Here we are, as unlikely as it seems, with a five-and-a-half month old baby sleeping peacefully in his cot. New readers of this blog may think of us as experienced parents to whom having an infant is a normal experience - anyone who knows us however is probably still lifting their bottom jaw back into place following the shock of seeing D and me carrying around an actual baby.
This of course is nothing compared to the shock we have had. Anyone who has read this from the start will know that we had a serious case of denial about the baby arriving. To some extent, we are still suffering under a similar delusion in that we seem to think that what we have on our hands is a perma-baby. You know, somewhat squawly and messy but we're on top of it all now. Difficult, but controllable by virtue of the various restraining devices there are on the market - doorway bouncers, vibrating chairs, high-chairs, car-seats... And face it, even a playmat is fairly restraining when you're talking about someone who can't even crawl yet. It naps, it sleeps and if it gets really annoying, just shove a boob in it's mouth and that normally does the trick. Isn't that it?
What is becoming increasingly obvious however is that Charlie isn't in on this little fiction, rather he is doing all he can to prove to us that he is NOT a baby but is in fact a growing boy with growing needs who By God needs to be taken seriously. What this means is that he is developing skills at a rate of knots. Not, however, useful skills like, for example, being able to roll in two directions so that if he gets himself wedged up against one of the arches of his play gym he can roll back. Neither is he able to sit up, crawl, feed himself, dress himself or go to sleep without a lengthy routine or three.
What he can do is to wriggle out of anything he's not physically tied into, jab at the computer keyboard until he's caused the machine to collapse, tug at the phone while it's in the hand, roll over on the changing table, pull eye-glasses off faces, tug hair, grab anything within reach and toss it onto the floor, and most recently, lift my shirt and yank meaningfully at my boobs without the niceties of waiting until we are in the security of our own home.
All this advancement is making it increasingly clear that he is about to start doing such adventuresome and high-maintenance activities as crawling, walking and falling down the stairs. This means that I will no longer have a baby, that babies are indeed just for Christmas (one Christmas anyway) and not, in fact, for life - and somehow, I feel totally cheated.
Apparently, babies grow up to be Something Else and all that expensive Stuff is about to go into the cellar or be sold on eBay so that even more expensive Stuff can take it's place. Out goes the play-mat, the baby-gym, the Bumbo, the pram, the moses basket, the car-seat, an extensive wardrobe and the bouncy chair. In comes the high-chair, a bigger car-seat, spoons and bowls and non-spill mugs, pull-up pants, potties, bath chairs and things that go 'beep' and require batteries. Out goes taking him to the supermarket while he sits angelically in his buggy and in come the flailing and grabbing fingers and having to go back in to pay for what-ever tat it was took his fancy when I got too close to the shelving. In, now I come to think of it, comes on-line shopping. Hooray!
Anyway the upshot of all this development is that I am going to have to face the fact that soon he will be able to run away, answer back and tell everyone what it is that I really do during the day ("and then Mummy locks me in the nursery and drinks vodka!!!")
Now, unfortunately, I know what my mother really meant when she used to give me a meaningful look and say 'you were Such A Lovely Baby'.