OK, so we all know how it goes: first child drops a dummy, it gets sterilised. Second child, it gets rinsed. Third child, you lick it quickly yourself. Fourth child, you get the dog to lick it...
Although this isn't strictly true (we don't have a dog, so I usually use Ray as a substitute) there is truth there. Is it because we learn a little more about children and the fact that a few germs don't do any harm? Is it because our time is too stretched to worry about them as much? Or is it ambivalence?
I do worry about Evie: the fact that she's the last one to leave the dinner table because she's stuck in her seat, or the fact, far more than the others, if she's sitting all big eyed and teary on the floor, reaching her little chubby arms up to me, I have to say "just a minute, Evie."
A lot of "Mummy jobs" need two arms. And Evie, the wriggly little monkey, takes both of mine when I'm holding her.
That said, she's got loving brothers and sisters who already - even at the ages of 2 and 4 - look out for her, bring her toys and give her kisses without being prompted.
And let's face it, no boy is going to DARE mess her about in the future, what with her "bruvvers" in the year above at school...
So what about No.5? What happens to the dummy of number 5? What happens when No.5 cries and reaches up to me? Fingers crossed, by that time, I'll have mastered the magic spell that puts just a few more hours into the day... Or won the lottery and employed a whole entourage of staff. (Oh, god I WANT staff!!).
It's a week until Evie's first birthday, and that day, at least, she is going to feel like a special little bunny. One cake for crèche (she goes once a week and they will all sing happy birthday to her there) and one when she gets home.
And, for one day only, unlimited mummy arm time.