We’re told that parenting is a learning curve.
This implies some sort of gentle gradient from novice to expert over the first few months.
For me, and I suspect I’m not alone, it was more of a shove off a high diving board into quick sand.
If you don’t struggle, you don’t sink – this means: outwardly I look like I’m perfectly calm but inside I’m screaming…
I’m sticking with this theory.
Your Dad’s first panic and/or realisation he was responsible for another human was the first evening we were home from the hospital.
I asked him to go upstairs and get a sleep suit. He dutifully went and didn’t come back down for at least five minutes.
When he returned he was sweating and looked like he needed a strong drink.
It was then he explained in sheer panic: “I don’t know what a sleep suit is!”
This confession clearly meant he’d already failed as a parent.
Strike one, Daddy.
After he finally stopped pacing the floor like an inmate on death row I explained it was just pajamas.
Trauma over with minimal damage to you in later life. Phew.
Despite having nieces and nephews, this ‘practise’ in no way prepared us for what lay (and lies) ahead.
Although we look like we seem to have things under control, trust me when I say: “We are still furiously paddling under the surface.”
So, with that confidential tidbit shared on the internet, here are a few more things I’ve learned over the last 20 months.
1. I hate Postman Pat.
I mean I really hate the guy. I have a little rant every morning about his ineptitude as a postal worker and yet he’s still regarded as a hero. I mean, he got his own bloody movie.
For example: he RUINED a child’s birthday party by showing up hours late with their bouncy castle then his annoying cat wrecked it with her nails.
He covered the lot in tiny plasters so the kids could eventually go on it and he was celebrated as the saviour of the party.
Had everyone forgotten that he was the one that ruined it in the first place? Well, had they? Yes, apparently they had. Gah.
It’s been pointed out that if he was really ‘good’ at his job it wouldn’t make for a very interesting cartoon; but that’s not the point.
I wish you liked Dinopaws more, it’s hilarious.
You regularly put your hand over my mouth mid-rant when I talk over it though so I guess the real lesson is: I’m willing to put up with things I hate if it makes you happy.
2. Babysitters are Precious
B.B (Before Bear) Your Dad and I would go out. A lot. Then complain that we were always broke.
Now, we have to be select on what we are willing to cash in our babysitter coupons for.
The desire to leave the house and be part of the outside world has to be weighed up against if it’s worth organising a babysitter for.
When we do call in the babysitting favour, we also have to weigh up ‘that’ next drink with the potential hangover the following day.
As I’ve said before: hangovers and babies do not mix.
When the stars align and we decide to head out like carefree adults and ignore the sensible voice in our head saying: “You don’t need that double”, we make the most of it.
The night’s out are appreciated a lot more than they were and are usually needed to be organised months in advance.
The lesson here is: We make the most of our ‘free’ time but still don’t know when to stop drinking.
3. Everything is potential death trap.
Anything and everything can be viewed as a killing machine. Yes, even that teddy you’re holding.
What if you squeeze it too tight, the eye pops off and somehow lands in your mouth, lodging itself in your throat?
Say ‘bye-bye’ to teddy and get back into your bubble of solitude.
It doesn’t matter how many times in the day I say: “Careful” or “Watch” you in no way heed me and I usually find you up to no good (this is definitely your Dad’s influence).
Electrocution, food poisoning, drowning… you name it and I’ve thought of some far-fetching and horrific scenario.
It’s because of this that I feel like I’m regularly preventing you from having any type of fun.
Fortunately your Dad is more relaxed than me and is seen throwing you around the place while a live electrical cable is around your throat (slight exaggeration, I grant you).
Lesson: Between the two extremes, you’re bound to make it through to your teenage years at least.
4. I’m affectionate (who knew?)
I’m not great at hugging. I find it awkward and I usually end up embarrassed by the whole situation.
Again, your Dad is the opposite. For years he was used to hugging me as I stood, stiff as a board, not quite sure what to do with my arms.
However, I find nothing embarrassing about smothering you with hugs and kisses – in fact you’ve got the whole ‘Mum, get off me’ teenager look down to a fine art.
You’ve become a very huggy baby and it’s lovely to get morning kisses from you – without having to ask for them.
The more I give you affection, the less embarrassed and awkward I feel about hugging other people.
At 29 I’m finally growing as a person – took long enough.
There’s plenty more where these came from; and I’d like to think that with the appearance of your brother at the end of the month there will be a whole heap more.