:: On Nests, Big Bird & Shampoo Dinosaur Horns

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On a scale of one to Sesame Street, my nest is potentially feeling as empty as Big Bird’s when he’s on vacation in Hawaii. I say potentially because two of my three kids are still living at home, but we’re on the edge. One of my boys is seriously about to find his own digs and the other is suddenly 15… going on 35.

I can see into the future, guys and it’s mostly STICKS. The nest is extremely drafty, hushed and bare, except for little bits of fluff and crumbs, a reminder of where they once chirped.

I remember when my kids were not getting ready to go. They were around all the time, ever chatty, needing help, wanting all the things, snacking on all the snacks, slurping the spaghetti, feeling the feelings, being the axis of our life.

I remember hands held, tears wiped, foreheads band-aided, chins tucked in. I remember quiet chatter, shrieks, chortles, screaming (a lot of screaming!), whining, giggling and sobs. Also: drawings drawn, sultanas thrown, paintings painted, volcanoes erupted, cakes iced, sand castle-d, dinosaurs battled, Lego built, stories read.

Now things are really different. The bracing sounds, feelings and activities have merged into something more grown up. Dinners together. Messages exchanged. Chats about our days.


Don’t get me wrong, this grown up phase is just where we’d been getting to, all this time. (It’s lovely, I promise.) But gosh I really do miss the bright-eyed listening, the excited idea-struck faces, the shampoo-sculpted Triceratops horns, the grubby, pudgy little hands, the post-bath towel-enveloping of yesterday.

I know that people ALWAYS say you should make the most of those early years of parenting:

The days are long, the years are short, etc

But I REALLY want to tell you that it’s totally true.

Yes there’s a hands-free, less-noisy, more relaxed, less demanding life to be had when kids get older. But I guarantee you’ll miss those snuggles and endless smooches, those earnest pre-school conversations, the triumphant or troubled after-school news, that focused playing-a-really-good game hum…

I wanted to say, however hard it is, don’t wish it away. Okay?

One day, sooner than seems possible, it will be YOU wondering how Big Bird is going in Hawaii and dusting away the little crumbs of chirpy kids who’ve flown the nest.



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  • Reply
    Anissa Ljanta
    February 11, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    Pip, you are the very best of people. I love reading your blog and your honesty. The way you write I could just imagine you sitting here chatting. No profound insights from your blogpost, no specifics…just ‘you rock’ (and tho I love all of blogdom I surprised myself by feeling really really glad I am not the only 40 something year old blogger out here, ahem!)

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Oh I have sobs too. Why didn’t I have more children?! Beautiful post Pip.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 10, 2015 at 5:53 PM

      What were we thinking?! We should have had 12!!! xx

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Yes indeed Pip, I have those little people in my house, including the 4 year old who cries every morning at school, the messy eaters, the irrational crazy creatures! But the 10 year old is slipping into another phase, he is very measured, not so into playgrounds anymore, talking about tech non-stop. I miss his little self, but still have the crazy girl to keep me on my toes!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 10, 2015 at 5:55 PM

      Oh PHEW. Thank goodness you still have one small person to keep things noisy/snuggly!

  • Reply
    Little White Dove
    February 9, 2015 at 9:38 AM

    Such a gorgeous post, and so close to the bone… I’m getting way more sentimental as I get older and this huge phase is happening, shifting, happened, and now one is back again. I’m all over the shop! My boy is back home after his backpacking travels but it’s not for long I know, so I’m trying to balance the appreciating him back with the annoying tidy your room and reminiscing the fun dancing on the couching singing into wooden spoons times… I’ve even been having dreams of them when they were little! big hugs to you Pip x

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 10, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      Oh the singing with spoons… and the crashing of pot lids! YES! I know it all turns out okay, but the shift is hard, isn’t it? x

  • Reply
    February 8, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    Ohhhh you are bringing a lump to my throat. I am at that full nest stage of all you described. Yes the days are long, that’s for sure but I also feel like its going too fast. I am fully aware that Miss 9 is 10 this year and that’s only 7 years away from everything that’s different. Time goes very fast.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 10, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      The older you get, the faster the years go. It’s SO RIDICULOUS! Thanks for reading. xx

