Life Update: The Things I’ll Miss

ruth crilly family life

Angelica: started pre-school in September and has aged by around eight years in just three months. I’ve never seen anything like it. I dropped her off a fine-haired, slightly apprehensive baby, and now she comes back home with all the sass of a teenager after a party-fuelled gap year in Bali.

“Erm, Mummy, you haven’t put my sparkle hair clip on straight! It’s not right Mummy! MUMMY!”

It’s funny; when babies are babies, you can’t imagine them ever not being babies. People say “ooh, watch out, the time will fly!” or “it only seems like yesterday that my twenty year-old was in nappies!” and you dismiss them as the rantings of a halfwit. Yet there you are, three years down the line, still referring to them as your “baby” because it only seems like a week ago that they were drinking bedtime milk from a bottle and falling asleep with their head in their dinner.

I haven’t even compiled my photo album of Angelica’s newborn photos yet. Actually, I haven’t even compiled our wedding album and we got married over ten years ago, so it’s probably no surprise that the baby photos remain unsorted.

So, what with the time passing so very quickly, I have started to make a list of things about babies/toddlers that I don’t want to forget about. Things that – if not written down – I will forget the moment they stop being babies/toddlers. I only have a few things on my list at the moment, but it’s a work in progress. Do add your own thoughts in the comments section so that I can compile one big mega-list.

ruth crilly family life

Things I will completely forget about once I don’t have tiny children:

  • the way the stair gate lets out an annoying clunk as I pull up the latch, and then the way I have to step over the bottom of the stair gate to get onto the stairs, all without tripping up and breaking my neck. Imagine just being able to walk, unhindered, up and down your own stairs!
  • the way that all of the plastic bowls in the dishwasher always have a pool of dirty water in them when the dishwasher has finished, which splashes all over your feet when you do the unloading. Plastic stuff harbours a huge amount of lukewarm, greyish dish water, apparently.
  • the skill involved in leaving a child’s room completely silently – not even the tiniest floor creak or soft brush of sock on carpet. I’m like a bloody ninja, me! I can even pick up things with my feet to avoid having to bend, because if I bend my back might crack and even this diminutive noise might wake the baby. I’d actually be sad to lose this skill when I think about it. Maybe I’ll train up for MI5 once they’re a bit older. Or become a jewel thief, a la Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment.
  • the pure, unadulterated hatred you can feel for another adult when they dare to suggest that they might be more tired than you and/or have generally done more than you.
  • the pure, unadulterated love you can feel for another adult when they utter the sentence, you sleep in today, I’ll take them downstairs to watch Octonauts.” Never has a sexier sentence been said.
  • the fact that it takes longer for a kid’s food to cool down than it does to cook it in the first place. 25 minutes to oven cook, eighteen thousand hours to cool down enough for the frantic, hangry child to spoon it into their mouth without scalding the bejeezus out of themselves.

Anything else? Of course, we have nappies, prams and those full-body bibs that absolutely stink after a week and are a pain in the arse to wash, we have sleepless nights and fraught relationships, friendships hanging by a thread and worries over childcare. But anything more obscure that you can think of, anything weird, add that to the comments too.

ruth crilly family life

We’ve all had coughs, colds and general malaise here so I’m not going to linger for long, but apart from the runny noses, rounds of Calpol and Nurofen (them) and Benylin Original (us) everything is fine. Ted is incredibly cute, won’t let Dada out of his sight (can cry for a full hour when Daddy pops out somewhere) and is almost saying proper words – Penguin (guin-guin), Dinner (ninner) and Vroom (er… vroom). Work is manic, and I was going to write a big long piece about how work-life balance seems to be even harder the older the babies get, but quite honestly I think that if I analyse it for too long I’ll end up losing my momentum and enthusiasm. I just need to get to Christmas and all will be fine – although I did say, the other day, “at least I can catch up on stuff over the Christmas break.”

ruth crilly family life

I’ve been trying really hard this year to only work when I’m not with the children so that they don’t see me distracted and typing away or whatever it is that I’m doing. Which is great, apart from the fact that the time away from the children doesn’t quite give me enough time to get everything done.. I get the feeling that this problem and sense of guilt is never going to go away, though – and I really want to enjoy being with Angelica before she starts school next September.

