by NATASHA LESTER
There have been some changes in our house this week – insignificant in the whole grand scheme of things but significant because of what they represent: the end of babyhood.
Child number three has moved from a cot to a bed and, being the multi-tasker that I am, I’ve also been toilet-training him. Nappies and cots are two such strong symbols of babyhood and here I am dispensing with both in the space of a week. My credit card will feel the immediate impact of no longer needing to buy nappies and I have felt the impact of knowing that my gorgeous little chubby bundle of bub is now, in his words, ‘a big boy’.
Still, as well as reflecting on what has now passed me by – as there will definitely be no baby number four in this household – I have also been quietly celebrating the things that I will not miss, now that we are well and truly done with babyhood. So here are the top ten things I am not sad to put behind me.
1. Pureeing baby food. It’s not just the steaming and pureeing that I’m glad I will never have to face again, it’s the storing of all the pureed food in ice cube trays in the freezer. I will not miss the array of bright green and orange and revoltingly brown cubes of smoosh that used to occupy my freezer.
2. Not knowing what’s wrong. At 2.5 years old, he now has more than enough words to tell me exactly what is the matter whenever he’s ill or cross or just having an extreme meltdown. Actually, some times not having quite so many words thrown at you in those moments would be nice but overall it is easier knowing that, when he has a fever, his ear hurts and thus it is likely to be an ear infection rather than all the other insidious conditions you imagine it could be.
3. Wondering whether Play-Doh and crayons have any nutritional value. I cannot tell you how much of each has been consumed in my house. And it always happens right under my nose but kids can be so quick with those things – one minute they’re making a Play-Doh horse and the next minute they’re eating it.
4. Reading the Usborne ‘That’s Not My …’ (fill in the black with bear, cat, truck, princess etc) series of books. I love books – obviously, as I’m a writer – and I love to read to my kids but those books, after three kids, drove me a little insane.
5. Possets. Otherwise known as regurgitating milk, throwing up, and generally making a milky white mess all over mum when she’s wearing her newly dry-cleaned black cashmere knit top.
6. Dirty nappies. There is no need to explain why I won’t miss these.
7. Watching The Wiggles. Again, enough said.
8. Reading Princess Polly’s Potty Book. Complete with special button that emits a loud cheer whenever Princess Polly has a successful trip to the potty. And yes, I know child number three is a boy, but the first two were girls and the principle of what you do in a potty is essentially the same, so I saw no need to go and purchase Prince Peter’s Potty Book or whatever the boys’ equivalent is.
9. The inability to amuse oneself. I love to play with my kids – I’ve spent many a blog detailing the amusing play scenarios I find myself engaged in each day – but sometimes, like when you’re packing to go on a holiday or when you’re on the phone to your publisher, it’s nice to know that you can get out a packet of textas and a colouring book and there will be approximately 10 minutes of peace in the house.
10. Bottles and multicoloured Ikea plates and straws and tiny tupperwares and the accumulation of plastic that seems to be part and parcel of having a baby. Getting rid of this stuff means I will soon have a whole extra drawer in my kitchen, which will give me somewhere to store the even larger accumulation of paper (otherwise known as art and craft) that seems to go hand in hand with having a school aged child.
So that’s my list. Writing it has made me realise that I need to enjoy absolutely every moment of the next couple of years because then all the kids will be at school and it will just be me rattling around at home, pretending to write, whilst secretly pulling Princess Polly’s Potty Book out of storage and sighing over all the things I miss.
Natasha divides her time between writing novels and playing make-believe with her three children. Her daughter is now out of her cast – hopefully for good! Natasha’s latest novel, If I Should Lose You, is – unsurprisingly – about motherhood but also – more surprisingly – about organ donation.