I love babies. That's why I've had so many of my own.
The trouble is, though, that they get big. Before we know it, those beautiful pink bundles of joy, who gaze adoringly at us, and want to hold us tight, grow into kicking, screaming, bogey-eating, mud-wearing ratfinks, with very loud voices, stampy feet and the ability to make everything sticky that they touch.
How can it be that my kids began their lives so calm, so still, snuggled so close, and made so little noise? They once wanted me, cried for me, hung on my every word, and smiled every time I entered a room. We were so completely, utterly, head-over-heels in love.
Nowadays, it takes a nasty bout of gastro to get peace and quiet in my house. My kids cannot sit still for more than a minute without hitting each other or dismantling the furniture. And apparently cuddling your mum is uncool so takes place under duress, and only when the Play Station is held to ransom. Kissing is strictly forbidden (at least in public) but I'm told that a ‘high five’ is an acceptable alternative. It doesn't quite capture the affection I wish to convey, but mummies can't be choosers.
The only time my kids follow me now is when they want to see where I'm hiding their birthday presents. And if they smile at me when I enter a room, I know they've just broken something. I am convinced that my voice is on the wrong frequency, which is why they've stopped hanging on my every word.
But every now and then, when I least expect it, one of my boisterous, muddy kids does something that makes my heart swell. It’s often as simple as slipping their hand in mine as we walk down the supermarket aisle. Or telling me a story that makes me realise they’ve grown from that tiny little baby into a confident, intelligent, funny, independent person.
So enjoy your babies, and be prepared to be amazed each and every day. Strap in and hold on tight because they're going to take you on an awesome ride.