This article was first published on The Vegetarian Experience on 7th July 2011
Yesterday I popped into Mamas and Papas to get our now ailing buggy looked at. As I entered the shop and the smell of new baby equipment hit me, I was instantly transported back to five years ago when my bump and I practically lived in Mamas and Papas. Every week I would be testing prams, shopping for equipment, comparing bedroom sets and trying to comprehend that my beautiful baby would soon be here.
Nearly five years on, my beautiful baby is now on the precipice of starting primary school. Yesterday she came out of nursery proudly clutching her leavers bookstart treasure chest set. I shed a tiny tear because my little girl is growing up too fast. On Friday she will be having a settling in day at her new school and next week will leave her lovely pre-school and the teachers she has come to love over the last 2 years to enter into the unknown. In September she will start primary and then the baby stage will be officially gone. Also gone are our day time trips to the farm, picnics in the park, and lazy days not getting dressed until mid morning. From here on in, all of our lives will revolve around the school bell.
I feel I am being made to move on too. Everyone says you make your friends for life at the school gate. On Friday I will be attending the parents meeting and meeting my new potential friends - a scary prospect. Virtually all of the friends I have now are people I met after having babies and so am still developing friendships with. I am not sure I am quite ready or in the right head space to embrace increasing my friend circle further in this way. In complete juxtaposition, after the school meeting, I will go off to an NCT training weekend to learn about preparing other parents for birth and early parenting.
Watching the first time mothers with their protruding bumps in Mamas and Papas yesterday, pram testing empty buggies, I felt slightly nostalgic. I felt envious as I caught them staring into imaginary cots, stroking the sheets lovingly and trying to imagine their own baby tucked up inside the bedding. I smiled wryly as I caught women hugging the cuddly toys and sniffing their fur. I pushed those same prams around the shop, stroked those same sheets and hugged those same toys. In reality, aside from the travel system, the Mamas and Papas dream bedroom was one expense too far, but it still didn't stop me looking or feeling nostalgic yesterday as I contemplated how we had gone from bump to school in the flash of an eye.
Everyone says that the time goes so fast, but when you are in that moment, looking after a baby/toddler/preschooler all day, it feels like you will be stuck in an endless cycle of nappies and feeding forever. The days are long, but the years are short as my friend Alice says. I now only have just under two months left to spend as much time with my beautiful, funny, amazing little girl until I lose her for 6 hours, five days a week. Not that she cares of course - she is excited at the prospect of wearing a uniform and using the school laptops.
My daughter is on the precipice of primary school and I am on the precipice of antenatal teaching. I am letting go of my beautiful baby and embracing my daughter growing up. I am also handing my well trodden shoes over to my first set of new parents and starting them off on their own parenting journey.