Firstly I want to start by publicly apologising to my sister. When my niece was a baby my sister came on a girls night out. I remember her being a bit more quieter than on previous nights out and not wanting to stay out as late as the rest of us. After a while I said to her ‘come on its your night off from the baby, let your hair down and have another drink, you don’t come out as much any more you should take advantage and get really drunk!’ What I didn’t register at the time was that what she was actually thinking about was dealing with a baby the next day along with a hangover. Because basically babies and hangovers do not go well together. Not one little bit. And it’s only now I’ve experienced it for myself that I understand. So Sis I’m sorry for moaning at you to drink another jäger bomb and I’m sorry for rolling my eyes when at midnight you said you were going home, I now understand all too well and I’m sorry. There’s no more lying in bed all day after a night out, because babies don’t care whether you feel like you’re not going to make it through the day, they still want entertaining, and will probably not want a nap on this particular day, just to add to your hangover hell.
Pre-baby I could come home from work and just relax, have my tea and watch the soaps. Now it sometimes feels like work is my break and the real work starts when I get home. I’ve mentioned before how much Rae loves nursery, and I was told just today by her key worker that ‘she never, ever cries when she’s here’. Well that’s because she saves all that up for when she gets home. Google (again) told me that some children keep all their frustrations inside while they’re at nursery and save it for the person they feel most confident in front of. In this case that would be me. She’s so tired when she’s been at nursery for the day it’s like I’ve picked Satan up and not Rae. She has what I call a one-dunk bath. As quick as I get her in she’s round my neck, climbing out and getting me soaked in the process, all the while screaming blue murder. God knows what my neighbours must think. Then there’s the task of getting a nappy and babygrow on while she refuses to lie still. Let’s just say I’ve learnt the art of patience in the last few months. Once I picked her up from nursery and was told ‘She hasn’t had a nap today, she just didn’t want one’. I think I had a look of horror on my face and my initial reaction was ‘Are you f#*king kidding me’ but obviously didn’t say that out loud. Rae will nap for up to 3 hours at home and even then I have to wake her sometimes so you can imagine what mood she was in on this particular evening.
You know when you just want to pop to the shops for some milk? Well there’s no popping anywhere when you have a baby. Leaving the house is like a military operation, and when you think you’re ready to go you can guarantee baby will poo and, if it’s anything like Rae and her gymnastics when she has her nappy changed, you can add at least another 15 minutes on to your departure time. By the time you actually leave the house you wonder if it would just be easier to start drinking your tea black. Last weekend my sister watched Rae for me while I went shopping. Actual alone time shopping. And it was great. I walked leisurely up and down the aisles, actually looking at what I was buying and not looking like I was a contestant on Dale Wintons Supermarket Sweep. You see I’m not talking Zara or Topshop shopping, this was Tesco shopping but I loved it.
Something I am guilty of is not returning phone calls or answering text messages. I might read your message or see your name flashing up on my phone but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a response. And if I do answer the chances are the conversation will be interrupted regularly with ‘Rae don’t do that’ ‘Rae get out of the bin’ ‘Rae don’t eat the tea-bag’ (this actually happened once when she yet again went in the bin and tried to eat a used tea-bag. Judging by the reaction she gave I don’t think she’ll do it again in a hurry).
Pre-baby I never appreciated showers and baths like I should have. Now I’m lucky if I get more than 2 minutes in the shower, and I normally get joined by my slippers, pjs, toilet roll and anything else she gets her hands on because apparently that’s a fun game.
I thought I had a pretty good immune system before I got Rae but I can honestly say I’ve never had so many illnesses since having a child. At the age of 32 I had my first ever chest infection, and cracked a rib from coughing so much, so was on antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatories, which was fun. Since my last blog just two weeks ago I’ve been to the doctors twice with Rae as it appears the ear infection wants to revisit every other week, and I’ve been through a packet of lemsips myself but as I write this we are both illness free. For now…
It’s only since becoming a parent that I understand the real definition of worrying. It’s like I’ve seen my parents through new eyes and now fully understand every time they told me I couldn’t go somewhere or do something that I thought was perfectly reasonable and they were the worst people in the world for stopping me. At the age of 17 I went on a two-week holiday to Benidorm with my friends. Two whole weeks!! I think I told my parents that I would never forgive them if they didn’t let me go because ‘EVERYONE ELSES PARENTS WERE LETTING THEM GO!!’ I can now imagine the worry they went through and Rae will be lucky if she has a holiday without me by the age of 27 never mind 17.
So in summary pre-baby means less worry, long showers, quick shopping trips and hangover days spent on the couch, and post-baby is, well, the exact opposite. But ask me which one I prefer and post-baby wins every time.