Today marks Buggy's half year anniversary on planet earth. Having been tied up entertaining both the Teething Monster and family visitors for the past few days, I have abysmally failed the celebratory mummy test: there is no half birthday cake, no colourful cardboard hat, and no carefully crafted Instagram snapshot to capture the day.
By way of reparation, I have decided to dedicate this Sunday Six to the parenting truths Buggy has illuminated for me (and hit me over the head with) in the six months since she was born. See, I really have been paying attention, baby!
Sunday Six: Early Parenting Truths
- Parents Group was invented to make you shower
Part and parcel of life with a baby in my neck of the woods is some configuration or another of a New Parents Group. My first experience of parents group was pretty standard: rushed, discombobulated and blurry.
The two hour session left me flustered. I lost my name tag in the baby carrier. I failed to focus on the instructional videos. I accidentally sat on the new parent handouts. I hung like a voiceless stunned mullet as some of the other mums tried to stir up small talk. I panicked when faced with an explosive nappy and a communal change table located in plain view of the group. I also dropped half a biscuit on the baby's head and irrationally concluded I was the most inept new mother in the group, and possibly the known universe as well.
But from among the fluster and the insecurity, I had an unearthed an exceptionally important early parenting truth: the magic of parents group is its ability to make you get through the shower, into your recovery shorts and out the front door when nothing else will. Pure early parenting gold.
- 'Sleeping through the night' is false advertising
Another truth learned in the clean and comforting circle of Parents Group.
Before embarking on the dodgem car derby of parenthood, I was just another one of the deluded millions who thought 'sleeping through the night' meant 'sleeping through the night.'
This delusion was firmly shattered by the Maternal Health Nurse during the first fifteen minutes of the first meeting of our Parents Group: in many quarters of baby land, 'sleeping through the night' does not mean sleeping through the night at all. It means sleeping for five hours in a row, with top and tail feeds and maybe, if you're really lucky, a short parental nap in the middle. It is also a concept that most babies will not even consider trying to master for several long, hungry, squirmy, months.
This early parenting truth taught me two very important things: never, ever assume you know anything about parenting, and never, ever ask questions at Parents Group without taking a big cup of concrete first.
- Onesies don't need to be changed as often as you think
In the opening weeks of the parenting play, I changed the baby's singlets and blankets and onesies and socks almost as often as I changed her wet and dirty nappies.
Spit ups, milk vomits, badly aimed medication, drool, excessive tears and unexplained damp spots all provoked immediate outfit changes. I quickly developed an aversion to press studs, and started avoiding the overflowing laundry baskets like a pregnant lady avoids the bathroom scales during the third trimester.
Over the weeks it took to achieve 'sleeping through the night' I gradually let go of my fanatical onesie changing tendencies and started to assess each spill and overflow on a case-by-case basis. The baby isn't quite as clean as she used to be, the washing basket isn't as full as it used to be, and we are all surviving just fine.
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