I think I’ve learned some things since I became a parent: I’m pretty good at putting a nappy on a wriggly baby, and I think I’ve got this breastfeeding thing pretty much sorted.
Here’s a few other things I’ve learned over the last twelve months.
- Get rid of all the preconceived ideas you had of being a parent. Just chuck them right out, because all they will bring you is guilt. When you planned how you would parent, and you made all these sweeping statements you forgot one vital thing: your hypothetical child wasn’t real. Your real child is probably very different.
- Bedtime is there to test you. I was not blessed with a child who likes to sleep, I was blessed with a child who likes to fight sleep with every fibre of her being. Then, when she has lulled us into a false sense of security by appearing to get into a bedtime routine then BAM she wakes up seven times in a night.
- Your child will have more, and nicer, clothes than you. Who can resist the tiny little outfits?
- You buy more stuff than you could ever need. I don’t know why this happens either, you can start with the best intentions of not falling into that trap, but gradually more and more stuff creeps in until you’re living under piles of plastic and gadgets that you have no idea how to use.
- You will be tired. Very, very tired. So tired.
- You’ll forget your basic needs. Especially in those first few weeks. Although it continues, whilst writing this I’ve realised I’ve had a packet of crisps and a muffin today, and I can’t remember if I’ve had a drink. My daughter on the other hand has had three lovingly home cooked meals. Which leads me to…
- Even if they liked something hours ago, even if you spent ages cooking it, small toddlers will refuse to eat it. Sometimes I think they plan it…
- Baby giggles are the best. They just laugh with complete abandon at the strangest things, it is completely wonderful.
- Bath time is terrifying, and then really fun. At first, you put this tiny little baby in the water and it is so utterly scary. Will it burn them? Am I going to drop them? What if they DROWN? But then they can sit up by themselves, and they start to play with their bath toys and they really, really love it. Bath time is one of my favourite times of they day.
- It is, hands down, the best thing I have ever done.