Friday, August 03, 2007

Look at you now

I remember only too well when Joseph was about six months old and I was in Tesco stocking up on a variety of baby products.
That week we needed formula, baby food, nappies, wipes, Sudocrem, dummies and probably socks, because we were always losing his socks.
As I stocked my trolley, my weekly shopping budget blown before I’d left the baby aisle, I wondered would this endless expense ever end?
At the same time I wondered would I ever get a decent night’s sleep or survive a day without my nostrils being assaulted by the smell of an over ripe nappy?
It seems I spent a lot of those early days wishing it all away. I couldn’t wait for him to crawl (he bum-shuffled instead). I couldn’t wait for him to walk, and chat and give up his bottles.
When he took his time taking to his feet, I would look at my friend’s daughter running about and feel secretly jealous. When he still insisted on a night time bottle of milk until he was two and half, I wondered was I babying him too much.
I looked forward to every development with relish - delighted to see a wee man with a big personality emerging.
And yet this week I feel a little sad - because this week the last vestige of babyhood finally went with Joseph’s announcement on Monday night that : “Mummy, I don’t wear nappies any more. I’m not a baby, you know.”
Having been relatively late to the world of toilet training I had not expected or planned on dropping my bill for night-time nappies any time soon. We had long mastered the day time business, but night was a whole other kettle of fish and, if I’m being pathetically honest, I admit I got a certain warm feeling when he put his nappy on before bed and cuddled into me.
For those few minutes before he went to sleep he felt very much like my baby and not the big, grown up boy he has become.
So I feel slightly bereft to now live in a nappy-less household and when I did my weekend shopping and by-passed the baby aisle altogether I forced myself to stop for a moment and think of just how far we’ve come.
It seems like no time at all since I had a small wriggling baby dressed in blue wanting every ounce of my attention and now I’m at the stage where the buggy is long gone, and he walks along proudly beside me chattering nine to the dozen having proper conversations about holidays and fire engines and his favourite songs. There is little left, bar the heaps of photographs, to remind me that he was once a teeny tiny baby.
While it is nice to have money to spend on things other than baby essentials (like milk and bread), I do feel sad that I no longer can legitimately coo over the wee dummies, or examine the ingredients on the baby dinners. It made me feel kind of special to fill my trolley with baby things - not because I think being a parent makes me better than anyone else - but more that being a parent of Joseph, and the independent person he has become, makes me feel uniquely proud.
With every packet of nappies I bought, every bib and and wee vest with poppers I felt as if subconsciously I was telling the world (or the check-out girl at least) that I was the proud mammy of a very special little boy.
I would see friends start to plan their families, get pregnant and become parents and smile at what was waiting for them. (Given my well documented rocky start with Joseph, there were of course at times when I would thank the Lord above it wasn’t me dealing with a colicky newborn who refused to sleep.) It felt like we were all part of a nice club and you knew that if you stood in the baby aisle in Tesco you would find yourself sharing smiles or grimaces (depending on what stage your baby was at) with other parents.
These days things are very different. My son is a very funny, intelligent and sensitive child and we have a great laugh together. It’s nice that he can tell me what is going on in his mind rather than me having to guess while wanting to tear my hair out - but there are times I wish that I had appreciated the last three years a bit more and stored more memories away in my head because it is true what they say, childhood really does pass in the blink of an eye.


Keris said...

What a beautiful post, Claire, and similar to what I was thinking this morning. Although Harry's nowhere near out of nappies yet... :)

Jane Henry said...

My lot were dreadful about nappies... Didn't get one of them out before they were three, and the last still has probs at night (mind you we've regressed over the hols as I put her back in nappies to avoid wet beds on holidays and now I can't get her out of them!)

I think the Great Potty Training Experience is where all the fascistic neo con Yummy Mummys hang out saying, ooh my little darling was out of nappies at two, well mine was potty trained by 18 months, my genius did at one etc etc. It's only when you go round to their houses that you realise how many wet clothes they have hanging on the line....

It's a big milestone, though for him and you. And don't worry about bitching about the early parts. We all do, and luckily they're too little to remember!

My eldest is 11 now, nearly as tall as me and I keep thinking what happened to my baaaabbbby?????

Nice to meet you Mad Mammy,

From a Maniac UK versionxxx

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