The school thing was a shock – I thought she had another year to go after this one and then school, but no, we are on the home run and this time next year we’ll no doubt be making a costume for her nativity play and feeling all affronted that she only got the part of the starfish/clam/reserve shepherd.

Does anyone else wish they could press pause?

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68 Comments

  1. Kathryn Wright
    December 3, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I have a 5yr old and 2yr old.
    Things I will miss…
    Trying to get everyone to take their shoes off in the tiny porch whilst being bombarded with requests for food, drinks, tv etc.
    Not complying with said requests fast enough and having them relentlessly repeated until I start saying obvious stuff like “I’m not through the door yet” and “I’m not sat around doing nothing”.
    Convincing a potty training toddler that father Christmas is bringing him big boy pants and he won’t get them unless he gets on the potty.
    I’m sure there are many more but these spring to mind as all happened between 5 and 6pm today ;-)

  2. Bookgirl_12
    December 3, 2018 / 10:18 pm

    Being instructed to form ‘an orderly queue’ to kiss her goodnight at bedtime when grandparents were visiting then going to the back of the queue for a repeat performance . She’s nearly 15 now and 5ft11 but still my baby

  3. Clare
    December 3, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    Waving goodbye to their poos when we flush the toilet (“bye bye poo – I miss you poo”). Enough said!

      • L Connors
        December 5, 2018 / 10:54 pm

        Haha! Is this a proper thing then? Mines only 7m so I’m yet to enjoy these kinds of moments!

    • Jayne
      December 4, 2018 / 5:11 pm

      Clare, this made me smile so much. Although it was a long time ago and my 28 year old would be horrified at me remembering this but I recall him newly toilet trained (sounds like a puppy!) telling me he was ‘flushing his bottom’ when he saw the poo disappearing…! x

  4. Julia
    December 3, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    I love your blog! I have an 11-year-old daughter now, and I miss bizarre conversations. For example:

    Four-year-old her: Mommy, what’s a leper?
    Me: A what?
    Her: A LEPER.
    Me: Um . . . well, a leper is a person who is sick and sometimes has sores all over his body. (sorrowful face)
    Her: Hmm. . . . (very skeptical)
    Me: Why do you want to know about lepers?
    Her: I want to be a leper for Halloween. The strongest leper in the jungle!
    Me: . . . Ohhhh! Leopard??
    Etc.

    I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this sort of exchange again someday, but then it will be because I’m going deaf and senile and NOT because my toddler doesn’t feel the need to pronounce the ends of words.

    • December 4, 2018 / 7:48 am

      Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jayne
    December 3, 2018 / 11:05 pm

    My three babies are now 24, 26 and 28… I can remember old ladies (probably not much older than I am now!!) approaching me and saying ‘make the most of it dear, they grow up fast!’. They were right, they do and I am now a granny to a 5 and 2 year old. Life with children seems to fly by but hold on to every single precious moment of it….even the moments filled with stinky nappies and tickly coughs!

    Jayne x

  6. Angela Harvey
    December 4, 2018 / 6:06 am

    My “babies” are 13 and almost 10, and yet everything you wrote threw me back almost ten years. You are very fortunate to have your Uphill blog that has documented your babies’ milestones and your sleep deprived daze.

    I would suggest things like what words they are saying. For example, one day I realised that my boy was no longer saying “helihopter” instead of “helicopter”. And that he was pronouncing his sister’s name properly. And even before that when she stopped saying “leddoo”, then “lellow”, and it properly became “yellow”. Those were moments of quiet sadness for me, because they had been endearing for so long.

    My other comment is that so far puberty seems a repeat of some aspects of the toddler years. No potty training (thank goodness) but the burgeoning independence tempered by the intense need for love and security, all while in the middle of a hormonal meltdown. I tell you, I apologise to my Mum a lot in my head when dealing with Miss 13.

