Coke too

So we get to the pub. Even before we sit at the table, we have both checked our mobile phones. Of course, we have no reception. Either of us. Of course, we don’t because we’re not paranoid enough already. No reception on the phone guarantees one thing – that we will check our phones incessantly for the next two hours… because that will improve the amount of reception we have.

But its fine because they have the phone number for the pub too. And the phone apparently works as the landlady is just using it. Excellent, we can relax. WHat shall we have to eat? Hmmm, three courses seems like it might take a while to arrive- the pubs busy and the food is freshly cooked so, you know, lets just go for starters and main course. We agree and the waitress takes our order. I glance around the pub and take a sip of coke. Hmmm, landlady still on the phone but you know, hey, she’s working tonight so how long is she going to be. I check my mobile phone again – still no messages, and no reception.

We chat … about our son. I’m sure we used to talk about other stuff but he seems like the natural point of conversation. And the first course arrives after what feels like an age. Hmmm, delicious. I appear to have finished mine in a nanosecond.

And the landlady is still on the phone. Jesus, sweetheart, this better be some sick relative or a long lost cousin. You’re supposed to be working.

The main course seems to be taking a while. Tap tap tap. Hmmm, has time slowed down? 8:24pm. Have we really only been here an hour- it feels like… oh…. forever. Tap tap tap. I wonder how he’s doing? If he wakes up, it usually about now. I hope he’s not screaming or upset. Perhaps we should phone and check. Hmmm, perhaps. Still no reception though. And the stupid, lazy landlady is still talking incessantly on the phone. What if they’re trying to get through and can’t? What if they tried and couldn’t and are now on our way to A&E? They would have stopped off here… unless it was an emergency.

Oh my god.

What have I become?

Better half talks rational sense into me. We finish and pay. And leave. And I only drive slightly over the speed limit to get home.

Turns out, he’s fine. Hasn’t stirred. She checked on him (again) ten minutes ago and he’s sleeping… like a baby.

I feel ridiculous. And I have indigestion. And as it turns out, a great babysitter.

Dr Google

Paranoid parenting strikes again… I started typing in to Google this morning as Bimp has a wheezy cough. And google did that thing where your previous searches come up. I realised with some horror, I have come to rely on Google to raise and at times diagnose my child… Previous searches include:

The Baby Whisperer
Tracy Hogg
Baby Ear Infection
Baby screaming on back
How long can I keep baby in a car seat
Apple and Banana Cake
Feeding Baby Evaporated Milk
Medical Advice Baby Cold
Rand Farm
Baby Activities Lincolnshire
Ball Pit
SIDS
Toddle Truck
Rockabye Baby
Capybara
Fluffy Spiderman Pyjamas
Mother and Baby Magazine
What Should I Buy a One Year Old
Controlled Crying
Gina Ford
Katie Hopkins and Peaches Geldof
Meningitis Symptoms
Puddle Ducks Swimming
Baby on Board Badge
Calpol

And thats just the last six weeks…

The Cow

I already know we have less than nothing in common. Despite our children being the same age.

Her child is immaculate. Beautiful, pressed dress. Lovely pretty shoes (shoes!). Smooth, straight hair.

My child appears to be drooling. A lot. I know he can’t help his teeth coming through. But now? And is that… Mashed potato? In his eyebrow? He hasn’t eaten mashed potato today. Oh. Hmmm. Yesterday’s dinner. Sigh. And where is his left sock?

And if it wasn’t bad enough, the mother is immaculate too. Knee high brown boots, tanned bare legs, lovely cotton sun dress and smooth groomed hair. I hate her. How does she do that? I realise though that I’m not alone in this, thank god. Across the room, I can see a knackered mum looking at her in disgust too. This mum looks, well, tired and old – baggy eyes, unbrushed hair, shirt with (oh bless her) baby vomit on the shoulder, still wearing preggie jeans. Thank god, I’m not the only one I think and get up to get a wipe. Then I realise. That’s not another mum. That’s me. In a mirror. Unrecognisable me. Dishevelled, exhausted, old. How did that happen? And How come the tanned cow in the corner has got it so bloody together? I make a pact right then that I can’t, for my own sanity, ever talk to her. Yes, I know that makes me the cow. But that’s just the way it has to be. I can’t spend week in, week out at mums and tots group, going quietly mad with envy. Imagining how beautific her life is. How together she has it all. I will just have to accept that some women can do it better and with more style and less baby vomit. Eeeeeurgh.

