A year ago today, at 8.28pm, after a 36-hour labour, Ms Marmalade was born and our lives changed irrevocably. Some of the changes I expected - lack of sleep, overflowing laundry baskets, days when I didn't make it out of my PJs - but others were a complete surprise to me.
Surprise #1 - sometimes there is NOTHING you can do to soothe a crying baby
You can sing, shush, swaddle and sway all you like but there are days (and nights and mornings and afternoons) when she's just going to wail like a banshee till she's exhausted. On these days noise-cancelling headphones come in handy.
Surprise #2 - babies are not grateful
They don't care that you've only had 3 hours sleep, that this is the fourth poonami nappy you've changed this morning, that breastfeeding while you have mastitis is agony. They do not say thank you or blow you kisses or even smile (unless they happen to fart at the same time). In fact, for the first month they can't even make eye contact, so they appear to be looking straight through you. This can be disheartening.
Surprise #3 - it IS possible to need a nappy change Every. Single. Hour.
Poo, it happens. A lot. Which leads us to...
Surprise #4 - baby poo doesn't stink
Not until they start eating solids, anyway.
Surprise #5 - some babies don't like to sleep
'Wow, she really fights it, doesn't she?' The sleep school nurse sounded admiring of Ms M's ongoing refusal to close her eyes after an hour of rocking, patting and shushing. I felt a bit better that the experts were having no more success getting her to sleep than I was. Ms M is now a champion night sleeper but it took 8 months and two visits to sleep school to get her there.
Surprise #6 - you will never be on time again
No matter how carefully I plan our outings, we are late. Whether there's a nappy blowout just as we're leaving the house, or we get to the bus stop and realise we've forgotten Ms M's water bottle/blanky/emergency snacks, or she decides that today is the day she's going to have a two-hour nap when I've timed our departure around the assumption that she'll be up within an hour like she is every day when we have nothing planned, there is always something that will guarantee we don't make it anywhere on time.
Surprise #7 - getting there is half the fun
For Ms M, the journey is definitely as important as the destination. A walk to the bus stop involves multiple stops to greet dogs, watch big kids ride their bikes, examine any flowers at pram level, watch baby magpies being taught to dig for worms by their mums. Everything is new to her, and most of it is fascinating. Unfortunately this only adds to Surprise #6.
Surprise #8 - you will not only sing, you'll like it
I come from a tone deaf family. I mouthed the words when we had to sing in Music class. I was not a joiner-in in singalongs. So I really didn't expect that I would not only find myself singing The Wheels on the Bus at our local library's Rhyme Time, but that I'd enjoy belting it out and doing the actions, too. The best bit is that Ms M doesn't realise yet how out of tune I am - as long as I hokey pokey with enthusiasm she's happy.
Surprise #9 - it gets better all the time
I know I'm saying this on a sentimental day and that we haven't reached the terrible twos yet, but right now every day brings new skills, new words and new things to smile about.
|to this, in just 12 months!|