    • December 4, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Hahaha! Right, I shall look forward to that then! : )

      • Sally
        December 4, 2018 / 9:03 pm

        But they can still surprise you – my Miss 12 is hormonal stroppy and going on 15 a lot of the time but the other day she announced that she needed more marbles! When asked why it was because ‘they are money in toy land and she needs to pay for Honey’s school fees!’ (Honey is a toy highland cow). My little girl hasn’t totally disappeared yet!

        • Jo.C.
          December 5, 2018 / 5:21 pm

          Sally, my 11 yr old still plays with her toys and it’s so lovely to watch. She has a wonderful imagination too. X

  7. Sana
    December 4, 2018 / 7:26 am

    When does baby smell go? My son is 18 months and still smells lovely (most of the time!). I’d bottle that up if I could. I’m sure it won’t last forever. I think at some point I will miss him pulling clothes off the drying rack. Constantly ;)

    • December 4, 2018 / 7:46 am

      Angelica still has a baby smell a bit, but I think it’s just dirty hair most of the time! : )

      • Sana
        December 4, 2018 / 9:28 am

        Haha! Yes, my son has taken to rubbing toast in his hair recently, so I think this might be the start of it.

  8. December 4, 2018 / 7:36 am

    I constantly want to press pause, just to take it all in.
    The way my almost three year old son tells jokes to his almost five year old sister that are basically just long and windy sentences until both burst out in laughter for example.
    I end up aughing with them, just because they are so funny to look at.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    • December 4, 2018 / 7:46 am

      I can’t wait for them to be able to interact like that!! But also, y’know, press pause.. .: )

  9. Helen Ruth
    December 4, 2018 / 8:07 am

    My little boy is 2 and I already feel like it’s going too fast. He has stopped calling his grandparents ‘nan-ma’ and ‘nan-dad’; they are Grandma and Grandad now, it almost broke my heart the first time he pronounced them properly! I will miss him asking me to sing to him at bedtime and trying to delay going to bed just because he wants one last cuddle. Also, nothing beats a baby/toddler’s laugh, I’m so glad that we can record things like that!

    • December 4, 2018 / 8:09 am

      Or when they say “mum” instead of “mummy”. ARGH/

  10. Sarah
    December 4, 2018 / 8:57 am

    My 22-month old chatting and singing to herself in her cot. The cutest sound over the monitor!

    Won’t miss the constant illnesses. I have never been as unhealthy as I’ve been over the past few weeks! Don’t write that down!

      • Jo.C.
        December 4, 2018 / 10:28 pm

        The illnesses die down when they get to KS2. I remember being ill ALOT when both my girls started school.

  11. December 4, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Weetabix, when left to dry, forms a sort of cement that is impossible to remove from a baby’s face, hands, tray, yet transfers onto bedding no problem at all. Ruby is a mouse in the preschool nativity this year and I’m feeling very Type A about it.

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      I know – why don’t they use Weetabix in the building trade?!

  12. Anja
    December 4, 2018 / 11:07 am

    Oh yes I would love to press pause! Then again just this morning I thought that I would sooo love to sleep a night through and when that will happen. My son is almost 3 (birthday in January) and my daughter is 9-months-old. Neither sleep through the night…
    There are so many things I’ scared I’ll forget. Their smell for one! (baby smell, not poo obvs ;) ) The cuddles! I just hug my little girl tight and inhale her wonderful baby smell since her brother won’t let me hug him so long. He’s always busy building Duplo or driving his toy cars somewhere ^^ (He’ll catch up on cuddles by coming to our bed though. Every night… When does that stop? And at the moment I just wish it might stop, fully knowing that I’ll miss it when he won’t do it anymore…)
    Ruth, I love your blog. So thank you for it. And don’t worry about the baby photos. This blog is something amazing to look back at and remember or show your kids!

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you – I’m so glad you love it! xx

  13. Susanamantha
    December 4, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    Alas, there is no VCR button in life, only in dreams. We would all press “FAST FORWARD” through the bad, “REWIND” for the good times, “PAUSE” so those good times could last forever.

  14. Lindsay
    December 4, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    I’ll miss the bedtime breast-feed. It’s the only one of the day now… and deep-down, I know she’d settle perfectly well without it, but I don’t want to give it up. Not yet. The thought that one day, she’ll have her last ever feed – but neither of us will know it at the time – just breaks my heart!

