Anyone who has a child will confirm the fact that once the little angel has arrived their life changed. Some reasons for this are obvious – you fall in love with someone from the moment you first find out about their existence, or from the first moment you feel them inside you, and then when they make their appearance you know that you’d walk to the moon and back for them. It’s definitely a case of love at first knowledge, feeling or sight.
Once you’re settled in at home with the baby, nothing is recognizable anymore. Your tidy house, and your quiet corner are suddenly gone. Instead a hiatus of baby apparel descends on your home and it suddenly becomes a stranger’s house. Baby cribs, muslin cloths, baby creams, nipple creams, baby pumps, mummy pads, breast pads, books you still believe in (before you realize that nothing beats your maternal instinct), sterilizers, Molton tablets, formula, tiny dummies – that becomes your house. Normal conversation ceases to exist and suddenly all you can talk about is your baby.
Baby grows up a bit, starts appreciating and playing with toys, and the real mess starts. You can forget about ever seeing your floors cleared out. There is always something on the floor. Whilst you are tidying up one corner of your house, rest assured that the baby who’s suddenly gone quiet is making a mess at the other corner. Do not bother clearing up the toys before the baby goes to sleep – they are experts in making a mess.
Then weaning starts, and the stains and smells and stickiness begin. Baby-grows which until now have only been sometimes covered with milk and still practically brand-new, now have orange stains so stubborn no amount of Vanish can remove! Your recipe books starts filling up with baby recipes and the kitchen cupboards are full of emergency food jars. Planning trips and travels becomes ten times more difficult. You have to calculate how much milk and food to prepare, the number of nappies to take and outfit changes of course are always a necessity.
Babies grow into toddlers and then there is the greatest change. Any trace of your self is gone. Our iPad is no longer ours. Our television is no longer ours. My writing pad is now Cesca’s drawing book. My handbags are full of toys and cracker crumbs. Baby-less Me would thrill at ordering clothes and shoes online. Nowadays the packages which arrive are baby books and baby clothes, which strangely get me more excited than any package of mine ever did. My precious necklaces and bracelets are now half-missing and half-destroyed. My lipsticks are all chipped and my expensive bronzing powder now has a hole right in the middle. Mobile phones are found in the washing machine and creams are placed in the toilet. That’s toddler life for you.
Any trace of a baby-less and carefree life is gone once children are born.
And with a toddler, any trace of a baby in the house is gone as well.
The crib goes, the cot goes, baby starts sleeping in a proper bed, the high-chair is gone, the toys are now grown-up blocks and figures. The apps on our gadgets are now more complicated and less cartoonish. My once-BabyTV-loving baby now can’t get enough of Mr. Bean and she cries with laughter at each episode. The 7-month old baby whose first word was ‘mama’ now talks ALL THE TIME. Simple words have become replaced with ‘laryngoscope’, ‘meteorites’ and ‘synagogue’ (don’t ask). Sippy-cups are gone, as are food worries. She is her own person, she knows what she wants and she is suddenly much more independent than you want her to be because in your eyes, she is still that small baby you brought home from the hospital.
It’s a nostalgic time when babies become toddlers. They’re suddenly not ‘yours’ anymore. Living in Malta I don’t spend as much as time with Cesca as I did when in England. The reasons are obvious, but a part of me misses the exclusivity we had going on. More than about sharing Cesca, I know that what it’s really about is Cesca growing up and needing me a bit less everyday.
I can’t imagine how I’ll feel next year when Cesca starts school…