It was our neighbours in Canada who told us they were going through the last of the firsts. Their youngest had just lost his first tooth. They were familiar with the excitement and the conversation that came with the wiggling and the "How much do you think she'll bring?" And they were a little melancholy that this was last of the first lost tooth excitement.
I was heavily pregnant with the fourth little traveller when we were discussing their 'last of the firsts'. I was knee deep in soft food, double strollers, training wheels, dirty nappies/diapers and lift me, help me, carry me, get me, let me climb all over you, lift your shirt up and smear my snot on you, motherhood. I wasn't feeling the melancholy.
And then it came. Like a post baby hormonally charged hurricane. I had my last baby. I watched the last first smile, the last first steps, the last first words, and finally the last first day at school. And as monumental as these last of the firsts were, it was the first of the lasts that really slayed me.
The first and second little travellers are fans of McLeods Daughters. After downloading series after series we somehow got into a habit of combining bath time and hairwashing with an episode of M'cLeods. With the laptop precariously placed on top of the loo, we'd line up the shampoo, conditioner, wide toothed combs and turn the bathroom into a day spa. Initially it was all three of us in the bath, but as time when on and the girls grew, they began taking it in turns. One in, one out, half an episode each. And while we watched the McLeods go about their days I would wash, lather, and repeat while we discussed in great detail "What do you think Tess should do now?" and "What does it mean for her career?"
It was our time. Just me and my girls.
A couple of weeks ago the second little traveller decided it was time for an episode of McLeods and naturally went to run the bath. She called out to her older sister "McLeods and hair, hurry up".
"I won't get in" the eldest traveller casually announced as she laid a towel on the floor to sit on "I washed my hair yesterday".
I was stunned. "You don't want me to wash it?" I asked trying not to sound as wounded as I actually was.
She raised her eyebrows "Mum, when was the last time you had a bath with Granny Max?"
I decided the opportunity to freak her out was just too good to ignore.
"Granny and I bath together all the time. That's why they have that big spa bath, so Aunty Michele and I can fit in with Granny and she can wash our hair"
Aunty Michele has just celebrated her 50th birthday. I'm not sure we've ever bathed together.
"Mum. I know you don't bath with Granny" she said in a serious tone.
"So is that it? Are we done now? Have we had our last bath together?"
"Yep" she said with a mixture of a sigh and a smile.
"Well you could have told me! I would have savored it a bit more if I knew it was our last?!"
"You're weird Mum" she said shaking her head.
A few nights ago I was sitting in the bath with the second little traveller. I was just about finished combing out the conditioner, when the first traveller arrived wrapped in a towel.
"I can't be bothered washing my hair, can you do it?" She said with a grin.
And there we were. Her watching the screen of my laptop giggling along with her sister, and me sitting behind her, taking part in the longest hair wash in all history with a solitary happy tear running down my cheek.
I'm not sure if it was the last time I washed my first baby's hair, but it was maybe the first time I appreciated how lucky I was to be there doing it.
The first of the lasts.