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      Yeah I missed that so much x

  15. Heather
    December 4, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    Love this so much. You’ve also given me a huge amount of reassurance over baby speech. My 14 month old says a fair few words that we understand but very few that anyone else would (although cat was her first word so that’s me happy). Quite a few of my friends say that their kids of the same age say so many words and are even stringing short sentences and I was starting to worry that mine was a bit of a thicko. Then Mum guilt that I don’t read to her enough and the cycle of worry spirals.

    Anyway I think that your kids are ace and I’ve followed both of them and your pregnancies(not actually followed you guys around, I promise I’m not weird) since the start.

    So for now I’m happy that her favourite words are cat, boob (god help me), hiya and obviously dada!

    I know I’ll miss the pleasure of nap time. Cup of tea, slice of cake and enjoying the tranquility (whilst gazing upon the destruction that my wee one has made).

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      Yes, Angelica was much earlier but then walked much later; they are all different! x

  16. Gillian Pidler
    December 4, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    Oh the memories. Mine are now 27 & married, 25 & living with his gorgeous girlfriend and 18 and still at home is my youngest daughter who I swear makes me lol on the daily with her amazing sense of humour and strange trains of thought that simply amaze me.
    I miss the school run, lining their little pjs up on the radiator to warm in the winter for when we got home, bed presents at Xmas, although my youngest still insists on this and I’m more than willing to oblige. So many things I can’t list them, ooh family days out which we still totally enjoy but they’re just bigger now so that doesn’t really count does it.
    I did when they were little have a journal for each of them that I just listed firsts in, funny things they said or did etc and they make for a wonderful and funny read.
    I can’t believe Angelica is nearly at school, where does the time go, it’s not fair!!! I’m looking forward to the day I become a Nana now so I can kind of start over but hand them back for the hard stuff!!!

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:03 pm

      Haha, yes – being a grandparent is the ultimate! : )

  17. Katy
    December 4, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    Wanting to press pause? Yes… all the time. When proper school starts, things reeallly speed up. One minute you are weeping to anyone who’ll listen that they’re too young to start school (and they do still look like babies), the next minute they are in the top class and speeding towards secondary school. Yes, not an original thought I know, but I can’t emphasis enough how FAST it goes. Each year when you see the new reception class intake you look at them and they look *tiny*. You remember your child’s first days of school like they were yesterday and then you look at her now and she’s almost taller than you. I still call her my ‘baby’ in private. You’re right though, you do forget the details of things and the exact feelings. I looked after a friend’s nearly three year old recently and spent ages standing at the sink with her while she messed about with the water, just to use up a bit of time and keep her occupied. I’d forgotten how, when you’re trying to amuse them, 10 minutes can seem like 100 hours. You can spend ages preparing activities for them which are all over in a flash because they get bored or are tired. We want to use up/fill time when they’re tiny but we also want to slow time down! My nearly ten year old had a puberty talk in school the other day. She said, ‘everyone stayed very still and looked straight forward not saying anything… which they don’t *usually* do’. I had an inward chortle at that. Another friend’s daughter started secondary this year. She feels that her daughter has ‘never needed her more’. As fast as they grow, we will always be their mums. ps I used to CRAWL out of my daughter’s room so as not to wake her, I can laugh at that now. Also, I definitely remember once reading an early post of yours when you said how annoying it is when parents complain of being tired… I had an inward chortle about that at the time!! Just to warn you.. the tiredness doesn’t really go away! (sorry :-)) Xx

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:03 pm

      But WHHHYYYYYYYY does the tiredness not go away?! *boo hoo* Surely they start to sleep?! xx

      • Sarah
        December 5, 2018 / 11:14 am

        Yes! My daughter has been sleeping through from 12 weeks, unless unwell (we’re SO lucky), but we’re still exhausted. WHY???

