I wouldn't say that I have ever considered myself to be a heartless person. But it would be accurate to admit that in years gone by sentimentality was an alien concept and that even the most mawkish of movies would fail to move me.
Indeed, as a youth I recall clearly weeping with laughter all the way through a double bill of The Jazz Singer and Kramer vs Kramer - not because of anything to do with the films themselves, but entirely due to the fact that my companions - teenage girls both - were sobbing inconsolably before the opening titles had even finished rolling.
For decades on end my stony heart seemed set in… well, stone.
Then I had a baby. And everything changed.
Suddenly I was the one who would weep at the drop of a handkerchief - these days I cry whenever I hear someone singing Happy Birthday (no matter to whom). I cry at any advertisement featuring babies and/or puppies. I bawled watching Home and Away (though this may be largely down to the fact I found myself watching Home and Away in the first place). And when it comes to viewing the wobbly home movie of our wedding, I find myself howling even as I hit play on the remote control.
Whether this can be attributed to the pregnancy hormones wreaking irreparable havoc on my lachrymal glands, or to the love of a small girl transforming me from cynic to soppy old git, I cannot say. But one thing's for sure - put me within 100 yards of an emotion and I metamorphose swiftly into a gibbering, snivelling wreck.
As the child grows bigger there seem to be occasions aplenty that have me snuffling into a pile of Kleenex. For example, when we reached the stage where the choice was leaving her to get soaked or putting the hood up and decapitating her, I was forced to agree that the buggy we bought for her as a new-born might now be a tad too small. But when it came to dismantling it for the very last time I was in floods.
"It's the end of an era," I wailed to my husband, who was so busy celebrating the freeing-up of the hallway that he was no use whatsoever.
The farewell to nappies saw a similar scene. Husband doing a jig for joy, me blubbing about my baby growing up too quickly.
Another landmark event has been the arrival of the "big-girl bed". I should own up to a lump in the throat at very idea of taking down the cot. And a muffled sob when I saw how very teeny-tiny my girl looked in the full-sized divan.
It is fortunate that my child copes with such milestones far better than her mother, and so while I spent the evening on the sofa miserably trying to come to terms with the speed with which the years are flying by, she giggled with excitement until she fell asleep.
And other than a 2am blip (a crash followed by an anguished wail of "My big-girl bed!"), she has dealt with this most recent transition as admirably as the all the other ones.
As for me - I have no doubt that I shall continue to dab my eyes whenever she wins a prize at a party/every time she tells me she loves me/ on each occasion that she achieves something new.
It is fortunate that she has not yet reached the stage where I'm a total embarrassment. But even when she does, something tells me that having a slushy, mushy old mummy may not be such a bad thing.