The loss


A poem for pregnancy and baby loss awareness week.

Words are important to me. They help me make sense of things, understand the world around me, and shape my own narrative. It helped me to write this. I hope maybe it helps someone else to read it. #babyloss #waveoflight

The loss

The blood, just a spot, a smear on the gusset.
The beat in the throat; the rush in the ears.
The phone call, who to see, when.
The journey.
The unreality of practicality.
The wait.
The running late.
The certainly, deep down, it won’t happen to me,
The certainty, deep down, that it will.
The bargain – if I worry, if I wind tight, if I torment, if I promise, if I pray, it will be ok, it will be ok.
The mantra. Please be there. Please stay, please stay, please stay.
The tick and bustle and comings and goings and ebb and flow in slow, slow, slow motion.
The scan.
The game – searching faces, searching inside – trying to feel you, find you, will you, hold you, fold you into me.
The hope.
The news.
The distress, of getting dressed – familiar, foreign: final.
The truth, that no one is looking for you now. No one but me. Nothing to see, here.
The paperwork.
The excruciating kindness.
The walk back, holding back, tears.
The tears.
The jagged edges of raw, rasping, rattling despair.
The emptiness – emptier than if you’d never been there, at all.
The clawing, raging beast of injustice.
The howl that should have been your first cry in MY chest, pressed against my breast – a cyclone in hibernation,
The desperation, the wildness –
The wilderness.
The loneliness – because hardly there you were most real to me, most mine.
The lie, when I say I’m fine.
The savage fist, the shift, the listlessness, wistfulness, repeated again and again
The impotent love, with nowhere to go –
The need to know.
The need to keep you.
The need to get you out.
The bleeding,
The pain.
The blame.
The weight of your betrayal –
The weight of mine.
The hollow core, the cold tile floor as you left me, bereft me, unblessed me.
The analysis – why you went, what I did wrong,
The song – of sorrow.
The heaviness of sympathy.
The assumption that I will get over you, you. You – like you’re flu – done, gone, move on.
The unfair inevitability of the next day, and the day after, and the day after that.
The sunshine, blue sky and careless, endless, turning, churning, indifferent cycle of life, always
The same.
The shame – of my failure, my unruly feelings.
The depletion, gnawing, grinding incompletion that doesn’t have language or permission.
The space, the echoing, roaring, soaring space, in head, in womb, in heart.
The drift apart.
The new dark.
The fear.




The PARENT Maze – Pre-school Zone


Welcome to the third edition of The PARENT Maze – the game show to end all game shows! Here are my ideas for the challenges you’ll find in the  Pre-school Zone. Not for the faint of heart…

David Tennant is our host (in pants, mainly due to the fact I only have a Kristof doll and David looked weird in his clothes) and the format doesn’t stray too far from the original Crystal Maze. Speaking of which, that version is due back later this month on Channel 4 in aid of Stand Up for Cancer – but I think they may have decided on Stephen Merchant for the host. And they’ve put him in clothes. Some people have no vision.

If you missed them, you can also check out the Toddler Zone and Baby Zone if you’ve missed them.

Let’s do this.

Preschool zone

1. Craft/Baking challenge

Yep, it’s time to have creative, interactive and theoretically educational sensory ‘fun’ with small children! David spins the Pinterest Wheel of Misfortune, and picks you out a craft project and a novelty cupcake design. You are also issued with four random children aged between 3 and 5, some of whom are related to each other – or to you – for the purposes of extra bickering.

You will be supplied with completely spurious aprons (crusted together from last time for added reality), plus a myriad of ingredients including toilet rolls, wooden spoons, sequins, scales, pom poms, googly eyes, eggs, flour, cotton wool and butter. It’s your job to sort the frosting from the playdoh, the edible glitter from the glitter glitter, and the PVA glue from the milk. 

