfft!”

I’m not sure if it was the time, at one week of age, when Ivy fed him hummus and orange juice while my back was turned, or perhaps it was the constant soundtrack of Minecraft tutorials in his very young life, but somewhere along the way Duke convinced himself that he wasn’t a baby.

Denial. The kid’s in denial. He’s been staunching around with the cocky confidence of a six-year-old boy since he took his first steps.

Occasionally I throw some food his way. Every now and then I rotate the clothes in his wardrobe, and I always make sure his little Houdini-arse is strapped nice and tight into my mum-van, but other than that? Not too much.

This affectionate, wild, brave, and hilarious human has sprung up before my eyes … and I feel like a spectator. Milestones come barrelling in like waves. One after the other, after the other. Just as I catch my breath from one, another comes in to knock me on my arse.

I’m sure time has been slipping through my fingers like this with all of the kids, but I don’t think I’ve ever scrambled to catch so much of it as I have with Duke.

Today’s wave nearly dumped me

The thing about being genuinely busy, is that it leaves you no time to overthink things – which is great for an over-thinker like moi.

For example, I just attended a huge conference full of talented bloggers. Over 700 of them, actually. Huge. If I had not been so busy in the lead-up to that event, I might have talked myself out of going. But, as it turned out, I had no time to do that, and the next thing I know I’m in a bed with Mrs Woog, drinking wine and talking shite. The internet in 3D. Rad.

Then I came home, the busy continued, and last night, while checking my calendar I was reminded that today was the day that Duke had his first official day in a childcare centre.


How did that come around so quickly? He was ready, though. Little jerk wouldn’t even kiss me goodbye. He walked in like he owned the joint, I was half expecting him to cock his leg and mark the furniture.


And like that it was done. 17 minutes I lingered, but I felt like a douche, so I left … and I cried. I blubbered big, ugly, snotty tears.

Until my phone rang – and it was Cael’s school. He left his lunch-box at home and had Ivy’s drink bottle. Life’s shit show continues whether I’m a howling mess or not.

He’s the last one

I really am scrambling to catch this time.

All of these firsts … they’re the last firsts, and this grief I feel for them has blindsided me. I’m not talking about broodiness, I am so not clucky. Whatever the opposite of clucky is, that is me. Fuck cluck. Fuck cluck right in the ear.

It’s something else. A shift. Each one of these milestones comes and goes, and with their departure our world ever so slightly shifts towards a life that is a little different.

“Oh look, he’s walking. Well that’s it then, no more crawlers.”
“Listen to him talking now! Wow, baby babble – that was the last of that.”
“He’s feeding himself.”
“He’s putting his own shoes on.”
“There he goes, off to daycare… ”
“He’s worked out to use my … FUCK, HE’S GOT MY PHONE!”

The disappearance of each of those things moves us towards a life with no more babies. And that’s exciting too, of course, but scary as shit.

I’m not much good at being in the moment, but I try. I catch him doing little things that I know won’t last, so I squeeze my eyes tight and stop breathing for a minute. I don’t know what I’m trying to do there? Snap a still shot, maybe? File it away in the memory banks with a little silent prayer “Please don’t forget this moment, Rebel. This little nothingness that could easily slip away. Hold it tight.”

And as I’m playing this tug-o-war with time, it seems to be gaining momentum. I’m holding onto Duke’s too-small shoes, but a look around the room shows me a beautiful young woman with a straightener to her hair and make-up on her eyes. There’s a six-year-old boy writing stories at my table, and a nearly five-year-old girl talking about starting school after Christmas.

There’s some dude with a beard looking around the room too. A beard? Wait, what? When the hell did that happen? Time. See? Whatever … he is looking around the room looking just as bewildered as me, and I know we’ll be OK. There’s more good stuff coming. I just wish it wasn’t coming so fast.

How do you cope with this shit?




  1. says

    Oh mate, you hit me right in the feels. Beautiful. It’s such a bittersweet feeling to watch them grow up – I sometimes just want to be able to hit ‘pause’ and stay in that moment for a while. xx

    • says

      It’d be nice, right?

      Each new age brings such cool shit, though. But I always feel like I never had enough time in the last bit. Time is a bastard.

  2. says

    Oh god I shouldn’t have read this in my hormonal state!!! I haven’t had to deal with childcare yet but I get the guilts when she stays the night at Grannies so I’m screwed!!! You did good Mama he’s clearly a well adjusted spunky little kid! Xx

    • says

      It’s tough – each time it is is tough BUT it is OK. It always ends up OK, and the carers become an extension of your clan, and before you know it you have a fridge plastered in ugly art.

      Not long for you now! Squeeeee.

  3. Jaclyn says

    Damn it… why do they grow so big so fast. My reality check was sitting at a senior school parent info night last night for my baby boy entering year 11 next year! Arhhh, still love to call my Mr almost senior school and my older Mr Uni my bubba boys (as embarrassing as that may be I think they secretly love). Gotta catch those mental snapshots for the ol’ memory bank… Beautifully written post as usual my friend, you articulate what we all feel so bloody well xxx

  4. says

    Oh man I totally get you. All day long I berate myself about not missing the special moments and take more photos and write more stuff down, because the special moments just keep coming and leaving. I’m so busy I don’t have time to sort out all the memories so I make do for just being part of them, knowing I’ll forget all the stuff when they’re older. I will be devo when there’s no more babies in the house but having said that I am desperate for mine to start day care next year, they are WILD x

  5. says

    So true. So so damn true. I thought I was going through my lasts…. and now I’m shit scared of going through all those firsts again! It is such a bittersweet time and you get so used to these younger years, the thought of them making way for new milestones is just plain tripped out. The fact that you’ve got four little dudes and dudettes all developing such independence (well, minus forgotten lunch boxes and stuff) shows you’re doing a fab job lady! Awesome post xx

  6. says

    Damn those moments just go too fast. We are busy doing our lasts in our house to. Just when we were all geared up for the long haul of toilets training, Miss Moo nailed it in 2 days and within a week Waa getting up in the night and going to toilet. I was almost disappointed as I was expecting some toilet training dramas. Don’t worry there will still be loads of lunchbox moments ( still going but with other forgotten stuff with eldest at 23) x

    • says

      That’s exactly it! The toilet training thing – I feel like this last first day didn’t get enough time and attention – and just like, it was gone. Onwards …

  7. Debbie Dye says

    It seems like yesterday I got the excited message that baby Duke was on the way (of course we didn’t know for sure then if it would be a Duke or a Dukette….ok yeah, WE KNEW!). Now he’s a fully fledged preschooler. Waaah!

  8. says

    ‘Little jerk’…snort laugh! Mine drive and shave and one earns more money than me…don’t ask me where the time goes, it just does and sometimes it feels like I might have something in my eye. Enjoy these little years x

  9. Maxabella says

    Wah – no, wait, make that waaaaaaaaah!!!! Needless to say, I don’t cope with this sort of shit very well at all. I can’t even cope with other people’s this sort of shit. But, can I just whisper, very quietly with a small fist pump, freeeeeeeeeshhhhhhhhdom. x

  10. Mel says

    I feel as though I should share your sentiment…. but I just don’t. With each milestone my fourth and FINAL! passes, I rejoice in the good riddance of babydom.
    I feel a little guilty about that. Just a little.
    I do worry that I will wake up one day and wish it all back.

    • says

      That is what I thought I would be like! That is kind of what I have been like before – but this last one has floored me and it was unexpected.

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