There are things that you are expecting when you are, well, expecting for the first time; things every other parent with children under the age of 20yo secretly delight in telling you. Oh, they look sincere, but you just know that they want to start every sentence with "just you wait til..." The tiny one is not so tiny any more; the world is his oyster, and I'm the clam carrying him around. He is growing in bursts and knocking down milestones like I used to knock down hurdles in high school. And so I find myself awake at 4.30am, listening to him as he practices his comado crawl like it's 12 hours later, and thinking about the things I've been doing recently that I hadn't really anticipated.
- These 4 am play dates. I was expecting to have to get up in the wee hours to soothe or nourish my crying infant, my heart swelling with sympathy and unconditional love. I wasn't expecting to be kicked out of bed (quite literally, yesterday morning) because his little brain and body feel like it's a good time to practice what they already do all day long. Looking forward to when I can leave my child, unsupervised in front of the TV and crawl back into bed.
- I envisioned that when my sweet one woke us at some un-Godly hour, I would say softly to my husband, "Don't worry, honey, go back to sleep, I'll handle it; you have work in the morning", not (in my most "this is obviously sarcasm" tone) "Ooooh, well, you enjoy snuggling back into bed while I go and play with our son. No, no. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. I can do this all week, apparently" (grumble grumble bed hair mad eyes covered in spew grandma undies aged 10 years in 6 months crazy lady).
- Having the urge to throttle my dear husband after I try to keep the house in some kind of order (no mean feat with a person who demands all of your attention, sometimes even when asleep), only to walk into the lounge at 4am with a squirming ball of energy into my arms and find the only shred of housework I asked him to do (put away jocks/take coffee cup into kitchen etc) not done. Then resisting the urge to post about it on FB (but, apparently, not in this blog. For the record, it was his wrapper from his ice cream).
- I've heard the old "keep your take away menus on hand" spiel a thousand times. What you don't hear is how much you rely on other convenience food, like muesli bars and mini cheeses. Previously, theses were only for road trips. Now we have our own little section of landfill. So what tiny part of the earth I have saved using modern cloth nappies and banning paper towel (I don't recommend the latter), I have destroyed with the little foil wrappers from Laughing Cow cheese.
- Missing adult-time that doesn't revolve around conversations about parenting is a given, but busting yourself talking to other people the way you talk to your baby or the verbal diarrhoea you develop when talking to another adult for the first time in 9 hours is a little disconcerting.Sample dialogue 1 :Other adult : "I sure like that new fangled car that's on the market"Me : "Yes, it's a car! Do you love the car? You love the car! Thhhheeeeeee wheels on the car go round and round..." (even if you don't sing the song aloud, it's definitely in your head).Sample dialogue 2 :Other adult : "Hi honey, I'm home. How was your day?"Me : "Hi. Great. How was your day? Did you get the thing done? We had a good day. I was thinking that we really should paint the kitchen. Probably white. No maybe cream. Jim and Sally just painted their bedroom cream, because you really can just change the accessories to change the look of the room. I guess that doesn't really apply to kitchens. The post came and there was the dumbest piece of junk mail. Bloody Liberals. I was thinking of making meatballs but the baby has been all over me today so I guess it's beans on toast. What should we do three weekends from now? Hey, how's Amber from work? Oh, did I tell you about Karen in our parenting group with the twins? You know, the ones who have that thingy. What's it called? Some kind of car. Anyway, she was telling me about Sharon, who incidentally painted her bedroom violet and regrets it, and how she and her husband were planning a trip to Bali and...." Well, you get the idea.
- How many times have you heard mums (or dads) say how great it is to get out of the house, or to have some time without their baby? I always thought to myself, "Pfft. That's just a thing people say because they feel like they should". NO. NO IT IS NOT. Being "on" 24 hours a day takes it's toll on your nerves, so take some advice: pick a day of the week, hand your child to someone else (try for someone you actually know) and run in the opposite direction until you can no longer hear him (for mums, you need to go a little further than dads; more on this phenomenon in a sec). Use these precious hours to indulge in whatever vice you have to suppress for the other 165 hours of the week
- The old cliche of mum's waking at the slightest little noise that may indicate the tiny one needs something is not a myth. Somehow my brain can tell the difference between a little "just getting comfy" lip smack and the smallest "Hmm, I could go some milk" lip smack while I'm still asleep. And daddy? Well, he can tell the difference between "Gaaarrrrrgggghhhhwwwaaaaaaaaa" and "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" once he's awake (which happens when either of these sounds occurs). Sorry fellas, but as far as spidey senses go, mum's is far superior to dad's.
There's a whole bunch of other stuff that I was only partially prepared for before motherhood struck that I wont go into, because mercifully, my gorgeous baby is now fast asleep in his magic chair, which I have been rocking whilst singing songs and writing this post (multi-tasking mamma). So, any grammatical errors, or offense, were not intended, and are solely the responsibility of my darling son (yeah, yeah, I should be gazing at him lovingly because he wont be this version for ever. I do it all day. 5am is "me" time, okay?)