Rock a bye-bye baby

I just went to entitle this blog ‘Whose baby is it anyway?’, re-read the line and realised this could be misconstrued in ever such an awkward way. One that H might be *very* upset to read.

Moving swiftly on, yesterday was something of a milestone in Zee’s little life, one that I knew was coming but reverted to that tried and tested ‘La-la-la fingers in ears’ approach because I didn’t want it to happen. Zee has flown the nest, our mini roommate has migrated a hop, skip and a jump across the landing into his nursery and it’s weird. For someone so little he makes some big noises in his basket; huffing and snuffling and finger sucking and whizzpops, he’s like a one-baby trumpet band sometimes. So I knew it was time for him to go it alone in his nursery and I’d just have to suck it up and make it happen.

It does feel strange though, the little fella’s been in with us for the last three months. In the very early days, in the delirium of waking every two hours to feed I’d get so confused, I would startle awake and wonder where he was; had I fed him? Was he in the bed? Had I dropped him? What day was it? What the hell was going on? Could somebody bring me a Nytol and a large gin so I could just sleep, and sleep, and sleeeeep? Oh, it’s okay, he’s in his basket, where I put him two hours ago. And the poor little chap couldn’t win either, if he was sniffling and wriggling too much I’d wish him quieter, the second he became too quiet I’d leap to the edge of the bed and prod him till he moved.

TextbooksSo yesterday was D-day. Now, I have done a lot of reading around all of this pregnancy, birth and babies malarkey. A lot. I’ve read the Rough Guides and the Gina Ford’s, an American guide to happy babying and an awful lot of internet chat (and some of it claptrap) in between. There is a plethora of advice out there, you could go crazy trying to decipher and apply it all, and some of it is just baffling. The healthcare we have received here has been nothing short of amazing and I am so grateful for it, but I’ll never forget the one midwife who, two weeks in and more tired and vulnerable and confused than I’d ever been ever, fixed me with a stare as I asked for some advice about expressing milk and said ‘My advice to you is express if you have to express and don’t express if you don’t have to express.’

I was incredulous and felt like wailing ‘But that doesn’t even make any SENSE! My advice to you, lady, is to learn how to express yourself!’ *cue musical interlude from Madonna*

Anyway, in amongst all the reading I learnt a little about making the transition from our room to a room of one’s own, I also asked my NCT friends for their experiences, I spoke to my sister-in-law, I think I followed the boy scout mantra to a tee.

Funnily enough, none of the books I read advised the following . . .

‘On the day you decide to move your baby into his own room, ensure he is suffering from sore, sticky eyes which have recently been treated with antibiotics. Ask your husband to take the baby out for the afternoon to visit friends so you can have some much needed chill time to get lots of jobs done (loosely translated as sticking on the washing machine, making a pot of fresh decaf coffee and watching six episodes of Sex and the City back to back). When husband and baby return home early evening, make sure baby’s poorly eye is significantly worse, to the point you need a GP to see him that evening, not at the appointment you have booked for four days’ time due to the bank holiday. Ring NHS Direct and await their call back. In the meantime, it will be baby’s witching hour, so proceed with bath and bedtime routine as normal. Spend a while settling baby into his new room until he falls asleep. Repeat three times. Try not to have a total sense of humour failure as your husband’s voice comes booming over the new monitor system in the nursery ‘Testing testing can you hear me in there?’ Hiss ‘YES!’ in reply and hope he pipes down. Once baby is fast asleep, send husband out to collect his Saturday night curry, but make sure he leaves his phone behind as this is the number the doctor will call on, as your battery is dead. Once you receive the call, make an appointment at the out of hours clinic for 25 minutes time. Never mind that baby is sleeping and husband is at the curry house without his phone. Run around in small circles wondering what to do first, wake the baby or peer outside for husband. Opt for peering outside for husband, delay waking baby up for as long as possible. Upon his return, allow him to eat his curry in a hurried fashion and in the meantime wake the baby you have spent so long gently soothing into a deep and peaceful slumber. Take baby outside into the crisp night air, strap him in his car seat and drive to the hospital. Breathe a sigh of relief he has stayed asleep. Take baby into the brightly lit hospital, sigh as he awakens but smile as he beams at you in wide-eyed excitement. Play time! See the doctor, who prescribes and applies a cream-based treatment, much to baby’s chagrin. Take baby, still wide-eyed and awake, home. Spend an hour soothing baby back to sleep. Once baby is definitely asleep in his basket in his cot in a room he’s never slept in before, retreat, walk downstairs and slowly release all the tension in the muscles you didn’t even know were clenched. Hang out all the washing you forgot to attend to earlier because you were too busy watching Carrie break up with Aidan again. Drink a glass of red wine with husband and go to bed, with the monitor positioned by your bedside. Try not to stare at it ALL night. He is only three metres away, after all. Wake up at 3am, feed the baby, stare at him snuffling and wriggling on the monitor again, remember this is precisely the reason why you moved him in the first place, and go back to sleep until baby awakens at 7am.’


So it seems that no matter how prepared I was, in the end all the advice from all those books didn’t really matter (and this was the idea behind my original and poorly judged blog title). No, it wasn’t an ideal way to introduce Zee to his new room, but I kept thinking that I knew yesterday was the right time for it to happen. Despite my tears, I was ready, Zee was ready, it was right. It may not have been a ‘textbook’ scenario, but stuff the textbooks. The best bit of advice I’ve been given by a few friends is to ‘trust your instincts.’ So I did. And on night two of Zee Flies the Nest, he’s been up there for three hours with not a peep out of him so far. Long may it continue. Now, where did I put that wine . . .


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