I was talking to another mum on Sunday whose little boy is about 2 months older than my daughter. Somehow eating came into the conversation and she passed a comment that stunned me, “Isn’t it just great to get them fully weaned and no longer clinging to you?” She also breastfed her children. I told her that we are doing baby led weaning and, therefore, while my daughter is eating food and in increasing amounts, she is still nursing just as often as she did do (but not as often as when she was a newborn!), but that actually I’m going to miss the days when she no longer needs me. I received a blank look in return. There’ll be a time when she gets all her nutrition from food alone. There’ll be a time when she decides she’s independant enough to not need comfort from me in such a way, but the time isn’t yet, and I for one am not going to push her before she’s ready even if that means having to put up with her clinging to me. Those times are times when we bond. I have to completely stop what I am doing and focus soley on her, she looks deep into my soul and sees there is a fountain of love for her in there and all is well in her heart and in her tummy. She can leave her aches and pains and worries behind and just relax in the embrace of love. Why would I want to rush these days past? Why would I want to get up every day longing for the time when she doesn’t need me anymore and I no longer have someone “clinging” to me? Why do we go through our children’s days hurriedly ushering them from one milestone to the next, relieved to get “that phase” over and done with, like it’s some great burden we need shot of, pushing them away from us before they are ready? Parenting is not about ticking off a checklist as fast as possible: born safe, weaned, potty trained, off to school, out of the house, check, check, check! No, it’s about embracing the here and now, the clinging, the giving of ourselves fully, being 100% in the moment, it’s about finding joy in the moments of no sleep, the times when something is stopping them from settling to sleep and stopping us from getting on with watching that movie or doing some other fun activity. It’s about developing ourselves as a person through learning about sacrifice and leaving our selfish desires to one side for the good of another. Parenting shows us the areas of our character that need working on if we let it. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Sure, you can sprint through it, but you miss out on all the sacred moments along the way and your children also miss out. Remember to slow down, enjoy the stage your child is at today instead of wishing it away for the next stage, because with a next stage also comes trials and frustrations. ENJOY your children as they are TODAY.