Somewhere, in the past few years, I have slid from being a Mummy to being a Mum.
It happens slowly, silently and without fanfare.
There is no farewell party and no-one gives you an award when you arrive on the other side.
Here's how I know I am no longer a Mummy
I no longer feel the need to discuss my offspring's poo. Its consistency, amount and frequency no longer fascinates and engages discussion at the checkout or in the pharmacy. I actually have no knowledge of their bowel habits, and for that I am deliriously grateful.
My handbag contains a wallet, a pair of sunglasses, keys and an iPhone. No nappy (diaper for the US contingent) no wipes, no pacifier, no half eaten cruskit, no packet of Tiny Teddies biscuits, no bandaids, no bibs, no enormous sets of plastic keys which play annoying tunes. Just grownup stuff and plenty of room.
My older three kids start sentences with "I'm just letting you know..." like they are keeping me in the social loop. This is not a request for permission to leave the house, this is just a courtesy call so I can cater for the correct number of meals at dinner time.
All kids can, with two minutes notice, get into the car fully clothed, toileted and shod WITHOUT help from me. The only shoelaces I tie are my own. We can arrive on time to events without 300 toilet stops along the highway and a return home because one child is not wearing underpants (again!).
Homework is now beyond my scope of practice. I was fine with simple readers but it seems as though all learning experiences are supercharged now. I cannot and do not wish to recall what the point of cosine, sine and ... whatever the other thingy was in triangles. I can't calculate what the angle is. I can't even work the stupid whizz bang, connect-me-to-the-internet calculator we had to purchase for 9th grade. I can't really remember which are the nouns and which are verbs and I don't really care! I can get my point across in a blog and that is sufficient for me. Anything more and I will suggest we email the teacher.
The backseat of my car does not have any dangly chains of brightly coloured bug-eyed dragonflies or teddy bears. There are no golden books scattered across the floor. I don't have a backseat-view mirror to gaze adoringly at my snoozing offspring. There is not a little white T-shirt declaring "Baby On Board" hanging in the window. There are NO carseats, booster seat, capsules or racing harnesses. There is no rug spread across the seat to protect it from spills. From door to door it is grey upholstery in all its naked glory.
Lastly, I know I have moved from Mummy to Mum because when I hear "Mummy" in my house someone is either wanting something or hurting .
"Mummy, can I please... please... please... have a kitten?"
"Mummy, she's being mean to me and I'm only little"
"Mummy, can 15 of my friends sleep over this weekend if we promise to be quiet?"
"Mummy, can I go to Melbourne on train with my friends for a concert?"
"Mummy, Mummy, Mummy" as my child wakes from an anaesthetic.
Yes my baby, always my baby, I'm here. I'm always here.