You don’t need a pricey baby book to remember

COMMENT: Carrier sends out a strong message to the world

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There are many milestones in a child’s life.

And many of these can be recorded in a luxuriously expensive, padded book, yours for only £29.99.

Except if anyone, in the throes of post-partum delirium actually spent that much money on one, or were unfortunate enough to receive one as a ‘thoughtful’ gift from a friend or relative, the reality is who the hell has time to fill it in?

Baby’s first smile, the first time they sat up without the use of an elaborate structure of cushions, the first time they lifted their head (initially, you had hoped, to display affection towards you, but the projectile vomit that ensued was evidence of something different), or their first attempt at crawling.

All honourable markers of your child’s development, but all in all, somewhat meaningless in the whole scheme of things.

At no job interview have I been asked to supply details of when I took my first steps in a feeble effort to ascertain how clever and/or appropriate I am for the job.

No-one has asked me when I cut my first tooth, or what my first word was.

And on further consideration, I don’t think I am that bothered to know myself.

When your first child is born, these things do seem important.

Thinking about them and wishing your child to reach these milestones are a great way of filling the time between breakfast at 5.30am when the baby wakes up and Bargain Hunt on the TV.

But how many parents are dutifully filling in these books for their third child by the time it gets to first day at school?

It is more likely that their sumptuous book has a couple of pages filled in for their first child, then left blank and under a coat of dust, covered in the tears of a sleep-deprived and hormonal mother, or covered in crayon scribblings.

You may think me heartless and insensitive. I did revel in my own children’s milestones, applauded their first attempts at walking, laughed at their hilarious efforts to converse intelligently (‘Mummy, what’s a square word?’), and waved them off tearfully and ecstatically on their first day at school.

Currently, these milestones seem like such a long time ago and I am now struggling with the new markers of development that arise with the onset of teenager-dom.

I have spent virtually minutes staring out of the window for the number three bus, in the hope that my eldest daughter is on it and has not been abducted by aliens/squirrels/Mugabe’s henchmen between Fratton and our home in Southsea.

For me, this is a rite of passage that I fear will be happening on a regular basis between now and her retirement.

Other more meaningful rites of passage include the children’s first viewing of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, their first taste of a home-grown broad bean (that they don’t spit out in disgust) and their initial forays into the murky world of shopping at New Look.

Boyfriends, girlfriends, late nights and adventures with illicit alcohol – they are all, I would imagine, on the agenda for the next few years. I don’t need a book to remember these moments. In fact, I would pay above the odds to forget them.