My daughter is three months off turning four years old. She is still in nappies. She still has a dummy. She doesn’t particularly want to give up either of them.
I’m quite okay with that. Aside from the continual annoyance of “Mum, where is my dodie?”. And, of course, changing dirty nappies. Which I find becomes more irritating– but also funnier– every time she gags and throws her hands over her eyes, refusing to look at her own mess. Princess that she is.
I tell myself that I’m simply not concerned with any of it, if she’s not. I doubt she’ll be taking a dummy to school. And who am I to take away something that brings her so much comfort, if it’s not affecting her health?
As for toilet training… I think, perhaps, both she and I are just lazy. I had assumed, especially with everyone insisting on telling me how much ‘easier girls are to toilet train than boys!’, that she would do as her brother did and just decide she wanted to start using the toilet of her own accord.
It’s possible– probable, actually, at the age she is– that will still happen. So, I tell myself, there’s no need to pressure her.
While all that’s true, I know there’s more to it than that. In between making school lunches and daycare drop-offs, washing clothes and reading bedtime stories; I catch my daughter growing up, sometimes, from the corner of my eye. It takes my breath away. She’s too tall, her words too well pronounced. She’s far more of a baby, a toddler, in my mind than she is in real life.
And I want to keep her that way. Because once she turns four years old, it feels as though we’ve crossed a line. The stage of having tiny children, of nappies and dummies and milky soft cuddles… that’s all but over, when she becomes a ‘big girl’.
I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I will be, of course, when it happens. But I feel no need to push for it.
I’ve always said I didn’t understand mothers who tried to hold their children back, who want to keep them their babies forever.
I understand it, a little bit, now. Watching my baby grow up is bizarrely heartbreaking and gratifying, all at the one time.