Mr. Zebra & Growing Up

May 21, 2015


Mr Zebra

This week I was trying to sort though some clothes in the boys room, not an easy task! As I was clearing I came across Mr. Zebra hidden away behind some socks. I took him out and gave him a shake listening to the rattle. He has been in our lives for nearly four years yet I remember so clearly buying him for Lucas. He was only a baby and I was looking for toys that might grab his attention. He really wasn’t interested in anything, he didn’t like his baby gym, the mobile on his cot held his interest for a very short space of time and all those marvellous sensory toys were hanging from his buggy neglected. He was a crier, I remember wondering what was wrong as he would cry so much. There wasn’t one time he didn’t wake up crying up to the age of about 18 months. It makes me laugh now but we didn’t have a clue! I realise that is just the way he was and a lot of it stopped as he got older and more independent.

So, looking for something that might distract him for a few seconds and stop the crying I bought the Lamaze Zebra. Looked pretty perfect to me for a baby toy – black and white, noisy and he’d be able to grip it. It turns out Lucas thought so too and he loved it. I remember how he would follow it with his eyes, smile at him and reach for him. As he got older he was chewed and thrown; he would purse his lips and go cross eyed in concentration trying to hold him. Mr Zebra had a permanent place in our change bag ready to be called into action for nappy changes. He came along with us to the doctors for the dreaded jabs and was frantically waved in front of him to try and distract him. Somewhere over the years he was put away with the baby toys and brought out again when we had the twins. He has been good to us over the years.

When I found him in the wardrobe I realised we don’t really have any use for him anymore as my boys are all past the stage of a little rattle toy. He could be added to the baby things that we send to charity shops or passed onto friends but actually I couldn’t quite bear to do that. He reminds me so much of Lucas and of the early days while I was still learning to be a Mother, making mistakes and doing the best I could. It reminds me that of all the masses of stuff that we had for Lucas this one little £7 toy was the only one he would bother with for months and months. It reminds me that this growing boy that I have bouncing around my house all day, chattering as we walk to school, asking me to stay for another five minutes while he goes to sleep was once a tiny newborn, my first baby.  I remember Lucas waving it for the twins while we told him what a good big brother he was. I like to think that maybe when he is older he might find Mr Zebra hidden in a box and remember him fondly.

The age Lucas is now, right on the cusp of becoming a fully fledged boy, is such a amazing one. It has probably been the most challenging by far, he is constantly trying to make sense of things around him, controlling his emotions while trying to assert his independence. I have said before that I have never questioned my parenting more as I have done during this stage. He is stubborn, so so stubborn and everything is on his own terms But, he is also funny, his imagination flows over in everything he does, he feels deeply and loves the family around him, he is charming and cheeky all at once.

I don’t know where the years have gone; somehow I have a son who is nearly four and in a few short months will be starting full time education. I will miss him so much and the time with him now is so precious as it won’t ever be this way again. Even writing than makes my stomach flip. Soon someone else will see him for more of the day than I will and other people will influence him, will make him laugh and maybe even make him cry. Even now I see things changing when he wants to watch different things because his friends watch it and he is becoming part of a group that I can’t really be a part of. He’s always known his own mind and I wish more than anything that it stays that way. When I see him running to school and children shout his name I smile, he holds hands with his friends when they walk in the doors and he goes in without a backward glance. Trying to remember that tiny baby in my arms can sometimes be difficult so I think I’ll hold onto Mr Zebra for a little longer.

