Baby is 6 weeks old and something occurred to me yesterday. I have no idea what sort of things a 6 week old under house arrest (due to bad weather and my fear of the front steps) likes to do. Luckily for both of us we had a selection of items indoors for entertainment purposes so we spent the day bouncing in a bouncer, staring at toys, walking around with the Moby Wrap, laying on a mat looking up at things, tummy time, changing outfits (him not me obviously), having a rub down with baby oil and jiggling around listening to CD’s. I had been pretty impressed with my baby entertaining skills until later that afternoon when I was exhausted (not just from the days activities but also from the last few weeks’ sleep deprivation) but baby had not slept at all. All day. And he would not sleep until 11:30pm last night. Apparently it’s possible to over stimulate a baby and then you have a real struggle on your hands. Since at this stage of life they only have a small brain (I know how they feel) it takes them ages to process all the information they take in during their waking hours. So woe betide the fool that spends all day bouncing them around showing them stuff. Turns out there’s a very fine line between fun and pain. I also learnt today that you can’t reason with a baby. It’s a fruitless task that wastes precious energy and just makes them go purple in the face. Apparently between 6-8 weeks, you start to get smiles but this also coincides with a crying peak. Thanks nature.
To be frank, it’s a pretty hard job dealing with a newborn. It’s like working for the meanest boss ever. Nothing you do feels like its right or good enough. And just when you think you’ve cracked the nut and made some progress, the rules change again. No one thought to mention this to me before I had a baby but now my friends are revealing their pearls of wisdom to me:
“Just when you are completely broken and can’t take anymore, they’ll smile at you”
“For the first year I’d look at my son and think “F**K! That’s my son!”.
“The over powering emotion comes, and gets stronger and stronger, and then they get annoying again”.
“My mum always says ‘no one goes to hospital for a good time’”
So today, to avoid all risk of over stimulation, I faced Mount Everest (or the 10 steps from the front door down into the street) and took the baby outside. Liberty. Amazing. I used to be a reasonably confident person before I had the baby but currently feel like a ghost of my former self. I think its partly because of the birth, partly because of the shock that I am now a mum and partly because 2 days before the baby was born I was accosted in my street by a woman / nutter who threatened to do something horrible to me because I would not give her any money. I've totally had it with London. Also, I've developed an irrational fear of falling over. I haven't fallen over since the noughties when I was wearing a rather ridiculous pair of shoe's from Buffalo down Great Marlborough Street, but for some reason I think I am going to fall over outside with the baby. Basically, everything is terrifying me but I knew that sooner or later I would have to conquer my fear of the outside world. Release the fear and the fear will release you or something. So, I covered the baby with his TB Protection Shield / Pram rain Cover, completed the assault course otherwise known as the Hackney pavements and made it to the shops. I felt so proud of myself I actually cried when I popped into the local Children’s Centre round the corner. In my 3 hour outing I managed to post some cards, pay a cheque into the bank (£100 from the Premium Bonds!) check the lottery ticket (not a sausage. You win some you lose some), buy some lovely flowers from M+S, go to Boots (and I didn’t even need anything in Boots! Ha!) and meet the NCT ladies for a hot chocolate. Baby slept the whole time, progress I thought. But then he cried all afternoon when we got home just in case I’d forgotten who was in charge.