Mid-March and the winter story books got back to the loft: Jack Frost and The Snow Queen amongst others. We inspect snowdrops. The children adapt seamlessly to the clocks going forward, dutifully going to bed an hour earlier…and getting up an hour earlier – still 5.30am, ah well. The evenings are lighter and we try to explain the later bedtimes of the big children playing on their bikes outside whose voices carry up to the bedroom. Then the merry jingle of the seasonal just-past-bedtime ice-cream van arriving in the street – a tense few seconds while I wait to see whether the little ears prick up suddenly alert, or whether sleep already has too great a hold.
There are daffodils everywhere; we pick one each (only one), then sit at the kitchen table and sketch them before pressing them, the children delighting in spinning the wing nuts on my old flower presses.
Sunny days at the park. Summer wardrobes are unearthed and we make piles of 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 – what fits whom this year? The children, excited at the novelty, put on their shorts and summer dresses over trousers and jumpers – there’s still an icy chill in the early April air.
We make Easter cards – bunnies, chocolate eggs and green glitter on the front. Elaborate, semi-legible felt-tipped greetings inside.
Birthdays are coming – children born in the Spring like the lambs and chicks: nearly four and nearly three. And I think back to this time four years ago, eight-months pregnant and shovelling snow from my car in April…a childless world away from now.