Life. It’s a funny old thing. Full of firsts.

First skinned knee

First report

First kiss

First love

First heartbreak

First exam

First house/flat

First child

And what the first child brings with her is the start of the ‘last’ list.

The last co-sleep

The last nappy

The last sleepless night

The last child.

On the 25th March 2014, I gave birth for the last time. I already knew she would be my last baby, but with her she has brought about a sentiment and a longing I never expected. I am very aware that today might be the last day she wears a nappy, it might be the last night she sleeps in my bed. Given the fact she just decided one day she didn’t want to breastfeed anymore after a whole year of nothing but boob, I imagine when she does decide it’s the last time then that will be it. And it’s that longing to hold on to her ‘just the way she is’ that I didn’t expect, and something I don’t experience with the older two.

I was positively delighted when #2 gave up the nappies, when #1 went to school I was so excited for her. I am proud and amazed by them every day, they know so much and they are turning into beautiful, funny, clever little girls and I almost can’t wait to see what their future brings.

And with #3 too, but in a different way. She’s taken to just not needing much sleep at the minute and so most nights falls asleep when I do, and we are permanently sharing a bed it seems. But last night when I was singing ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ to her at 9:30pm and she was squealing her head off and shouting ‘faster faster’ at the top of her voice there was no thought of ‘God will you just go to sleep’ like there would of been with #1. Instead I cant imagine a night where I don’t have to sing silly songs to her and cut my bedtime back a couple of hours in order make sure she gets at least 9 hours sleep. As much as it is frustrating at times and I would really like my evenings to binge watch House of Cards, I am also very aware that tonight she might just go to bed and that’ll be that. No more Incy Wincy or Twinkle Twinkle at 9:30pm, services no longer required.

She announced last night “my not Jessie, my big girl” and it was a stark reminder that she is in fact, a big girl. She is going school nursery this year, she doesn’t use her buggy anymore, you can have an actual conversation with her, she knows what her surname is. All of these things happened and I wasn’t even aware of them at the time.

I would quite like her just to stay the way she is. Little, and funny, mischievous but cute, wearing her superhero mask morning, noon and night. Life doesn’t work like that though and before I know it she’ll be at school and refusing to do her homework and no doubt giving me the same sass I get from her sisters. What the last child teaches you is that it’s the small things that are really important, sweat the small stuff…

It’s very easy at times to see life as endless days and long sleepless nights, with children that don’t eat all their veg and evenings that aren’t quite the same as they used to be. It’s easy to wish they were out of nappies so you don’t need to take them with you anymore, or to wish they were bigger so they don’t need carried or help to brush their teeth.

But moments like this don’t last forever, there will be a last time for everything, and when those seemingly mundane things are gone, all we will have is the memory of nights when singing Incy Wincy Spider was the only thing that mattered…