IN LESS than a week my baby will be a whole year old.
I have no idea where those 12 months have gone but I do know they have been the most amazing of my life – and also, without a doubt, the most difficult.
At times the last year has been little more than a blur of mum-and-baby groups, sleepless nights and desperate negotiations with a tiny, grumpier, greedier version of myself (and the latter two take some doing, I can tell you).
So, to mark the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Being a parent is really bloody hard, but being parent to a small baby is like trying to crack an impossible code. If she’s screaming and we’ve already ruled out hunger, tiredness or a nappy-based issue then I’m stumped.
2. At every baby class you’ll find at least one mum who thinks she has The Best Child Ever. “Of course we always knew Little Jimmy was a musical genius,” she will say, looking adoringly at her distinctly average child, as he stares dead-eyed into the middle-distance. “He mastered the violin – or at least he saw a violin and looked vaguely interested – at just three months old. We’re expecting a call from the London Symphony Orchestra any day!”
3. Children’s toys are annoying from the second you realise you need an entire toolkit to get them out of their packaging to the moment you finally pull their batteries out and hurl them from an upstairs window. They are all too loud, take up too much space and hurt like hell when you stand on them. (However, on the plus side, and I will give them this, they’re useful babysitters when all you want to do is eat biscuits and catch up on Neighbours.)
4. Nobody is as interested in your baby as you are. I’ve started many conversations with: “You will never guess what the baby said/did/vomited earlier…” before realising that the other person’s eyes have glazed over or they’ve gone slightly green.
5. You will, at some point, run out of biscuits and will resort to raiding the baby’s snack cupboard. At that point you’ll discover that Farley’s rusks are delicious dunked in tea and apple rice cakes are a more than adequate mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Now I have to go as the baby is asleep and I have a week’s worth of Neighbours to work my way through.
And that bag of carrot puffs (‘perfect for weaning babies!’) won’t eat itself, will it?
Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on February 18, 2016