The next week she walks in a pink velour track suit with some sort of reflective shiny writing on her bum. Karma is restored.

Still not talking to her though.

Sir Ken Robinson

The Fairy Godmothers

With impending or recent motherhood comes a dawning realisation. This brand new little life. This tiny screaming baby. This little human. Well, it’s all up to you. All the education in the world, doesn’t prepare you for the hair pin bends of emotion you and your baby will go through on a daily if not hourly basis. But fear not, help is at hand for you, Sleeping Beauty (ha!). In the form of three (types of) fairy godmother.

The first. Your own mothers. Your mother, your mother in law, your aunts, your step mothers. The ones who have been there and made it through to the other side. Some may live close by and be able to offer physical, practical support on a regular basis. Take them up on it, even if your relationship with each other is fractious. It gives them time with their grandchild and you some precious ‘you’ time (advice? Use it to sleep or get a haircut, not to do the ironing). Secondly, if they don’t live close enough for daily visits (your other half may thank you for this), they are a wealth of information and support and example – good and bad. No one gets it 100% right and rose tinted spectacles, a sizeable amount of booze and twenty years has probably coloured their memories of it all somewhat. But listen to them and look at their offspring. If you like the resultant child, then perhaps they got it right. Alternatively, if they raised the devil incarnate then perhaps it’s an example of what not to do.

The second. Your lovely friends who’ve already been there. Who have children who are no longer toddlers, maybe even teenagers. Watch them and how they do it. You might like what they do or you might not, but its all good instructive stuff. Take notes!

The third. The mothers you meet while you’re pregnant and in the first steps of new motherhood. Perhaps even friendships which regenerate because you’re now both becoming mothers. They will share your apprehension, your joy, your fears, your questions. They will be as blissfully clueless as you and they will help you through it. My lovely NCT friends, my facebook friends I haven’t seen for years but are new mums too and the heap of new mums (and dads) I’ve met at baby classes. A life line. A moment of sanity. Reassurance. As they talk about how crap their nights sleep was or how difficult it is to convince junior to take a bottle.

Love them all. They keep you sane. Use them wisely. And hopefully, they’re the ones which will tell you that all consuming truth. You’re doing just fine.

Missing…

MISSING: One Small Angelic Child. Has been replaced by extra from Gremlins or possibly Twilight. Lacks basic ability to sleep but can communicate with dogs and use whale song. Takes human form during daylight hours or in the company of others.  At night, able to recreate that scene from the Exorcist.  Including the vomit.

Life is unrecognisable.  Everything has changed.  Every. Single. Thing.

Job.

     Relationship.

                 House.

                          Car.

                                  Social.

                                            Body.

                                                     Brain.

                                                               Baby.

Let me run you through that list again.

Job. Relationship. House. Car. Social. Body. Brain.

BABY.

!!!!!!

And here I am. 7 months later. Still scaling a learning curve shaped like the North face of the Eiger but still here and loving it. Most of the time. There are moments when I could happily put him in the laundry bin but they are few and unfulfilled.

So the 2 am feed, is just that. A feed, a lifeline, a humorous story or two about the journey so far. Posted or written at that time in the morning that has now taken on a whole new meaning. No longer the time you stumble out of a taxi on the way home after a good night out. No longer the time you get up for work or a flight on a bad day. 2am is feeding time. A time when thousands of parents wake bleary eyed and slightly disorientated as their newest child mews, cries and, if not attended to, screams for food, warmth, love and attention. 2am is the time you begin to figure out how the milk warming machine works; the time you curse your other half for being a sounder sleeper than you; the time when you find yourself wondering whether it’s possible to fall asleep while standing up while still holding the baby and the bottle. 2am is the moment you question your sanity about getting into all of this in the first place.

Welcome.