I was so excited when I found out that I was pregnant. I spent all 40 weeks willing away the time so that I could have my baby here, safely in my arms. However, when that precious moment did actually arrive and my beautiful baby was placed in my arms, life paused for a moment, I looked longingly and hopelessly at my husband and said, “S**t, what do we do now?”
When we brought him home, and we were away from the comfort of the midwives and the professionals, it was then that reality hit. I looked at this perfect bundle of joy and realised that this helpless little baby was dependent entirely on me keeping him alive. So where’s the Handbook? Where’s the book that I can follow to the letter that tells me what to do? It didn’t appear to be on any bookshop shelf when I went looking! Well, there isn’t one. You learn as you go. Babies don’t come with a Handbook, but if they did, I reckon this is what should be inside…
Take Cover: If you have a baby of the blue variety, be ready to take cover when changing his nappy. When you least expect it, you may find yourself taking an unwanted shower, either you, him, the ceiling, however far his aim can reach.
Having a Fiddle: Don’t be alarmed at the sight of your innocent little man having a fiddle. It means something very different to him than it does to you! Your child will grab your nose, their feet or any toy dangling in front of them but it won’t grab your attention like this does.
“She’s beautiful”, “Yes he is”: Be prepared to be told by fellow shoppers in the supermarket that your handsome baby boy is such a pretty little girl, even if he is dressed head to toe in blue, with trains, tractors and football print … please excuse the gender stereotype! Despite you trying to get the correct ‘he’ or ‘she’ into your reply, you will still walk away wondering how anyone could get it so completely wrong.
Show-er Uppers: Your baby WILL show you up. Always have in the back of your mind that your baby is out to get you; to show you up; to embarrass you. Rest assured that when the Health Visitor arrives, your calm persona of raising such a beautiful baby is shot down in one fail swoop as your baby poos just before you have to remove her nappy to get her weighed, making it look like you leave your baby to lay around in a dirty nappy. You will find yourself nervously laughing when trying to justify that your little monkey has only just made this mess.
Whilst we are on the subject of dirty nappies and showing us poor parents up, don’t be surprised when on the one occasion you leave the house without a change of clothes for your baby, she will do the biggest poo known to man, a poo that can’t even be contained in a nappy and so leaks out of the sides. You are left with a dirty, smelly baby in dirty, smelly clothes so you will find yourself making your excuses and leaving early, probably when you have only just arrived.
Your baby will also show you up in front of friends when they come to visit. When asked the typical new baby questions, you will inevitably be asked “Does your baby cry much? Does he sleep well?”… “Oh yes”, you reply, “he’s so happy and content”. He will then purposely cry, in fact worse than cry, he will then purposely scream uncontrollably for the duration of your friend’s visit. You frantically try to console and comfort your baby but find yourself having to comfort your friend more as you see their ears start to bleed, until your friend can stand it no longer and leaves. As the door closes, your baby will then smile back at you and be back to his happy, cheeky self, safe in the knowledge that he has won and now has you all to himself: mission accomplished.
Choking Kidders: Anything and everything will make it into your baby’s mouth. When you suddenly hear your baby have a coughing fit you will run to their aid, with horrific visions of something being lodged in their throat but instead when you arrive in a blind panic, her little face is happily grinning back at you. Yet again she is safe in the knowledge that she holds all the power and you are the mere mortal.
Sleep Deprivers: It’s well known that babies wake during the night but it’s perhaps worth noting that your ability to have a decent nights sleep, is in fact years away. Because even when your baby does eventually drop the night feeds, you will still lie awake worrying and wondering why on earth your baby is not demanding a boob or a bottle. Your sleep will be broken by the slightest of noise once you have a baby, so kiss goodbye to that fresh-faced skin and say hello to dark circles. It’s ok, we all have them, so you won’t look out of place.
Bouncing Baby: Babies have a built in bouncing mechanism so don’t beat yourself up in floods of tears that baby has bumped her head on something. Chances are it will be more painful for you emotionally than it will be for them physically. Be wary though that the Bouncing mechanism doesn’t last forever!
Hair Grabbers: Be prepared to lose your hair or to find clumps of it all over the house and your clothes. Babies will grab your lovely locks and pull at it to the inch of it’s life. It’s a sad sight to see your baby’s little fist clutching at clumps of your flowing locks that you have spent years trying to grow, gone in one fail
swoop of a pull.
Jewellery Destroyers: The above also applies to any beautiful jewellery which may be hung around your neck or delicately attached to your ears. So in short, just don’t bother.
Mind Readers: Your baby can read you like a book. He will know how excited you are about leaving the house to go and do a spot of retail therapy. He will know the effort it has taken to get him and you out of the door with your suitcase of essentials that are needed to be carried everywhere. You will have probably timed your long awaited shopping spree with baby’s nap time however your heart will sink the minute you arrive as babba opens his lungs and screams at his displeasure of seeing you enjoying yourself. If your little one is feeling generous, he may well let you continue to browse the rails and it will only be when the shop assistant gives you a passing tut, that you realise your baby has been pulling clothes off the rail and leaving a trail of new clothes behind you.
You will regularly find yourself retracing every single step looking for that lost sock that has been kicked off for the 100th time. If you are really, really, really unlucky your baby may even grab at a passing garment to wipe his nose with. So, if you are in the shop long enough, be prepared to come home with items that you don’t want and that don’t even fit.
Human Fish Hook: Be mindful of the fact that you will be ‘fish hooked’, on a regular occurrence. Let’s just say, you and your mouth will know what this is when it happens.
So what have I missed? Is there anything else that you would put in a tongue-in-cheek Baby Handbook for expectant or newbie parents?