Somehow the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” passed us by and we thought we wouldn’t need any help. *smiles wryly*
Then, when we realised we did need help, we were too afraid to ask. Especially I thought that there was something wrong with me, that asking for help would demonstrate to everyone else that I wasn’t a capable mother. *shakes head*
Now I know that I am a capable mother, but that I’m definitely not capable of looking after a newborn and feeding myself and cleaning and cooking and remembering I have a husband ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So next time I’ll be asking everyone I know, whether they’re family, long-standing friends or someone I’ve know for a week, to cook us some dinner and hang up a load of laundry. You’ve been warned.
Magic in the sense that, if you try to write down how they work, they go and do it differently. This must be why baby books are utterly useless and generally just make you feel like you’re a crap parent. Why two paediatric nurses working in the same clinic gave me conflicting advice. Why everyone seems to think their way is the only way, and they just HAVE to tell you about it.
A year in, I know that there is no manual. Advice from anyone with a child over the age of two should be ignored. And people without kids? Well they just have no idea at all.
3. We need to redefine what is “normal”.
Maybe there are babies who like schedules. Who feed every 4 hours. Who will happily sit in their rocker for hours, batting at their dangly toys. Who sleep through the night when the health visitor’s chart says they should, and gobble up their baby rice with glee.
My baby isn’t one of those. My baby is a climber who burns off all his calories in about 30 seconds, who prefers garlic to rice cereal, who takes toys apart instead of playing with them, and who will choose a night of cuddles over a night of snoozes any time. That’s just his normal. And you know what? That’s okay with me.
4. Being a new parent, and especially a new mum, is like being a teenager again.
Hormones raging through your body. Sleeping at all the ‘wrong’ times. Insecure and touchy about the smallest things. Generally no idea whether you’re coming or going.
So here we go again: figuring out who I am, what I want, whether all of that is the same as it was yesterday, last month, before the Bean was born.
5. It just gets better.
Every month the Bean turns into a whole new person. He can do new things, has new interests, shows us in new ways how affectionate, cheeky and thrilled with life he is.
Every month I think “stay like this forever”, and then the next month he is even more fun to be with and I think the same thing all over again. One thing is for sure though: babies don’t keep.