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Things I have learned in my baby’s first year

mooTwelve months is a strangely flexible amount of time. It’s one fifth the amount of time I once accidentally paid for mobile phone insurance for a phone I no longer had. It’s around 24 times longer than a packet of hairgrips lasts before somehow evaporating forever. The twelve months my baby has been alive seem to have simultaneously passed in the amount of time it takes to say ‘didn’t I just buy hairgrips?’ and the amount of time it appeared to take your mum to have a conversation with a friend she met in the street when you were a small child.

Sometimes I miss the floppy, squidgy, dependent newborn stage. Always, I’m delighted by M doing something new. In the past week alone she had stood unaided, said ‘ball’ for the first time, started making kissy noises and learned to imitate monkey sounds. All extremely valuable skills which will serve her well as an adult.

I’ve learned a lot in the past year. Some I’ve retained. Most will terrify me with a fresh and vigorous terror whenever we have a second child.

Here, in a list sure to be essential reading for all new parents, are some of the things I’ve discovered since my husband and I first looked down at our freshly minted child and wondered how the fuck we were supposed to buckle it into its car seat.

*You can clean pretty much anything with baby wipes. The baby, the floor, the highchair, yourself, the packet the baby wipes come in that is somehow permanently sticky
*Someone needs to invent a range of baby toys that look like channel changers, small rocks, things that fell off the dog, carpet fluff, coal and bank statements. Because fuck the brightly coloured wooden shit you bought; this is the stuff your kid really wants to play with
*You’ll waste a lot of time worrying. But your kid will probably be fine. It was only a small rock it just swallowed after all. Really though, if you break your own ‘no sugar before two’ rule, nobody will die
*You won’t get everything right. But that’s fine. And how were you supposed to know your kid would choose the precise moment you took your eyes off it to get your iPhone to learn how to roll twice in a row and tip itself off the sofa?
*No matter how stupid you think the thing you’re googling is, enough people will have previously googled it for it to autocomplete
* Someone will always think you’re doing it wrong. That’s alright though. Because there are lots of ways to do a good job of being a parent but your way is the best way and everyone else is going to break their kid
*You might not always meet your own expectations, but your baby probably won’t explode because one time, when you were so tired you stood in front of the dishwasher for ten minutes looking for the ‘defrost’ function, you decided to give it an Ella’s Kitchen pouch and a handful of Cheerios for dinner and let it watch Peppa Pig
*Just when you think you can’t possibly love your child more, it will wrap its arms round your neck , tilt its face up for a kiss, say a new word, drift off to sleep in your arms or do something else so overwhelmingly adorable that you realise the amount you loved it up to this moment was woefully inadequate.

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Whole lotta precious time

MpartyIt’s been a while since I blogged. So long, that it’s now only three days until Baby M’s first birthday, which means that I have somehow kept her alive for 162 days, despite knowing terrifyingly little about baby-rearing. This is partly because since my child developed the skill of independent movement I mainly spend my time chasing her around and removing from her hands and mouth things which have the power to kill her. Because apparently strawberries are revolting and the appropriate reaction is to throw them indignantly to the ground, but anything that falls off the dog is an unparalleled delicacy.

When I’m not yanking knives from her grasp and Googling ‘is it ok if your baby just drank a little bit of bleach’, I’m usually either at work, at Tesco, or thinking about what I need to buy from Tesco. So blogging has sort of slipped off the radar for a while. However, I realised the other day that the only creative thing I’ve done in the past six months was a fairly appalling drawing of Peppa Pig, which I sketched out absent-mindedly while the baby chewed through the wax crayons I wasn’t using.

By way of a catch-up, here is a quick rundown of some of the things that have happened since I last posted.

*I went back to work, and the baby did not forget who I was
*She had her first Christmas and ate an appropriate amount of wrapping paper, tinsel and pine needles
*We are still breastfeeding despite the fact she has five teeth, which is a clear sign I must secretly hate myself
*The baby started saying words. Mumma, dada, woof and bear were quickly followed by ‘Peppa’, which makes me glad I don’t to to baby groups any more and run the risk of having clearly flouted the ‘no screen-time before age two’ rule, making me an embarrassment to parenthood
*Real meals replaced milk, and it became clear that people were not just playing some awful joke when they said things like ‘you will miss the smell of baby poo’
*A health visitor told me my baby is too small and that I should stop breastfeeding and give her custard. It’s ok, she’s dead now
*The baby did not magically potty train herself in the night no matter how hard I wished
* I realised that the teeny, tiny blender I bought for weaning, which could hold approximately half a small carrot, was actually the most pointless thing I ever parted with money for while sober
*The baby continued to sleep 12 straight hours pretty much every night. Please nobody send me faeces in the post.

Hopefully my next update will be a bit more timely.