Points will be deducted for: 

  • Meltdowns 
  • Failure to enforce turn taking
  • Egg shell/snot in the bowl
  • Glitter in orifices/glue in hair
  • Removed aprons
  • Flour explosions
  • Sloppy mixing/painting
  • Consumption of raw egg/craft materials
  • Colouring outside the lines
  • First degree burns
  • Double dipping
  • Misuse of scissors
  • Pipe cleaner sword fights/stabbings
  • Inedible cakes
  • Unidentifiable craft sheep/bears/parrots/snowmen 
  • Yelling
  • Consumption of alcohol to numb the pain
  • Doing it all yourself because the kids are shit at everything.

The final offerings will be judged by public vote, and/or new Channel 4 signing Paul Hollywood. 

  1. Lego fire-walk

Not only do you have to follow the instructions to complete a spurious lego model, the pieces you require can only be retrieved one at a time, across a 10 metre tray of raw lego. Contestants are, obviously, bare footed. A generous 5 minutes for this one.

  1. Imaginative play

Here you get to choose your own fate, by picking your own category of imaginative play. Options include Mums and Dads, Doctors and Nurses, Princesses, Octonauts, Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, or Scooby Doo.

There is no time limit on this one, in fact part of the challenge is that you have to repeat the same scenario – under strict directions – for at least three hours. Deviation from the script you are provided will result in extra time being added ONTO the clock. Attempts at ad-lib, creative direction, diversion or escape, will result in five minutes of Level 2 tantruming, and having to go back to the start of the game. Again.

You must also do all of the voices, on national telly. With David Tennant listening. ***Shudder***

  1. Infestation challenge

Welcome to childcare! In the infestation challenge room contestants have to eradicate nits and worms, armed with Q tips, a nit comb, a massive bottle of conditioner, and an even bigger bottle of disinfectant. Getting locked in here will result in personal contamination, and you won’t ever be allowed to rejoin the game. Or the real world without a lengthy quarantine.

  1. Soft play challenge

This door basically opens into your average soft play centre on a rainy Saturday morning. You have 4 minutes, and a pair of white socks. You have to rescue a screaming child from an undisclosed location in the maze, which has obviously been designed for someone of around a fifth of your age and body mass. Both of you must reach the door WITH NO TEARS before the time runs out. Your socks will then be swabbed for bacteria, and anything over three trillion microbes will result in automatic lock-in.

(Top tip: Choose your route wisely and avoid the ball pool at all costs).

  1. Potty training game

One that probably sits between the toddler and pre-school zones. Look, I think by this point in proceedings you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen in this room – as have the contestants.

Suffice to say it’s a game of mind-boggling frustration and teeth-gritting endurance, involving gusset scrubbing, mysterious wet patches, mad toilet dashes, pull-up negotiations, bum sniffing and potty-emptying splash-back. 

Most of the team are completely broken, and are no longer motivated even by a scantily clad David Tennant or a strangely charming Stephen Merchant. Several are rocking gently in a corner. Others are trying desperately to climb back up the umbilical ropes from the original Descent, which the producers have now coated with real birth mucus to prevent traction. Some of the men are seriously considering letting Channel 4 take them away for live vasectomies for the next series of Embarrassing Bodies – or the new-look, revamped Bake Off. Whatever. They don’t give a shit, anymore.

The Crystal Dome

For those that DO make it to the end, there’s the final challenge – the legendary Crystal Dome! I’m sure this is still somewhere in the props department, and for the purposes of the Parent Maze it will be obscured up to 2 feet high by sticky handprints and miscellaneous smears. Here the £9k university fees for each contestant’s offspring is blown around the dome in £50 notes, for an added frisson of reality and drama. When the buzzer goes, David Tennant tucks wads of notes into his own pants as he counts it out. (Hopefully).

It occurs to me looking back over the games that The Parent Maze appears to be somewhat messier and grosser than the original Crystal Maze. That pretty much reflects life post-children though, doesn’t it? Anyhoo – I think it’s very clear that once they read this Channel 4 will be calling for applications very shortly. I for one am IN.

Who’s with me?????


The PARENT Maze – Toddler zone


The second instalment of the exciting new Crystal Maze spin-off – The PARENT Maze. Here’s what happens in the Toddler zone. If you missed the first exciting episode, catch up on the original premise and the Baby Zone games here.

