Hooray, someone came to buy the Jumperoo. It has been gathering dust in the corner of the room, taking up space that could safely accommodate an extra armchair or a substantial sideboard.
Little Mister hasn’t really used it for a couple of months. Not since he discovered crawling and cruising and found his independence. Of course he didn’t want to be stuck in a chair just observing the goings-on in the lounge, he wanted to be free to explore whatever he fancied (mostly turning the Freeview box on and off much to his older brother’s annoyance).
I have persevered in sticking him in his “baby jail” a few times, y’know when I’ve needed to go to the loo or answer the door without fear of him eating the fake coals on the gas fire in my absence. But he has increasingly shown his displeasure, arching his back and turning rigid so I can’t physically manhandle him into the seat or, if I do succeed in forcing him in, immediately crumpling onto his hands and sobbing great big drama queen tears at the injustice of it all. It’s like he’s finally figured out the ruse. I can imagine him thinking (in a Stewie from Family Guy voice) “This isn’t about me having some bouncy fun after all, this is about you trapping me and ignoring me! Well I’m not playing anymore, mother.”
So I should be pleased to say goodbye to the enormous thing, and delighted that I’ve managed to flog it for £20 when I bought it second hand for £30.
But I couldn’t shake off the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. My little baby, my last baby, isn’t really a baby anymore. He’s found independence, he’ll be walking in the next couple of months.
Soon I’ll be selling off the steriliser and the Perfect Prep formula machine (also bought second-hand). Then he’ll go down to one bottle of cow’s milk a day and the health visitor will try to persuade me that he really needs to swap that for a cup, but I’ll be reluctant because that will mean I can no longer cwtch him up in the crook of my arm while we stare into each others’ eyes and he gently pulls my hair or pokes my teeth with his pointed finger.
His babyhood has whizzed by in an instant and I just want to hit the pause button for a while.
As I was preparing the Jumperoo for its new owner, I panicked that I hadn’t even filmed my little boy in it. I frantically searched through the videos on my phone and was relieved to find a couple, but even they don’t really capture him at his bounciest and most delighted. What if I forget that beautiful, wondrous smile, that giggle of sheer pleasure when he jumped about so enthusiastically? I haven’t filmed him enough, I haven’t taken enough photos. It will never be enough.
I know I can’t cling onto all the baby stuff forever. We haven’t got the room for a start, and besides, wouldn’t it be just as sad to have a constant reminder sitting in the corner, grown out of and unused? So I’ll start to say farewell to all these baby accessories, just as I’ll have to reluctantly say goodbye to the baby phase itself. But I’ll try to keep hold of the memories, through photos, videos and through my diary, so I can still return whenever I want. And although I know this next stage will be just as exciting and delightful as the last, I think it’s okay to feel a little sadness too.