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You shall not pass

m swingWay back when I was growing up, kids didn’t need passports until they were 16. I’m not sure exactly what the procedure for taking a child out of the country was, I assume you just scribbled its name on your own passport and nodded assertively when customs asked if it was yours. At some point, someone decided that this made life far too easy for parents and that actually, children did need passports after all. I imagine that person also squeezes toothpaste from the middle, puts toilet roll on the wrong way round and forgets to scrunch down biscuit wrappers so they don’t go soft.

When you decide to get your child a passport, one of the crucial elements is a photo. The rules around passport photos are pretty prescriptive, which is great, because everyone knows how great babies are at following directions.

Normally, my child loves having her photo taken. So naturally, the second we began trying to get a simple face-on head and shoulders shot of her against a plain background, she became hysterical. First she began wailing. Not crying, just going ‘eeuuhhhhh’ at an egregious volume and pitch and contorting her face without producing tears. Clearly, this was not enough of a protest, so she simultaneously relaxed all of her limbs and slithered to the ground like a large, petulant snake. Any attempts to sit her back up were met with increased levels of wailing and flopping, interrupted by furious attempts to speed-crawl across the room and plunge her fingers into an unguarded socket.

After around 7,000 attempts to get the picture and around 7,000 blurred images which would have left CPS wondering exactly how we were torturing our child we decided to come up with a plan B. Having discounted a series or preferable options, including using a picture of a stranger’s baby from the internet and divorcing so we’d never need to go on holiday together again, we hit upon a truly genius solution, used an Iphone to YouTube episodes of Peppa Pig and dangled it in front of her.

Having managed to secure a photo of our daughter beaming, glassy-eyed and positively catatonic with delight, we got the form off so that it can go sit at the bottom of a very large pile of other hard-won baby passport forms.

The unfortunate side effect of our magnificent technique is that the baby has now realised Peppa is not confined at the TV and has taken to seizing smartphones and manically incanting ‘pahpah, pahpah’. Still worth it to end a wresting match akin to trying to dress an angry octopus into a tuxedo.

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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.

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The crying game

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This post is inspired by another blog, which is very funny.

Everyone knows babies cry. Even if you know nothing about babies (and I knew terrifyingly little the day I incorrectly jammed ours into her carseat and drove her home the first time), you know they cry. What’s amusing about babies, in the same way the government’s decision to introduce the bedroom tax is amusing, is the enormous range of reasons they cry. It’s as though there was a conference to which all babies were invited, where they decided it was important that at least once per day they cry for long enough to convince you they might be about to die.

I’m lucky, as M isn’t really too bad when it comes to crying. She’s actually pretty upbeat. However, when she does cry it still feels a bit like a teeny tiny siren screaming ‘you’re the worst parent EVER’ over and over again.

To try and make it feel slightly less like a form of loud, slow torture, I sometimes commit to memory some of M’s sillier reasons for having a meltdown. And so, here is a list of things which have made my baby cry in the past week or so:

*I changed her nappy
*I would not let her put a used nappy in her mouth
*I dressed her in a snowsuit (because it was around two degrees outside)
*I put her in the Jumperoo
*I took her out of the Jumperoo
*I would not let her put her hands in poo
*I put her in her carseat (correctly)
*the dog barked
*She latched onto my upper arm and it did not dispense any milk
*I dressed her
*I undressed her
*I wouldn’t let her pinch her own thighs
*She needed a nap
*She did not want a nap
*She apparently just felt like a cry
*I stopped singing ‘Wind the Bobbin up’
*She finished her banana
*I wouldn’t let her tear the paper animals out of ‘Dear Zoo’
*I left her with the dog while I went to have a quiet cup of tea and watch Homes Under the Hammer
*Just kidding.

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Two little lines

IMG_1106_2It was almost exactly a year ago that I discovered I was going to have a baby – the ball of cells that was frantically multiplying in my womb 12 months ago is now an actual, tiny, life-altering person. It still blows my mind that I grew her inside me from sex and food. Mainly trifle.

I got married in August 2011, started a new job in July 2012, and knew exactly when I wanted to start trying to get pregnant: December 2013. If you’re astute, you’ll have noticed it is August 2013, and I just said in the last paragraph that I already have a baby. It turns out that you can say ‘but it’s not possible to get pregnant the day after your period’ all you like; it won’t make it true.

It occurred to me one day at work – this would be at work at my new job, the one I’d had a handful of weeks – that my period was late. Two weeks late. Well, obviously, I thought to myself. I mean, starting a new job is a big deal. Clearly the stress has affected my cycle. That’s a thing right? But just to be sure I decided I’d buy a test on the way home. That way, I could relax and do things like drink cocktails and operate heavy machinery with impunity.

I picked up a bargain two pack of tests, along with a bottle of wine for later, went home, and tried to minimise the amount of wee I got on my hand. The box said I’d get a result within three minutes, but there were already two lines in the window by the time I went to put the cap on. Which was weird, because the box said two lines meant pregnant. Hm, I thought, the test is probably faulty. A little while later, I took the second test; equally faulty. So, wine still unopened, the husband and I trailed back to the shop for a proper pregnancy test. A short time later, having urinated on my own hand for the third time in one evening, I was holding a little stick with the word pregnant on it. Well, I thought to myself, either there’s a particularly cruel saboteur working at the pregnancy test factory, or I’m about to get a lot fatter.

Fortunately, our baby was a wonderful surprise. Better than the time my parents got my brother and I a Gameboy for literally no reason. Well, at least as good as that. The baby – Martha Ottilie – is now 14-weeks-old and an actual tiny person with likes (milk, pulling her daddy’s hair, experimenting with how loud she can cry) and dislikes (grown-ups eating a meal with both hands, tummy time, napping at convenient times).

I’ll be using this blog to write about everything from being showered with poo (the baby’s, guys, it’s not that kind of blog), to parenting issues. Stick with me; it might get better.