The ‘New Mum Land’ that time forgot

Being a new mum is daunting – but I knew the second time must be much easier – after all, this is not my first time at the rodeo. Two and a half years ago I had been a new new mum and there wasn’t anything that could surprise me about it now.

And as usual, I was wrong. It would seem some new mum agency in fancy black suits (or perhaps just massive pants and maternity pyjamas) had zapped me with a memory erasing device (presumably made up of a Gin based compound) and I had absolutely no recollection of some of the elements of being a new mum – that are all coming back to me now.

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1. How tiny they are

Yes – of course I know they are small. We all know they are small. But quite how small I had completely erased. How light they are to hold. They weigh the same as a pickled onion and the ickle-ness of their limbs is mesmerising.

The first time you see your toddler after spending a few hours with your new born he will look like a twenty eight year old competitor in the World’s Strongest Man competition – the one where they pull a Land Rover along by their neck muscles. You try and pick up your toddler and realise he weighs the same as a Grand piano – and when you go back to pick up the new born you misjudge the weight so much you hit yourself full in the face with the baby.

2. How difficult it is to get them dressed 

The first time my first midwife asked me to get the baby undressed so she could examine him will remain in my memory forever – the shame of it. My fumbling fingers and nervous twitches, the length of time it took to get his vest off and things over his tiny head – all the while your eyes wide with terror that you may accidentally snap off his arms or dislocate his joints. I thought if this was how long it took to get him dressed we were both better off naked!

And I’m here to tell you it doesn’t change the second time around – trying to get the tiny nappy around him and trying to put his legs down the holes of his massive baby grow – it’s like trying to put an unshelled soft boiled egg in a sleeping bag.

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3. The noises they make

You’re used to the hollers, shouts and Earth shaking screams of your toddler – you forget the sound of a new born. They sound like baby Raptors emerging from their shells. The sound comes from deep within them and is like a cute baby piglet screaming from three houses down. The sound of yours is quite sweet – but the harmony of six new borns on the labour ward, at 2am, for an hour – loses any novelty pretty sharpish.

Considering they’re so tiny and so sweet – the sound of their wind and pooping action is remarkable. One fart from a new born is enough to wake up the toddler and see him sprinting to the window to check out the cool motorbike that must be speeding past (true story) and one movement will make you think he’s been sneaking baked bean toasties into his diet. Their whole bodies shuddering with whiplash when they indulge in a bowel movement is heart breaking.

4. The smells they make

You have got used to your toddler’s full on adult shits that make your eyes water and put you off that tuna sarnie you were eying up for lunch – you misremember new borns being stinky too. But they don’t smell – at all. Their nappies are a delight (smell wise) and there it is – that beautiful new born baby smell that is indescribable but brings back exactly how you felt that first time.

5. How difficult it is to clean their bums:

using only tiny cotton wool balls and a bowl of water as you carefully hold up their minuscule frog legs and ‘gently’ wipe off what can only be described as black treacle quick drying cement from the depths of Hell.

6. What it feels like to “get no sleep”

This is something we must block out, as a human race, to ensure we have another baby. You mentally prepare yourself for your new born. You know you’re lucky that the toddler is a dream boat who has been vigorously trained for two years with the modes of CBeebies cut off time and triple layered black out blinds. You thought you were having a tough day if he awoke before six. Ha. Ha. You didn’t know you were born!

You now have not slept for around 36 hours. You studied an experiment like this once in GSCE Psychology and you’re pretty sure everyone died. The only sleep you have is tiny bouts of micro sleep where you momentarily doze off before your heavy head jerks you awake once more and your eyes dart to the new born to check all is well. And just one hour of sleep turns you into Julie Andrews!

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7. How fucking hard breast feeding is

You forgot this. You got a bit smug – you know what it looks like and feels for the baby to latch this time – and he’s done is straight away. Oh this will be easy. I’m so good at this shit.

Thirty six hours later, your body and mind utterly drained, your nipples sore and chapped, Lansinoh all over the shop, your arse numb – Holy Crap this is hard. It’s fucking hard.

8. How many pictures you will take

You knew there would be some snaps – but it’s day two and you need to upgrade your phone as it doesnt have enough storage capacity. And you’ve made a short film and award winning documentary.

9. What your body feels like

You have a long list of what you will do when you’re no longer weighed down by being pregnant. Most of your list involves carafes of wine, exotic spicy food and marathon running. You imagine shedding the baby like removing a cushion from up your jumper and leaping down the street singing ‘Everybody’s Free’. It doesn’t quite work like that.

Your body looks the same as it did at nine months pregnant – just with less tone. You won’t be running any marathons just yet. After a Cesarean agony is: breaking wind (purposefully), sneezing, coughing and God forbid – laughing. You walk around like Mr Burns and dread the day when you’ll need to defecate.

