The 6 best and worst things about my 6 months as a parent
It’s hard to believe that the Popple is 6 months old. She’s gone from a screaming, red-faced newborn to a razzing little person who chews on everything. It’s kind of incredible.
It’s been a wonderful/terrifying/stressful/amazing/tiring/hilarious 6 months. Here are the 6 best and worst moments:
1. Going through labour.
I’ve heard some women talk about birth as a beautiful and spiritual process. Those women are liars. Birthing is long and painful and bloody and sweaty.
I did the whole ‘natural birth’ thing, because I’m clearly an idiot. If there is a next time, there will be drugs. All of the drugs.
2. The first night that we brought the Popple home from the hospital and she wouldn’t stop crying.
“We need to call the hospital,” Adrian said desperately, sure that there was something wrong with her.
We didn’t call the hospital, because deep down I knew that she was fine. We were just so new to this whole parenting thing, and we didn’t know how to stop a baby from crying yet. Sometimes we still don’t. But I’ll never forget that feeling of oh-God-they-let-us-take-this-baby-home-what-were-they-thinking?
3. The first time I lost my s**t due to crying.
There was a lot of crying in those early days. One day the Popple was losing her mind and I’d tried everything I could think of to calm her – music, rocking, white noise, patting, feeding. Nothing worked. So I shouted.
“Shhhh!” I said in her face as loudly as I could as I bounced her up and down, HARD. She cried harder, obviously. And I felt terrible, like I might be the sort of person who could hurt their baby. Now when I lose my patience with her, I try to put her in her cot and walk away, just for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all you need to realise it’s pointless to get mad at a baby.
4. When she stopped sleeping.
It was her 3 month birthday. We had just come back to Chester after a long drive home from Glasgow. That night, she woke up every hour.
“Her sleep must be disrupted due to travelling,” we told ourselves.
And then she never slept again.
Okay, obviously she’s slept since then, but I can count the nights she’s slept well on one hand. One finger, actually. There was one night. It was just last week. It has not been repeated.
5. Our first attempt at a ‘normal’ outing.
It was a beautiful summer day, so Adrian and I thought we should take advantage of it and go out for a nice lunch in a beer garden. I would feed the Popple right before we left and then she would fall asleep in the pram on the way there, giving us a few hours to eat in the sun. What could go wrong?
The Popple woke up and started screaming as soon as my food arrived. I had to breastfeed her awkwardly amongst all the 20-something smoking hipsters who had taken over the beer garden. She continued screaming after I’d fed her. I passed her to Adrian and wolfed down my cold lunch before hightailing it out of there as quickly as possible.
My confidence was shot. I never wanted to go out again. It was the first time I realised that the Popple wasn’t going to allow herself to be a cute accessory that I toted around while I did all the fun and delicious things that I used to do.
6. My first attempt at solo parenting.
When the Popple was 5 weeks old, Adrian went away for two days for a conference, leaving me to parent a very colicky baby by myself. I wrote about it here.
It was HARD.
He returned home to find me sitting on the couch in the dark with the Popple sleeping on my chest. I’d been sitting there for hours, afraid to get up to pee or turn on a light. I now think all single parents are amazing and deserve an award for just getting through the day.
1. The moment I had her.
Not only because I finally got to meet this little person who had been kicking me in the ribs for the better part of 9 months, but because labour was FINALLY over. Thank f**k.
2. The first smile that wasn’t caused by wind. Captured here for posterity on her squishy little face.
3. The first laugh, which was so cute and so perfectly baby-like that my heart pretty much exploded.
4. When she became a baby stander.
We had been working on turning the Popple into a baby sitter for a while, but she didn’t have much interest in sitting. Whenever we would try to get her into a seated position, she would stiffen her legs and try to push herself up. So we said f**k it – let’s just let her stand.
After a few months of practice, she can stand on her own if she can lean on something for support. She still doesn’t see the point in sitting. This baby just wants to get up and GO.
5. The first time I brought her into bed.
It was VERY early in the morning and the Popple was awake, but I wasn’t ready to get out of bed yet. I brought her into the bed and put her in between me and Adrian. She rolled over on her side so she was facing me, looked into my eyes and touched my face. Then she licked it.
I could have done without the licking, but what got me was how much she enjoyed being as close to me as possible. Whenever we lay down together, she still rolls over and pulls me in. Sometimes she tugs on my hair, gums my nose or smacks me in the eye.
6. When she first busted out this face.
This is not a happy face – so why do I love it so much?
Because it’s just so…her. If she doesn’t like something, she lets you know. With her judgy face. And possibly some screaming.
She’s going to be quite a handful when she’s a toddler.
I can’t wait.