Gosh, hasn't it been quiet on this blog recently? It has indeed. If you haven't guessed, that's because I've had a much more worthwhile way to spend my time over the last three months. Honestly, why would I want to waste time blogging when I have this little pumpkin to play with of an evening?
Anyway, lest this descend into a post about (not) blogging, let me instead confirm for the record that Every Baby Cliché Is True, including (but not limited to) the following:
They Cost The Earth!
They really do! I mean, you may think that you spend a lot of your hard-earned cash on, say, your house, car, lavish white wedding or tax bills, but that's just peanuts compared to babies! There are the obvious expenses such as nappies, food, clothes, car seats, buggies, toys, and the prospect of a college education, but they also sap money in the unlikeliest of ways. Bizarrely, our home insurance went up overnight when I told our provider of our new addition to the family. I pleaded that Ben really wasn't yet of the age to play with matches or post MySpace invites to parties to be held whilst we were out, but this cut no ice. And then you end up playing keepie-uppie with the other parents you met at ante-natal classes. I've already shelled out for Ben's first music lessons (yes, at three months old), and I'm sure it will be foreign languages next. His buggy has more features than my car, and his wardrobe is twice as large. But I can't deny him anything, nor would I particularly want to. There's nothing else on earth on which I'd rather spend my salary.
It's Different When They're Your Own!
It really is! Other people's babies smell. They dribble and throw up and cry annoyingly and aren't nearly as cute or intelligent as their parents pretend they are. They're boring, incapable of doing anything remotely interesting at this young age. Other people's babies are, frankly, a pain in the arse, but their parents are curiously oblivious to this fact.
But your own babies? Well, they're totally different, aren't they? Their poo doesn't really smell that bad, and it's no hassle to change them. They only cry because they need you, and that's a lovely thing really, isn't it? And c'mon, look how incredibly cute and intelligent they are - a world apart from all those other babies on the planet. Look! He's lifting his right hand up! Quick - get the camera!!
They Change So Quickly!
They really do! Before we had Ben, here's how the roadmap of a human infant's development looked in my mind:
- Age 3 - can use a mouse properly.
- Age 5 - start playing with Lego.
- Age 10 - teach him long division.
- Age 12 - embarrassing chat about girls.
- Age 15 - object-oriented programming.
- Age 18 - can buy his Dad a pint.
But it turns out that there are more finely-grained milestones which are equally of interest to doting parents, even in the early months. Consider if you will something so prosaic as the act of sleeping. Initially Ben could only sleep while in bed with ourselves, or resting on our chests. Shortly afterwards he was persuaded to drop off whilst in a Moses basket in our room, which was later transferred into his own room, and now he's graduated to sleeping in his cot! Yeah! Earlier this week Ben began using his pushchair instead of pram (both bodies fit on the same chassis - very clever), and I swear, I have never felt more proud in my entire life. I was pushing him around Leeds city centre on Monday, all the while wanting to grab every passer by and shout "Look! My boy is in his pushchair! His PUSHCHAIR!!! So what do you think about THAT?!"
Each little step is indescribably exciting for the parental units, who of course talk about little else, and in excrutiating detail. I feel sorry for single parents for many reasons, but mostly because they presumably have nobody with whom they can discuss the real minutiae of parenthood.
They Take Over Your Life!
I'll rephrase that - they become your life. You are your children, living vicariously through them, meeting their needs forever more. It sounds like it should be a bad thing, but oddly enough it doesn't feel that way right now - maybe we humans are happiest when serving simple, well-defined needs, and they don't come much more well-defined than the boy's triple requirements of milk, sleep and nappies.
So, in the last three months we have been out on two occasions without The Boy (thanks mum!), and devoted most of our time to meeting Ben's needs. Small tasks such as going to the Co-op to buy a loaf of bread become epic expeditions. Your life will never be the same again!
It's Hard Work, But It's Worth It
It is. It really is. Every day, without fail, I get a cuddle, a smile, a "Goo" and maybe a giggle. It's an unconditional love, and it's simply the best feeling in the world.