Unexpected things you learn

When my baby arrived I expected a steep learning curve. Stuff like how to hold a newborn, when you should change a nappy, how you should change a nappy, what temperature a bath should be, how to wind them, what to dress them in, etc. But along the way I have found myself learning things that I’d never have expected. Stuff that they don’t put in baby books. For example:

Not Coughing
You know the feeling. You’re lying in bed desperate to cough with your little one sound asleep on the other side of the room. It took an hour to get them to sleep and you’ll be damned if you’re going to let a little thing like some dislodged phlegm wake them up. So you lay there doing a silent gurgle and somehow manage to make the cough go away. What a skill.

One-Handed Coffee
I didn’t realise until James was about 3 months old that you can put a baby down just about anywhere (given suitable safety checks of course…”oh I’d better move that carving knife” for example). Add in James’ fondness for being up on your shoulder and what do you get? That’s right, a one-handed mummy. I am still impressed at how many things I can do with only one hand, particularly making coffee. I don’t think I’d be here now if I hadn’t mastered that.

Banana Poo
I thought that nappy changing would be a pretty grim affair, but it turns out that baby poo is quite fascinating. Especially when you start weaning them onto solid food. Every time you introduce a new food there’s the “Will he like it?” “How much will he eat?” “Will I have to offer it 30 times before he’ll eat some?” but also (and embarrassingly) “What will it look like at the other end?”  Banana poo is a classic. I had no idea that the humble banana would produce such interesting poo! (Oh what has become of me…)

Elbow Pram Driving
Imagine the scene, baby has been asleep in the pram for 10 minutes, it’s hot, they’ve had hardly any naps today, and the slightest noise is unsettling them. You have to keep walking otherwise they’ll wake up (and stay above 50mph anyone??) but you also need to reattach the sun shade. What do you do? Why, drive the pram with your elbows of course! This transferable skill can be used for a whole host of tasks, like drinking some water, checking your phone, slumping over the pram while you walk on a particularly sleep deprived occasion. Passers-by might roll their eyes or tut (after all Mary Poppins never pushed a pram with her elbows) but it’s so useful, I think I know who’s winning.

Award Winning Multi-Tasking
I’ve always been good at doing several things at once, but when you have a baby you take it to a whole new level. Take lunch time for example. I regularly find myself preparing James’ meal (gloop of the day), making a sandwich for me, cooking some more veggies for another meal, pureeing said veggies, washing up, emptying the dishwasher, writing a shopping list and making coffee all at once. Add in the sleep deprivation and I have to say I’m quite impressed that I’ve learnt to do so much simultaneously.

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