The biggest thing parents DON’T bother to tell prospective parents is how mind-numbingly endlessly confusing being a parent is. I’d kill for a week off. Not literally of course; that would make me a psycho. But man – a week in Raro, umbrella drink in hand and my biggest worry how sunburnt my lilly-white ass is getting – that is my idea of heaven right now.
My son has just popped through his first little teeth. Happy joy, right? NO. No happy. No joy.
This last week has been back-to-back whining, crying, refusing food, refusing his favourite boobs, not happy when jumping with Daddy, not happy when rolling about on the floor, momentarily happy on the back lawn (if only the sun would bloody come out a little more!!), winging till he’s got mum AND dad’s full attention but not knowing what to do with it once he’s procured it, waking up at all hours of the day and night, 1.5 hour naps suddenly turning into 35 min ones.. sigh.
And that’s without all the questions. MY GOSH. THE ENDLESS QUESTIONS.
Is he pooping too much? Too little? Is his head too hot? Too cold? Too red? What is that red mark? Why won’t those rough patches go away? Shall we go to the doctor again for a better cream, or wait and see? Are those spots? Shall I google Measles and see? Have you given him a bath? Is every second day too long between? Does that create or ruin the routine? Why does he cry so much when he gets dressed? Do babies prefer to be naked? Will he get cold if I leave him naked for longer than 3 minutes? How long do you have to do nappy-free time for? Are those pants too tight for him tummy? Does he have a poop in his pants? Did I just put him to bed without changing his nappy? Does that make me a mean parent? Why is he crying like that? Should I pick him up? Should I leave him in the cot? Should I just rock him to sleep so we can all have a moment’s rest? Can he see the TV from there? Is that going to numb his brain cells? Is the screaming on the movie going to give him bad dreams? Can he sleep with that racket on in the background? Is it better to turn the white noise up or let him hear some household noise? Will it help him sleep longer? Am I overusing it? Why did he only sleep for 20 minutes then? Should I put him in the portacot now and then to help him sleep somewhere else? Should we just put him on a big bed and let him sleep there when we’re out? Should we even go out at bedtime or is it better to stick to the routine? What if he doesn’t sleep there at all and ruins the evening? Is it better to stay at home and bring people here? What shall I cook – can he eat it too? Should I be making sure he eats some green vegetables? Will he turn orange from all the carrots and pumpkin? Should I be making my own and freezing it? Do we need a bigger freezer? Should I be spoon-feeding or letting him mash it with his hands and make a huge mess? What if he takes a big mouthful and chokes on it? Should I just let daddy be in charge of eating? What about messy play? Am I a bad mum if I haven’t let him coat himself in avocado, ever? Am I too worried about the mess? Will he really not learn as much if I don’t let him get it all over him? What about learning rules though? Are the days of, ‘don’t play with your food’ all over now, are they? What about the wastage and the children in Africa? Should he sit in his chair only to eat? But what about if he’s just chewing on something? Will these rusks dry like concrete on my floor? What about if I’m out and can’t heat up his normal food? Will people give me dirty looks if he cries in the cafe? What if I can’t fit the pram into the cafe? Will I have to hold him the whole time? Should I be wearing him anyway? What if sitting in the pram all day is giving him abandonment issues? What about at home? Am I leaving him to play too long on his own? Should I be offering more interesting toys and activities? Should I look on Pinterest for more ideas again? What if he doesn’t learn to entertain himself and becomes one of those annoying kids who says, ‘I’m bored’ all day long? Shall I leave him longer when he winges? Will he lose trust in me if he cries too long?