The Baby Years
1. You will feel more tired than you ever thought possible. More tired, in fact, than the time you stayed up all night queueing for Take That tickets when you were 16. More tired than the time you went out every night, drinking Bacardi Breezers, for a whole week, when you were 22.
2. You’ll get a four hour block of sleep and feel like a NEW PERSON and feel like you can take on THE WORLD.
3. You will feel judged for your choices: breast or bottle, routine or baby-led, co-sleeping or cot, purées or finger food, home-made or shop bought…. the list is endless.
4. But you will learn to block out any judgement. Just smile and breathe!
5. You will post baby spam on Facebook – even though you swore you’d never become that person.
6. In a matter of weeks, you’ll go from being confused and befuddled by vests, baby grows, nappies, breast pumps, nursing bras, Sudocrem, Jumperoos, Bumbos and buggies…. to being the biggest ever expert. In the whole world. You might even write a book on it all. Just because you can.
7. You will strike up conversations with strangers who have babies. She has a baby! We have so much in common! She might end up being by NBF!
8. You will discover a whole new world of guilt. Guilt about giving your baby formula milk, guilt about leaving your baby with a family member, guilt about giving your baby Calpol for the first time. You’ll look back on all of this stuff and wonder why you felt guilty. But at the time! Dying of actual guilt.
9. Your baby will have a massive nappy explosion at the worst possible time – usually just as you’re about to leave the house, or when you’ve just arrived at a friend’s house, or right in the middle of a Baby Sensory class. Oh and you’ll have forgotten to bring any baby wipes with you. So you’ll have to ask to borrow some from a friend. And you’ll feel like a fool.
10. You realise the hard way that a hangover and a baby don’t mix well. Would it be frowned upon to vom outside the church hall after a Sing ‘n’ Sign session? Oh and why is the CBeebies house so brightly coloured, even when you’re watching it wearing sunglasses?
The Toddler Years
11. Your child will do something amazing (count to 20, build a huge tower with peanut shells, moonwalk at eight months old…) and for a split second you’ll wonder: “Maybe my child is an actual GENIUS” before realising it was a fluke/something all kids can do.
12. You’ll text a friend before realising it’s 6.10am and chances are, since they don’t have a small child, you’ve probably just woken them up. Oopsie.
13. You will step on a Lego brick and discover a whole new world of pain. “FUUUUUU-n times.”
14. You find stickers everywhere. On your child. On you. On clothing that has been through the wash. On walls. On tables. On food. On the cat.
15. You will find the following positively applaud-worthy: urine in a potty, poo in the toilet, the eating of vegetables. Dark days.
16. You see any time after 11.15am as a suitable time for lunch. See also: 4.30pm and tea.
17. You start to develop a crush on CBeebies presenters. Hello Mr Bloom and Dr Ranj…
18. Your child will have a tantrum over at least three of the following: a t-shirt being the wrong colour, a banana being peeled for them, having to wear shoes to go outside, milk being poured on their cereal, having to go into the bath, having to come out of the bath, the fact you can’t fast forward live TV.
19. You will cry at a sad bit of an animated film. “No, Mummy just has dust in her eye….” SNIFF!
20. You get stuck navigating your way around a soft play centre. Those tiny holes the kids climb through are no friend of yours. You’ll also gaze enviously at the parents who have older kids that don’t need constant supervision – those parents with their wifi and coffee. Grrr.
21. You have a secret eat of some chocolate or sweets in the kitchen while your child is elsewhere. “What’s that? No, Mummy’s eating a grape! Mmm yummy grape!”
22. You find yourself humming the theme tune to The Tweenies while you’re at work.
23. A friend-slash-relative will buy your child Play Doh and you will curse them under your breath, as you picture it being trodden into your rug.
24. Your child will stop taking afternoon naps and you’ll weep silently into a cushion as you realise what this means. Less time to watch Gossip Girl on Netflix.
The Pre-School Years
25. Your child will say something to their pre-school teacher / nursery key worker which will embarrass you. eg. “Mummy got out of bed this morning and she wasn’t wearing any knickers!”
26. You’ll still be working your way through the cotton wool and baby wipes that you bulk-bought four years earlier.
27. You find yourself becoming a walking-talking parent cliché, saying phrases like “I’m going to count to three….” and “I’m not going to tell you again…”
28. Your child develops a better social life than you. Four parties in one weekend? No problem for these crazy party animals. Go easy on the blackcurrant squash though, yeah?
29. Your house will slowly start to sink into the ground, under the weight of plastic tat from party bags and magazine freebies. Peppa Pig phones, bug hunting kits, hair clips, dinosaurs and more blowing bubbles than you could ever ever (ever) wish for.
30. You will hold a small baby all wrong and say: “I’ve totally forgotten how to hold one of these things!”
31. You’ll wait until your child has gone to bed before taking a large pile of
scribbles artwork and filing it very carefully in the outside recycling bin. (Note: it’s very important you don’t get caught. Always do this in the dead of night, under a cloak of darkness. Or as it’s also known in this house: 7.30pm.)
32. Bribery will go from being frowned upon to being a way of life. Want your child to sit nicely? Bribe them with ice cream. Want your child to share? Bribe them with ice cream. Want your child to put their shoes on? Bribe them with ice cream. It’s the only way.
33. You’ll hear yourself being repeated back to you, as your child says phrases like “Oh DEAR Mummy. I’m not very happy with you” or “Would you like some tea? [pause] I’ll take that as a no…” and if you’re really lucky, your child will pick up Friends quotes you say regularly like “That’s not even a word!”
34. Your child will ask you to sniff their hands when they exit the bathroom. You’re pretty sure it’s because they’re proving they washed their hands. At least, you’re hoping that’s why…
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Image of hands: Shutterstock