I’m often struck by how fast my kids grow. Yeah, I know. It’s not exactly a new thought, but it is one that I turn around in my mind, much the way I jiggle with a hard piece of candy, tucking it into the side of my cheek, then coming back to it after a while and sucking vigorously.

It seems like just a few days ago that this picture of my blond bombshell was taken. But when I look at her toddling around this morning, trying (and failing) to wear her sister’s shoes, getting into everything, calling to me from the other room with a discovery, I realize it has, in fact, been 20 months. Twenty months!

I know where the time has gone. I do. I joke with my friends and family that if they stayed little any longer they might not make it, and I’m only half joking.

But I’m only half serious. I know these days of small children will pass quickly. I know it as a reality. I’m watching it happen.

I hear the advice from the older moms I know, the ones who have moved along to teenagers and grandkids, and I take it to heart. I know I’ll miss these days, and I hope I don’t stand there, on the other side of mothering small children, and wish I had spent more time nuzzling soft necks, brushing unmanageable tangles, giggling over preschool silliness.

Therein lies the premise for my latest column at CatholicMom.com, Temporarily Small.