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10. How much love you will feel 

That one gets you every time.

 

In case you haven’t guessed – we had our baby boy. 7lbs, 15oz.

Dear precious first born… We have something to tell you

Mummy's Writing Darling

Dear precious first born, there is something pressing we need to discuss with you.

I write this on the eve of a fairly important event. You see, someone is arriving tomorrow – someone who you’re going to be spending a lot of time with – like it or not.

I know you’re young and we don’t talk much – unless it’s about frogs or cars. But I suppose now is as good a time as any to try and have this conversation. I know you think mummy has been eating A LOT lately and my stomach has outgrown the both of us. I see your horrified face when I’m in the shower – but I haven’t swallowed your monster truck set – I’ve been growing a little life long friend for you.

The good news is it’s a brother! And you know boys are cool right? Really cool. And he will love your cars! And your train set. But, of course, only if you want him to love them. No one will force you to share your cars with him. I know you don’t know the word “share” yet – I never learned it myself! But we will have plenty of time to discuss sharing in the years to come.

Now I don’t want you to worry about favouritism. It’s not an issue. You, my darling, are our precious first born! We only have eyes for you (but let’s just keep that between ourselves shall we? Your brother doesn’t need to know!)

Anyway! If the pregnancy is anything to go by – I think your brother is going to be an arse! So much more difficult than you were. But again – ssshh.

I’ve been wondering why on earth we decided to have another baby to be honest. You’re so wonderful! If it ain’t broke – why try and fix it?! What possessed us? Were we just showing off?! Was it a case of when you buy a fancy juicer you only use once and you feel like you haven’t got your money’s worth! We should use it one more time – just to see if it still works?!

But here we are and tomorrow our tiny little family will be transformed to a bigger one. Though we do promise – this will be the only addition. You can relax.

So although it might be unsettling / shocking tomorrow and over the next few months while you get used to him – we just want you to know that you’ll always be our precious first born and we could never ever love you any less! Er… That came out wrong. What I mean is – we will never change our love for you. Just don’t tell your bro.

I’m going to miss you so much over the next few days and I hope you don’t miss me too much. I also hope your dad doesn’t only feed you crisps and biscuits – I’ve given him a detailed list of instructions, don’t worry.

All my love,

Mamma.

(Dear baby number 2 – don’t worry! I’ve placated your brother, We know the truth – see you tomorrow). X

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About Our Affair

I am the back in the kitchen

We need to talk about our affair

Baby, I think he’s on to us.

I know we’ve been careful. We’ve skulked about and met in the twilight hours, we are sure not to even so much as look at each other when he’s about. But I fear we may not have been as careful as we should.

These past seven weeks have been magical. They say you can’t love two people at the same time – but they were wrong. As soon as I laid my eyes on you I was in love.

Don’t get me wrong – I still loved him, but in a different way.

Sometimes with you … it’s just easier. With him – it’s complicated. He wants to talk and play games and craves all my attention. Whereas you – all you want to do is stare in my eyes and be held. And you smell so good. And you’re so frickin gorgeous. Everyone says so.

My phone is full of pictures of you I fear he might see – but I can’t stop, and I can’t delete them.

We have our secret hour – at 4am, when it’s just the two of us. I make a cup of tea and we just lay together and giggle and lie in peace. The whole house sleeps unaware of our secret love affair. It makes me so happy. Just our time. But the guilt I feel is immeasurable.

The other night I just sat at the end of his bed weeping, weeping that I had betrayed him – that I had replaced him. Wept for our old relationship – when he was the one and only, the precious first.

And I thought he had no clue – I thought we were carrying on and he hadn’t noticed. How could I be so arrogant? So naive?  In the last couple of weeks he’s not sleeping, he’s angry and he wants to spend much more time with me. Baby, I think he knows.

I’ve done my best to reassure him. I never mention you, I try and have one on one time and I tell him all the time that he is the only one for me. “I love you” I say 200 times a day. But I fear things will never be the same.

Dear New Born – we need to cool it. The toddler, he knows…

mummy's writing darling

 

Please don’t wake your baby brother up

mummys writing darling

Every single morning starts the same. 4am. And yes we have black out blinds, and yes we have a sodding Gro-clock, and yes we have tried later bedtimes, earlier bedtimes, no naps, naps, more food, less food.

The only thing we haven’t tried at this point is a tranquilliser gun, but if they manufactured a toddler safe medically approved one – I think we would go for it.

But that’s ok though because he is three now and is fairly self sufficient. He can be left to enjoy squash and toast, playing with his trains in his room specifically designed for self sufficient play with trainess. He even has his own telly now. Happy days.

The foil to our cunning plan is two fold. Firstly he can not seem to understand and follow very simple instructions and two, we only went and buggered it all up by having a second child.

