Why Mummy shouldn’t bother

Mummy: Look darling, a house and garden full of fascinating and stimulating fun things to do! Won’t you come and play with Mummy? We can sing songs! We can messy play! We can use your expensive toys to develop your fine motor skills! We can, we can…

Rebel Baby: Woah… laundry.

Daddy: Don’t post that photo, it makes us look impoverished.


Being Mum and Dad

Mummy and Daddy are watching Rio Ferdinand’s documentary Being Mum and Dad. Mummy is ploughing through the Kleenex in floods of tears. Daddy is pretending to be fine until Rio says it’s OK for men to cry. If a footballer says it, it must be true. Rio’s kids are putting memories of their mum in a jar.

“If I die, you must do this with the baby,” sobs Mummy.

“You can’t die,” says Daddy, “I couldn’t cope. In fact, you should probably not leave the house anymore, just to keep safe.”

“Rio’s wife had cancer,” points out Mummy, “you can get that indoors.”

“Oh no!” says Daddy. Mummy starts listing all the things Daddy needs to know and do if she dies… Mummy is proactive in the face of adversity.

“Stop! Stop!” says Daddy. “I cannot remember all these things. You are just not to die.”

There is a pause. Rio is being Mum and Dad and an international superstar footballing legend. He is on a plane to somewhere exotic, looking like a million dollars and phoning to check his kids have done their homework. He talks about how much he has to learn now he is Mum and Dad. Today, Mummy didn’t even manage to get the laundry in before it rained and that was literally the only thing she had to remember to do today. Mummy is not Rio.

“I want to go and cuddle The Baby now,” says Daddy when it finishes.  The Baby is asleep in her cot. Suddenly Mummy is on high alert, for Daddy does not always respect the sanctity of baby sleep and delicate balance of factors which achieve it.

“You will not touch The Baby,” says Mummy, “she is sleeping.” Daddy sulks a little. He thinks about Rio’s wife, who seemed much nicer and more fun than Mummy.

“I will look at The Baby?” says Daddy uncertainly. Mummy considers this for a moment. It was a very sad and moving documentary.

“You may look at The Baby,” says Mummy generously, “but you will not make any noise that will wake The Baby.”

Mummy goes upstairs to brush her teeth and Daddy goes to look at The Baby. Suddenly, Mummy hears an almighty thud. She goes to the nursery to see what has occurred.

Daddy has hit the deck and is lying flat on his stomach in the dark beside the cot. The Baby is stirring.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhh!” hisses Daddy, gesturing at Mummy not to enter.

“What did you do?!” mouths Mummy back. The Baby is rubbing her little eyes as if she might wake up.

“I just looked at her!” says Daddy almost completely inaudibly – quite a skill, Mummy observes.

Mummy looks at The Baby who is mumbling and threatening to wake.

“You looked at her wrong!” says Mummy. Daddy frowns. Until now, Daddy did not know there was a wrong way to look at a sleeping baby. He has much to learn. This must be what Rio was talking about, thinks Mummy.  It takes Daddy several minutes of hiding in the dark before he plucks up the courage to crawl out of the nursery – a very funny sight. Mummy is filled with love and thanks for Daddy and The Baby.

Being Mum and Dad must be the hardest thing in the world, thinks Mummy.

Stupid Mummy, stupid Mummy…

Until now, Mummy has enjoyed bathing the little one in her darling little baby bath on the bathroom floor, playing with the little ducks and bubbles. But stupid, stupid Mummy, in her quest to provide The Baby with a variety of stimulating life experiences that contribute to her overall good development, thought it would be a good idea to take her swimming. Swimming! Where the nice instructor encourages the babies to kick their legs and splash their arms.

“Kick! Kick! Kick!” chants the instructor as she follows the babies around the pool. Kick, kick, kick goes Rebel Baby and Mummy is oh-so-proud.

“Splash! Splash! Splash!” commands the instructor and splash, splash, splash goes Rebel Baby, and Mummy beams with delight. Mummy thinks how clever her darling one is for how well she kicks and splashes… IN THE POOL.

What Mummy had not banked on was Rebel Baby assuming this is what Mummy wants her to do every time she gets within sniffing distance of an inch of water. Now, even as Mummy is lowering The Baby towards the bath, her legs are pedalling nineteen to the dozen and her frantic arms are waving manically.  She is barely in the bath for five seconds before water is being enthusiastically sloshed all over Mummy, all over the floor, the dry towels, the dry clothes, the walls and windows… Mummy may as well have got into the bath fully clothed given the state of her.

Rebel Baby is grinning up at Mummy proudly, knowing how pleased her splashing and kicking makes her. IN THE POOL. Mummy is not smiling, Mummy is frowning. I must not be doing it enough, thinks Rebel Baby, and renews her efforts with bigger splashes and jubilant shouting, lest her efforts go unnoticed. She gurns her toothless little grin at Mummy, looking for praise. Mummy is not smiling. She is crying a little bit inside.

