I think that 3.5 might be my favourite age yet. They are physically independent, intellectually sharp and curious, interested in everything.. and they still love their mamas and want to spend time with us. I love that no matter what they are doing, if they hear us laughing together they are drawn to the sound like little moths to flames and suddenly we are smothered in a deluge of little boy, climbing over our laps and kissing our faces.
I just wanted to collate some recent portraits of them. These were all from our recent trip to Camber and they make me smile so much; I love these little boys of ours so fiercely, and the glimpses of the world through their eyes are so very interesting to me. We have had so many sweet and bonding moments lately, especially with my taking a week out of the office to spend at the seaside with the family. Sometimes I struggle to feel like a mum at all, as opposed to just somebody who works hard to pay for them, so it was glorious to have nine days dedicated solely to drinking in these gorgeous little boys, their sister and their mum. And I wanted to take a few moments to document some of my favourite moments of late, and memories of them as 3.5-year-olds in summer, for when they are quite big boys and these memories have faded into the past.
Whilst we were away, we started a little bedtime routine whereby I put them down to sleep and told them a story. It was just me and them and the darkness, and they reminded me of little bunnies burrowed under the bedcovers, so that all that poked out above the duvet were the tops of their heads and their shining, eager eyes. They developed a fondness for stories about a melancholic snail called Brian, who lives on the wall of their garden and frequently requires their help solving small problems. They like stories in which they feature, and in which they save the day.
After I have told a story, they each tell me a story. Frequently, it’s a retelling of the same story as I have just told them, and it’s interesting to see how much they have processed and understood. I’ve learnt to keep these stories quite lighthearted, after a cautionary tale of them getting lost in the woods after scooting too far ended up with Balthazar bursting unexpectedly into tears..! Sometimes they act so sensibly, and are such articulate little people, that I forget how small they still are. I expect that it’s in part because they are the oldest – but they are still only three.
When we were away, they had so much freedom to run around. They were so happy to race and to play games of chase, and we spent whole days seeking out new parks and playgrounds. They are so physically dexterous and agile these days, so keen to climb higher and swing faster – though Lysander surprised and horrified me whilst we were away by requesting that I step away from his swing, “I don’t need you. I can do it myself.” We found little electric motorbikes that they were permitted to navigate around a small track, and I was astonished by how easily they mastered this, zooming about the circuit at quite a speed. Although Balthazar is the fastest on foot, Lysander excelled at steering his little car and seemed to have fewer accidents than his brother. It was good to see him shine.
I love that they always have bruises dotted up their legs; they play ferociously! I love their little scabs and scratches, that their faces are almost always marked but that they have the brightest smiles. I love that they hold hands with each other by choice, but have differing preferences in ice creams – Balthazar will always opt for a traditional ’99 flake’ and Lysander prefers a strawberry Cornetto but will do his best to wheedle the chocolate flake from anyone else who has one! It makes me smile how keen they are to be independent, to take their money and pay, to place their order and collect their purchase and their change. I can see the bigger boys that they will grow to be – and I love those boys already.
Oh, can I have another holiday..? I am missing them today.