{The Ordinary Moments 15} #15 ‘The Day A Cycle Helmet Made Me Cry.’

playing_outside_for_the_first_time

As I write this, my heart is beating a little quicker than normal, and my eyelashes are still wet with tears.  Mr E is downstairs preparing a risotto for us all to have for dinner, I am sat in our office supposedly working, and I have two little girls chattering together in the top bunk of their bunk bed, oblivious to the way they have made us feel this afternoon.  

It’s late Friday afternoon and a couple of hours earlier Mads happened to spot some of the older children on our street playing out on their bikes.  She has always had a curious fascination with the two little girls who live next to us, as younger children often do with bigger kids, but bar a shy wave or hello if we happen to cross paths outside our front door, that has been it.  I don’t know why but this afternoon she asked to go and play on her bike outside with them, and two other older boys who live across the road from us too.  She has never asked us before and being that she has only just turned four we said that she could, but that she couldn’t go outside without us being there.

So we duly popped her little cycle helmet on, got out her bike and scooter, and Mr E pottered around our front garden pretending to weed, all the while watching her.  I was supposed to be working, but I stood at the window and I got the strangest feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A feeling of absolute pride watching her out there interacting with children a good few years older than her, a feeling of nostalgia remembering doing that very thing myself when I was a little girl, a feeling of nerves about the fact that she still isn’t completely wise to dangers of cars or roads, but mainly a feeling of sadness about just how fast she is growing up.  My eyes filled with tears and I stood there blinking them away.

I watched Mr E lean down and talk to them all and I heard Mads say ‘I am playing with the big boys and girls Daddy’ while she was stood next to them.  At four, she is completely innocent, she isn’t yet at that stage where she was embarrassed that her Daddy was outside watching her.  She said again excitedly ‘I am playing with our neighbours’ and they all chatted to Mr E while I watched on at the window.  After a while I went outside myself and sat on the doorstep with LL on my lap.   Watching our little girl riding up and down the street, with the retro ribbons on her handlebars very much the same as I had as a child, and her little helmet wobbling unsteadily on her head made me get butterflies in my tummy.  She had the biggest, most innocent smile on her face and above all she just looked so proud of herself.  Her cheeks were flushed red with excitement and she cycled along on the pavement while they all cycled on the road, as we told her she needed to keep on the path.  None of the other children had a cycle helmet on, to be fair we live in a cul-de-sac and although traffic can whizz round the corner, it’s not really like you need to wear a helmet.  But Mads, our little girl, she always wears that blue and pink helmet- she’s so very proud of it.  And now that helmet made her appear so little and small compared to her peers.    

After an hour or so, we told her it was time to come in, and she started to cry.  Big, fat tears rolled down her face and her bottom lip trembled as she told us she didn’t want to. She did it in front of her new found friends, she doesn’t yet have that filter that makes her realise that there are some things you don’t do in public, melt downs over nothing being one of them.  She was so desperate to stay out but eventually we got her inside.  We stood in the kitchen and all of a sudden LL came up to her with her favourite toy ‘Baa’ and held it out for her to cuddle.  She said ‘Here are Mads’, she knew her big sister was sad and she wanted to make her feel better.

I don’t know what came over me but I just burst into tears.  The feeling of experiencing this first milestone, combined with the tenderness in which LL gave Mads her toy, reduced me to sniffling like a baby.  I hugged Mr E and said to him ‘I bet you think I am so silly’, fully expecting him to proclaim that yes I was indeed a complete crazy person. But to my surprise he said ‘I feel entirely the same away- I am not ready for this just yet.’  Indeed, now I am writing this some time later after they have both gone to sleep, Mr E and I have been chatting about it, and I am surprised just how much this small thing has got to him.  He says he feels very emotional about it all- about the prospect of learning to give her that little bit of freedom, of the worry, about the fact that his little girl is growing up so quickly.  

