So, my littlest duckling just turned five and, oh my goodness, I can't believe it either.
When you're in the trenches, the absolute depths of mothering, it seems like there's no universe in which children actually grow up.
Sure, you've seen it happen to everyone else around you. But it just doesn't feel like it will ever happen to you.
But then, the world keeps turning and whoosh, you're thrust into the next level of parenting and you look around and there are no baby ducklings at your feet anymore.
No little ones toddling around, falling all over the place, their faces smeared with mushed baby food, their bellies softly protruding, their hands absolute pictures of adorableness.
In their place, are children.
Fully formed, walking, talking children.
Yes, four-year-olds kind of fit that category. They've lost their baby ways, they're not quite pocket-sized no more, but they still have that little-kid-like quality about them.
Which is why I feel so awash with all the feels now that my littlest duckling has turned that corner, shed her four-year-old feathers, and breathed life into the five-year-old version of herself.
Look, if I'm being honest - in some ways, I'm glad to see the end of the fours (or the F***ing Fours, as I liked to call them at certain moments.)
Because, oh boy, there were times when the F***ing Fours threatened to topple me.
I'd heard about (and lived through!) the Terrible Twos.
I'd been schooled by the Threenagers that inhabited the bodies of my offspring.
But let me tell you, those ages had nothing on the F***ing Fours.
The F***ing Fours saw tantrums with strength.
Yes, distraction was still a possible weapon in my armory, but its potency was weakened with the growing of my four year-old's brain.
"I see through that," my four year-old seemed to hiss, when I tried to divert her attention away from the issue at hand.
The F***ing Fours also saw emotions on HIGH.
Life was AMAZING and VILE and all the alphabet of things in between.
When angry, she would RAGE.
When happy, she would SHINE.
When tired, she would hurtle through the house like a tiny tsunami of woe.
Let me just clarify something: I'm not for one second suggesting my little one was F***ing terrible in any way. Oh no, sir. It was the 'fours' that were doing me in.
You know that scene in Knocked Up where Seth Rogan's character Ben screams at Katherine Heigl's pregnant character, Alison? When he yells, 'F*%$ you, hormones. You are a crazy bitch, hormones! Not Alison, hormones.'
Well, it's like that. I never said F*%$ you in my head to my sweet duckling, but internally, yes, I sometimes cursed those F***ing fours).
While the fours were challenging, they weren't without their beauty.
Because four, in some way, is a kind of precipice, where small child mixes with older child, and the swirling of both results in the utmost cuteness.
Little Miss Four knew this, and she would parade around, saying cute, silly things and making the rest of the family bowl over in hysterics.
"She's seriously the cutest thing ever!" my ten-year-old would often coo, as her little sister pranced and delighted her.
And yet, because it's the F***ing Fours we're talking about, within minutes – no, wait, seconds - that delight would turn to utter frustration.
Miss Four would purposely block the TV, or sit on her sister's feet, and my ten year-old would then scowl, "Ugh, she's seriously the most annoying person ever!"
And that's four in a nutshell, right there. From "cutest thing ever" to "most annoying" (and back again!) all within nanoseconds.
It's been overwhelming at times, I must say.
I must admit, the passing of years is particularly hard when it comes to my littlest duckling, and that's simply because she is my baby.
So each birthday is tinged with bittersweet feelings.
As she gallops towards each new birthday, happily shedding her old number, I stand here, collecting each discarded age, mourning that yet another year in my baby's life is over.
But for once, I'm not sobbing about saying goodbye to the previous age. I'm ready to move on.
So, welcome to our family, Miss Five.
Here's hoping the year to come will be just as fun, fabulous and feisty, with perhaps just a tad less frustration?
Whatever happens from here, let's just say that after the F-ing fours, it certainly takes a lot to ruffle this mama duck's feathers.