Mummy is forced to relocate RB to the big bath – which is excessively large for one so small but at least contains most of the fall-out. There she sits in a few remaining inches of tepid water while Mummy takes a mop to the bathroom floor, cursing the swimming lessons and cursing The Baby.

RB goes strangely quiet, sensing something has changed. She surveys the high walls and the protective shower screen. Mummy is concerned she is contemplating how to overcome them…

You want me to splash over this one now?

Wakey wakey!

It is Mummy’s first Mothers’ Day and by some cruel twist of fate, the powers that be decided that it would be a laugh to set the clocks forwards an hour, depriving Mummy of her precious and much-needed sleep. Nobody informed Rebel Baby of the clock change, nor of the time-honoured tradition of Mummies getting a cup of tea in bed and a lie-in on Mothers’ Day. No, RB greeted the day with her usual volume and jubilance, at least an hour – but probably three – earlier than was necessarily welcome.  Mummy did attempt to use the occasion to boot Daddy in the side, mumbling, “It’s your turn.” But Daddy functions not at all at such a time of day and managed as much as stumbling bleary-eyed into the nursery and back, depositing the leaking infant on Mummy as he returned. Mummy therefore is starting her first Mothers’ Day at 5-something a.m. “real time” with a leaking nappy, a mug of sorry-we’ve-only-got-decaf, and a pile of last night’s washing up. Perfect.

Oh no you don’t…

Rebel Baby’s time in Mummy’s good books has been short lived, for when Mummy put the precious one down for her post-luncheon snooze and tiptoed out of the room just now, Mummy did hear unusual snaffling and snuffling noises from the cot, which aroused great suspicion. Upon investigation, it transpired that Rebel Baby had somehow secreted a carrot stick about her person – likely up her sleeve – which she then produced in the cot and proceeded to have a good ol’ munch on.

“I think not!” gasped Mummy, swiping it from her clutches. Mummy has enough trouble getting carrot stains out of every sodding item of clothing The Baby owns, she does not need it on the bedsheets as well. And if Mummy’s not allowed to spend the afternoon in bed eating snacks, neither is RB. End of.

Rebel Baby is now sulking herself to sleep.


Double-edged sword

High-fives to Rebel Baby this morning who has slept through the night! She is celebrating with a fantastic bed-head hairdo and extra giggles.  In fact so refreshed is she that up she springs as soon as day breaks, with super-early wide-eyed excitement. She sees no reason to nap this morning, having tanked up on enough sleep to see her through the next twelve hours easy-peasily. Much energy has she, and much attention and entertainment does she require in order to channel it. And so hungry is she, having missed her midnight feasts. No breaks for Mummy today, only eat-play-eat-play-eat-play! It is a double-edged sword, this sleeping through business.  Maybe tonight Mummy will sneak in and give her a little poke around midnight… just to remind her who’s in charge.


Shady business

Mummy may have got a little over-excited about the promise of spring yesterday and rushed out to buy immediately a stylish and trendy sunhat, lest the precious one overheat in the thirty seconds of glorious sunshine. And, just to be on the safe side, Mummy may have also ordered a pop-up garden baby sunshade from Amazon, anticipating lovely sunny days in the garden playing with The Baby.

Rebel Baby would not wear her sunhat in the sun yesterday – she liked to feel the hot sun, warm and lovely, on the top of her head and in her eyes. She liked to squint directly at it, wondering what the blinding and brilliant light in the sky could possibly be, despite Mummy’s warnings about damaging her eyes and repeated attempts to force the newly-purchased safety hat upon her to no avail.

Thanks to this great expenditure, it is of course entirely Mummy’s fault that the weather is now resolutely grey and gloomy, and set to remain so for some time. Mummy apologises for this. Rebel Baby, however, has decided that now the sunhat is her favourite thing in the world. She must wear it at all times. Indoors. In the shade. She has had in on since breakfast and cries every time Mummy tries to take it off, grabbing it firmly to her head in protest. Weirdo.

When you’ve inherited your Grandad’s ears, hats are a good move

Battles at midnight

It is a mere few weeks before Mummy must return to work, about which Mummy is both unbelievably sad and deliriously happy. She has decided, however, that the current wake-up-three-times-for-a-meal-in-the-night situation is totally incompatible with a 6:00 am start and full working day, so is taking matters into her own hands. Rebel Baby is not delighted about Mummy’s new venture, accustomed as she is to a midnight feast whenever she feels like it. Rebel Baby is going to fight Mummy every step of the way, determined that her love of eating will prevail. But Mummy is the one with the boobs and Mummy will win. Eventually.