I know that it’s probably a little pathetic to get so worked up about her playing outside on the street where we live, but I was just filled with so many emotions.  I still am to be honest.  There’s no parenting rule book for this kind of thing and it just took us by suprise a little.  I’m so nervous about all the stages yet to come- teaching her that the world isn’t always a lovely place, that there are people that could hurt her.  That not everyone is as kind and as beautiful inside as she is.  I am so sad about her losing that innocence, that pure child like innocence- the way she is proud of her Daddy stood there watching her, the way that she ran to me and hugged me because she was just so damn excited to be playing with the ‘big boys and girls’.  

Until now, all our playdates and all her friendships have been closely monitored by us.  The little friends that she has made are mainly due to me being friends with their Mum’s- they are chums of circumstance more than anything else.  It sounds ridiculous, but I also worry who she will become friends with at school when we are not there to influence it.  No mother wants their children to be friends with ‘those kind of children’ or worse still, have your child be the one that other parents are wary of.  The other day we were in the park and I was watching a group of three girls- they must have been about 11 or 12 and they looked so grown up.  They were wearing clothes that I would even wear, or perhaps a couple of years ago I would, their hair was styled in top knots and I am pretty sure they were wearing makeup.  They were playing on a roundabout and it struck me how they were so on the cusp of leaving childhood behind- they looked like teenagers and I overheard them on a couple of occasions about boys, but at the same time they were giggling loudly and freely as they held hands and tried to keep their balance.  That innocence of childhood and that beauty of childhood seems to be getting lost much earlier than when I was younger, I dread to think what it will be like in another ten years.

I’m not ready to let her go and while I know, yes she wil always be my baby, I am going to have let her go and become the little girl she was meant to be without me at her side constantly.  September brings her first year at school and a whole new set of milestones.  She’s completely ready, but I am not.  I don’t want this stage to be over.  I am not ready to leave these days behind.  I know that there’s a lot of excitement to come but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel painfully sentimental about the fact that my little girl is growing up so quickly.  Bizarrely just this afternoon I bumped into the midwife that was there throughout my pregnancy with Mads.  It seemed like yesterday that I last saw her.  She will have seen countless babies born since then, each special and the most amazing gift to their parents.  Each and every one brand new and ready to start their story.

Leaving the hospital for the first time, the first mouthful of food, and the first steps are just different parts of their story.  The story of their childhood.  As is the first time they proudly forget their shyness and play outside on their street with their new found friends.  I did that, way back in the first few chapters of my own.  It’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s just another ordinary milestone and moment ticked off the list, something that will happen on many, many occasions…

It’s just another ordinary moment that as a parent feels so very bittersweet.  But to a little girl who has talked of nothing but playing out with her new friends, ‘the big children’ since she came in, to a little girl who has gone to bed with a bit of a spring in her step and a new found air of confidence and above all to a little girl who is feeling so proud and that little bit more grown up than she did when she went to bed the day before- well to her it’s the most exciting of moments indeed.

playing outside for the first time



87 Comments

  • Carie says:

    No that’s definitely a moment to hit you with the reality that they’re growing up. She looks so grown up and so very ready to be outside with the other children but I think in my minds eye all of our children sort of paused just after two. When I think of Kitty it is as a tiny little girl not necessarily the very tall young lady who can now reach and open the top kitchen cupboards. I suspect September is coming round too fast for all of us except the children; they’re going to have a whale of a time and we’ll be the mummy support group stifling tears in the corner!

  • Oh Katie I feel the same, I sat and sobbed the other night about something like this, also when Yve’s asked to watch home movies of her ‘baby self’. sat together watching them I burst into tears. completely bonkers but its because we just love them so much and want to preserve these amazing moments, and years. I had the ‘scooter/bicycle moment’ with the ‘neighbour friends’ at our old house, Ty was out with them too but we both were the same. how is this all happening already?? This is the magic in blogging, and gift – as we get to document our littles and all these small but momentous things. its even inspired me into a little project soon. :) lovely post.

