It is hard looking back now over a very short number of years that at the tender age of four and a half years the last delicate link to my babies has been broken. Granted when one of my children corrects me for calling them my baby and insists they are in fact a big boy or girl , I smile and remember my own mother telling me throughout my life and even more so when I became a mother for the first time, that you would always be your mother’s baby. So as I nod enthusiastically and agree wholeheartedly that yes indeed they are a big boy and girl, I cuddle them close and inhale their innocence, their newness, and smile and whisper silently that no matter what age they are that they too will always be my babies.
From tiny five pounders they gained strength and moved from premature babygros to newborn .Through the sleep deprived fog I inhaled every second of their newness, nibbled kisses on their teeny fingers and near cried as I cut their fingernails for fear I would hurt them. Then came the day when the nought to three-month olds babygros strained at the feet, limbs restricted , it was time to move to the three to six month clothes. I was excited to dress them up truth be told, for someone as obsessed with children’s’ clothing as I am ,it was my dream to plan their outfits. I revelled in picking their clothes out for the day , but one day it struck me , the fact they had wardrobes of dresses and pants and no longer wore babygros twenty-four seven ,meant that my babies were actually growing up.
In a sleep deprived blink now four months old they became old enough to leave the safe cocoon of our bedroom and slept in the nursery for the first time. A nursery that had waited patiently for them to christen as their own bedroom for some time. Walls lovingly painted with hope and tints of turquoise, soft bedding perfect to snuggle little ones in were finally turned down for their first nights sleep in their first ever own bedroom. Already independent little fighters who made their strong will and determination known from twenty-three weeks, now pulling at that invisible thread and beginning their first steps of growing up.
Next was one of the hardest parts as our feeding journey came to an end ,another sign they were less dependent on me and were growing up. Emotions swirled I was happy they were thriving yet to this day I miss those days. As hard as my breastfeeding journey was at times I cherish that I was able to give them nourishment in their early months and miss those silent times when a little hand would tap along my breastbone as I fed, or reach out for their twin , bonding all three of us in our own little bubble.
From there on in we were hurtling towards shedding the baby name for good as they became early walkers before they even turned one. Not soon after walking began we resigned our double buggy to the hallway for it was few and far occasions between that they would sit in it ,preferring to lead the way and explore everywhere we went in their first shoes. The buggy made grand appearances every once in a while or when I just had to get something done quickly and I would need to rely on my entire repertoire of negotiation skills to get them to sit in it whilst I got some jobs done out and about . If you have ever negotiated with your toddler you will know this meant a-lot of bribery occurred!
I still have that double buggy, somehow I cannot seem to let it go but it sits in my utility room these days long forgotten.
However when it came time to rest their tired heads at night ,they were content in their cot-beds right up in fact to just before their third birthday. To this day I cannot tell you how we got to that age with the sides still up on them but we did and for new parents who spent a-lot of the first eighteen months surviving on little sleep we were not going to rock the boat by changing something when both of them finally slept all night! And then The big bed move happened after a weekend trip away and I honestly did shed a tear as I took pictures of their little smiley faces ,near lost in their full size adult single beds. We were nearly there, that thread was near frayed all the way through. Our babies were nearly gone ,except for their second true loves. Have you guessed it yet? Yes ,the reason behind my blog name is an ode to my children’s love for their dodees. How something so small, so rubbery, so alien to me as a comforter could turn your sweet baby into a demonic child should said item go to where all the missing socks go , has parents globally ensuring that they always ,ALWAYS have a spare dodee (soother or dummy )hidden in the house. This was a lesson learnt after too many nights on hands and knees searching under their beds at 4am, cursing the fact that you ever gave one to them in the first place. They were early talkers, they didn’t get nipple confusion when feeding,their teeth don’t stick out and they don’t have any of the other scaremongering things some like to say a dodee causes so we were happy to let them have one. In fact it was the Neo-natal unit who strongly promoted the use of them, as they are proven to decrease cot deaths so it was a no brainer for us. Until the dramatics would occur when one was lost,tears and mayhem would begin and they were now in the last year of pre-school.
Their fifth birthdays are approaching and as they were only for bedtime for some time now it was agreed that Santa would magic them away at Christmas and give them to the new babies coming into the world. Then sickness came and Santa wondered was he ever going to get them but once bugs, chicken pox and chest infections left the household Santa made a special trip back in early January and left a special gift behind to two very brave children With that the last physical link to our babies was gone.
When your children are babies as first time parents you will them through their early weeks, willing them to hit milestones, celebrate when they achieve them early or do something new. Video them during tummy time lifting heavy heads on what you deem fragile necks but their strength brings tears to your eyes. Next you clap your hands excitedly as they hunker down and begin the backwards shuffle until one day they figure out how to go forward and before you know it you are on your knees arms stretched out wide whilst you wait for your little one to stumble across the floor and fall into your arms. The next thing you will know is that they are making friends, no longer calling you their best friend and getting invited to parties, your babies have better social life than you.
Now big school looms in the Autumn and whilst I look back at all those links that have disappeared as my children grow ,I know that we have so many exciting adventures and experiences to share with them as they grow up. I know that my lap will still be climbed up on this evening at story time before they go to bed. I know that they will still find their special groove on my chest and lie back eyelids fluttering asleep as I sing songs I have sung to them since when they were deep within me. I may have said goodbye to my babies in the physical sense but in my heart they’re forever my babies.