A friend of mine just had a baby a week ago and I have been thinking back to those times when K was newborn. I stare at my 3T toddler, just a few weeks over 2 years old, and I think back at the comments people shared about "time going by so fast."
Honestly, sometimes the time crawls. Like at 3am, when a screaming fit erupts because a beloved toy is lost in the blankets (why don't all toys glow in the dark?), and going back to sleep seems near impossible.
But other times, all I'm doing is folding clean laundry and I hold up something that K has worn for months and by some strange motherly gift, as I'm folding it, I sense that its dimensions no longer fit my son. I look at the tag, "18-24 mos," and that's when time speeds up. Instead of putting the item away, like I've done 20 times before, it goes into a box filled with the past of my child. A hat that's too small, a pair of socks that no longer fit, a pair of jeans with blown out knees from probably 15 kids before wearing the same piece of clothing.
Time flies when a mispronounced word is one day, all of a sudden, pronounced correctly. Or when a "yesterday" arrives in a sentence and I think, "What? How does K know about yesterday? How is he already conscious of time?" I think of my friend and I don't want to tell her time flies...she already knows that, even with a one week old baby. What I want to tell her is that during the folding of laundry and breakfast and in the car, her child is growing and sponging it all in. Our children have holidays and birthdays to mark time, too, of course. But those don't mark enough moments for me.
One night, everyone just sleeps through the night and then magically, you can't remember when it started happening and when you got some sanity. One day your child asks for salad and doesn't immediately spit it up on the plate. One day, your child magically says "please" and "thank you" without your prompting and you only realize it because you didn't hear the echo of your mother out loud when obliging a request.
We get notes home each day from K's school and sometimes, if it weren't for those, I wouldn't know what sort of things my kid was capable of doing. And I admit, when I see some competency, my first thought is "Oh no, he's growing some more," and not "Oh wow, he's learning so much!" They are so spongy there's isn't enough time to learn about what they are learning. I keep pointing things out to my husband because if I didn't, we'd miss all the subtle changes and just call him 2 years old, instead of 24 months, one day.