    Ps. that little parcel will be on its way soon lol :) xx

  • Oh I really feel for you, I would have been the same. It’s so hard to know when is the right time for you to let go a little bit and give them a bit of freedom and maybe it seems a little harder with girls as I think maybe the crave that feeling of being grown up a little more. Seeing the photo even made me a little emotional, the fact that she she is still so innocent and want to wear her helmet even when the others aren’t. What a lovely post xx

  • I don’t think that’s silly at all!!! Do you know when I was little I was about 10 before I was allowed to play out!! It’s a classic childhood ritual but absolutely I think it’s ok to say she’s too little by herself and love that J pretended to weed! Where we used to live there were tiny ones on tricycles in the cul de sacs and I always felt so worried that there was no parent to be seen. There is nothing wrong with protecting our wee ones, bless her though, it’s so lovely to see their independence growing and scary at the same time! Just wait until she is at school – Sammy just blossomed in reception and now I look at my Year 1 boy and think noooooo it’s all going too fast! xxxxxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      That’s the thing, I don’t know when is the ‘normal’ age to play out. She felt far too young for us, even with us watching her like a hawk. I am just not ready. xx

  • Katie I can relate to you. We are currently being tried by our second son. Playing outside is the first of many independent scenarios you will have. Thing 2 starts secondary school in September where he will walk with his older brother. At the moment he wants to walk to the nearest shop. We haven’t let him yet. It doesn’t get easier with the second one either! Good luck!

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      I can imagine it almost gets harder with the second because you are willing the time to slow down even more! Its never ending! x

  • Lori says:

    Oh Katie! This has totally made me well up! I’m not surprised you we’re moved by this, it brings back all those wonderful feelings of nostalgia for our own childhood and our nervous excitement to watch their new adventure… Xx

  • Ah bless her! It makes us both sad and proud at the same time watching our little ones grow up! My boy, Harry is 4 this August and although he plays so nicely with his younger sister, he is starting to crave that ‘older’ attention!
    Michelle x

  • Jenny says:

    Oh Katie this just made me cry reading about you crying and it really is something I would have felt if either of mine had done it. I am so glad you got a photo of it. It’s all turning around and we will soon have school kids in our houses and it will all seem so weird saying goodbye to the baby stages! Amazing post.

  • Mummy Says says:

    Oh Katie, not silly at all. This made me cry. I totally get it. Lots of love xxxx

  • Oh gosh I am weeping. It seems that every week holds a moment like this for us at the moment so these beautiful words of yours hit very close to home right now. This is gorgeous Katie and that picture is just perfect xx

  • Kerry @ohsoameloa says:

    What a beautiful written post Katie. Made me emotional just reading it and thinking I’ll have to go through the same in a year or two :( it’s hard to let go but definitely a good thing for their confidence and to allow them to grow up. I love that Mr stood outside pretending to weeds. It’s so strange these days that kids are allowed to play outside younger but I guess that’s the norm now. When I was younger I don’t think I was ever allowed to play out on my own until I was at least 10 haha!!! Xx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      It really is so hard to let go even just a little bit. I can’t imagine having to do it more throughout the years! x

  • That’s such a milestone moment for little Mads, and for you too. It’s such a bittersweet feeling to see them gain more independence; a mixture of pride at how brave and grown up they are, and apprehension that they are growing so fast and growing a little further away from us. It’s definitely been the weirdest part of BB being at preschool, that he has this entire world and all these friends and I have enough idea who they are. It’s a heck of an adventure for them, and just the beginning of us having to watch from the sidelines a little more. Such a lovely post, I’m glad she’s made friends to play out in the street with; that’s such a special bit of childhood. x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      It definitely is a special bit of childhood- so bittersweet for us Mummy’s too though isn’t it? :( x

  • Nicola says:

