Emma Hollingworth: Losing on swings as babies grow up

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I am having a friend to stay this weekend who is about to have her first baby in the next few weeks.

Her reason for coming at the 11th hour is because she has no stuff at all for her little one, having not really thought much beyond the pregnancy.

Now she has turned to me in desperation to help her out in her hour of need.

The fact that I have loft stashed to the rafters with baby clothes, bibs, booties and bonnets has clearly not passed her by.

That and the fact I have two outhouses full of buggies, prams and bedding has also not escaped her eagle eyes on her last visit to me.

Now she has taken to texting me asking what I do and don’t have in my collection.

Although I am relishing the prospect of having my lofts, attics, cellar and outhouses relatively clutter-free, part of me is also slightly miffed to be seeing all this gear going and nothing in it for me.

The other day a friend told me she had sold her few remaining baby items on ebay and made herself a tidy sum.

And after totting up what I have in my esteemed collection, even though it has been used by three kids, I think I may well have a small fortune on my hands, should I choose to sell it.

Also, part of me is quite sad to be parting company with the last reminders that my offspring were once very tiny indeed.

As I boxed up the teeny, tiny baby-gros and bodies my heart did miss a beat. To know that no future offspring of mine is ever going to be wearing them again does make me slightly tearful.

My friend has told me that she is only “borrowing” my stuff and that should I need anything in the future I can always have it back.

I think that may well end in divorce if that did happen!

Another colleague is going to be leaving work next week to start her maternity leave and part of me pines to be able to be doing that again.

I loved being off work with my babies.

Before I left work the first time, people warned me that I would be bored and that I wouldn’t be able to stand it and would be itching to be back at work as quickly as possible. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I had my first baby in March and Spring was just happening.

I remember planting bulbs in the garden the Autumn before in the hope they would be blooming by the time the baby arrived.

In my naïve way I think I believed it would be a good first image for her new-born eyes to see.

I was therefore very pleased to see bulbs poking their green heads through the ground as I arrived back from hospital with my tiny baby bundled up in my arms.

The fact she didn’t really properly open her eyes and could barely really focus for the next few weeks passed me by as I eagerly showed her the fruits of my labour.

I then spent the next few weeks cocooned in newborn heaven as I proudly strolled through the parks and woods close to my home.

Some of the best things that I remember doing were post natal yoga and Pilates classes which I could go to with my little baby.

Admittedly I spent the first few sessions just feeding and changing my baby and generally chatting with the other news mums, some of whom remain among my closest friends to this day.

These groups are a great way of getting to really know what is on offer for you and your baby in the local area.

Once you have a baby local facilities take on a whole new life for you.

Parks are no longer just short cuts for getting to work but are havens for pre-schoolers.

The once out of bounds swings and slides in the playgrounds become very familiar stomping grounds very quickly.

These baby groups are also a perfect breeding ground to make lifelong friends, like I did.

Friends who will have all the same experiences as you, as your babies grow up together into little people and then teenagers.