Toddler zone

1. Bedtime ninjas

You’re stuck in a dark room, rigged with boobie traps, squeaky toys and even squeakier floorboards. You have to escape without waking the toddler, who has taken 4 stories, 2 nappy changes, a drink, a snack, endless cuddles, 3 hours, 23 lullabies and extravagant bribes to get to sleep in the first place. If you do make a noise you must flatten yourself to the floor or blend with the shadows to avoid line of sight. Failure will result in being locked in this hell for at least another 4 hours.

  1. Playdate Chinese whispers

Two player game. You’re both strapped onto a giant wheel each. As these turn, you will get to exchange snippets of random conversation, during which you are required to convey key grown-up information not related to childcare, parenting or bodily functions. (!!!!!!)

You are whipped apart constantly as the wheels go round, and must solve (on the move) challenges like stopping a small child eating crap off the floor, kissing bumped body parts better, attempting to consume your own beverage, breaking up fights over toys and sharing, and explaining at length why we don’t throw and/or why we don’t ride the cat.

If player 2 can accurately recall and repeat the information from player 1 after 300 rotations, you’ll be let out of the room.

  1. Bag packing

You must pack 4 bags in 4 minutes to unlock the door. A pile of crap is in the middle of the room, and there are 4 scenarios you have to pack for. The first is a park trip on a slightly rainy Autumn day, with a six month old and a toddler. The second is a summer picnic with two pre-schoolers, with the addition of possible water play. The third is a Sunday dinner at Grandma’s with a newborn and a toddler. The fourth is friend’s wedding, 200 miles away, with a baby and a travel-sick 5 year old.

Failure to remember the requisite number of nappies, costume changes, wipes, nappy bags, snacks, drinks, entertainments and specialist equipment will result in lock-in.

‘Helpful’ advice can be provided by team mates, who will stand by impotently and ask occasionally what you’re getting so stressed about – very much like your other half in daily domestic packing scenarios.

  1. Toy excavation

You are given instructions to retrieve a specific and previously unfavoured toy, probably from a party bag or MacDonalds meal 8 months previously, which you fear you might possibly have binned in a midnight toy-cull, from an undisclosed location, on pain of massive freaking toddler meltdown. The door unlocks to reveal a room that looks essentially like a bomb has gone off in a toy shop (or like one child has been left to play unsupervised while you take a shower for approximately 4 whole bloody minutes). 2 minutes on the clock. Good luck.

  1. Sandwich challenge

A logic (HAH!) game of trial, error and elimination. You have various ingredients at your disposal, including ham, cheese, cream cheese,  jam, white and brown bread. You have 3 minutes. You must create and arrange your sandwich on the correct colour plate, with the correct crust/no crust choice, cut into the correct square/triangle/finger shape. This must be rushed to a dumb waiter and hoisted up to receive judgement. (Rumour has it the guest toddler for this game is the equally fictitious and capricious progeny of the Banker from Deal or No Deal).

From what comes back – including the screaming – you must deduce what changes you need to make. If more than half of the food is consumed and not mangled, mashed or thrown, the key to unlock the door is released, possibly to a chorus of angels hailing a miracle.

  1. Return to work game

This one probably straddles the baby and toddler zones. The returnee is thrown into a room with 3 minutes on the clock. Here they must dig through piles of clothes to find something vaguely work-worthy. Obviously the clothes are all 1 to 2 sizes too small, require guerilla-ironing, and look shit – as undoubtedly the team mates looking on will inform them. They must then achieve some sort of actual hairstyle (messy mum-buns won’t cut it), find proper footwear (possibly even with a heel), pluck eyebrows and perform other personal deforestation exercises, locate jewellery AWOL for the last 9-18 months, apply foundation over their eye-bags – and then add layer of mascara and a bit of ancient lip gloss.

Next, they must run the gauntlet of sticky hands, toothpaste and snot hurled at them randomly on their way to the exit. All stains must be 80% removed with a baby wipe before the host – David Tennant or Stephen Merchant – can open the door. The whole game is played to a soundtrack of separation-anxiety howling.

