- I CAN’T GET NO SLEEP
The Faithless song repeats the line ‘I can’t get no sleep’ a lot, which pretty much sums up life with a new baby. A hungry or thirsty baby. A poorly baby. A teething baby. A baby having bad dreams. Then an older baby, who has been sleeping but suddenly decides They Don’t Want to Anymore. Or a toddler who just knows when you’ve been out, and likes to wake up crying just as your tipsy head hits the pillow, and so on, and so on . . . There is a particular quality to newborn baby sleep deprivation. It’s like you’re operating in a fog, wading through treacle, with aching bones and struggling not to give death stares to anyone who suggests they too, are ‘quite tired.’ It becomes a competition with your partner as to who needs more sleep or a lie-in. ME ME ME! I Can’t Get No Sleep – the theme song for new parents, everywhere.
- WHAT’S GOING ON?
Not the soulful Marvin Gaye song, more like Four Non-Blondes. I’m thinking back to those first few days at home, when the hospital (following the forceps and episiotomy) merrily sent me off with some paracetamol and ibuprofen, oh and a tiny, helpless baby. ‘Just take these together if you’re in any pain!’ Not helpful, medical people. Paracetamol sometimes barely touches the sides of a bad hangover, let alone the aforementioned Things I Don’t Care to Mention. On our second night home, around 3am, there was me howling in the bathroom in agony, Zee howling in the bedroom and I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs What’s Going On?! Thank goodness for my lovely midwife, who arranged for the doctor to prescribe Volterol the next day. Even now when I see Volterol in Boots, I can’t help but gaze lovingly at it. Paracetamol? Meh.
3 I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
Friends and family, couldn’t do it without them. Shout out to the NCT ladies; we went through the exact same experience at the exact same time and there’s something pretty special about that. It’s great to know that everything you’re dealing with for the first time, they are too. The first time Zee ever fell off the bed sent me into a total panic, terrified I’d broken my baby. After making sure he was okay I immediately turned to our Facebook page, they were there to reassure me, and it had happened to a couple of them too. Phew. They are a group of kind, strong, funny, smart women and I wish I could see them more but, you know, geography. We do still get together though, and I love it when we do.
- YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
Without a doubt, you’ll never know, my dear boy, how much I love you. I can’t begin to adequately express it, usually not without welling up. I am often overwhelmed with love for you. You make me laugh until I cry (sometimes you wind me up until I cry). You endlessly fascinate, surprise and delight me. I often want time to stop, because you are little (despite your assurance ‘I a big boy mummy!’) and you won’t be little for very long. You are absolutely my sunshine, and we are lucky to have you.
- YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS
Knives, hot drinks, vases – You Can’t Touch This. Glasses, cutlery, china – You Can’t Touch This. Shoe polish, my make-up, ovens – You Can’t Touch This. From the moment they’re on the move and those chubby little hands can reach for every possible danger in sight, you find yourself repeating ‘Don’t touch!’, ‘No!’, ‘Leave that alone!’, ‘Not for you!’ and ‘Arrrrrgggghhh!’ There becomes an in-built radar everywhere you go – specifically other people’s houses and restaurants – for Potentially Hazardous Objects My Child Will Grab. That beautiful vase, a family heirloom? He could smash it. Those scissors? He could – nope, don’t even want to think about that. That salt shaker? Salt everywhere. And so on, and so on . . . MC Hammer’s ‘You Can’t Touch This’ – the theme song of parents with young children, everywhere.