How to know when it is time to change your baby’s nappy.

June 12, 2012

I’m sat in a bed in the delivery suite. A red, crumpled faced baby is lying in the plastic sided cot on wheels beside me, legs raised up like a frog with balled up fists poking out of his babygrow. I am battered and bruised and broken and feel more alive than I ever have before this moment. 

The details are gone from my mind but there was a moment when I was unsure whether we needed to change his nappy and perhaps we indicated to the midwife as such and she just said to ‘have a look’.

It seems so ridiculous now but at the time I thought that was amazing and hilarious and the best thing I had ever heard. I was never scared of becoming a mum but the realisation that you are totally in charge of a small human being is one that is both mesmerising and petrifying at the same time. To find out that the trick to knowing whether a baby needed their nappy changed or not was to just look was so simple it made me feel that we were going to be just fine.
I had no idea back then what it would be like to be a mum. I have written before about how I have been a slow burner when it comes to falling in love with my children but there is no denying that I am now completely head over heels with both of them. 
But each stage brings new challenges and new feelings of ability and inadequacy. Kate is at that frustrating stage where she is into everything and cannot be left alone for more than a couple of minutes without her getting into mischief or into some scrape or other (she is brilliant at getting stuck in places). I remember what this was like with Piran but he was older when he was so mobile and better able to understand when I said no. It can be so frustrating, but a quick cheeky smile and the way that she now says “Mummy’ as clear as day means that all is quickly forgotten.
Piran is just such a dear sweet boy. And so very, very, very frustrating indeed. If he has 100% of my attention then things go quite well, but as soon as I have dinner to make, or we need to get ready and leave the house or I have to try and get Kate from where she has got herself stuck this time things quicky deteriorate. I don’t like to shout at him but I do. Far more than I feel I should. He has the ability to drive me bat shit crazy in seconds. He can be full on and pushing boundaries all the time. Bedtime has reached the farcical stage where it takes a negotiation worthy of a FBI hostage team to get him to go. to. bloody. sleep. But then all of a sudden he is so sweet and loving and doing that thing where he calls me ‘Your Majesty’ and I am totally and utterly besotted with him again.
Right now every time I ask him to do something he starts a sentence with ‘I just’. I just don’t want to go to sleep Mummy. I just want to walk on my own to Nanny’s house (!) I just want to watch my films Mummy. I just want to pretend that my carrots are snakes Mummy.
Right now for me being a mum is hard work. I am heading back to the doctors to discuss my anxiety but if I am completely honest with you I don’t think that the PND has passed after all and so I need to deal with that. Mr C is away during the week most weeks and solo parenting, even with nursery and Grandparents, is all encompassing and exhausting. When I get time to myself at night I am constantly worrying about whether I will get any sleep, having to pack and plan for the following day, and clear the dishes and debris from earlier.
One thing that I am trying to focus on is that girl that sat in the hospital bed and who was so unsure about whether she was cut out to be a mum would be blown away by me now. I may feel unorganised and floating about in the wind most of the time but compared to her I am brilliant. I have managed my way through the first three years of that baby’s life (and added a second to the mix just to make it all more fun) and it turns out that despite the occasional shouting and #parentingfails I have two healthy, happy children that are well looked after. And I have a list of these insights about looking after babies that I have been able to share with my friends as they too become parents. People ask, and sometimes take my advice. I haven’t got here alone, I am never afraid to ask for help or advice myself. But here I am.
And that red, crumpled face baby is my brown eyed beautiful boy.
I just jump on the bed, yes? Your Majesty.

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