And just like that, Piglet is practically an adult.
Well OK not quite, but put it this way. I NO LONGER HAVE A PUSHCHAIR.
Ever since the cold day in January 2017 when we first moved into our new abode, the trusty Bugaboo has had its place in the porch, and now the porch stands empty, a lone Blaze and the Monster Machines scooter the only thing standing between it and Home & Garden magazine minimalist chic. Well almost.
Picture the scene: Piglet and I have just got home and, crestfallen, I discover that we have forgotten to buy milk at the Co-Op.
As I stand dejectedly looking into the milk-free fridge, Piglet having just polished off the dregs of the previous carton, Piglet is in possession of a brilliant idea.
“Mummy,” he says, face serious, “We need to go to the Co-Op and get a new one.”
I sigh heavily, thinking of how much time it has just taken us to walk from the bus stop, even though Piglet had his scooter and was pretending to be a bus for half the walk.
“OK. How about you go in the pushchair?”
Dutifully Piglet sprints to the pushchair; opens the door of the porch, climbs into the Bugaboo and straps himself in. “I don’t need shoes! I’m not walking!”
It’s like the halcyon days of babyhood all over again, but while once upon a time Piglet would have been screaming and thrashing about as I wrestled him in, now that he’s basically too old for it he’s only too happy to sit placidly, taking in the scenery from the rapidly decaying chassis with its mouldy hood and withering wheels that are in constant danger of falling off. I briefly consider whether he should wear shoes just in case the wheels do actually fall off and we have to abandon the Bugaboo halfway up the hill, but quickly decide that it’s worth the risk to be able to tell Piglet that he can’t run off and hide behind every piece of street furniture today, or run around the Co-Op demanding “baby snacks” because NO SHOES.
One mercifully quick trip to the Co-Op later (it’s almost like doing it on my own-except NIGHTMARE HILL AND HEAVY CHILD! At least my arms are getting a workout, I think. The arms must be, like, SUPER TONED) we are home and in possession of enough milk that I could safely invite my mother over for a cup of tea without her tutting and sighing and implying I’m a terrible human being with the organisational skills of a housefly for having slightly less than a pint of milk in the house.
And then, just like that, I get a text message. It’s my mother, and this time, she’s not informing me of bus timetables, or asking what time Piglet went to sleep. She’s coming over right now, and taking the beloved Bugaboo to the tip.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m not ready, I want to cry, Piglet is still a baby! He’s still strapped into the actual Bugaboo, right now, saying he wants to go to sleep whilst propelling himself around the living room with the dexterity of a wheelchair basketball champion. He pretends to be a baby all the time! He likes being carried! He insists I feed him his dinner when he thinks he can get away with it. He’s still breastfeeding, for Christ’s sake!
Two minutes later, the Bugaboo is being removed from the porch and placed in the boot of my brother’s car. Piglet is remarkably unbothered and I am practically and unexpectedly in tears. It has done its final journey, and with it go the last vestiges of babyhood. The baby years are over.
I always intended to get rid of the pushchair before Piglet started school. I didn’t want there to be an excuse for him to be ferried to the station every morning in his school uniform still sitting in the Bugaboo. He was the only child in pre-school who was delivered each day in a pushchair, the result of having no car and a hefty (and hilly) walk to and from the train station each day, and I knew our Bugaboo days had to come to an end before it just got embarrassing. Or the wheels fell off, whichever came first.
O the times we have had. The time Piglet threw up on the way home from nursery and I had to detach the shopping basket with a pair of scissors and bin it as it was encrusted with dried vomit. The many times I struggled with it on public transport all around London and, later, Bristol. The way it started off so lovely and so expensive, and then rapidly became a decaying cesspit of rice cake crumbs, poo and vomit and the hood went mouldy after eighteen months in my mother’s unheated porch. The way I was told it would never last four years from birth until school and then it BLOODY WELL DID. The way it took me over a year and several Youtube tutorials to work out how to put it up and down and my mother NEVER got it right. The way it took me ages to work out why it was always veering dangerously to one side and then I realised I had reassembled it wrong.
That Bugaboo was the symbol of my motherhood, the strange and exciting new toy my mother bought me at seven months pregnant; the smallest of the mega-perambulators in John Lewis, not a travel system (deemed unnecessary and cumbersome for lugging up and down stairs on the tube, and boy were there a lot of stairs), suitable from birth to four years with no adjustments except a fleecy “baby cocoon” perched on the top. It was my official badge of entry into the World of Mothers, the sign that I was in this for real and not just playing mummies for a bit of a laugh. It was the symbol of Piglet’s babyhood, now gone forever, and of my status as mother of a baby, habitual occupier of the baby feeding cubicles in Westfield, discusser of childbirth and attender of baby rhyme time in the libraries and children’s centres of Wembley.
I left Wembley in 2015, and the last time I went to a baby rhyme time I was told Piglet was too old for it.
But the Bugaboo remained. The Bugaboo passed from Wembley to Bristol, from childminder to nursery, and almost as far as school. There won’t be more babies, and there won’t be any more Bugaboos, but the memories will live on. I wish the Bugaboo could find a new family and a new baby, but lets face it, no one wants a decaying chassis with a ripped out shopping basket, a mouldy hood and wheels that could fall off at any moment, so its time here is done. Thanks for the memories, and here’s to the next stage. The baby years are over, bring on the school days.