Growing Up


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  • mummyofboygirltwins

    Hayley I nearly cried! I cannot believe he will be at school soon and so grown up! What a lovely post and that toy made me feel all emotional. You’re right and I am going to feel the same too when my twins go to school. I am finding their agree challenging too, harder than the baby years but mine as also funny and hilarious together. Oh Hayley, this is a lovely new phase and you’ll have school plays, sports day and all those adorable things from the first years of school. Big hugs Jess xxxx

    May 21, 2015 at 11:08 am Reply
  • Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock

    Oh Hayley *blub* this is just so lovely.
    I’d put him somewhere safe in a box too. It’s be lovely for him to be able to keep it for one of his own children one day!
    Little Miss has a little Teddy Winne the Pooh. My Nan got it for her on the day she was born. I don;t know what it was about Winnie that she loved, but she does. Isn’t it funny how even at the age they can decide what they love?! xxxxxx

    May 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm Reply
  • Tina

    Awww. As sad as it is that he’s growing and won’t be this tiny fun age for long, it’s also really exciting that soon he’ll be in gradeschool and high school and turning into a man. I think that both ends of the spectrum, young child to older child, have pros and cons and I try and focus on the exciting stuff happening soon than being sad about how much my daughter has grown. But… then people post their ‘Time Hop’ things of Lyla as a little baby and I get alll emotional!

    May 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm Reply
  • Angela at

    I always found it hard to let go of the things my child grew out of or too old for. However recently I started selling all her too small clothes. Sad to see it go but a much needed clear out! Angela x

    May 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm Reply
  • Notmyyearoff

    Ahh big hugs, I know how you feel about them startng school, I just can’t believe that time is nearly here. How has it gone so so quickly???I think you are right to keep the zebra rattle forever. We sadly got rid of a lot and now I keep thinking maybe I should have kept a bit more. I know we’ll make new memories but some little bits are always extra special!

    May 22, 2015 at 10:14 am Reply
  • becky

    I still have Ellie’s, now 10, first toys. 2 cats…and they have came out with every baby. But now as Elsie passes the 18 month mark they don’t really get played with any more. Yet knowing we won’t be having anymore babys I can’t bring myself to pack them away. Knowing they won’t ever come out again. Never to be played with by my babies. Oh its too much to even think about! So for now they stay in the toy box, waiting for one of the children to remember they are their….

    May 23, 2015 at 7:36 am Reply
  • Alexandra @dontcallmestepmummy

    Aww this is beautifully written *sobs* just lovely. It’s scary how quickly they grow. My little man starts pre-school in September and I’m just not ready to let him go even if it is only 3 sessions a week xxx #sharewithme

    May 27, 2015 at 8:25 am Reply
  • Rebecca U

    This will be me this time next year *sobs*. It is exciting but scary all at the same time #sharewithme

    May 27, 2015 at 9:44 am Reply
  • mel @mydaysni

    It is always the simple things which win the day – I also spent much money on things which were never looked at, with cardboard boxes, or a ballon always winning the day! Just you hold onto that zebra. Maybe the grandkids will like it someday! #sharewithme

    May 27, 2015 at 10:04 am Reply
  • Something Crunchy Mummy

    Lovely post. It made me really realise my two are growing up so fast, and it makes me sad. They are no longer my babies. We had this same toy for my youngest Noah and I have a photo of him holding it so tight. It too was kept in the changing bag for the times we were out and about when we needed him. I find it very hard to give away baby toys even though we don’t have the use for them anymore. #ShareWithMe xx

    May 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm Reply
  • Baby Isabella

    What a lovely post! I have that same connection with my Lamaze Turtle Toy 🙂 I too have written a post about him x Please keep Mr. Zebra forever…. X #Sharewithme

    May 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm Reply
  • Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life

    some toys are worth holding on to forever as they hold such special memories. My oldest is 12 and there is a few things of hers that i have kept in her memory box as i just can not imagine parting with them xx #sharewithme

    May 27, 2015 at 8:03 pm Reply
  • Jenny

    Oh do hold onto it for the memories hunny. I love toys that bring it all back for us. B starts school soon too I can’t believe he is almost four too. Where has those four years gone? It just blows me away how fast life is going. Lovely post darling. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me I hope you are enjoying my blog hop and thanks for all the linky support! #sharewithme

    May 31, 2015 at 9:43 am Reply
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