At swimming on Saturday, Elissa didn't much enjoy herself. The water was too cold and the instructor was a stranger (our wonderful Clare was sick) and it was all too much. So I fetched her out immediately after her lesson and sat with her beside the pool while her brothers played with their father for the designated period of time.
While I was watching her run up and down the blue spongy, bumpy non-slip mats, falling over every two metres or so, giggling hysterically, applauding herself and occasionally demanding to have her hands kissed better, an astonishing revelation hit me.
I am going to miss this stage.
I am actually going to look back fondly on 18 months, and long for it. Her tantrums are still rare. She is mostly laughing, dancing sunshine. She can talk enough to get most desires across. She is loving learning language. With her parents she randomly interchanges "mummy" and "daddy". With other people, anyone currently looking after her is "mummy". She practices Commando Cuddle, whereby she runs full speed at the back of my legs and cuddles them on impact without warning.
But it's slipping. The tantrums are increasing. Frustration is creeping in as her desire to learn language is starting to outstrip her ability. This is a short moment. I'm glad I had half an hour to really enjoy it on Saturday.