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Friday, 20 January 2012

When it all began

………. The joys of offspring.

Is that it?  What just happened in the last 3 hours that I should know about?  Was it an outer body experience? Do I believe that can even happen? Reality check… life just changed as I knew it.  It will never be the same again. I don’t remember entering  in to any sort of life time agreement, but I think by default it was signed sealed and delivered. Literally.

And so starts motherhood. In those brief moments afterwards does anyone really remember what just took place?  Sure, years later we casually talk about giving birth like we talk about grocery shopping. Some people manage to do it quickly, some take forever browsing the aisles,some choose a home delivery. But do we really manage to take in what transpired during those hours preceding the delivery? I don’t think we do, why else would we go back for seconds or thirds and so on. There is a simple answer, women are crazy.  I don’t mean in a manic out of control head spinning Linda Blair moment, I mean in the sense that we can experience a situation that at the time is the worst in our lives, promptly forget about that situation, and then plan to do it again! Who on earth plans an event they know is going to be awful? I know I know, plenty of flowery births have been had, but dive a little bit deeper into those stories, even the flowery ones hurt.
So I go home, the event has passed, flowers received, well wishes sent. All of that could be perceived as the flowery moment,and whilst at the time it is, the reality is I go home. I go home with an extra. Some are lucky enough to go home with two or more. Yes I am crazy, as women we are crazy.
I remember that drive home, knowing that the extra was going to be an extra for a long time. I was now responsible for another. Was I even responsible for myself? I wasn’t so sure. I think the drive home took at least 4 hours, of course it was only a 20min trip, but when you have a new extra, carefully does it right? Reality check, the extra precaution in driving home is because sitting for longer than 10 mins in one position is still near on impossible. Flowery births still hurt.
Now what?  The baby is asleep. What was I meant to be doing? Isn’t motherhood hectic? Isn’t that what people tell you? Prepare to be the busiest you have ever been. Life as you know it has gone forever.
The baby is still asleep. Am I meant to wake it? You’re not meant to wake a baby are you? I will let it sleep. For how long though? Did anyone tell me that? I check my bag for the imaginary handbook I am sure the nurses packed for me before leaving. It’s not there, which means I need to find common sense. Please  tell me that at least got packed and came home with me…

Common sense.  Just when you think you have none, it comes bounding through the door like a 3 year old on a sugar rush.  I think that it could do with a revamp though. I need common sense version 1.10. The common sense of old didn’t have to deal with an extra. The extra needs new age common sense. It needs it to be mixed with a mothers intuition for it to work.

No one, and I mean no one can prepare you for that first sleepless night, that first exploding nappy or that first crying session. I started thinking my mother’s intuition had taken a holiday with common sense. I bet where warm  cocktails flowed freely. I wanted a cocktail. I couldn’t have one though, I was breastfeeding, which reminds me. I read the books. I got educated on this stuff prior to the extra turning up. Why then did the books not mention that breastfeeding is likened more to a rabid dog biting your arm off than the soothing bonding experience they talk about? Don’t get me wrong, I was bonding and soothing, but that rabid dog wasn’t ever too far away in those early days!
And so as the crazy woman I am, I persevered and pushed through. What else could I do? Someone else is relying on you. I wish sometimes they could rely on someone else especially when it comes to exploding nappies. Aren’t these nappy developers up with exploding poo? If so, why does the nappy not catch it? I have come to the conclusion it is a conspiracy in conjunction with washing powder suppliers. I suddenly knew why 7 kilo washing machines were on the market, and that they weren’t just for king size quilts! 
The first few months were really a blur, and even though the breastfeeding kept me away from the holiday cocktails I so desperately wanted, the lack of sleep was keeping me in a similar frame of mind. In fact I think when I gave birth, they took my brain instead of the placenta. Suddenly simple sentences were proving to be difficult with words and phrases sounding more like a new language being discovered. Of course this language I could completely understand, even if no one else could. My growing baby was babbling and I understood every single babble.  I thought it was ironic that this babble was made just for me, and I was so pleased seeing as no one else understood my baby brain talk anymore! That’s another thing the books don’t teach you. They never tell you that your brain will be wired differently afterwards. Simple tasks aren’t so simple anymore.
I did learn quickly though a new skill. It compensated nicely for the re wiring that had taken place. I learnt that one arm was all that was needed. I could literally do everything now with only the use of one arm. The glorious free arm that was without child. The arm that was now destined to be the sole provider of any sort of freedom. Should this arm fail me, nothing will get done around the house.  I suppose I could put the baby down and free up my other arm, but ive now got quite good at forgetting the baby is there and just using my free arm. After all, we were blessed with two, we may as well put them to good use! I did discover though, not everything can be done with one arm and the baby had to find a new spot.
And so I bought a device. A baby rocker. Seeing him sleeping so peacefully in it made me think why don’t they make huge ones for adults. I wouldn’t mind kicking back in a rocker, dozing the afternoon away. I would need those holiday cocktails though. They didn’t seem too far away either. Someone forgot to tell me that some babies aren’t good at breastfeeding and instead prefer to scream all afternoon.
I did wish this particular afternoon I hadnt packed away the baby gifts a little more methodically. I blame the re wiring again. I was busy searching for a bottle and a sachet of formula I was sure was in a gift basket we had been given.  Why is that I can find everything else I might have been looking for in the last 12months, but not what I am actually after?
The screaming continues. I think now I should probably call the EPA and see if they can give me a decibel reading. I’m waiting for the neighbours to turn up. Surely they must be thinking it’s worse that it really is? It definitely sounds bad. Although by now I am deaf and its sounding more like noise  underwater than the high pitch it really is. How can such a small being produce such a huge noise?  I am presuming it is in the same realm as their exploding nappies. Never let your guard down, not even for a second, or wham, you’re knee deep in poop.  I really think the hospital should send you home with washable scrubs, head to toe for those moments. I would have happily paid for such an outfit. I would have happily paid for a space suit, with full head gear. No smells, no noise. Any way, I digress I was searching for a bottle and formula to hopefully fill an ever hungry belly that was my breastfed child. I eventually find it, read the instructions, and most likely forgetting to steralise the bottle. I didn’t care by this stage. My ears were ringing and my child was exhausted after putting out noise that would easily fill an auditorium.
I was now in shock, he drank the whole lot, and then slept peacefully for four hours. Four hours straight! I had to double check I had in fact given him formula and not the old horricks that had been sitting in the pantry since 1994.

And so the light bulb goes off.  All the books you read, all the stories you were told may not in fact help  every situation you come across! Parenting is a mystery,and one that is not easily solved.
Every child is different,this is the main mystery to uncover. What may work for one,may not work for another. What book can teach you that? You don’t know this until you go on to have more. Refer back to the crazy lady status. We go on to have more.
Every child adds a little extra dynamic to your family life. Every little being in your life adds another grey hair,wrinkle or sleepless night. But we wouldn’t change it would we? What would there to be to talk about? After all, as soon as you have kids, conversation naturally goes back to them time and time again.

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