I’ve written a lot about IVF recently. It was pretty daunting yet amazing becoming an Antenatal patient after being an IVF patient for so long. It’s also been a big shock to the system adapting from being a mother of 1 baby to the mother of 2 children. It may be an obvious thing to say but it seems the older my children get the more “grown up” I am expected to be.
Sometimes when I hear a child’s voice say “Mummy” in the supermarket. I am genuinely surprised to find that the voice belongs to a child in the trolley I am pushing & that bellowing child is actually mine. Even more strangely this same child is dictating rather forcefully, that we should buy sprouts and chocolate for dinner.
And this is on the days I can actually get my girls to sit in a trolley. They’re almost too big to wedge both in now. Not only are they growing in girth, nearing the 15kg per seat allowance, sitting in such close proximity to each other makes it near impossible to resist the temptation to fight.
I didn’t realise the back of a trolley was forbidden territory until recently. Health & Safety bods understandably, I guess, don’t like children travelling precariously in the back. I discovered this by way of a rather public announcement directed to me over the tannoy, telling me to “remove the child in the pink coat from the rear of the trolley”. So sometimes I have no choice but to let 1 of my children roam free.
As with everything they do, my girls insist on taking turns. Yet this week when it was Izzie’s turn to get back in the trolley she not only refused, she bolted, did a runner & disappeared. I saw her run towards the door of the shop & turn right. I ran swiftly after her but was weighed down by the trolley still containing Jemima.
I lost sight of her. When you are overcome with fear & nausea, all rational thought disappears. All I could hear was this loud thumping noise? Was that really my heart pounding? Realistically I knew she couldn’t have run out of the door as I would have seen her. Time stood still, then dragged.
Should I move and call for help or stay where I was by the door as then I knew she couldn’t get out? 2 minutes later which felt like at least 2 hours, Izzie emerged sheepishly, holding onto a shop assistant’s hand. Izzie had done the right thing, found a nice lady in the store and told her she was lost. I don’t think I have ever held Izzie so tight as when we were reunited. I have subsequently stalked said “nice lady” and her Manager with letters of my undying love. Izzie and I were very lucky.
So when did it change? When did she develop such strong opinions? I used to worry when my girls were babies and they couldn’t communicate that I would make the wrong decision on their behalf. And you’re going to laugh at this, I thought things would be easier when they could speak and tell me what they wanted.
I guess this sudden break for freedom didn’t come out of nowhere. In the first few weeks of this New Year there have been so many changes for Izzie. Her independence is not only illustrated through her words and indeed actions but also because some of the most prominent signs of her babydom are disappearing.
Let’s start with her cot, I’ll be honest not converting it into a bed until she was 3 was possibly a little late. It worked for us though. Now Izzie needs the flexibility to use the bathroom at night and has embraced her new found freedom with all her heart. She’s often caught prowling upstairs “pink panther style” long after bedtime. Interestingly she still summons me to her room in the morning to get her up and ready, like I’m some sort of lowly parlour maid.
With the the “Big Girl Bed” has come the “Big Girl Car Seat”. Instead of a safety harness which I now know was for her safety and everyone else’s sanity, she is only fastened in by a seatbelt which she can unclip with frightening dexterity. I may have control of the steering wheel but Izzie has contol of the car. She has easy access to torment her little sister and on long journeys I now negotiate her good behaviour with her choice of CD, sweets or other in car entertainment.
I’ve also realised I’m longer in charge of Izzie’s social engagements. This week she received her first invitation to a party from a child I don’t know. It’s a scary yet proud moment when your child gets their own social life. It was a sign of things to come when my husband asked “who is this boy?” and “how old is he?” The fact the little boy concerned is 4 and is probably still in pull ups at night didn’t make him any less protective.
Speaking of firsts, my girls are finishing off their Christmas Selection boxes and had their first Animal Bar. This may sound random but trust me it’s a big one. Gone are those baby days where a little piece of chocolate or even sharing a bar would satisfy them. Now only “the whole packet” will do. I guess once you’ve experienced the whole bar, a baby portion will never suffice, will it?
Izzie will always be my babygirl but inevitably she is growing into a little girl with a big attitude. I realise that however scary it is, her increasing independence is essential. So I accept the rules of the parenting game have changed for me and understand Izzie and I have a lot to learn. After all the most important thing you need to know about new boundaries is just how far you can push them.