Find out more about the next zone – Pre-school Zone – here!


The Crystal Maze – Parenting Special!


Have you heard?? The Crystal Maze is coming back this month for a one-off celebrity special in aid of Stand Up To Cancer!

I LOVED The Crystal Maze (although I was obviously very, very young when it was on telly. Honest). Rumour has it that this exciting nostalgia extravaganza is to be hosted by David Tennant. Or Stephen Merchant. Whatevs. Now whoever they choose, it’s entirely possible the production team may take the decision to have him wear slightly more than just his pants (as per my mock up above), but I think we can all agree that this would be an editorial mistake.

What’s more I’ve got plenty of other ideas, should someone at Channel 4 be reading. The first and foremost is that one special episode is nowhere near enough! And I’ve decided to back this up with an outline of a second special episode, The Parent Maze. (Where nothing is crystal because you’re no longer allowed nice/smashable things).

Opening sequence – The Descent into Parenthood

Contestants are put into a giant centrifuge-type fairground ride, and spun round in the pitch black to a soundtrack of newborn squawking, with occasional flashes of light and booming snippets of unsolicited advice:
‘You’re going to spoil that baby if you don’t put it down’
‘Just give him a rusk and he’ll sleep through’
‘That baby needs to learn to go to sleep by itself’
You’ll never succeed at breastfeeding if you introduce bottles you know’.

This will go some way towards emulating the disorientation that greets all new parents, at which point they’ll be strung onto bungee ropes (fashioned to look like umbilical cords) and launched from the ceiling into an endless abyss, over a vat of mustard-seed-poop-infused bath water.

Here’s the game bit. Also dangling from the ceiling and around the walls are opened-mouthed infants screaming for food. Contestants will be split into Team Breast and Team Bottle. Team Breast can choose to fire their own boobs or wear a lactation vest, while Team Bottle will get formula holsters (opportunity for sponsorship here). They must each aim for the baby’s mouths as they bounce up and down trying not to get diluted baby shit in their hair.

(The original Crystal Maze was not played in opposing teams, but for some reason parents and parenting styles are continually pitted against each other, and Channel 4 love a bit of friction. The losing team will get vilified on Mumsnet and won’t be able to show their faces at baby groups or on the school run for the shame).

The team that gets the most milk in mouths by the time the buzzer goes off is the winner, and David/Stephen will mark their scores in a little red book of doom, just like the ones used to track the weight of real-life babies. His glamorous Health Visitor assistant will stand by and occasionally tut. (Perhaps she can be the new ‘Mumsey’, who, if memory serves, was also the least maternal person in the world ever, and also spoke largely in confusing riddles).

Onto the zones!

The Baby Zone

1. Milk challenge

Thought this was over after the first game? Not on your nelly, Kelly! It’s never over. In fact someone from the team will have to come back every 40-45 minutes and do either this game or the original Descent for the entire duration of the the Baby Zone. (After a while a box set of Game of Thrones will be made available to play on a telly in the corner of each room to help alleviate the crushing monotony).

Here’s how it works. The chosen contestant walks into the room to find a massive vat of milk at one end, and a giant baby stomach at the other. In between are a series of pipes going through various chambers. You need to extract enough milk by diagnosing and solving the problem in each chamber to release the door lock. At your disposal are a number of tools – including nipple shields, lanolin, steralising equipment, cabbage leaves, hot and cold compresses and GIN. Four minutes are on the clock.

  • Chamber 1: A giant pair of sore nipples. You have to soothe them enough to allow enough milk through to unlock the next chamber.
  • Chamber 2: Swollen mastitis tits.
  • Chamber 3: Here there’s just a crappy hand pump you have to operate single handed – causing debilitating thumb cramp.
  • Chamber 4: Correct the latch on three live nursing mothers! (Apply discretionary gin).
  • Chamber 5: Disassemble, wash, and stack 8 different types of bottles into a single steraliser, deploying your dexterity, speed and tessellation skills.
  • Camber 6: Make up a day’s worth of bottles using both formula and frozen breast milk. Spillage will result in automatic lock-in!

