Millie displays wisdom beyond her years — or does she?

I was a very proud Mama before Christmas when Millie, at just three years old, no longer needed her night nappy.

I’m one of those annoying mums that bragged that Millie had toilet trained without my help or intervention. One day she just started taking her soiled nappies off, leaving them scattered around the house, prompting me to begin nappy treasure hunts when I’d discovered her pantless playing with her toys. Sometimes searching for the treasure was urgent, if you know what I mean. She simply didn’t want to sit and stew in rehydrated sultanas any longer than she had to.

Day toilet training turned into night toilet training and finally three years of helping the employees of Huggies pay their mortgages drew to an end and I could start repaying mine. At the same time that I started equating her early self-toilet-training with her intelligence, hopeful she would one day help in finding a cure for cancer, we went on a Christmas cruise. In my bid to keep someone else’s mattress clean, dry and whoopsy-daisy free, I opted to pop nappies on her during the night on our holiday.

What resulted was a child who grew too lazy to get up and go. Why should she, when she could stay in a comfortable bed and go? (Sometimes I don’t blame her, especially with the cool change in weather.) However, after giving her a six month leave of grace, I decided to flick the night nappies.

On her last night, as I was coaxing her into her Winnie the Pooh pull-ups, I explained that it was time for her to go to sleep without them as she was a big girl now. Comprehending the situation, she looked at me with as much wisdom as a three-year-old can muster and agreed.

“Yes, Mama,” she said, “I am growing into a big girl.” Before I could smile at her agreeing with me, which is rare for a 3-and-a-half-year-old, she continued. “When I get bigger, you will get smaller, and one day I will have to put a nappy on you!”

I thought for a moment about her theory and decided I could take it one of two ways. She either believes in reincarnation and the idea that I was going to come back as her baby, which was lovely, or she just gets life. I took the second option and ran with it, deciding now was the time to get her used to the reality of her future.

“That’s right, darling,” I said. “I gave birth to you so you can look after me when I am old, and that might mean helping Mummy with a nappy!”

While I was having a little joke about needing Depends one day which some might find distasteful, my family is dealing with an ailing grandparent, and there have been times he’s needed our help when one of his amazing nurses has been busy. It’s not pleasant and something I can truly never unsee, but as I said earlier, that’s life. It’s the least we can do for someone who has loved us so deeply. But still — I can never unsee it. Like, never, ever, ever. Hug a nurse, they deserve it.

“Yes,” Millie replied, “and when you are old, after I have put you in a nappy, I will push you around in a wheelbarrow!”

Now my husband has a wheelbarrow and we do a bit of gardening, but we have never pushed each other (or Millie) around in it. I totally should, she would love it, but I digress.

I questioned her on what she meant by pushing me around in a wheelbarrow. “You know, Mama, like the one you push Old Grandfather around in! I’ll push you in his wheelbarrow!”

For my siblings and cousins reading this, I don’t push my 94 year old Grandad around in a wheelbarrow — even though he was an awesome gardener in his time, supplying half of the Lockyer Valley with baby mango trees. I push him around in a wheelchair.

I no longer think the cure for cancer will be coming from someone with my genes, but now I’m kind of looking forward to my old age. Millie wheeling me down the road in a wheelbarrow is going to be hilarious.

Let’s hope it’s to do the shopping, and not her depositing me to the compost.