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Forever my baby

I’m going to start with some good news. We’ve FINALLY cracked the potty training! It’s only taken a year, and there’s still the odd accident (normally of the poo variety) but we have finally turned a corner. One such accident happened last weekend whilst my brother and his girlfriend were looking after Rae and my niece. Because my family live over 100 miles away from us, my sister and I don’t get to go out together very often as we normally have to babysit for each other, but last Saturday had been planned with enough notice that we could organise for someone to babysit so we could both go out. I don’t think my brother thought I was being serious when I said we were going out at 3pm because when he turned up at 1:30pm and we all but had the car running to leave to go and get ready at my sisters his reaction was “Is this you gone for the night now?!”. We skipped out of the door after wishing them luck and went to get ready. My brother had to move his car to let me off my drive so he let Rae sit in his car while he did it. Apparently, after we drove off he went to get Rae out of the car and she fell out of the door, grazing her elbow and screaming blue murder. To cheer her up he took her in the garden to play football, where she proceeded to hide behind a tree and poo in her knickers. That was one step too far for my brother to deal with so he left her to his girlfriend to clean up. In the bathroom, whilst cleaning her up, the poo fell on the floor and Rae stood in it. My brothers girlfriend said all she was thinking was “They’ve only been gone 15 minutes, what have we let ourselves in for?!”. My Mum text my brother asking if he’d arrived safe and his reply was “Got here at 1:30. Was ready to hand them back at 2:30”. The rest of the afternoon and night went without too much trouble, although the 5:45am wake up the girls gave them Sunday morning doesn’t fill me with much confidence that they’ll be returning to babysit any time soon.

I’ve always been honest on these blogs so I have a confession to make. I debated whether to write about it because in one sense I’m annoyed at myself, but then I thought so what, I’m just doing the best I can so I’m going to tell you. So here goes…. I gave Rae her dummy back *insert shocked face here*. She’d gone six months without it, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’d caved after she’d begged for it back but you’d be wrong. She only asked for it a few times in the week after I got rid of it then never again, but bedtimes became an absolute nightmare. It probably had a lot to do with the house move too, but I couldn’t handle the fight to get her to go to sleep every single night. She was really affected by the house move. I had to avoid driving past my old house because it would set her off crying, asking why I hadn’t stopped the car and asking when were we going to go home. At our new house, whenever she would get upset over anything she would start saying she wanted to go home and when I would say we were home she’d say “No this is the new house, I want to go home”. I had her in with me for the first month whilst her bedroom was decorated but she would just mess around so much, refusing to lie down and jumping around the bed. She’s a ball of energy so without the dummy to soothe her it was taking me the best part of two hours every night to get her to sleep, when I was used to it taking 15 minutes. It got to the point where the pair of us would be either in tears or screaming at each other and I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d thrown all the dummy’s away but on the day of the house move I found one in a drawer and threw it in the car, so one night I just gave it to her and she was asleep within ten minutes, and I’m not even sorry. The constant late nights were meaning she was tired and grumpy in the day, and so was I, and I dreaded bedtimes. Now we’re back to peaceful bedtimes and a happy household so if I was wrong to give it her back I don’t care.

It’s weird now though, because she looks so strange with the dummy in her mouth. It got me thinking about how much she’s grown and all the changes that have happened that mean she’s not a baby anymore and you don’t realise at the time that there’s some things you’ll never do or see again. We’re so eager for them to reach milestones but when your baby finally holds their own bottle, eventually you’ll never hold them like a baby and feed them a bottle again. When they start feeding themselves, eventually you’ll never have to spoon feed them again. When they are (finally) potty trained, eventually you’ll never have to change a nappy again. When they can dress themselves, eventually they’ll never need your help again. It’s very true what they say – they don’t stay babies forever. But it doesn’t matter what age they are, they’ll always be your baby.

Recently I had some bad news about my neighbour from my previous house. I lived there for over 5 years and saw him most days. He owned a building and maintenance company and did so much for me over the years – fixing leaks, putting up coat hooks, painting my bannister, taking things to the tip for me, and never letting me give him any money. He lived alone with his dog, who he adored, and he was always smiling. Four weeks ago he took his own life, for reasons I’ll probably never know. It has devastated me and I couldn’t think about it without crying for the first two weeks. What I can’t stop thinking about is how lonely he must have felt to do that, how he felt like he had no one to talk to, and it makes me so sad. I’m so sad for his family, especially his Mum. He was 59 but he was still her baby.

I remember the first time I confided in my Mum about boys. I was 14 and I remember it like it was yesterday. She was in the kitchen so I went in and shut the door and told her I had two boys asking me out (I don’t have that problem these days….) and asked for her advice. Since then I talk to her about everything. My friends are shocked at some of the things I talk to my Mum about but I love that we have that type of relationship and I hope Rae feels like she can talk with me like I do with my Mum. Even at 3 years old, everything she says to me I listen to, even if it makes us late, or takes her an age to get out, because if I don’t listen to the little things now, she won’t tell me the big things later. I don’t care if she thinks that what she tells me will make me angry or upset, I want her to be able to trust me and confide in me, and know that I’ll always be here to listen, because she’ll forever be my baby.

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