06 October, 2012

Past the pushchair phase -- phew!

I was walking out of my local leisure centre the other day when I noticed a woman struggling past me in the opposite direction, lugging a baby in a car seat in one hand, with a toddler clinging tightly to her other hand. I see this kind of thing all the time, of course, but for some reason I looked this time. I mean really looked. And I felt so glad that I was beyond that stage (both my children are now in the later years of primary school).

I remember the pushchair stage well, though. I recall going back to work after my first stint of maternity leave and the greatest thing for me was being able to go out for lunch by myself in a cafe that was up a flight of stairs. The freedom was intoxicating. I used to visit this cafe regularly pre-children, but a cafe on the first floor with a small baby in tow takes on a whole new dimension of difficulty.

Granted, pre-teen children come with their own set of problems. Negotiating limits of freedom, learning how to manage relationships, even coming to an agreement about appropriate amounts of pocket money. But the rewards -- ability to communicate in plain English, no longer needing to cart baby paraphernalia with you on every outing, etc., etc. -- are ample compensation, in my mind.

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