A few years back I was exiting a supermarket with two nutso little girls and a full shopping trolley. A full bladder too, but the thought of negotiating a public loo with two nutso little girls and a shopping trolley was too much to bear - adult diapers suddenly seemed like a really great idea.
It had been a painful excursion. Squabbling, whining, high jinks in the trolley and some of that awful exasperated-mother-in-public behaviour I am loathe to witness, let alone admit to.
The wind was howling, the car far away. One child was Not Listening, the other engrossed in collecting vile rubbish in a gutter.
A little old lady tottered over to us with a walking stick and smiled dreamily at the girls.
'Don't say it.' I thought, 'Do not fucking say it.'
But she did.
'Ah, enjoy it my dear, they grow up so fast.'
Really? Really? Not fast enough.
But they do.
Stella will be 5 next month. She has 4 loose teeth and long coltish legs. Her soft edges are sharpening up, her cheeks are getting more angular. Every now and then she says 'breakfast' instead of 'brekfik'.
Frieda got a Valentines rose last week. From a boy. A new swimming costume sized 9-10 is too small for her. She squeals when she sees a bug and this weekend, while romping with her on the couch, she cried out in pain and said her 'boobs hurt'.
They're growing up so fast. Not slow enough.
And I love it, I love the conversations and the explorations and the new realm of personhood they're both entering. But deep in my heart I'm also sad.
Does parenthood never stop with the dichotomous emotions?