Swinging through the Summer

Swinging through the Summer

Summertime swinging

‘Mummy, I don’t want to go on the big boy swings. Can you lift me into this one instead?’

We were in the local park, on one of last week’s baking hot mornings.

‘No, Austin. You’re nearly five. You’re too big; you’ll get stuck.’

‘I’m not nearly five. I’m four-and-a-half.’

[He’s four-and-three-quarters, actually. But I thought it best to abandon this bit of the argument.]

‘These swings are for very little children. Even Gwen’s getting a bit big for them. They’re really meant for girls and boys who are under two.’

‘Pleeease, Mummy? Please can I go on it, for one last time?’

It didn’t feel right to deny Austin a final swing in the baby seat. I hauled him up (he’s no whisp of a boy; I feared for my back). But, as he fannied around, changing direction so he could look out over the green of the park, and ‘see the kites’, I felt a pang of sadness.

This Summer will be Austin’s last as a pre-schooler. In September, he starts reception.

He’s starting to grasp the implications of a longer day spent away from home (‘But why do we need to stay at school for such a long time after lunch?’ and ‘If we can’t have Mummy-and-Austin time in the day any more, when Gwen’s napping, when will we have Mummy-and-Austin time?’).

School will give him the focus and stimulation his questioning brain needs (I can barely keep up with him, these days). But….school is just the beginning. Day after day, he’ll leave the house. He’ll spend the biggest chunk of his waking life in a place where he’ll need to find his own niche in the world. He’ll play, read, listen, make friends; fight, laugh, swot and talk his way into becoming a grown-up.

After that, there will be work. Every single day (bar two), of every single week (give or take a small amount of holiday). And then – hopefully – the responsibility of a family of his own, possibly even kids……

But I’m letting my thoughts run away from me.

The point is: apart from making sure I don’t do my back in, there’s no need to hurry him out of his desire to play on the baby swings. In less than a month, he’ll have to leave behind a lot of his babyhood. Daily afternoon cuddles on the sofa with Mummy, for instance, will be no more. And the bits that don’t fall away through lack of time, will be teased out of him by peers quick to pour scorn on anything which suggests a four-year-old is a ‘baby’.

So, for this Summer, at least, I’m going to try not to grumble when my four-and-a-half year old (or should that be nearly-five-year-old?) son asks me to help him onto the baby swings.

He has his whole life ahead to grow out of them.

Summer flower picking

Picking flowers for Mummy, in the local park



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  1. August 11, 2014 / 9:14 am

    Awe children grow up fast! I was watching baby videos of my son the other day and he will hopefully be going to Uni next year. Precious moments

  2. August 11, 2014 / 10:53 am

    I’m facing the same in September and I am making sure that I am letting Bugs get plenty of his ‘baby things’ before he starts reception. He only turned 4 last week so I’m dreading it!

  3. August 11, 2014 / 3:57 pm

    Lovely post. Both my 8 and 6 year old occasionally wish for their pre-school days – precious times.

  4. Beata
    August 11, 2014 / 7:41 pm

    Thank yo for a lovely post, reading it has made me feel quite emotional. My eldest is a teenager now but I still remember the weeks leading up to him starting reception, the sense of great expectation of what was going to happen next, and, sadly, a feeling of letting go a little bit with every year passing by… Where have my babies gone? They will fly the nest well before I’m ready for it…

    • August 11, 2014 / 8:11 pm

      It’s scary, isn’t it? I bet it won’t be too long before I’m writing posts like this about Austin moving on to secondary school….thanks for stopping by.

  5. August 11, 2014 / 8:23 pm

    Oh, what a lovely post! They do grow up far too quickly x

  6. August 11, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    I’ve been exactly where you are and thought the same thoughts! So many things are hurried into these days, so much unspent ‘babyhood’ left behind! I’m glad you’re letting your son enjoy the baby swings, he has loads of time for the big ones. Last weekend I took my daughter to a party, everyone was busy with their pots of lip gloss…at seven! My daughter was the only one who hadn’t any and I felt the pressure she must’ve felt. So much changes so early for children today…wish I could hold time for a while 😉 x

    • August 11, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      Oh my goodness – lipgloss, at 7? I have all this ahead of me, with my two-year-old daughter. It doesn’t bear thinking about at the moment….it must have been difficult to see your baby being confronted with all that preening!

  7. August 11, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Enjoy every minute of your summer together, things change when they go to school. It isn’t a bad change, it’s all part of growing up but it is a change nonetheless. Thank you for sharing your baby swing moment on Country Kids

  8. August 12, 2014 / 11:14 am

    Absolutely beautiful photos, I love them! The swing photo speaks volumes – so lovely 🙂

  9. August 12, 2014 / 8:35 pm

    Our son’s the same age and will both start school. Bittersweet. Part of me is so happy that he is going to be a bigger boy and bigger part of me is sad that my baby is going to be interested in so many things other than mommy. #countrykids

  10. August 13, 2014 / 7:46 pm

    Aww Nell that made me cry 🙁 I still have a year before my son leaves playgroup and I’m feeling it already. I’m such a wuss…

  11. August 13, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    Indeed he does, time goes by so quickly and I hope you plan in some nice Mummy and Austin time once he is at school. Mich x

  12. August 13, 2014 / 10:01 pm

    I’m sure I’ll be thinking the same next summer. It’s a nice way to enjoy the summer, making the most of a 4 year old

    It seems strange to me how many children I know heading to school this time aren’t used to a full day as for N it’ll be a short day when it comes

  13. August 14, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    Beautiful words. They grow up so fast don’t they, and start school so young 🙁 I hope you both enjoy the last of the holidays together x

  14. PottyMouthedMummy
    August 27, 2014 / 11:48 am

    Such a lovely post and so very important to remember, I will certainly be reminding myself of this often xx

  15. June 22, 2015 / 11:18 am

    ahhh bless him, kids grow so quickly doesn’t seem like 5 minutes ago mine were starting school, now my youngest has just finished his GCSE’s, enjoy the time

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