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Babymother: 39 and a week or so

Every bathroom used by a child also has one of these, in my experience. They’re great. They don’t slip, they’re inoffensive, and they let your child reach the tap / lightswitch / Daddy’s razor with no effort whatsoever. I’ve also discovered a handy secret – when perched on the toilet feeling nauseous, no need to get up – you can simply flip it over and throw up into it. Just like a bucket. It has got holes in the sides, true, but if you don’t tip it too much, it’s fine.

As for children rattling the bathroom doorhandle and either shouting ‘MummyMummyMummy’ or asking inane questions, mid-retch, and not understanding ‘Mummy’s being SICK!’ it doesn’t help with that at all. Except you didn’t have to leave the bathroom to get a bucket, I suppose.

Not the best time for Babyfather to choose to go on a 3-day work conference.

Redster: Seven and a half
Cutester: Four and a quarter

Easter Bunny

Note the Gruffalo

There have been lots of milestones between here and the land of actually being a baby’s mother. The nappies are long gone, the teething has stopped, the potties are in the attic for camping expeditions and I never got round to buying one of those padded toddler loo seats anyway (the Cutester preferred to dangle dangerously)… there are no lids on the cups, the cupboard safety latches don’t work, and we only keep putting those safety covers back on the electrical sockets out of a kind of habitual stupidity. But the thing that made me really, finally admit to myself that life has moved on and my babies have fledged is this: the buggy, or the lack of it. I see women pushing buggies on the pavement and in the park, and the feeling of instant kinship and empathy that sight used to provoke has been replaced by a feeling of sepia–tinted separateness: I’m not in that club anymore (or if I’m in a good mood, condescension, bless her).

I couldn’t wait to get rid of the buggy. The Redster and I had just started going for longer ventures on foot without the wretched thing – I remember a lovely morning wandering in and out of trees in Trent Park, looking for mushrooms – when the Cutester was born. Then it was buggy for her and buggy board for the Redster, to and fro from nursery, or with her walking alongside it and constantly getting her foot run over, or speeding ahead on her scooter and leaving me panting behind the buggy in her dust so she could be crushed under the wheels of a lorry without my interference.

The Cutester loved the buggy. She trained me to love it, too, because if we went any distance without it she’d start begging to be carried. It didn’t matter how much I protested about poor old Mummy’s back / legs / arms / future need to be pushed by her daughter in a wheelchair happening sooner than necessary. Or we’d start off well with her on the balance bike, then she’d suddenly flake out and want to be carried, so I had to carry her and the **$* bike. Usually we settled for the buggy with the bike being carried precariously on the hood of the buggy, just in case, unused, and me trying to keep it on while going round corners in the rain and I’m also trying to hold up an umbrella. Maybe that’s why it’s called a balance bike. (A more canny buggy designer would have added some kind of bike/scooter rack.)

Then there was the stage where I felt empathy for mother kangeroos. In the buggy. Out of the buggy. Diving back into the buggy headfirst. Jumping unexpectedly out of the buggy when in motion and getting run over by it. Pushing her friends in the buggy. But always needing it at least a little, so it still got hoiked around, and if nothing else it was the mobile coat rack everyone else dumped their stuff on.

Fast forward to now – the new wheels are the Cutester’s proper, pedal-powered, no stabilisers, little black whizzy bike. I have to run to keep up, and the buggy is in the cellar, and I’m only writing this post because we got it out last week when a stomach bug left the Cutester too exhausted to walk, and then I saw a mother in the park at an earlier stage than me pushing a buggy and realised I wasn’t in her club anymore.

I suppose I will have to change the name of this blog.