Wanting to be fully prepared for her win, Mummy has naturally spent at least a week Googling night-weaning and reading every possible piece of advice on the matter. It seems the advice ranges from “…just stop feeding them in the night – they will quickly understand and immediately comply,” to “…denying a night feed would be to neglect their most basic and essential need, causing untold distress and everlasting brain damage – it is akin to child abuse.” Marvellous.

Mummy decides the 3:00 am feed will be the first to go, as this is when Mummy most despises being dragged from her bed to sit upright in a dimly lit room with tiny, cold hands down her pyjama top. She begins by making sure The Baby has  had an absolutely enormous dinner with extra helpings and pudding, followed by a good long bedtime feed and another one when Mummy goes to bed. So far so good, thinks Mummy.

The know-it-all baby website tells Mummy that when The Baby wakes up, she should replace a breastfeed with water in a bottle. This will momentarily satisfy The Baby without providing energy, meaning she eats more the next day which will last her through the night. A wonderfully simple and logical solution, thinks Mummy. In order to trick The Baby into taking the cold, hard bottle of water over a soft, warm drink of milk, Mummy should find a nice soft comforter for The Baby and make it smell of her, so she can leave The Baby with it in the cot and minimise sleep disruption.  So – and only because it is what the website told her to do, not because she is weird – Mummy spends the next twenty four hours with a stuffed rabbit down her bra to ensure it collects enough residual boob sweat, hobnob crumbs and stale baby-sick to become a convincing substitute for actual Mummy. The poor rabbit emerges from its ordeal looking rather worse for wear and wondering what on earth it did to Mummy to be chosen for such an unpleasant role.

3:00 am comes and The Baby is awake. Mummy stealthily tiptoes into the nursery, armed with the bottle and Boob-sweat Bunny. The bunny is well-received: RB snuggles willingly into its soft fur, stroking the ear against her cheek. So far so good, thinks Mummy. But she is not satisfied, and continues to stir. Now, she is sleepily searching for food, smacking her greedy little lips and making disgruntled sucking noises into the air. Mummy gently slips in the teat of the bottle….

NOT OK! NOT OK! Rebel Baby’s eyes shoot open angrily and she stares directly at Mummy, swiping away the bottle with one decisive stroke. “Rah!” shouts Rebel Baby, clearly insulted by the attempt.

“Try the bottle darling,” coos Mummy, making a futile attempt to persuade it into her mouth.

“Raaaaah!” shouts Rebel Baby, expertly batting it away. She points at Mummy’s boobs with her stretchy, reachy fingers. “Raaaah!” she shouts quite purposefully. “Raaaah! Raaaah! Raaaah!” There is no mistaking her meaning as she grabs at Mummy, opening and closing her mouth, her angry eyebrows furrowed in disbelief at Mummy’s stupidity.

“Just a little bit of water?” cajoles Mummy sleepily, wishing now that she had come up with a Plan B as Plan A seems to be failing monumentally. Eventually, after giving in and taking The Baby out of the cot, Mummy persuades her – very much against her will – to accept the water. RB then spends the next hour letting Mummy know, from the next room, that the water was entirely unsatisfactory and that RB has not forgotten about it. When The Baby eventually falls asleep, Mummy is unnecessarily awake for the next two hours, mulling over a better approach and Googling alternative strategies. The Baby, meanwhile, is snoozing away happily in the knowledge that her point was well made.

Just to be sure Mummy has got the message, Rebel Baby wakes up at the crack of dawn, scowling and demanding milk. Mummy is too weak to refuse. If sleep deprivation is a form of torture, Rebel Baby is the Gestapo.  She is still clutching Boob-sweat Bunny though, so maybe it’s a start…

Daddy’s girl

When your Daddy is a hacker it should really be in your genes to crack the password to Mummy’s laptop. RB has been at it for some time. It seems she is using a non-systematic version of the ‘Brute Force’ technique, though Mummy has explained that hitting the keyboard harder does not increase your chance of entry. Luckily, she seems happy enough with the nice smashy noise it makes on the keyboard and isn’t too bothered about gaining access for now. Hopefully the computer will survive her brute force, or Mummy is going to be in trouble with Daddy. Again.

Rhyme Time

Today, Mummy has brought The Baby to Rhyme Time at the library, for Mummy cares greatly about the little one’s linguistic development. RB loves Rhyme Time. She loves the songs and poems, and the bouncing up and down. She loves the rattle and shakers and jingly bells. She especially loves the puppets and all the silly voices they do. She loves it very very much.

Occasionally – just occasionally – there is a pause of about 3-5 seconds in between rhymes, while the nice librarians change over the posters with the words on or get a different puppet out for the next song. Rebel Baby would like everyone in the library to know that she finds this COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. She disapproves greatly of any delays or interruptions to her rhyming fun, and likes to say so loudly with the assistance of maracas. In fact, the thing she disapproves of most of all – the thing which makes her very very angry – is Rhyme Time EVER STOPPING.

Mummy has stern words with Rebel Baby all the way home about her behaviour. The face says it all: