What parenting moments are over for you? And how do you see them now, when you look back? What do you miss?
These are the questions being asked by The Busy Mamas for her brand new linky, so I got thinking.
I thought about some tangible stages that have finished for good; the milestones that made me teary when they came around – the end of maternity leave, dismantling the cot, finishing breastfeeding. Because my baby is my last baby, there was a certain amount of sadness at each of these points – knowing that it was “the last time ever”. But while I was a bit blue at each ending, we’ve all moved on. The little boy now sleeps quite well in his new bed, he doesn’t miss breastfeeding, and back-to-work is now just work.
I thought about some stages I won’t miss – hours of pointless rocking during failed attempts to convince babies to nap, hacking dried in Weetabix off the high chair, and sleep deprivation. Oh, and my first proper night out after my eldest was born, with the too-late realisation that babies don’t understand hangovers.
So what would my wistful parenting moment be? I think it’s feet. Baby feet. Not so much a stage that’s gone by, but one that’s definitely slipping away, no matter how hard I try to hold on. Holding on metaphorically and physically – I can’t stop touching those gorgeous, still-small, still-chubby baby feet.
It’s ironic that a body part that is so delicious when attached to a baby, turns into something not quite as delectable when attached to an adult. So, you have to live in the now when it comes to feet. Kissing them won’t always be as irresistible as it is today.
There’s the newborn foot; the marvelling that the new baby is so perfect and so complete, with ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. The small, narrow, wrinkly foot, curved and arced; excess skin just waiting to be filled. And so begins the I-want-to-eat-your-toes love affair. The fat builds up and the skin is no longer loose. Toes stay small and wriggly, feet grow sturdier. They become almost square-shaped; as wide as they are long, around the time they are used for those first faltering steps. And more kissable than ever. A toddler’s foot is utterly edible – still chubby, soft, smooth, somehow always clean. So kissable. At every opportunity. A nappy change is a chance for some foot-cuddling. Getting dried after a bath is even better. Then there’s the happy fact that the toddler in my house likes taking off his shoes and socks throughout the day for no reason whatsoever. More kissing and snuggling and tickling opportunities. And I’m holding on. My baby’s feet are still baby feet, but they’re changing every day. I have a five-year-old with dainty, little-girl feet, and a six-year-old with almost-teenager feet. But my baby is still my baby and his feet are still mine to hold. I’m not ready to let go.