    Oh Katie, this has me in tears. I have been feeling so emotional this week probably because Erin enters her last term in Primary 1 and Calum starts pre school on Thursday. This week she has played outside with her cousins at my in laws home without mummy and daddy present and he has given up his night time bottles. It is so bittersweet, wanting them to reach the next level yet missing all the little baby stages, trying to capture as many as possible. Huge hugs to you, to celebrating ordinary moments with our little people xxxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Thanks for a lovely comment Nicola and sorry to make you cry. These milestones seem to be passing us by so quick don’t they? I hope Calum got on well at pre school. x

  • Anna-Marie says:

    This is a huge milestone, and if Moo {aged 6} asked to play out I think I would be reluctant too! Its so sad to think how quickly time is passing us by.. It only feels like yesterday I bought Moo home in that car seat, and I bet it feels the same with mads? Such a lovely post Katie xx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      We were so torn about what to do and I don’t know how we will feel if it starts to be asked as a regular thing. x

  • Wahh why do they have to grow up so quick!! I’m sure the baby to toddler to kid happens in the blink of any eye!! I find every week there’s something that makes me look at Ella and think ‘how are you suddenly so grown up’! I had a little tear this week at the move from cot to bed, which is my Ordinary Moments post for this week! x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      They grow up far too quick! And the cot to bed milestone is a big one- we have done this too recently. :( x

  • I totally get this post, I’ve cried over moments like this too. Gorgeous post x

  • Amy says:

    It’s not silly at all I completely get where you are coming from. It is a weird feeling when they take that next milestone. I get like this with Harriet, especially as I know I will probably have no more. Such a cute photo. She looks like she is having a ball. xx

  • I have always been guilty of wishing Gwenn’s life away because I really wasn’t well when she was a newborn (although I’m only just realising now) and she has never ever been an easy baby. But now that she is getting more and more independent I find myself wanting to hit the reset button and do it all over again. She’s not even two but I can’t help think about school, and friends, and sleepovers, and numerous other things that I’m not ready for.

    xx

  • Suzie says:

    Such a wonderful post and a fantastic photo to go with it x

  • Kerri-Ann says:

    Oh my goodness Katie, as soon as I saw the heading I knew this post would be an emotional one. I really felt your heartache as I read it. And Mr E’s of course. I know we will feel exactly the same, and like you I will have to allow it but really won’t want to. Wow they are growing up so fast. I love how your youngest tried so hard to make her big sister feel better. You are raising two beautiful young girls and you should be so proud x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Thanks for a lovely comment Kerri-Anne, I am very proud of them. They aren’t perfect but they are perfect for me! :) x

  • My heart goes out to you; I’ve done it five times with mine and it never gets any easier :(

  • Oh my goodness; a huge milestone indeed and this post made me cry and feel so bittersweet. I have found it quite difficult that Harry has friends who I don’t know anything about other than what I see at drop off and pick up time but at the same time I have loved him telling me about what his friends got up to at the weekend or how he plays house with one friend and climbing with another. x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      It is a weird feeling isn’t it to not be part of their life? I guess we need to get used to it. Sob! xx

  • Amber says:

    What’s this lump I have in my throat? Bittersweet how quickly they grow, isn’t it? One minute a scooter, the next minute the ‘L’ plates on her first car – or that’s how it feels, anyway.

    Feel like I want to grab mine and give them a cuddle whilst they’re still small enough to be held, now!

  • Aaaah this has just made me get a lump in my throat and I have a couple of little tears stinging my eyes. I totally get where you’re coming from. I feel SO emotional about my babies growing up. Even the smallest thing can set me off! Even thinking about your little Mads in her big, wobbly helmet makes me cry. This motherhood malarkey has turned me into such a big-girl’s blouse!! xx

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Sorry to make you cry Caro. It is such an emotional and strange journey this motherhood business- it’s stirred up emotions in me that I didn’t know existed. x

  • Trying to hide that I am quickly crying on a Sunday afternoon while my children play around me. I would be a mess if my daughter was riding around with older kids on bikes. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I hate thinking about how quickly our daughters are going up.

