As my youngest approaches the 18 month landmark, I am beginning to catch a glimpse of what life might be like when we no longer have a baby in our midst. And I have to honest, it looks pretty bloody good.
You may well be thinking about saying ‘don’t wish it away’ to me. Well, I’m not a big fan of that phrase. I tend to hear it from parents with slightly older children when I have a bit of a moan about being run ragged by my third, adventurous toddler. I understand the sentiment, I really do. Childhood is brief and they grow and change almost daily. There is, from a distance of even a few short years, a sense of it flying by in the blink of an eye.
That said, there are times when a day can feel like a lifetime. The early years with my first were torture (see my previous post) and, even from the distance of some years, I don’t think I will ever look back on them with misty eyed and ill-remembered joy. But let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that living with even the most placid toddler is not easy. They are tiny yobs, bent on, extreme exploration and destruction, without an ounce of common sense or self preservation. You can never have any down-time, unless they are asleep. It doesn’t make for an easy life. Besides, having been there and done it three times now, I think I’ve earned a license to look forward to when things will eventually be a little easier.
For approaching seven years, I have been tied to pushchairs, nappies, cots and highchairs. I rarely leave the house without a bag so big that is often mistaken for an overnight bag, stuffed full of everything three small people could possible need on a day out. Our house is full of large, noisy, plastic toys that sing and bleep. My shoulder is permanently covered in spit and snot.
I spend much of my day wiping my little lad’s bottom, nose, face, and hands (as well as various hand and face wipes for the older two). I wash and dry dribbled on bibs so often that I long ago gave up on putting them back in the drawer, instead hanging them on chairs and radiators, awaiting more dribble.
Yes, I know all of this is my fault for having three kids in quick succession, which is something I wouldn’t change for the world. And I have loved each of their babyhoods to varying degrees (even my H-Monster demon baby’s) but I think I can safely say enough is enough. I want rid of all that baby paraphernalia. I am officially done and more than ready to move onto the next phase. So yes, guilty as charged, I am doing a bit of that wishing it away thing.
I know it could well be another year and a half before Baby T is civilised enough to use the loo and walk without a pushchair on standby but, in the scheme of things, it is tantalisingly close. Oh, just think of the joy of no more nappies!! I could weep at the prospect.
And, crucially, we are beginning to hope that we may get a little more sleep in the near future. Having been up since 4am with a coughing baby, I wish that quite a lot today.
I love my baby boy more than I can say. I love his chubby little hand in mine and his all-consuming bear hugs. I love his fluffy hair and his round baby tummy. I love the way he walks and his baby babble. These things I will most definitely miss when he grows and changes. I am sure I will miss things very much as the years go by, when thinking back to all my little ones as babies. And that is just as it should be.
But there are many things I will not miss. I won’t miss them because, when all is said and done, they are pretty crappy aspects of parenting. Wishing away the bad isn’t the same as not cherishing the good and enjoying the moment. So, unapologetically, I admit that I’m looking forward to life beyond babies and yes, that there are many things that I will not miss one little bit.
Now, time for some of those delightful Baby T chubby cuddles.