      • Katy
        December 6, 2018 / 9:34 am

        Sorry to have said that Ruth!! Actually I think it does go away in part, in that you do get to have more lie-ins and yes they do sleep more (well most do). The constant ‘I’ve only had five hours (or less) sleep’ does definitely go. But I think it depends to a certain extent on what age you were when you had them. I was 39 when I had my daughter and she was an really early riser for *years. (As well as waking in the night when ill etc and all of that). Then as that all started to get better I was into perimenopause and starting to get disrupted sleep because of that. Then menopause at 48 and I’m now nearly 49 and waking up in the night with hot flushes etc. But hopefully you will have more of a window between the end of the baby/toddler years and the beginning of perimenopause, and also perimenopause/menopause may not affect your sleep because it doesn’t for everyone. You’ll be fine! And you’ll have your earplugs which will help : ) And as knackered as you feel at the time during all this, those moments of utter joy you feel that you are lucky enough to have your child/children only seem to increase. Watching them grow and do things and achieve things becomes more and more satisfying. We are so very lucky aren’t we xxxx ps as others have said, it’s brilliant you’ve got a written record of it all. I got given a journal to keep when my daughter was born… I didn’t write a single thing in it, I always seemed to be just surviving the daily routine! : (

  18. SueM
    December 4, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    Well Ruth darling girl, I didn’t have you around to remind me to write things down so I don’t remember so much of the specifics. My daughters were almost six years apart thus I remember thinking my head was going to spin off from the whizzing back and forth between two completely different stages of life at the same time. I remember the things that used to drive me mad fading with the passage of time from annoying AF to mildly amusing to..well, here’s an example: I was on my own when they were little, (left the dud when youngest was a toddler, met wonderful when she was 10) going to school and then working so I had -2 hours per day for things like baking cupcakes the night before a bake sale although it seemed like that happened with horrifying regularity. The year she started high school I was driving in the neighbourhood of her old primary school and noticed out the corner of my eye a harried looking woman running on the sidewalk with a plate covered in foil wrap. I’d gone a few more blocks and suddenly burst into tears, giant sloppy sobs and had to pull over. I was NEVER going to be that mother again. All memories have power. Oh and my oldest had the night time hearing of a military grade satellite that disappeared with the dawn. ❤️

    • December 4, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you, what a lovely story xxx

  19. Lisa
    December 4, 2018 / 11:07 pm

    oooh the stair gate is a good one…we now have a teenager in the house, but we recently put a stair gate back up to keep our dog in the kitchen…so many hurt toes where we’ve forgotten to step over the bottom bar.

    And, spelling things out like ‘B A T H’ rather than saying the word so they don’t cotton on that it’s the dreaded bathtime.

    But whatever their age, they will always be our babies x

    • December 5, 2018 / 10:18 am

      Oh yeah! Haha. And spelling out any kind of moan or gossip about people who might actually come to visit

  20. December 5, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    My babies are all grown up, 27 and 28, and now I find myself looking after their babies,!! I feel I’ve come full circle…
    Do not pass go, do not collect £200 go straight to prison….

    But I wouldn’t miss those checky hugs and endless paw paw patrol, PJ masks sofa sessions for anything. Xx

  21. Ruth Hands
    December 5, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    Very specific to this week this one -the distinctive, frightened, whimpery little voice my son uses to say “mummy, my tummy hurts…” just before he throws up everywhere. Oh, and the way he tries to hold on to me while throwing up despite my best efforts to get him to aim in the opposite direction!

    Also, sticking with the toilet theme, my daughter is 11 weeks old and I’d forgotten just how loud small babies pooing can be! I literally jump about a foot in the air sometimes!

    Loved this post as always. I’ve also been re-reading your posts from after Ted was born and finding them highly amusing and very reassuring so thank you!

    • December 5, 2018 / 6:07 pm

      Oh thank you!!! Good to know xx

      Yes, the loud pooing is amazing.

  22. Mrs T
    December 5, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    I’ll miss the tiny lesson life teaches you every time you feel pleased with yourself because you have managed to get everyone in their sweaters/coats /boots /hats/overalls/mittens without yelling too much and with only a reasonable amount of sweating, and one of them poops.

  23. Jo.C.
    December 5, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    One thing I do miss is waking up in the morning to find at least one child cuddled limpet-like on me, and watching them breathe as they lay there.