Team mates are allowed to help by offering advice and encouragement from outside the room, but only through a crackly baby monitor.

  1. Nappy challenge

It’s a physical one, so the team will have to pick their fastest player, with the strongest stomach and weakest sense of smell. Armed with a random selection of cloths and disposables, they’ve got 3 minutes on the clock to clean, cream and contain 30 wiggling bottoms. Time is deducted for hands and feet in the poo, nappy rash, and sloppy execution with the risk of containment breach.

The participant will be dressed in a white lycra bodysuit, and will lose time for each fresh splatter on their person. They’ll need to duck, dive and danger-roll their way through the room, rather like Catherine Zeta Jones the film Entrapment, but with projectile bodily waste instead of lasers.

  1. Pelvic floor game

One for the ladies! A test of the postnatal pelvic floor strength. The contestant sits on a special sensor underneath a bucket of urine. They must lift their pelvic floor up and away from the sensor pad, and hold it. Urine trickles slowly down into the door mechanism, and the key floats up a tube where it can be reached to unlock the room. If you let go of your pelvic floor, the remaining contents of the original bucket empty onto your head.

Raising your eyebrows results in automatic lock-in.

  1. Buggy challenge

8 different ‘travel systems’. 4 minutes on the clock. You have to assemble each system into buggy functionality, and then collapse it back to fit into a car. Time deducted for each time you say ‘Fuck’. Instructions are provided, but they are in Chinese and have been scribbled on in wax crayon by a four-year-old Matisse.

  1. Weaning game

This is basically just a massive food fight, involving mostly carrot batons and pureed squash. Think of it like a psychedelic, perma-staining orange version of the famous ‘La Tomatina’ festival. The objective of the game is to insert some food into some babies, who are lined up along a corridor and either strenuously resisting or rather too enthusiastically participating. (The results are largely the same). Basically if you get through to the other end alive and sane you’ve won a crystal.

  1. Sling obstacle course

Team mates must agree whether to go buckles or wrap, front or back carry, and pick their most experienced babywearing member. Once the baby (model, obvs) is in, the contestant must complete a series of obstacles designed to test balance and core strength. There’s probably a balance beam, some army-type tyres, and maybe those giant balls off of Wipeout. All of these must be negotiated while gently jigging the slingee, in a rhythm that must never fall below 70 bounces a minute. Jolting of any sort will set off the hyper-sensitive sensors.

At the end of the course contestants must successfully transfer their sleeping baby from the sling to a cot. If the baby ‘wakes’ at this point it will result in automatic lock-in, during which the contestant must endure the incessant screaming of an under-napped infant.

Look out for the next exciting instalment, as the team moves on to the dreaded Toddler Zone!


Five things I learned on a trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park


I wish I could start this list with number 1 being ‘To manage my own expectations of family days out’ but I’m afraid it’s a trick I’m yet to learn. I’m an obsessive planner, and I like my fun to be organised. If there isn’t an itinerary I’m basically not going to enjoy myself, okay? Unless you feed me alcohol. Not really zoo compatible.

Small children, are, of course, allergic to planning. And mine essentially seem to enjoy being miserable precisely when I’ve gone to most effort to ensure we’re going to have an awesome brilliant day of memories. Knobheads.

Add this to Dadonthenetheredge’s own natural barriers to wearing remotely suitable clothing or footwear for any given activity, and his inexplicable hostility to having his down time mercilessly driven to within an inch of everyone’s lives, the day was fraught with risk from the outset.

Fortunately, every time I do persuade Dadonthenetheredge and the small people to embark on a glorious family outing, I do learn something from the experience. Sometimes the things I learn are even vaguely useful for the future. So I thought I’d share five things I learned at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

  1. Weather forecasts are wank

Look, all I ask is that people at the Met office please predict the very future with some degree of puffin-twonking accuracy. Is the act of efficient and effective prophecy really, really that difficult? Zip it, meteorologists, I don’t want to hear it. You told me it wasn’t going to rain until 3. I therefore do not expect the heavens to open at 11.

