‘Learning curve’ is an understatement when it comes to describing having your first child. Someone once compared it to being hit by a train, then dragged along for several miles, and in terms of the sheer mind-blowingness (totally a word) of learning how to look after a whole new person, I’d go along with that.
Second time around I’m taking forward many lessons learned from the first time. Things like, don’t mistake worms for sibling anxiety; and don’t bother with that baby-led weaning nonsense. In that sense it is so much easier (though it still remains largely a mystery why the newborn stage is so much easier with your second, when it is SO HARD with your first).
But there are some lessons that I never learn. One in particular: that whatever new madness is happening is not forever. It applies to sleep regressions, colic (thankfully we’ve escaped that particular brand of madness with our children to date), tantrumy patches. But it’s a concept I’ve failed to grasp. Instead I am overcome with Panic and Woe with each new hurdle, convinced that it will never change. When actually, the only guarantee about life with a baby is that it changes. All the time.
The past couple of days have been classic Me, in that sense. Asher has been ill, and very upset with it. Now, Asher is, on the whole, the human equivalent of comfort food. He’s a big dollop of sticky toffee pudding with custard. He’s a hot bath with lots of bubbles. He’s buttery toast and blankets. He is generally- and I never thought this was possible- quite a relaxing baby. Large, solid, sleepy and cuddly, with a silly dozy smile and fat drumstick thighs. That’s not to say he doen’t have his days where only mummy’s arms will do for a nap, or nights which he has mistaken for a five course all-you-can-eat buffet. He is a baby after all. But largely speaking he is Mr Chillington.
But with this virus (now on the wane, thankfully) he has been a wailing, roaring, grunting picture of misery. When I tried to feed him it was as though I was torturing him. Cuddles? Yuck! Rocking? Rarrr! Singing Lullaby of Birdland, his favourite jam? Why are you doing this to me, woman?!
But instead of thinking this was something that we’d just need to tough out before Asher got back to cheery form, I was of course stricken. That’s it! Our peaceful days and evenings are gone, gone I tell you! Our baby has had a personality transplant! He’s going to screech forever! When will it end? When will my poor baby be happy? And more selfishly, when will I ever be able to watch television and drink wine in peace again? When?! *rends garments*
I even scrolled through pictures like this on my phone, to remind myself of what we once had, now that Screamy Baby had moved in:
It took both G and my Mum to talk me down from the doom-laden ledge I was teetering on. The words ‘drama queen’ may have been used (by Mum- G wouldn’t dare). Mum also reminded me that being ill is horrible for adults who know what’s going on; for a baby who knows nothing about anything, it’s the worst thing to happen to him in his 11 weeks of life. And it won’t be like this forever. Repeat: won’t.
He’s fairly perky today, but we all know that can change when the witching hour falls. So I’m crossing my fingers and attempting to stay serene, clinging to that great parental mantra ‘this too shall pass’. Unless it doesn’t, in which case we are indeed doomed! Doomed forever!