  • Mary says:

    Emotional to see them not needing us now YES I totally see that and I too love it when they surprise us with such confident acts its wonderful to see them finding themselves and where they want to fit and stuff.

    I also finding it exciting to see them growing up and doing things similar to those we enjoyed as kids! Life Ay? always moving forward, sometimes we want it to stop for a bit whilst we hang onto that part a little longer x

  • Alex {Bump to Baby} says:

    Katie, I think this may just be my favourite ever blog post that you or anyone else has ever written.

    Not my favourite, because it makes me happy or because it’s based upon a magical moment.. It’s my favourite because of the emotion involved and the way you capture it so completely perfectly.

    These are the real moments of parenthood, the one’s that us parents can all relate to. Even myself with Ethan at the age he is. He’s hit an age this week where he seems to be turning from a baby into a toddler and more of a little boy and with that has come a lot of challenges. He’s testing his boundaries and learning the rules, as all toddlers have to. But I, like you, am finding it so hard to accept this new phase of my baby getting older. I want to cling on to his babyhood and freeze time for just one moment, but yet at the same time I’m full of pride and know this is all just part of motherhood.

    It’s a hard thing to accept and only something you fully understand when you become a parent. xxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Alex your comment almost made me cry and thank you. High praise indeed, I feel honoured to have you write such lovely words about my writing. xx

  • Lauren says:

    Oh Katie this is so sweet and also sad too. We don’t have many children here, well there are some nearby but not the kind we want the boys to socialise with, so we haven’t experienced this yet. We have had the unsupervised after school playdate though which made me feel sad but he loved that independence which was worth it.
    It reminds me so much of when I was little as we used to have friends we would play out with. We loved it but now reading this post, I realise how my mum must have felt xx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Thanks Lauren- it is a sentimental old journey that we go on, and our parents must have gone on before us too. x

  • This is a lovely post Katie, so much emotion – letting Mads play outside like that was such a massive step on her journey. Of course I can’t imagine that day happening with Rosalie yet, but I’m sure I will be crying when it does xxx

  • Sherry says:

    Wow, what a heartfelt and beautiful post. I read this after pulling up at the supermarket and it’s fair to say I was a blubbering wreck at the words and emotion you put across. One of my favourite posts I’ve seen. Ours got her first bike this week and I was emotional seeing her and wondering where the last 2 years have gone, who knows what I’ll be like in a couple of years xx

  • I almost cried at this moment too Katie! Isn’t it funny what hits us sometimes, as a reminder that they’re growing up so fast? It’s the little milestones like this that I think are the biggest in some ways – growing independence. I get these more and more nowadays and I too feel a mixture of pride and sadness – you’re not weird! x x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      It is really strange Suzanne and it’s good to know I am not alone. What shocked me the most was my husband, he’s normally pretty laid back about these things, but he was really emotional- he said he would be more emotional about this than her starting school! x

  • Kay says:

    All those books about pregnancy and the first few years, and yet there is nothing to prepare you for these types of moments. Even at three we are seeing Darcie become more independent it’s so bizarre and something I too am not ready for at all!!

    Really lovely post.

    Kay xxx

  • Hayley says:

    Katie I can hardly type a comment because my eyes are absolutely full of tears, I sobbed the whole way through reading this post.

    My eldest is only just 2 but already I can see him starting to want this kind of independence and it’s only right and natural, but you never realise until you become a parent how difficult it is to let go…even just a little…even just to let them play out on your street, even with you watching closely.

    I dread having to explain to Tyne that not everybody is a nice person, and that the world isn’t all sunshine & rainbows…I don’t know how to do it without making it seem scary and I don’t want to burst his bubble of loveliness…it’s all just so sad, but so completely a part of everybodys life too.