  • Reply
    February 7, 2015 at 11:23 AM

    i cry!!!! I feel it coming… something brewing in the air… and it makes my heart weak. thanks for sharing… so so true!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 10, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      Oh you would TOTALLY be catching little glimpses of this with your big girl 🙁 We can cry together and rock in our old lady rocking chairs! xx

  • Reply
    February 7, 2015 at 12:07 AM

    Oh, you made me cry. So beautifully written. Mine are 8 and 5 and I’m already dreading the stage you’re at…..xxx

  • Reply
    Joy Taylor
    February 6, 2015 at 11:12 PM

    Crumbs. I’m hanging on to those crumbs a little while longer.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    oh my yes!
    *very teary and snuffly*
    We are almost there too and now I see everything before was preparation and I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that they weren’t quite big until now they are. I can’t look at the digital piccy frame where they roll from chubby to lanky because the tears roll! Big love but XXX

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    I can really identify with your post I myself have 3 teenage boys one about to fly the nest and the others wont be far behind. I miss those days when they wanted to stuff with you, but then in someways as they are older there are more things you can share with them as they become adults.

    At least they all still like coming on holiday with us and that’s when we recharge as a family unit and experience and do things together.

    That’s one of the main bonuses of being a Beaver Scout leader I get to experience those happy, excited, enthusiastic smiley faces of 6-8 year old boys every week which can be a nice antidote to the moody teenagers at home.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Such a lovely post, Pip.
    May they pop in and mess up your nest as often as possible.
    Our shampoo horn days have ended too but we still have kid chirping and goings on which I’m sad to say I was very cross about yesterday for a gazillion reasons.
    Deep breath and your little reminder are perfectly timed. Am now off to appreciate what we have before its gone.
    Thanks Pip xxx

  • Reply
    Deb Baker
    February 6, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    This post has made me a little sad because I know this day will come soon and I’m getting a bit of a glimpse of it with my eldest. My boy is going to be 16 soon and then I’ve a daughter who will be 13 in a couple of weeks and they are going through that exact stage of not really wanting me much. And I’m finding it really hard. Then I have my sweet little nine year old girl and I am so intent on spending so much time with her, taking all the things in, not wanting her to grow up, holding her tight, looking at her sweet, happy little face because I know what is around the corner. And really quickly too. Gosh doesn’t it go quickly!

  • Reply
    Reannon @shewhorambles
    February 6, 2015 at 4:58 PM

    i love this Pip. It’s beautiful.

    Although it’s very hard sometimes having such a huge age gap between the big two kids & little two kids, it’s made me fully understand how time flies. This time around around im not thinking about rushing through the stages, eager for them to reach the next milestone. This time around im all about slowing it down because I know that in a blink of the eye my babies will be 6 foot teenagers who barely want to talk to me let alone hug me. And even though I’m struggling through the teenager years much more than I did/am through the baby years, I’m still not wishing them away. They have their whole lives to be grown up adults in their nest but the time in mine seems so short.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    It’s funny, people said this to me a lot after I had my first baby and it made me feel anxious and sad. I even had dreams about sitting next to my adult daughter and saying to her ‘but I can’t remember your childhood!’ I think I was so smitten, so in the moment, that it was like they were trying to take my enjoyment away. There’s something strange about telling someone who is enjoying something already to enjoy it more because they are not doing it right.

    Now that she’s 11 and I have a 9 and 4 year old as well, this feels like a timely reminder. Sometimes I am so thickly embedded in the flesh of the present that it can be almost impossible to conceive that there is a future (or that time even exists), and I feel like I’m suffocating. It’s not that I wish it away, it’s just more that I need to recall that the moment is precious, that it’s worth thinking about the things in the moment that I am treasuring – the chaos, the proximity of their bodies, their experiments with language and identity…

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    this is sad and beautiful Pip.
    hugs to you.

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