It was a pretty average Monday night when I decided to run a bath for a long, hot wallow in some bubbles. I started gathering the boys’ bath toys up so I could climb into the water without foam letters and rubber ducks bobbing in the water next to me – and as I looked around for something nice to add to my bath, considering the bottle of baby bath for a second before deciding to aim a bit higher, I spotted some little bottles of essential oils I had bought late in my last pregnancy to help with healing once baby arrived (a tip I picked up when my friend Lucy gifted me Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil for my first baby).
Without even thinking, I took the lids off those bottles, and inhaled the scents. And just like that, BAM, I was taken back in time to newborn days. I could almost feel his warm little body in its velour sleepsuit as he fed, hear his hungry cries, and feel the tiredness stinging my eyes from all the broken nights. And as I sat in that bath, I felt so sad that I didn’t have that baby anymore, even though he was sleeping soundly in the room next door.
That’s the thing about parenting. It goes so quickly, doesn’t it? We count down the days to our due date and as soon as we get that bundle home, time seems to flip to fast-forward. We look forward to milestones, cheer when each new skill is ticked off the list, and plan birthday parties with excitement – and before we know it, we have a toddler, then a child, and then a young man. And just occasionally, when we have a moment to stop and think, we look at that child and think; ‘how exactly did that happen?’
Of course, I don’t really want to return to those days. I want the gorgeous, cheeky, chubby 11-month old that I have now. I don’t want to return to middle of the night wake-up calls, scratchy breast pads, and trying to fit a newborn’s feeds around the nursery run. And I am certainly not ready to do it all again with round three. But as I sat there in the bath, I would have done anything for a cuddle with that newborn; to feel him, to sniff him, to look into his eyes. I feel like it passed so quickly that I can barely remember what it was like.
My time travel bath has reminded me to make the most of every moment – after all, this time next year, I will probably be sat in the same bath with foam letters floating past in the water, missing my chubby one-year-old and wondering how 2015 passed in such a blur. Slow down time please, I want to enjoy it.