    Reading your post gave me such a clear image in my mind of little Mads with her wobbly bike helmet on, as bittersweet as it is you must be so proud of your beautiful big girl having the confidence to make new friends and take her first little baby steps to independence.

    Such a gorgeous post xxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Hayley, thank you for such a lovely comment, it’s making me teary reading these back. It’s so hard to let them lose that innocence that makes them so special- I must admit I am dreading it as well. x

  • I’ve just read that with tears running down my face. I couldn’t have said it better myself, you’ve completely hit the nail on the head and expressed the same feeling that I have at the moment. Sending you & Mr E a big hug! Being a mum is such a funny thing, I remember when Ava was a baby I’d think “I can’t wait until she can talk” or play or walk but now she is doing all those things I think my god, I wish the time would slow down. It’s scary! Xxx

  • Oh Katie… my heart was in my throat reading this… we’re not quite there yet… Ava is about 6 months younger than Mads… but I can see this day coming round sooner than I want it to. I would have cried just as you did. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I think that’s what makes your blog so readable by so many. You paint things as they really are, and call it OK for us to have these weepy parent moments!!

    Thank you for sharing! xxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      I am still really teary about it Claire, I think it’s just all these moments and milestones keep creeping up on us. And thank you for your lovely comment. x

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      I am still really teary about it Claire, I think it’s just all these moments and milestones keep creeping up on us. And thank you for your lovely comment. x

  • Oh Katie this is beautifully written and so moving because i feel exactly the same way with my boys. Everything is so bittersweet at this stage, while i love the fact they’re inquisitive, independent and adventurous, a part of me wants to keep them small and vulnerable forever. It’s great that Mads has the confidence to play with the older kids, that’s a testament to you and Mr E. You’re raising a beautiful, friendly and competent big girl! xxx

    • Mummy Daddy Me says:

      Thanks so much Vikki- I was so surprised she had the confidence to do it, I was really proud of her. Amidst the tears. 😉

  • Amy says:

    Oh darling Katie, I am overly emotional at the moment as it is but this has sent me over the edge. I can so so understand how you feel my love, believe me I have been there. You will never ever feel like you can let them go. Sometimes it’s the seemingly small things that feel so momentous it suddenly dawns on you like a tonne of bricks how fleeting time really is. Your words are so beautiful and your girls will be able to look back on this blog for years to come and fully understand what being a mother is and how much every single moment, every milestone meant to you. Hugs xxx

  • Oh honey this is such a gorgeous post and I totally understand your tears. I have a couple of years until we are where you are with Mads, but I already feel the sadness in the pit of my stomach and I am not sure I will feel any better than you when the time comes. Time just whizzes by xxx

  • Mummy Fever says:

    Not sure where my comment just went to :( I totally get it! I have just been upstairs with my eldest packing for her first school residential. She is 8 going on 18 ! xx

  • Oh my goodness I am crying too!!!! I will be exactly the same with all of these moments too…exactly. The twins are 2 and a half and I am now finding they’re getting more independent and its hard even now! Time goes so fast doesn’t it. I am sure she will be an amazing little girl and there will be plenty of fab new experiences to come. Jess xx

  • LauraCYMFT says:

    Gosh it is so hard seeing them playing out cause you are in two minds. You don’t want to let them go off cause you hear all of these scary things in the news or on FB that even letting them scoot up and down your pavement is a scary idea. But then you remember your own childhood and how much fun you used to have playing out til tea time and having the best time with all of your neighbourhood friends. They need that little bit of independence though. I’d be like Mr E hanging about the garden pretending to weed LOL! But how lovely that your little girl is finding the confidence to go out and play with the children. I bet she loved it. x

  • I don’t know what to say about this other than it is too beautiful for my words. Completely stunning and absolutely true. I am totally going to be the one pretending to weed outside 😉 pure genius! xx

  • You’ve written this so beautifully Katie, and every word is true …NOTHING weird about it

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