Last year I wrote a few blogs on how I was struggling with my children growing up and coming away from the baby stage. For years I had been the centre of their world, wiping bums, feeding and making sure all naps were had but as each year passed I found myself putting things away that would never be used again and I was surprised that I, the very non-maternal mummy, was sad and reflective at this. Did I want another baby? Did I need another baby? All thoughts going through my head but actually I would have to face this time of my life no matter how many children I had. There will always be the inevitable outgrown clothes, cots in the garage that the spiders have made their homes and boxes of toys that only babies play with when there are no babies in the house.
Having gone through this stage I now know it’s all perfectly normal. Nature wants me to go on having babies no matter what my head and heart thinks so the strong urge to have another isn’t a weakness or an indulgence more a natural feeling but that doesn’t mean I should have 5 children! My body isn’t up to having any more and I know that it would be very tough on the 3 I have already so coming to the decision not to have any more children wasn’t actually that difficult for reasons of practicality but coming to terms with it was another matter.
Over the summer we have moved forward though with our first non-pushchair outing. We took the boys to London and left the pushchair at home for the first time. This was a monumental occasion really as for 8 ½ years we have taken a pushchair for our boys as they moved from babyhood to the toddling stage but one day in July we decided to give it a go and we managed and have never used one since. Yes we lost our packhorse as we used to load it up with spare clothes, wipes, drinks etc. and we had to re-think what we actually needed on a day out rather than just taking everything including the kitchen sink. I bought some climbing karabiner’s and attached them to a rucksack so we can carry coats more easily -by clipping them into the karabiner’s and onto the rucksack. But this taught us that we are still learning with our children; yes, we’ve left the baby stage behind but we still don’t know everything…
I also told the children that I wanted to now go to the toilet without having any interruptions. This is something of a total luxury that I haven’t really experienced in (again) 8 ½ years. It started with showering with a giggling baby bouncing in his bouncy chair right outside the glass shower door and progressed to having quite deep chats with 2 years olds about favourite cars, things wanted for birthdays or which superhero they wanted to dress up as. When I had more than 1 baby they would just turn shower times into play times in the bathroom and the toilet chats just got longer but this summer holiday I cracked. I’d had enough and wanted the 5 mins of going to the toilet on my own again. They seemed hurt at first that I’d shut the door and told them to leave me alone. I never realized what fun it was talking to me whilst I was on the loo.
I will no longer have to explain why women wee out of their bottoms. (Answered 3 times to 3 confused little boys ‘Where’ your willy mummy????’) I won’t have to discuss the differences between pants and knickers, explain what tights are and hurry the whole process along just to move onto something else. They are also beginning to use their own cubicles in public loos so I won’t have the giggling ladies next to me whilst I answer all these questions again though I will look back on this time and laugh. It’s a parental rite of passage to be asked ‘Mummy when will my willy be as big as Daddy’s’ just as the noisy hand drier has just stopped and your son is shouting to be heard over it. Yes, this stage has been fun when I look back at it but that’s it. I’m done. I want to wee on my own.
I’ve told them that unless there is blood, they’ve broken something (either a bone or possession) or it’s a real emergency I just don’t want to be disturbed. I said I am allowed 5 mins occasionally to answer the call of nature and do it without an audience. My youngest is the most disappointed as he’s had only 3 years of bathroom conversations whilst Mummy’s on the loo and he does, occasionally, sit outside and wait for me but I know this will soon fade and Mummy being behind a closed door (how weird!!) will soon become all perfectly normal.
My boys are growing and I thought this was a sad stage but I’m moving through these feelings and coming to terms with giving the cot away, selling old baby toys and giving away books to learn colours and count to 10 –we all know them and can do that now. There are still lots of unused and unneeded things lurking in the cupboards though and I know I will be slowly sorting through it all between now and Christmas. I have a mountain of baby sheets as I lost them, had a baby, bought more and then found the first set. I have bedding for toddler beds that we no longer have so I can see more memory blankets being produced for the boys but I’m going to look on the positive side of this and not cry into the sheets whilst I’m sorting. I’ll have mountains of blankets made from old loved fabrics by the time the boys are 18 (and I may not stop just there!) but then my memories will still be alive and celebrated and that’s no bad thing. I’m proud to have made it through the baby stage considering I found it so incredibly difficult when I first started. I didn’t cope with a new-born and the roller-coaster that is having children definitely took a dip then but now I’m riding high knowing that they are beautiful, lovely and (mostly) kind, polite and happy little boys and I should take some credit for that.
I’m going to buy some pink toilet paper for the loo in our en-suite which the boys don’t use. I don’t particularly like pink loo paper but I feel I’d like something different that makes me smile a little as I remember why I’ve bought it. 5 mins peace with no little boys chattering sounds like bliss to me rather than something to be sad about. I am no longer a mother of any babies. I can look at those with pushchairs in a different light and say ‘I’m not that mum anymore’ (as one mum commented last week) but I’m happy to be moving away from it and, oh, hang on, I’ll be back in a moment, I just need the toilet….