In hindsight leaving the waterproofs in the car was a rookie parenting mistake. Which only made me crosser. Lesson re-learnt. It doesn’t matter how heavy the bloody picnic is – add them to the sodding (sodden) bag.

1.5 Related to 1, it turns out my cag in a bag isn’t as waterproof as I had hoped.


  1. The zoo paradox IS REAL

Obviously you don’t want to go to a zoo where the animals are trapped in tiny cages, rocking and miserable. This will trigger not only your own personal discomfort and impotent guilt, but possibly awkward conversations with small people.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is not like this. It is a conservationist type of zoo, with large enclosures stuffed with environmental enrichment.

By which, of course, I mean many of the animals are far, far away and obscured by logs/trees/mounds/ditches so you can’t bloody see them. Certainly if you are under 5, you don’t have the mental or optical focus to look at and appreciate tiny slivers of distant wildlife through copious foliage. Sorry, enrichment.

While most of me knows that this is OBVIOUSLY what’s best for the animal, the rest of me wants you to dress them in tutus and make them dance for my children’s amusement.

Ta na! The zoo paradox.

  1. It is not furry in a wallaby pouch

This is sort of the opposite of the zoo paradox. This is what happens when you get too close to the animals, which you can also do at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. You can actually go into the enclosures with the lemurs, and with the wallabies.

I have always loved marsupials – I mean what’s not to like? Those cute fluffy little babies peeping out from their pouches, safe and snuggly in their little furry homes, always hugging their Mummies. Sooooooo cute!


I have now stared at point blank range into the pouch of a wallaby (when her baby had hopped off elsewhere) and I saw things I’ve not seen since I first battled to insert a tampon, with the aid of nothing but pubescent flexibility and a Holly Hobbie hand mirror.

Yep. Basically it’s a pink fleshy vagina in there.

Now look, I’m not in the least little bit offended by vaginas. I’ve got one. I rather like it. It’s so far proved to be both useful, and indeed rewarding. But I have always questioned the aesthetic of the design (not to mention the inadvisable proximity to the waste outlet), and it was the SHOCK more than anything else. I mean, who knew??

What’s more, this one looked somewhat raw. I’m not sure what the baby had been doing in there, but it made me very glad that once the Small Small Person was out, I didn’t have to stuff her back up there for safekeeping. (There are occasions, however, when she’s so incredibly clingy and pawy I have to question whether this isn’t actually her end goal).

It was a reminder that there are in fact some advantages to the zoo paradox, because in reality animals (like children) tend to be pooier, fleshier and generally ickier than one supposed when one was able to maintain a decorous distance.

This may not be one of the day’s lessons that will come into much use in the future, but basically if I have to have my rose-tinted, marsupial-loving illusions shattered, so do you.

  1. Slides best beasts (if you’re under 5)

It turns out my delightful children couldn’t give two flying fuck-a-roonies about any of the wildlife, so it’s a bloody good job that Yorkshire Wildlife Park anticipated this and is well equipped with other small person entertainments. Most of these are slides, and most of them are pretty awesome. (Apart from the one that gave me a friction burn on my arm. YEOUWCH).

In the end I was forced to try and go with the flow (not my forte) and to forget that my local park, also endowed with slides, doesn’t charge the same entry fee. Instead I shifted my focus to attempt to get as many pictures as possible of my disinterested offspring in the vicinity of wild beasts as proof for later life that we enjoyed family days out together, dammit.

  1. Beware of baboons

Some of the fabulous slides at Yorkshire Wildlife Park are hosted in a frankly brilliant play centre. (We spent some time here because of the arse-bombling rain. See no 1). Forget your primary-coloured plastic-padded climbing frames; this is a wooden wonderland with tunnels, ropes, swings, bridges and fake grass. It’s basically like a giant zoo enclosure itself.