So I creep into his room at four and tell him to stop that endearing shrieking noise he is making. I pop on ‘Tale of the Brave’ a lovely Thomas the tank engine movie that if they ever lose the script for I can speed type it for them and if it becomes a West-end play I am more than capable of playing ‘Marian’ (Olivia Colman no less) without any prompts. I get him a refreshment and start the simple instruction part of the soul destroying routine.

“Ok now darling, it’s ok for you to stay in your room and watch Thomas and play with your trains, ok darling? That’s fine. BUT, and I must emphasise… BUT please, please, please be very very quiet because Daddy is asleep and your baby brother is asleep. I don’t want you to wake up your baby brother ok? So be really really quiet. Ok?”

All of this is sang in a Julie Andrews type whisper.

“Ok” he nods. Job done.

Within seconds, through the wall, I hear the following:

  • Some sort of train based sports day is taking place, with races, hurdles and an awards ceremony. Lots of cheering, clapping and reading out of train names.
  • Wailing and sobbing intermittently each time his track becomes detached.
  • An entire Shakespeare tragedy is being played out starring twatting Thomas and fucking Ferdinand.
  • Singing of entirely made up, and significantly long songs.
  • Stamping of feet which could give a herd of wildebeest a run for their money.
  • “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY?”
  • “DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY?”
  • I want pink milk!
  • I want cwiisssps!
  • A top class impression of Elmo on acid having an intense conversation with someone in space with no hearing aid and no phone.

 

During this I go in and out of his room attempting to sssshhh him and explain again that it is very early and I need him to be quiet. He nods. And repeat.

My voice soon turns from Mary poppins to someone possessed by the Devil trying to still be seductive. Have you ever shouted at someone while still whispering? It’s quite a feat.

And then I hear it, the short but distinctive gurgle of the baby brother awakening from his slumber.

And so we are up. It’s 4.30. And by ‘we’ – I mean me – after all, the husband “has to go to work” doesn’t he? While I pick my bum for the day.

Arses. All of them arses.

Neighbours – I’m sorry.

 

 

When one child becomes two

second child

1/ The noise level in your house will double. At night you’ll find yourself lying awake appreciating the small pockets of silence you get because your ears will ache. Remember when the baby would stop screaming and you could have a few minutes peace? Well now you have an older professional ‘waker upper’ in the house who might as well be walking up and down with enormous comedy cymbols belting out a Mariah Carey power ballad.

2/ The shit level in your house will double. Shit, shit everywhere. You’re running some sort of shit relay race. Your house will smell like shit. You’ll need more wipes. Secure sponsorship deal with wipes brand before baby number two to save you thousands of pounds. Make an under the table deal right now with bin men / women so that they will take an extra four bin bags each fortnight – warn them they will smell of shit.

3/ Your exhaustion will double. You’ll be utterly exhausted. You’ll be so tired you could cry. You find yourself just getting on with it because there’s no other choice. People will regularly say “are you ok? You look shattered.”

4/ You’ll have less time to eat. So you will eat less. But you’ll drink more – so the calories even out.

5/ Your mother guilt will double. Now you’re not just the inadequate mother of one – but of two. And today you didn’t give child A enough attention because of child B. And vice Versa. And repeat.

6/ You’ll work better as a team with your partner. If I was into sport in any way I could probably insert a great sports analogy here about two people playing against one versus two people playing with two – but I can’t and I’m too exhausted. But let’s just say it seems to work much better when you have one each to take care of. And there seems to be less fights about me having to always pass the ball (I tried!)

7/ Child B may not be anything like child A. They may be a completely new personality – and temperament so don’t think “Oh wouldn’t it be great to have another A”. Cause B is a whole new ball game (sports reference! Get me!) and you’ll have multiple discussions (fights) with your other half about who child B takes after. His current money is on the postman.

8/ It’ll be easier (the baby thing) than the first time but in many ways harder. You’ll know which way round to hold them but you’ll also not have the luxury of it just being you two. You’ll have to do all the very difficult baby stuff whilst looking after a very difficult precious first born (in my case, a toddler).

9/ You’ll forget how old they are. When people ask you’ll say “hmm…. Like… Maybe 4 months?” They will look at you in disgust. You’re not really counting anymore, you haven’t got time – all you know is, they’re not crawling yet thank Christ.

10/ You’ll want another child… and then not. You’ll swing violently between wanting another child (when they are being sweet together or have slept a couple of hours) and never ever ever wanting to even meet eyes with your partner just in case.
11/ Your confidence will take a knock. Going out alone with them will once again seem impossible. Remember how you finally mastered going out / eating out with a child, got all confident about it? Well, you’re back to square one! How am I meant to do this with two?

12/ Your heart will break. It’ll feel like they (the new addition) were never not here and never not a part of your family. There will be moments when they look at each other or interact that will be so utterly beautiful it’ll make your heart break into two and then rush back together again.