Feeling Naked.

I had a lovely day today.
Almost two decades ago when expecting DS#1 I attended NHS antenatal classes. I met a group of random women brought together at the local clinic through a coincidental timing of conception. We asked the same questions first time mummies always ask- will labour hurt? what if I poo during the pushing stage? how do I bath the baby without dropping or drowning it?
As our bumps grew and then as the babes started appearing a large group of us met for coffees and lunches and the occasional night out. Over the years mums moved away, others went back to work and the group only really met once a year at Christmas.
Now 19 years later, I still see some of the mums from that group at secondary school events and in the supermarket. We smile and say "Hi." Four of us have stayed firm friends and try and meet as often as possible. Three of us live within a couple of miles of each other and the other moved about 40 minutes away but is very good at driving to us for a catch-up.
grumpy toddler
when he was a cute baby
Our eldest children, all boys, are spread across the country now - one working, one is doing an apprenticeship and two are at uni.
Today, we had arranged to meet. Three of us for lunch, and the other was joining us for a cuppa after work.
I decided to pop out and pick up some flowers for the friend hosting and after dropping the children at school and pre-school headed into my nearest town.
Now, I've done this before obviously. DS#7 has been at pre-school a while now so I have had many mornings on my own ( although I tend to meet up with friends).
But today, maybe it was because my antenatal friends were on my mind with memories of our meet-ups long ago when we had carry-tot car seats and sported breast-pads and dark, tired eye-bags, I suddenly felt a teeny bit naked.
All around me there seemed to be mums pushing prams, buggies, pushchairs. I previously thought myself something of a pushchair expert but I didn't even recognise some of the brands. There were lots of mums feeding newborns in the cafes I walked past.
Other mums were chatting in that high pitched way you do about nothing much to toddlers in the shopping trolley seats in the supermarket. "Shall we buy some oranges?", "Shall mummy get some sausages for tea?" "Shall mummy have a nervous breakdown and kill the next slow pensioner that gets in my way , or asks if my child dressed from head to toe in Barbie pink is a good boy?"
And there were harassed mums dragging along reluctant littleys through the drizzly rain.
It felt very odd to be without a buggy, or without the sticky little hand in mine. And I was a little bit sad.
Then I went for lunch at my friends house.
Greeting me as my friend opened the door was a very small boy. She was looking after a relatives toddler for the afternoon. He was very, very cute.
For the first time for a long time we had lunch with the addition of a highchair at the table. There were tractors and noisy books. We all joined in coaxing him to eat. And as a whiff of something less pleasant than the lovely soup wafted round the group we realised that someone needed a nappy change!
only 6 more months and DS#7  will be in this
 playground as a full-time pupil.
It was very nice to realise the person needing to change the frankly revolting nappy was not me. We could play with the little person and enjoy his smiles and cuddles. It was a nice taste of what I imagine it is like to be a grandparent.
Of course at 3.15pm I got my family back. I had only been child-free all day because of pre-school and a friend who offered to have my grumpy toddler to play with her daughter for the afternoon.
But it gave me a taste of life in the not too distant future. DS#7 starts full time school in September. Today made me realise - it will be odd, I might feel naked. But it might be quite nice to be naked!



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