At 18 months
Getting old, it has always struck me, boils down to a handful of things. In no particular order, these include listening to the Archers (a Radio 4 evening drama for US readers), listening to the Today programme (a morning news show on Radio 4), listening to Radio 4 generally, taking up gardening, birdwatching and hoovering before you have visitors.
And that's just for starters. Other markers, for me at least, are being called Susanna not Susie - for some reason, I remember being adamant when I was little that I'd have to be called Susanna when I was a grown up - cutting my hair short, properly short, not just in a bob, and wearing high heels to work.
I'll leave you to guess which ones I've succumbed to so far. There is one more key trait, though, to which I'll admit I'm guilty. And, surprise, surprise, it concerns Louis. Actually, there's another: you definitely had to be old to have kids. To be more precise, it concerns Louis and time. Namely the passing of time, which, as everybody knows, just gets faster and faster and faster the longer you live. When you're small, an hour can stretch on for a lifetime with a whole day, especially Sundays, lasting an eternity. And not in a good way, as I recall.
But now. Oh no. Now time is a completely different concept, speeding up practically daily. Thanks to Louis it is blindingly obvious how quickly it is galloping by. For instance, do you know what day it is today? It is his one-and-a-half year birthday. Granted, not a conventional milestone to celebrate, but it feels like a milestone nonetheless. Not least because it casts me back so clearly to this time last year, his six-month marker. We were in Boston, spending the weekend with Mum, and I recall that at six months, with his new taste for baby rice, Louis seemed all but grown up.
Little did I know then how old he'd seem today, 5 December 2009. If all his chatting - he's started stringing words together now - wasn't evidence enough of his aging then how about this: from now on he is apparently no longer a baby. Or so says my BabyCentre email anyway. And to be honest, I'd have to concur. I guess that might explain at least why I've been trying to wean him. It doesn't explain, however, why I feel so bad about doing so.