Remembering what I’ve forgotten about babies…Posted: 05/03/2014
I’m happily watching the television when an advert for Sudocrem catches my attention. As a mother gazes adoringly at her little one, the voiceover states: “Babies’ nappies need changing up to ten times a day.” I pause for a moment. Crikey, do they??
I cast my mind back to our early days with ToddlerGirl. No, I really don’t remember changing her nappy that often… Either I was a terrible new mum or nappy changing was the least demanding – and memorable – aspect of adjusting to life with a newborn.
It got me thinking, though. What else have I forgotten about having a baby?
The sleep deprivation I remember well. Actually, I’m not sure I can truly remember what that zombie-like state feels like. I suspect it’s a bit like my memory of morning sickness: I certainly recollect that it was tough but the force of the memory only really hits you when you’re experiencing it again. Nature’s good at that, otherwise we’d probably never do it more than once.
What else? I can recall how surprisingly hard it was to establish breastfeeding, expressing endlessly until it thankfully clicked. How we were completely obsessed with ToddlerGirl’s temperature, waving a thermometer at her at every opportunity, much to my Mum’s amusement. How it felt like she wouldn’t sleep anywhere peacefully but on one of us. How every aspect of what we were doing as parents was talked about and worried over. How amazing and overwhelming it was to be totally responsible for this little person. And, of course, how completely and utterly fascinated we were by everything she did, watching in wonder as she developed week on week.
The rest, the daily routine (hah – I do remember that we didn’t have much of one of those!), the practicalities of life with a baby, that is all a bit blurry now I come to think of it.
When I’m letting my mind skip ahead to the autumn when we have a baby in the house once again, my main focus is on how on earth we will juggle a newborn and a toddler. I think about things like: “Oh blimey, what am I going to do with ToddlerGirl while I’m stuck on the sofa nursing for half an hour or more at a time?!” Or, as I heave my way around Sainsbury’s: “Eeek, what will my supermarket trips be like with two little ones in tow?!” Or, as I collapse into the car exhausted having taken roughly half an hour longer than anticipated to get out the door: “How am I ever going to get out of the house with two children? It’s hard enough with one. I’m going to be housebound…!” Or, as I’m sitting playing with ToddlerGirl: “How will we make sure she still feels loved and secure when she no longer has 100% of our attention?”
Oh, and I’ve also got some vague ideas about the things we might try to do a bit differently this time (sleeping, being the main one).
All the practical baby stuff, though…? I’m taking it for granted that we’ll know what we’re doing in that area at least. Haven’t we already been there, done that and got the t-shirt?
That Sudocrem advert’s got me doubting myself, however. I’m suddenly remembering that, yes, we changed ToddlerGirl’s nappy through the night at every wake up for a feed, which would significantly increase the number of nappy changes in a day. What else has been pushed to the edges of my memory as unimportant information? I may have to start quizzing my friends who have recently had second babies to find out the things that came as a rude reawakening when they were doing it all again.
In the meantime, I am convincing myself that, surely, it’s a bit like riding a bike and all comes back to you pretty quickly when you are up to your armpits in all those nappies!