  24. Lynn
    December 5, 2018 / 5:25 pm

    The pure innocent wonderment and relaxed concentration during bedtime stories. I read one of my babies favourite stories ‘5 minutes peace’ to them a few months ago because they wanted to hear it again.. they are 25 & 28 now .. They said oh Mum that was the same voice you used to read to us with, it totally took me back to that same feeling of warm cosy, I’m so blessed to be their Mummy moment.

  25. Jenny alden
    December 5, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    Wonderful. Laughed very much out loud at that list xxx

  26. Louise
    December 5, 2018 / 8:34 pm

    Awh loved this. I’ve a 3 and 1 year old too and can identify. I’ll miss that dreaded/beautiful soft padding of footsteps to our bed in the middle of the night before a compact wee body clambers up in beside mummy and daddy, proceeds to twist and turn in her sleep poking the be-jaysus out of said mummy and bringing all thoughts of sleep to an abrupt end. Hanging together these days in a sleep deprived haze, but still want her in our bed for cuddles/pokes while she’s little. This won’t last for ever.

    • December 5, 2018 / 11:45 pm

      I know. I always said I wouldn’t let them in my bed but now I wonder why I ever thought it!

  27. Cat
    December 5, 2018 / 9:02 pm

    My 3 year old and two year old chiming in with the end of sentences in well loved books…her copying him copying me …all together now’i love my mummy, said bill’ I teared up a bit yesterday reading Owl Babies! Kinda made up for the fact she was burying her too-long tonails into my too-soft tummy and he was coughing creche germs right into my face. I will block out those details on the replay!

  28. Val
    December 5, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Overhearing them talking when they’re close in age to each other. This is my favourite, written down in many places so I won’t forget:
    Eldest: Paddy, what’s your favourite car?
    Youngest: Audi, what’s yours?
    Eldest: I think Audi’s are a bit flash; I like lamb bikini’s.

    I still can’t work out if that would be a bikini made OF lamb, or a bikini made FOR a lamb.

    • Nicki
      December 6, 2018 / 7:36 am

      that’s brilliant!

  29. Stefanie
    December 6, 2018 / 2:42 am

    Ohhh just thinking about my babies growing up makes me cry. They are 3 and 1. I know i will miss all of the things that annoy me: splashing in the sink while I wash dishes, throwing food, read the book again for the tenth time in a row.

  30. Nicki
    December 6, 2018 / 7:35 am

    My eldest will be 18 in 17 days, my youngest, 14 in 14 days- eek- and yet I can still remember the utter bliss of sashaying down the stairs once we’d removed the bloody stair gate! Yes Ruth it does fly by and it only gets quicker the older they get. I miss reading them stories, miss them clambering into bed between us and giving us cuddles I even miss reading on Lego since my son decided it could all be packed away as he had no use for it

    • December 6, 2018 / 8:45 am

      Argh. I’m getting the real sense that EVERYONE is sad that they grow up so fast. : (

  31. Kitcat
    December 6, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    When they lose their first tooth at infant school and they are so excited that they swallow it. And then proceed to “deposit” it at home and shout Mum, I can see it, come and look. Please Mum, come and get it out. Mum please, I can’t flush until you come and look. MUMMMMMMM They then burst into tears because you are “ignoring” them because you are actually on the phone to the nice man who is going to approve your mortgage.

    Or, the time when you are inspired to leave a trail of fairy dust (WH Smith glitter) next to their bed so that they can see the tooth fairy’s flight pattern. You then chuck it in your drawer for safe keeping and wonder why you are walking up the high street with glitter dropping out of your knickers and inching it’s way down your trouser leg a la Shawshank Redemption.

  32. Kate
    December 7, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    I totally understand the wish to press pause, and have thought that at least once a month for the past nearly 13 years of being a mum!

    Of all the things though, now mine are 12, 10 and 7, I miss carrying a baby/toddler on my hip and having a soft, round, delicious head or cheek within kissing distance at all times… My poor 7 year old gets hoiked up from time to time just to satisfy the need. You still have that, enjoy!!

    • December 8, 2018 / 1:54 pm

      Oh yes, love hip-carrying! xx

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