There are so many things that I now realise I had no clue about before becoming a Mum 5 months ago. From the brilliant to the less fantastic and some just bewildering, these are the things I didn’t know before last October.
How much shushing there would be
I don’t think I actually thought about how I would calm a crying baby whilst pregnant. I certainly didn’t realise approximately 80% of the first few months would be spent rocking a baby in my arms and going ‘shhhhhhushhhh’ over and over and over again until I resembled someone who should perhaps be in a secure facility. We did get a white noise app and a good friend gave us a sleep sheep but the manual shushing is still needed.
How much puke there would be
We have a very pukey baby. I’m now aware that this is a thing as several friends also have pukey babies and we’re all very envious of those who don’t. I cannot imagine what it’s like to pick your baby up without fear of being covered in vomit. We have an enormous stack of muslins and are never more than an arm stretch from one in the house and if leaving the house I need to arm myself with at least two and a spare bib. If by the end of the day I haven’t changed at least one item of clothing it’s a successful day.
How the definition of a successful day would change
Previously a successful day might be completing an article, having said article published, getting paid, managing to neck a couple of bottles of wine and still get up and get to work on time. Now a successful day is managing to have a shower and wash my hair. If I achieve that herculean task, some days that’s all I’m asking. Staying puke free after that is the stuff dreams are made of.
How rubbish I am with press studs/poppers
Why do all baby clothes come with press studs? Yes, I know for easy access for nappy changes but surely zips would help in a lot of places? Baby grows are becoming my nemesis, trying to do up the poppers quickly with a wriggly octopus baby who’s kicking off because he’s just sooo desperate for the boob is not my forte.
How much singing was involved
Casper loves a song. Apparently all babies do but I wasn’t aware of this prior to birthing the child. Unfortunately for him and anyone else in the vicinity I am tone deaf and absolutely appalling at singing. So far he seems very unconcerned about this which is good news however, the amount of singing involved has made me realise how few songs I know all the way through. Thank god for You Tube.
How many clothes I’d need to buy
I really had no idea how fast babies grow or how expensive baby clothes are in Dubai. I feel like I’ve spent the equivalent debt of a small country on clothes for him so far and I have to say, I don’t even think he has that many as we wash and wear a lot over and over. I also find putting his outfits together a bit challenging. It’s hard enough to work out what I’m going to wear and now I have to do it for someone else as well. Don’t even get me started on packing for a small person.
How some baby equipment is a bit crap
From hard to press buttons to stiff levers to clips in awkward places. Often I feel like the manufacturers haven’t a clue what a human child looks like or how humans actually function with the way they’ve made their products. There are some real winners out there but other things have been hugely underwhelming and for the flipping price of it all I expect better.
How all your good intentions can go out of the window when they’re having a meltdown
I always envisaged myself as the kind of strict, no nonsense mother who would never cave in to demands from my child and would have a rigid routine in place from day one. Oh how I laugh at my former visions of myself. The honest truth is, I’ll go with pretty much anything to calm him when mid meltdown. Boob, dummy, shushing, rocking, dancing, singing, Gin…whatever it takes. I jest obviously, my singing would never calm anyone. I can almost hear my pre child self whispering ‘well, you’re just making a rod for your back there, love’ and whilst this is almost certainly true, some days I just don’t care so long as the noise stops.
How emotive some topics are among mothers, especially on social media
This may be a slightly more Dubai phenomenon due to the proliferation of sites and Facebook groups such as British Mums Dubai, Expat Woman and The Real Mums of Dubai but my god, chuck a hand grenade topic in there like vaccinations or seatbelts for kids and sit back with your pop corn. However, I’m going to assume that the world over mothers groups can be like this as everyone has a different opinion on how best to raise their child. I find the best thing to do is find your tribe and slag all the others off amongst yourselves. For sure, it would be great if we supported each other and didn’t judge other mothers but this is real life and that ain’t gonna happen. Plus, you know, there are some real weirdos out there. Anti vaxxers and people who don’t use car seats, I’m looking in your direction.
How much I would love him
Soppy but true. I’m not a child mad person and was never one for cooing over babies. Obviously we wanted our baby very much as evidenced by all the fertility treatment but I didn’t quite understand what it would be like to love someone the way I love Casper. The feeling that you’d do anything for this little being is all consuming at times and I just can’t get enough of him some days. Other days I can’t wait for bedtime but I’ll be sad when he gets too old to want mummy kisses all the time. Just trying to get my fill of them now before he grows up and brings a whole new set of challenges.