Everything BB knows about babies…
…Is probably utterly irrelevant to anyone else because they’re all different. Nevertheless, with Junior Research Assistant #2 on the horizon any day now, here’s a recap of what we’ve learned from their now more senior associate in the last two years.
- Paternity leave is not “extra holiday”. You’re a fool and an idiot if you believe this. On your first day back afterwards, you would sprint to the office if you had an ounce of energy left.
- A typical routine for a newborn: Feed baby. Burp baby. Change baby’s nappy. Change baby’s wet vest and sleepsuit, which were wee’ed on while changing nappy. Change own trousers. Feed baby some more. Burp baby again. Mop up vomit, change baby’s top again. Try to settle baby. Walk around house jogging and patting baby while making increasingly desperate shushing sounds. As baby drifts off, hear loud, wet squirting noise from bottom and change baby again, thus waking baby up. Try to settle baby again. Go for long walk with screaming baby in pram. Go for long drive with screaming baby in rear seat. Begin patting and soothing sobbing partner as well. Go for long scream round block as baby refuses to sleep. Return. Try again to settle baby. Exhausted baby eventually drifts off.
All quiet? Good, now wake baby up in time for next feed!
- Why babies cry: tired, overtired; bored, overstimulated; hungry; too hot, too cold; windy; constipated; three million other indiscernible reasons.
Why parents think their baby is crying: personal vendetta; parents are crap; major oversight in parental care; insufficient guilt on part of parents; fatal illness, obvious signs of which are being missed by useless parent; feng-shui all wrong; not enough toys; too many toys; hates toy given by least favourite relation; pushchair insufficiently expensive; etc.
Least helpful advice offered: “Well, they’ve got to air their lungs some time!” (No they haven’t! Breathing airs the lungs! Shut them up!)
Biggest mistake made: Assuming that child must never, ever be allowed to cry, not for even one single microsecond.
- Cooking pots and pots of healthy, organic homemade food is a surefire route to a fussy eater. But give the same child fish fingers with cheap Iceland oven chips, followed by tinned rice pudding, and all you’ll hear for a short time is occasional grunts for breath between mouthfuls. Annabel Karmel, get fucked.
- At any moment of maximum stress and preoccupation, your little one will obligingly release a fully matured bowel movement into their recently-changed nappy.
- “Dog. Dog! Dog!! DOG!!! DOG!!!!! DOG!!!!!” (repeat for ten minutes, disregarding all attempts to proceed to shops, place in car seat, button up coat, avoid speeding bullet, etc.)
- Cherish their photos. Photos keep still, are silent, don’t smell or ever grow up and only reduce you to tears in the nicest way. Whereas the subject of the photos is currently tipping bran flakes over the carpet, necessitating the fourth pass with the vacuum cleaner today.
- Everything you do when you have a child, even tasks that are completely unrelated to them, takes twice as long and wears you out five times as much as it would have done Before Child. And at the point that you complete your Herculean labours and finally collapse into the sofa, thinking you might enjoy a rest for five seconds, your partner will inevitably utter the fateful words “Nappy needs changing”. And it’s your turn. Always.
- As soon as your first child is born, your washing machine gives notice to quit, in the form of a whining noise previously unfamiliar. It may stagger on for a few more months or years but is guaranteed to break down when the pile of unwashed laundry is highest. Usually two weeks before the birth of your second child; it saw what was coming and threw the towel in. You now have to recover that partially-washed towel along with three loads of unlaundered clothes and stagger down the launderette with them in a large bin bag, where the lovely attendants will smother you with pity.
A few weeks later, the microwave will follow the washing machine into sweet oblivion, and you will find yourself in some godforsaken retail park at 9am, waiting for Currys to open, when you have plenty of other things to do. True fact.
- You cannot ever buy just one of anything. You must conduct your own exhaustive consumer tests of every single item, by buying one of everything on the market for each item you require, at your own expense - because none of them are quite good enough. This is particularly true of pushchairs which are, naturally, among the most expensive baby-related purchases.
- You will come to agree with the rest of us that the eponymous canine protagonist of “Where’s Spot?” richly deserves a short drop into a deep canal inside a heavy, airtight bag, along with its author. And that’s a mild reaction compared to how you’ll feel when you watch the animated version on (durable, childproof) DVD for the first of many times.
- On the other hand, Bob the Builder is a god. And Wendy (“Weh-weh”) is Aphrodite. But you can’t shake the suspicion that he tiptoes out of the yard at night and over to her place, where he hammers away between her legs like a road drill. “Oh, Bob!”
- In a nutshell, there are some aspects of childhood play that are sweet, engaging and enjoyable to an adult. And others that are nauseating, tiresome and tedious. Your child will alway express a firm preference for the latter ones.
- The birth of your first child will be planned like a military operation, except with more personnel and equipment involved. By the time you come to have the second, if it was going to be delivered by DHL it would be lucky if there was anyone around to sign for it.
- There’s a lot of stuff about sleepless nights, liquid poo and milky vomit, and back-breaking exertion that thankfully we’ve forgotten all about, or have suppressed, or are in denial over. It will all come back to us. Oh help. (We’d record it here but, hahaha, there’s no chance of finding the time to piss around with a blog. See you again in 2008.)