There are many things that people tell you about being a new parent. Most of them revolve around the sleep you won't be having or what it's like to change a dirty nappy. Most of them you find hard to believe - "It can't be all that bad?"
Well, it is and it isn't. Our day revolves around young Willow. At four weeks old, she's still not sleeping through the night. In fact, nighttime appears to be the bit that she's at her most active. She has a series of demands that are made every couple of hours but it follows a pretty simple sequence. I'm hungry, I have wind, I'm sleepy and I need changing.
This is one of the simplest things to identify. Simply place your finger anywhere near her mouth and she'll start sucking on it like a leech. Alternatively, hold her to your chest and watch as she flings her head in the direction of your boobs. Even if you don't have boobs.
Leanne is breastfeeding her as we've been told that this is the best thing to do. It means that food time is Leanne time for the most part. We've been topping up with bottles of formula, so I get to do some of that which is great. But Willow really doesn't seem to like it nearly as much - the look of disgust on her face when she tastes it is heartbreaking.
It also gives her more...
After you feed her, you burp her. Thing is, she doesn't seem to like burping. Which means that she ends up with trapped wind. Which causes her no end of distress until it comes back out.
Which causes us no end of distress. It's a good job she's incredibly cute because she is a total farty stink pig*.
|First of the cute photos|
This, right here, is our window. Only now can we do other things. Tidying up. Getting on with some work. Laundry**. Unfortunately, we tend to spend this time cuddling her and staring at her. This is a rookie mistake. But something we appear to be unable to stop doing.
At night, we'd do this then try to put her down in her Moses Basket. During the day, she'll happy nap in it. At night time, it's like a shot of coffee. Nothing is guaranteed to wake her up faster than putting her down in her actual bed. She's quite happy to sleep on the bed with us though. It's okay for the time being as she hasn't got to the rolling over stage, which would mean that any bed she had would need something to stop her falling out. We're also almost past the incredible fear we had of potentially rolling over ourselves and squishing her.
In the beginning, we used to take it in turns - one of us would be awake, with the baby lying on top whilst the other slept. It kinda evened things out a bit.
My dad had always made a big thing about dirty nappies. How they were the bane of his life. How nothing could prepare you for the stench or the mess they would make of anything within a 10 yard radius.
You can therefore understand the trepidation I felt as I moved in to change my first nappy.
It was baby's first as well. For the uninitiated amongst you, I dare you to look up Meconium on a google image search. This stuff is like tar. Stinky tar. It's a real bugger to shift and it lasts for a couple of days.
But here's the trick - you don't mind doing it. Prior to changing the nappy, baby can be grumpy and upset. Afterwards and even during changing, baby is all happy. And you did that. You caused that to happen. You took away the thing that was making her sad.
I would, at this point, like to introduce a couple of caveats. The Mec has gone now and she's not on solid foods yet. As I understand it, solids is the next benchmark for disgusting arse produce. Secondly, I appear to have a super power which is being able to avoid changing poopy nappies. Every time I go to change her, she's just wet. Mummy gets poopmageddon and the crapocalypse, but I just get wet ones.
Wet ones are easy. Hell, Willow hasn't even peed on daddy yet. Willow loves daddy. Long may that continue!
Maybe 'easy' is the wrong word. 'Simple' might be the word. I've seen parents baulking at the idea of even something like a trip... Outside. It becomes a major production with all kinds of kit and accessories required for the simplest of jaunts. But Willow takes it all in her stride. She loves being in her buggy (or Travel Solution) and can spend hours being pushed around Brighton***. We have the Go Bag still - nappies, wipes, bottle, changing mat and, after Experimental Walk #1 ended in an 'incident', spare clothes - and that appears to be all we need. She need feeding? Either whip out the bottle or pop in to a coffee shop and "unleash the hounds"****. She need changing? There are plenty of places around.
I'm certain that others have a far more traumatic time than this and maybe even that we're just in some kind of post-birth bubble. I also can't imagine what it would be like for Leanne if I wasn't around full time. If I was still employed somewhere, I'd have gone back to work by now, leaving her to deal with everything herself. I'd also have missed out on this incredible time and not even known about it, which would have been very sad.
That said, it's been almost impossible to get any work done. There's still stuff happening on Glyph Quest and the demand for Super Glyph Quest is quite intense. Then there's the Kickstarter project that we want to do. Or maybe a couple of simple pay apps, if we can only find time in the day.
The SwitchBecoming a father has changed me. It seems an obvious thing to say, but it needs to be acknowledged. I now react to the world in a very different way. A much more emotional way. For example, I appear to be followed by a large cloud of dust that will happily fling itself in to my eyes whenever I see things like schmaltzy bits in old Friends episodes or Toy Story. Hell, I almost had to cut my Animex talk short because I'd made the mistake of including a picture of Willow in it.
But from the very moment Leanne lifted her out of the pool***** it all became incredibly clear. It was like a switch went off. I knew exactly what it was that I had to do with my life - ensure that little Willow has everything she needs for a healthy and fun life.
|This. This is what it's all about.|
* Information that I intend to store for future use as boyfriend deterrent.
** We were concerned that the noise of the washing machine would wake her up. But no. Nor the band that practices next door. Or the sound of me shooting zombies in The Last Of Us.
*** Ever pushed a cute baby around in a buggy? Chick magnet. Seriously, if you're single and you can find a friend willing to lend you their baby for a couple of hours, you could do a lot worse.
**** I just made that phrase up. I hope it doesn't stick.
***** Maybe the whole birth story is something for a future blog post.