I realised the other day, that there are loads of surprise benefits to having a baby. Which since they make you poor, tired, and a user of words like ‘blankie’ and ‘sleepies’ is only fair. This is my list of my favourite post-spawning surprises; a baby version of Google easter eggs if you will:
1) Welcome to the gun show
Everyone witters on about how your body will change after pregnancy (which, actually, it might not and anyway, who cares?) but amidst all the cautionary tales of boobs tucked into socks, a tummy so stretched it could be used to gather apples and feet increasing a size (I mean really), nobody ever mentioned what a baby would do to my arms. I have used arm weights and run for years and, although it probably keeps the jiggle away, sculpted I was not. Over the last 17 weeks, I have developed the arms of a shotputter. Between holding up my lazy, can’t-sit-unassisted infant for feeds, carrying her around everywhere, lifting buggy wheels in and out of cars, pushing said buggy plus infant up hills, hefting a Moses basket up and down stairs, and generally always using my limbs for something taxing, a baby has achieved what Davina McCall and her workout DVDs couldn’t. Honestly. If Jennifer Anniston saw me in a vest, she’d be all: nice arms! And then we’d high five and possibly cause a small earthquake.
2) Precious time
If I had a free hour before having M, I’d procrastinate a bit, make a cup of tea, then lounge about watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Now, if I have a free hour, I can clean the house, make a meal, do at least one load of laundry, shower, do my make up, sterilise All The Things, write a blog, then make a cup of tea and lounge about watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Because apparently nothing increases your productivity like not knowing when, or if, you will get another free hour that day. Or ever.
3) Work it out
OK, so having a baby probably means you won’t have the time, money or inclination to go to the gym. The good news, is that it won’t matter; your day essentially becomes one long workout, as you run up and down stairs approximately once every three minutes, lift your baby (arms!), walk about seven miles to try and persuade it to nap, and generally never sit down. Unless you’re breastfeeding, in which case you’re burning even more calories just sitting there. Bottle feeding? Fear not; you’re still essentially doing half an hour of bicep curls.
4) Purely cosmetic
Man, there are a *lot* of toiletries for babies. Bath stuff, moisturisers, oils, shampoos… All of them smell glorious. It’s pretty likely you’ll accumulate a tonne, through pre-baby shopping, baby shower gifts and now-the-baby-is-here gifts. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance all the lovely products will make your baby’s skin all dry and flaky, and nobody wants an unattractive baby. So you end up using them yourself, which makes you smell great and means you don’t need to go to Boots for, like, ever. Also, you’ll never run out of cotton wool again, which anyone who wears eye make up couldn’t help but appreciate.
5) Career change
If I decide to give up PR and steal for a living, I will be awesome at it. Because nobody can move silently through a house like a person who just got a baby to sleep. I’m also great at ducking out of sight super quickly, because if a half-awake baby catches you backing slowly away from its Moses basket, it immediately becomes a fully awake baby, all coos and big, bright busy-baby eyes, even though what it actually needs, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, is a nap.
6) Germ warfare
I didn’t think this would be much of a benefit, but I’ve become that person who always has hand gel. I thought it was pretty dorky until I was at the doctors the other day and a teenager came in pale, sweating and clutching a bowl. As the Circle of Safety around him grew, I took out my gel and squeezed a barrier around M and I, a bit like you put salt down to keep slugs away. Well, I put it on our hands. Either way, we didn’t catch Norovirus, so I’m calling it a win.
That’s about it for now, although I’m looking forward to when she moves onto solids so that I can buy rusks. Not for her. Those things are basically just starch and sugar and I don’t want to fill her cute little body with all that rubbish. My body on the other hand, wants the rusks.