So we have decided. This is it. We are a family of four.
Once the baby of the family moves beyond toddlerhood, it’s normal to receive the usual onslaught of questions on “So, when are you having the next one?”.
In the early years of our marriage, hubs tried to convince me that we should set out to have four kids. Because he grew up in a family of four kids. I bargained it down to three. Because I grew up in a family of three kids. Plus, my main line of reasoning is that three is the maximum number you can have sitting in the backseat of a regular car without having to upgrade to a seven-seater.
Now we have two.
And I can honestly say, it feels complete.
A family of four. Four people. Two plus two. Two big people. Two little people. Two girls. Two boys.
When people ask me the inevitable question. I don’t feel the need to cringe or shy away.
I simply say it as it is. My baby making shop is closed. Our family feels complete.
So… no more babies!
No more babies, you say?
No more morning sickness, backaches and midnight leg cramps. No more sore bottoms, sore nipples and sore eyes. No more midnight feeds, witching hours and cluster feeds. No more wonder weeks and baby blues.
But spin it another way.
No more babies.
Because once in a while, I still have my wistful moments.
With both my babies, the defining moment for me would always be that first night at the hospital. It was just the two of us. All alone. One tiny light shining over us. A blanket of darkness all around us. Neither of us had our baths yet. It was all skin-to-skin. Our mutual scents all intermingled. Snuggling as close as possible to each other. Clinging tightly to one another. Breathing each other in. Not wanting to be parted from each other even for a split second. We were almost like one person. After all, just a few short hours ago, one of us was literally inside the other.
That velvet baby scent was just so intoxicating.
All it took was a little whiff of that scent to keep me going through the midnight cries, round-the-clock feeds and non-stop kangaroo cuddles.
It’s like a highly addictive primal olfactory drug.
But one I am deciding never to get a hit of ever again.
It only works on your own babies.
Other people’s babies may smell good. But they never have the same primal, addictive effect as your own.
Sometimes at night when I go to check on my babies asleep in their beds, I tiptoe quietly over and breathe in deeply to try and get another hit of that intoxicating baby scent.
But as time passes, and my babies grew, that scent inevitably slowly starts to fade. Fainter and fainter and fainter. Now barely detectable underneath the smell of warm milky breaths, sweaty limbs, strawberry-scented soap and orangey-minty toothpaste. Maybe all I am smelling now is just the memory of that once intoxicating baby scent. And I will never really know when was actually the last time that I breathed in that real baby scent.
The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget…
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realise.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.