“Have a baby they said. It’ll be fun they said.”
Famous last words. Before I met Wayne, I never wanted kids. In fact, if the truth be known, I didn’t even like kids. That fuzzy, warm feeling when you held a newborn in your arms.. sure it was nice, but it never really sat right. Friends always professed when we younger, that I’d be the last of us to settle down and I’m definitely the late starter of us. Even my own Mother never thought I’d have kids, although Dad’s always had faith he’s said (this is the bloke who at 30 and newly single, would drop me for dates to ensure I attended as he didn’t want me “being left on the shelf at your age” – WTF?).
Then I met Wayne. It was as if I’d been struck by lightning. All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with feelings I’d never truly felt and that feeling of a mini was rather welcoming. Following a whirlwind romance, we took the plunge and decided to try. We were hoping for a summer baby, but like everything that Wayne and I try and plan, that plan fell to shit and Harry’s an early Spring baby.
Harry. The most delightful little boy we could wish for. Funny, loving, independent and a terror to his furry brother, Rocky; we’re truly blessed with this magical little angel. A horrific delivery, Harry’s entrance wasn’t straight forward and he arrived into this world, battered and bruised as though he’d stepped out of the ring following 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. And so our little family was established and off we trotted from hospital, the three of us, to begin the first chapter of oh so many.
And so the rose-tinted spectacles were thrown away. Cast aside like last years’ summer flip flops. The moment we got home in fact. Harry was welcomed home and duly placed on the dining table where Wayne and I sat and looked at him. And looked at him, until he cried. At this precise moment, we realised that neither of us knew how to make a bottle; stressed even further by my father in law to be, who suggested we throw some powder into the bottle and give it a stir with our fingers (bless him he was only joking, his heart always in the right place, but I could’ve cried, no I could’ve screamed until my lungs passed out to be blunt).
That first night at home, Wayne insisted I sleep and he’d undertake the night stint. Bless him, I remember coming downstairs at 4am bleary eyed, to him pacing the living room, Harry snuggled against him, crying. “He’s crying and I don’t know how to stop him”. For the 2nd time in 24 hours (the first being during the delivery suite when it all started going tits up) I saw Wayne helpless and lost. “Have you given him a bottle?” I asked, “No I didn’t think I could as it’s not time yet for one” came the reply…. Somehow in that moment, I couldn’t help but laugh, to the point of almost crying. He genuinely didn’t think he was allowed to feed Harry anymore milk, thinking the Netmums army would track him down and chastise him!
This was to be the first of many firsts. The following weekend, my sister in law to be and her children came to meet their new family arrival and we were heading out shopping (our first proper outing) … everyone showered – check. Everyone eaten – check. Harry dressed – check. Harry fed – check. Boom we were ready to hit the shops. Until I saw Wayne running round the house like a blue arsed fly. “What’re you doing?” I casually asked him. “Er packing Harry’s bag to head out with” Fail number 1. I felt in that moment, like the worst mother in the world. I’d naively forgotten this little bundle required stuff. Stuff. I didn’t even know in that one moment, what “stuff” he needed. I realised I didn’t know how to put the pram up, or even fit his car seat – such a shambolic Mother.
They don’t arrive with pamplets or “how to” instructions. No one tells you how it’s going to be. Like really be. No one warns you of that first night; of how you’ll sleep, but not “sleep”. How you’ll be convinced that someone’s in the house, there to take your precious little bundle. How you’ll stand and watch over them whilst they sleep, knowing full well you should climb wearily into bed and grab your precious sleep whilst you understand their little routine and quirks.
No one warns you of their first poo bomb either. Poo’ing in the bath. Why Harry why? Do I grab him first, do I grab a towel, do I grab the toys or do I squirt air freshener as I literally can’t breathe? For christ sake, I remember thinking, why was I not given instructions in this event on what to do first!
It’s been a year since we threw ourselves into this and a year on, I now know why no one warned us what it’d be like. It’s because you can’t warn anybody. It’s one big whack off learning curve, one that twists and turns and will keep on this way, forever. Until Wayne’s and mines hearts stop beating. Even now at nearly 34, I need my Mum. More than ever. Poor Dad, he knows all about water infections, bowel movements and non but nearly popping tummy buttons!
My advice if you’re planning a baby? Buy a shit load of bubble wrap, cotton wool and air freshener. You’ll find out why soon enough and mentally prepare yourself for feeling like you’re losing your marbles. You’ll be certain you had 2 shoes a moment ago, you’ll convince yourself your lap’s wet because Harry requires a nappy change and neglect to notice he’s actually thrown up into it. And girls, tint your lashes and brows as once they discover your makeup bag, you may as well say goodbye to it forever. Along with your MAC brushes. Save them somewhere safe; like your jewellery box so you can one day look back nostalgically and remember when you used to have money.
And cuddle them.
Cuddle them like your life depends on it as one day; Harry won’t want to cuddle Mummy and for the first time in my life, my heart will be well and truly broken.