Eight days ago, we welcomed Seth into the world. Having made us wait nine days beyond his due date, he obviously panicked about his apparent tardiness, as he then proceeded to arrive just two and a half hours after Jill started feeling the contractions, and a mere 30 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. The considerate kid must understand I have a blog to write, and that is some prime material with which to fill these digital pages. This baby is paying back immediately.
It’s been a hectic week-and-a-bit so far, but it’s striking how much I must have forgotten about Elsa’s early days. Stuff that has come flooding back now that I am partially responsible for young Seth.
Babies Are Really REALLY Tiny
Babies are, generally speaking, the smallest humans, but the scale of their minuscularity is particularly striking when you are used to dealing with a toddler. Before Seth was born, I could happily pick three-year-old Elsa up, lift her over my head and tickle her without giving it a second thought. Now, after handling the boy for a week or so, he seems as if he’s filled with helium and lifting Elsa makes me feel like Geoff Capes placing the final Atlas stone atop the podium.
Meconium poo. Just…meconium poo.
Babies Are Surprisingly Helpless
I am used to helping a toddler dress and undress, which means being shouted at and told “I can do it, daddy” on a regular basis and keeping quiet as she attempts to force her arms down two trouser legs. Despite this, on the whole, she really can do it. Seth most certainly cannot.
It was a shock to rediscover that dressing a baby is much like trying to thread overcooked spaghetti through one of those curly drinking straws.
Some People Have the Strangest Taste
Did you have a birthing playlist? We certainly did the first time round, but there wasn’t enough time to take the CDs out before Seth arrived. I presume you’ll have had some of those delightful soothing classics on your playlist – Air, Sigur Rós, that kind of thing.
As we waited to be discharged, I passed the time by perusing the CDs that had been left in the birthing suite to see what else people had been blasting out as their children were born. The results were not quite what I expected.
Do you really want your infant’s first experience of the world to be Johnny Rotten slurring about being an antichrist? And imagine being able to say that, albeit for a short time, 100 percent of the music your child had heard in their life was recorded by long lost X Factor series one winner, Steve Brookstein.
Midwives Are the Calmest People
It takes a special type of person to become a midwife – you have to reassure your patients even as they suffer the worst pain many of them will ever experience in their life. As our midwife made a cursory inspection following a tough contraction, she managed to deliver the line, “ah yes, the head has just been born” as if she was simply saying “I’ve brought egg and cress sandwiches for my dinner.”
I get the idea that she would be able to tell you, “excuse me, but your arms appear to be on fire” without panicking you in the slightest.
It’s Possible to Function on Two Hours’ Sleep
Due to the speed of his birth, Seth developed this occasional shudder that meant he struggled for the first few days of his life to lie on his back for any amount of time without waking himself up. He’s actually a pretty good sleeper, but for a while, one of us had to be awake as he slept on their chest. The plus side is that I have caught up on a whole host of Netflix content that I’d missed in recent years through the early nights, but parenting two children on no sleep is challenging to say the least.
The happy news is that I think we may have now cracked getting him to settle in the cot, which means that we might also be able to sleep in our own bed at the same time for the first time since he was born. Annoyingly, I was only one episode into Making a Murderer by this point, but I guess sometimes you have to be pragmatic.
My Wife is Harder than Me
Giving birth standing up, with no drugs and out of range of the gas and air? Yeah, I’m not messing with Jill any time soon. From now on, I will note down every hair appointment she books in my calendar, so I don’t fail to notice and incur her wrath. Again.
Any more to add? Stick them in the comments.