This week’s Throwback Thursday had me trawling through pictures of my little bears when they were teeny tiny. I was missing the baby stage that I said goodbye to quite a while ago. Only I didn’t realise I’d really said goodbye to it. Particularly with the littlest bear. In retrospect I was in a serious case of denial. I referred to her as my ‘newborn’ until her first birthday. I was dubious to let her start school because she was only a toddler. Except she was only a toddler in my head. Actually she was four… Like the vast majority of children starting school in this country.
I have had to accept they’re not babies anymore.
This made me sad and broody for a while until I remembered that although I loved being a mummy to babies, I’m pretty sure if my babies could have rolled their eyes at me they would have. I would not have been awarded with a baby-mummy of the year. These confessions may cause me to be lynched in the street. We still have stocks on the village green. Maybe they’ll use those.
Like, I’d-have-more-fun-going-for-a-smear-test hated them. I was even more socially timid back then than I am now and every time I walked into a church hall full of screaming babies and chatting women I felt like I was gate crashing someone else’s party. All the other mums seemed to know each other and quite blatantly had filled their friendship quota. They didn’t need any more, thank you very much. There’s only one thing worse than a coven of yummy mummies that make you feel frumpy, and that’s a coven of yummy mummies that pretend you’re not there. I only went to a few with my biggest little bear and then decided to stop torturing myself.
Pacifiers are contentious, I know. For the record I’m all for self soothing when they’re tired and you know you’ve met all their needs. So there. But I can see why a baby having a personal collection of dummies might be portrayed as ridiculous. And making a rod for my own back. I did not read this parenting approach in a baby manual. I doubt it would be advocated by the experts. But at the time I saw it as ingenius. If they clutched one in each hand and had several dummies scattered around their head like a wondrous halo of plastic, then it significantly raised the chances of them finding one by themselves if they woke up and the ‘chosen one’ had fallen out of their mouth. Instead of incessant screaming in the middle of the night I would be woken by a brief howl…. Followed by a short pause …. Then you’d hear the glorious sounds of sucking coming through the monitor. Allowing the exhausted mother to doze of into peaceful slumber once again.
I see blog series’ called What My Baby Wore and Toddler Styles and am thankful that they weren’t around nine years ago. I may have been too ashamed to leave the house with legging clad offspring. Of course the little bears did have a few fabulous outfits from department stores and some cute stuff from Next but they probably came as presents from other people or bought using gift vouchers given to us. I couldn’t bring myself to spend lots of money on beautiful baby clothes that would inevitably develop mustard coloured stained up their backs and spit up marks on their front (my biggest bear was a projectile vomiter) after their first wear. Yes, I’ll say it, my kids were pretty much the face of George, Asda.
I can feel the parenting vigilantes grabbing their pitchforks with this one. The TV was not restricted. At all. Cbeebies was on throughout the day. Before you start lighting the torches, understand that I didn’t sit them in front of it so I could be painting my nails in another room. I probably watched it more than they did. It was always in the background while the little bears turned battery powered pieces of plastic around in their hands trying to figure out where the moo sound was coming from. They might well have ignored Mr Tumble for a couple of hours but he was still there. If a tantrum was building up in a red faced littlie, my most effective parenting technique was to twirl them around and point at the screen; ‘Ooooh look! What are Bella and Milo doing?’ When I was a mean mummy and wouldn’t let them empty my handbag for the tenth time that morning, The Teletubbies would lovingly console them.
That’s an understatement really. I used to turn into the Grinch. Pre-schoolers running wild and hurling oil-cloth blocks at younger kids would make me see red. Worse were the ball-pool ball throwers. They’d find it hilarious to make their younger counterparts cry and so add in the sound of screaming to the mix and there was not a drink strong enough for me in the place. My biggest meltdown was on my due date for my littlest bear and for reasons beyond me we decided it would be a good idea to go somewhere I don’t find remotely relaxing. It started off ok as I watched my then 2year old play happily nearby in the ‘younger’ section. Enter the devil incarnate. This preschool boy shows up and launches one of those oil covered blocks at my babies head. Not content with nearly taking her head off he then launches himself at her. She’s now buried underneath the oil cloth block and devil-child. I leap up and waddle the few steps to her by which time no other parent has batted an eyelid. What the hell? I prise Damien off my beloved daughter and swing in all my pregnant glory to face the tables and chairs.
“WHO IS WITH THIS CHILD?! WELL?? WHO?!”
Nothing. Lots of awkward side glances but no one owns up to associating with the little gremlin that just accosted my child. I don’t know if they were just embarrassed at being so hands off or just didn’t want to have to deal with the deranged pregnant woman.
So there you have it. My warts and all account of being a baby-mummy. I’m surprised my little bears are as well adjusted as they are. Yep, just your typical normal children, engaging in typical normal children’s activities…
Mrs C x
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