This feeling is intensified by the fact it shares one glass wall with the baboon enclosure next door. The problem is, their enrichment is SHIT in comparison with the play centre. (This is the first and only sign of animal cruelty/baiting/torture in the whole Park).

Judging from the icy death stare levelled at me by one baboon inhabitant, they know they’ve been shortchanged. And believe me, friends, they are NOT HAPPY. There was not just death in the depths of those eyes: there was the promise of vengeance. Annihilation. DOOM.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Plant of the Apes. (To be honest I don’t know if I have). But I’m pretty sure this is how it starts. If those baboons ever make a break for freedom, Doncaster is fucking screwed.

The beady-eyed evils I received so unnerved me that I finally surrendered to the moaning of my ungrateful family and consented to let the ‘fun’ end ahead of schedule. We left. Hastily.

Look, all I’m saying is that now summer is mostly over I’m going to let my personal body hair grow out for a bit, and save up the blue and red face paint for my arse cheeks, just in case the worst should happen.

I can only suggest you do the same.



Goodbye baby, Hello Big Girl

Well, it’s finally here. The Big Small Person starts school. And despite my best intentions (and indeed my disgust) I’m an absolute WRECK. I know it’s just school. I know it’s exciting. I know she’ll be fine. But if I’m going down, dagnammit, I’m taking you all with me. Through the medium of mediocre poetry…


Goodbye baby, starting school
Decked out in uniform –
So big and strong and different
From the baby that was born.

Goodbye baby, four years old
So small and yet so wise.
I still see you as my baby,
Through your gingham disguise.

Goodbye baby, off you go
To start a brand new chapter.
I’ll be here, my mind aspin
With memories I can’t capture.

Goodbye baby, always active –
Finding your new groove.
But I know the flutter deep inside
Of your first flickering move.

Goodbye baby, whose tiny foot
Once fit inside my palm
Whose soul burned mine forever,
Both tinder and then balm.

Goodbye baby, suddenly
Turned into a young girl.
Whose pudgy thighs and gurgles
Disappeared in life’s cruel whirl.

Goodbye baby, and forgive me
For I know you still exist!
But time is moving far too fast
One blink, and so much missed.

Goodbye baby, my chest hurts
With pain and joy and pride.
I told the world I would be fine,
But now I know I lied.

Goodbye baby, you ARE ready –
It’s me lagging behind,
Astounded by your beauty
And the quick twists of your mind.

Goodbye baby, please don’t cling
I don’t think that I can bear it.
You’ll love it here, I know you will –
Like I know that I can’t share it.

Goodbye baby, I will smile
And keep the tears inside.
Because this is yours – it isn’t mine
I’m just here for the ride.

Goodbye baby, don’t be scared
It’s new, but that’s okay.
Those butterflies are helping you
Feel light enough to play.

Goodbye baby, I see you
Put on your bravest face,
And battle with your body
To keep the mask in place.

Goodbye baby, I am sorry
You have my fears and woes.
They’re heavy, but I promise
You’ll have highs as well as lows.

Goodbye baby, feeling wobbly
Just always think of this –
The brand of love you wear all day,
From every goodbye kiss.

Goodbye baby, good luck too
But I know you’ll find your path –
Because you are bold, brave, kind and true
With sunshine in your laugh.

Goodbye baby, go explore
And laugh, and learn and TRY
You’ve crawled and walked and run along,
But now it’s time to fly!

Goodbye baby, time to go
And learn to change the world
As step-by-step and thought-by-thought,
Your potential is unfurled.

Goodbye baby, please be kind:
Be the best you you can be.
I can’t wait to hear about it,
Counting down to half past three.

Goodbye baby, I LOVE you.
Remember on weekdays,
That part of you lives in my heart
And me in yours, always.

Goodbye baby, once for all
Because when you come back home
You’ll be my babe in arms no more,
Less mine and more your own.

Goodbye baby, please just promise
You won’t grow up too fast.
I still need my baby in my arms,
And not just in the past.

Goodbye baby, hello big girl –
Look back once in awhile.
Because I’ll still be here watching,
Just waiting for your smile.