Month: February 2016

The Great British Baby Weigh Off

I’m living in a parallel universe. Klaxon: You Have Entered the World of Baby. Ah, to be that small again. This week I had to check my little one was putting on enough beef. Or, as I like to call it, The Great British Baby Weigh Off. 

Adopting my official role of Maternal Collector Gatherer, I round up the thousands of items required for venturing outdoors, get Tom in the car and set off to our nearby children’s centre. It’s worth noting this process takes approximately ten hours. 

Having only just started to drive again, I realise I’ve lost my ability to park. To be fair I never had it in the first place. Therein follows ten minutes (ok, maybe fifteen) of reversing, straightening up, reversing, swearing, sweating and a hairy encounter with the kerb.

Parking: Done. Out of car, boot open, pram frame heaved onto pavement. Unfortunately for me, I seem to have bought a belter of a transport system. A velociraptor. And this bitch can bite. It should display a warning that trying to put the wheels back on is likely to result in the loss of digits. Right. The dinosaur is primed. Return to car. Press release button on car seat base and lug out car seat complete with son. Try to place car seat on frame. Fail. Curse under breath and look around slyly to make sure no-one’s watching me. Shoogle car seat around until eventually it clips on. Baby wakes up with a jolt and looks at me, doe-eyed and suspicious.

Getting there and parking was an achievement. What I hadn’t considered was how to best manouvere The Beast (the buggy, not the baby) through the door. Consequently I push, shove and barge our way in, a smorgasbord of arms, legs and wheels. As I wipe sweat off my brow, I’m greeted by a bemused looking receptionist and a waiting room full of pregnant women, no doubt taking one look at me and wondering what the hell they’ve let themselves in for.

“Oh, you should have left the frame outside in the parking bay”, says the receptionist, sizing me up through tilted specs. “But don’t worry about it now, just unclip him and bring him through in the car seat.”

Well that’s easier said than done love. I struggle to remove the car seat from the bloody frame, resulting in the receptionist having to come round and help me. Tom promptly wakes up and starts crying. An Audience with a Stressed Out Mummy.

Finally, we’re free and good to go. I’m given a ticket, number 14, and told to go into another room. There’s a lot going on in here. Babies are wailing, giggling and girning, toddlers are running around wreaking havoc. Well least if I’m a shambles I’m not alone. 

We have a long wait, during which Tom alternates between crying (please don’t cry, please don’t cry) and smiling (good boy! what a clever boy! please don’t cry, please don’t cry). Eventually our number is called and I carry him through. “Oh, you should have left the car seat in the other room”, the health visitor informs me. Right… Oh well, onwards and upwards. “Now, we need everything off, so we can weigh him.” “Including his nappy?” “Yes, then just pop him in the bowl.”

To my left is a row of baby changing stations. I place down Tom who by now is looking a tad concerned. Clothes come off (please don’t pee or poo, please don’t pee or poo), and we’re good to go.

  
I always think there’s something slightly amusing about seeing babies in a bowl. Surely they should be used for  butter and flour and eggs and stuff, not human beings. I’m half expecting Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood to walk in for an assessment. “He’s not quite crunchy enough.” “Needs more flavour.” “More salt please.”

Tom looks up at me arms akimbo, fingers splayed, and a quivering bottom lip. Uh-oh. “That’s fine, thanks, you can take him now.”

Back to Baby Changing Station no 115. Tom’s started grinning, and I’m so relieved we haven’t had a wee accident. That’s my boy, I think. I’ve clearly been worrying about nothing. When I look back down he’s crying. How can he have gone from smiling to crying so quickly?  Weird. Then I realise it’s not tears, it’s urine. He’s peed. And he’s done it so spectacularly it’s all over his face. And in his hair. And a little bit on the changing station housing another infant. Oh shit. Another little grin appears on my cheeky rascal’s face. Oh God. Now I’ll have to activate Operation Do A Runner Before Anyone Notices. But I have to await the results of The Great British Baby Weigh Off… I desperately try to wipe the pee off his face while sheepishly glancing around to make sure I’ve not been busted.

“He’s 12lbs.” The health visitor is striding towards me. “Between the 50th and 75th percentile.” I have no idea what this means. It sounds very scientific. But they seem happy enough with him. #Win.

“Oh dear,” she exclaims in a very loud voice. “Has he peed everywhere? I need to clean that up right now as we’ve another mum coming in.”

I’m now moving my half naked, pee-stained-but-still-smiling-babe whilst trying to unzip a bulging changing bag to extricate a changing mat the size of a hankie.

Eventually I lie him down and manage to get him fully changed and clothed. Tom’s nonplussed and it’s time for a sharp exit. I need a coffee. No, make that a tequila. Now where did I put that car seat? I turn round to see hundreds of identical ones … The Great British Baby Weigh Off may be over. But The Great Journey Home and Beyond has just begun. Starting tomorrow with Tom’s first swimming lesson…

 

 

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Musings on Motherhood

  
A few ramblings on the best and hardest job in the world…

“The Travel System”

Four wheels, a frame and a basket bitty. I mean, how hard can it be to operate? Ah, how naive I was before becoming responsible for transporting a small being. Little did I know that the travel system (aka pram) is a serious piece of hardware with many pitfalls and perils. They have names like wrestlers. The Elephant. The Bison. We opted for a make on the slightly sturdier side. Durable. Reliable. Easy to use…

I’ve since discovered that wheeling it around your living room with a teddy in it is a tad different from stepping out into the real world while your child looks up at you with a sly grin, as if he can foresee the path of destruction that awaits.

I’ve bumped into everything. I took out an entire shelf at the pharmacy. Quite proud of that one. I also ran over a lady’s foot at the bus stop. Although she had jumped the queue so in my view was fair game. Baby agreed.

Sleep
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In a word: No. 

“The Transfer”

Baby has fed. Yipee. Baby has fallen asleep. Get. In. You’re good to go. Now all you have to do is lift them into their cot/crib/Moses basket/snuzzypod/sniffytwinkle – otherwise known as their bed/pit/scratcher. Easy, right? No, you fools. This manoeuvre requires careful planning and meticulous attention to detail. This is deadline day (or night) and you have a slim, time dependent window in which to get this right. Substitutes will not do, you want to be right at the top of that premier league. Have you already removed the blankets from baby’s bed so you can place them down? No? Transfer won’t work. Have you ensured baby is definitely fast asleep? No? Won’t work. Have you placed a bowl of peanut M&Ms next to his bed, taking care to remove all the blue ones while leaping gently around while spraying his room with lavender oil as The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies plays in the background? No? You lose. Have you completed all of the above? Yes? Great, well done you. (Still won’t work).

Sleep
Parental Advisory:

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Sling yer hook

The Sling. An essential piece of equipment for the Modern Mother. Fancy being one of those glamorous mummies gliding about effortlessly with her baby in tow, hadn’t you? ‘La Maman about town’. Now all you’ve got to do is figure out how the hell you put it on. And then get the baby into it without screaming. Good luck amigos, you’re going to need it.

Sleep
Bambino says

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Poo

You know your life’s changed when you’re having animated discussions about your baby’s bowel movements. Colour. Consistency. Thickness. Frequency. Expression* I am the Faecal Administrator. In other words, a poo cleaner upper. “Hi, I’m Lou and I’m a faecal administrator.” Not dissimilar to The Horse Whisperer, albeit with slightly less impressive credentials. Get in touch and I will tell you everything you need to know about your newborn’s toilet habits.

*There is such a thing as an angry poo. I’ve seen it. Heaven hath no fury like a deposit scorned.