Month: January 2016

The Game of LifeĀ 

I knew things had changed when my husband and I started arguing about whether a mark on the wall was a piece of baby poo. 

Our boy arrived two weeks ago. And since then it’s been all sorts of crazy. I hate American phrases but in this case it’s the only one that will suffice. 

They say nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent. I listened to this with a large pinch of salt. Yeah, yeah, how hard can it be? I’ve worked night shifts, my body clock is probably well attuned to this already. And how long can a baby actually cry for? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. An awful lot…

Our first days together we’re spent in hospital, a parallel universe where the aroma of disinfectant and the shuffling figures of shell-shocked mothers abound. Feed, wind, change, sleep…please sleep…please sleep, won’t sleep. It did mean that we had some help with looking after the little man before being  unleashed on the outside world. Going Home. A big moment. The baby slept in the car all the way back. Excellent. A precursor of things to come perhaps? Oh, my naivety…

The first few nights at home were ok. Manageable, even. Cool. I’ve got this mummy thing sorted. Booyakasha. But what I hadn’t banked on was the hurricane-like arrival of DAY 10. Why, why, why did no-one tell me about DAY 10? The Darth Vader of days and the Emperor of nights. Apparently this is growth spurt territory where pretty much anything can happen. In our case it manifested itself in hourly feeds and a lot of girning and growling – and that was just me and my husband, wracked with despair in the witching hour as we silently mouthed “what is wrong with him?” 

When you become a parent you also turn detective. How I long for powers of deduction that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame. Babies are an unknown entity. A sweet little mystery, to quote a pop classic. You’ve fed them. You’ve changed them. You’ve cuddled them. You’ve changed them. Yet still they cry. And will only sleep on you. And will definitely wait until you’ve taken off that nappy before deciding it’s time for some fun of the defecation variety. 

The sleep deprivation is interesting. “Can you go and check on her?”, I murmur to my husband in the middle of the night. Which is all good and well. Except my baby is a boy.

I’ve poured water on my cereal instead of milk. And considered eating it. Managing to brush my hair is a major success. Drying it would be a major coup. And daytime TV is my new best friend, even if much of it, not unlike my son’s nappy, contains an impressive amount of crap.

Of course what’s also overwhelming is the love I have for my son. There’s nothing like it. PIs he ok, are we bad parents, I wonder. As humans we’re used to telling people what’s wrong with us, but that’s not easy when you’re trying to decipher it from the pitch and tone of a newborn’s cry. 

As I sit here with him at two weeks old I wonder where the time has gone already. And what lies ahead.  Fun, brilliant and baffling times, for sure. It’s hard work. But what I’ve realised is that we’re all learners in the parent game. While nothing can prepare you for it, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. Now excuse me while I go and pour some water on my Special K…