When you get a new car, or even an old one, when something goes wrong with it – what’s the first thing you do – reach over to the glovebox and take out the manual right? What happens when you birth a baby – you get a quick check over and sent on your merry way to deal with this non-sleeping little potato.
So, mums and dad’s – here’s my A-Z guide of parenting manual. You’re welcome.
A – Advice. It was a toss up between this and alcohol, in fact some people’s unwelcome advice will more than likely have you reaching for the bottle and then wanting to knock them out with it. Alcohol always helps.
B – BabyTV & Baby groups. Both of which help keep your children entertained whilst also having that wonderful way of increasing that ‘little bit of you dying slowly inside’ feeling as you find yourself clapping along and singing out-of-tune to nursery rhymes that you’re not even sure you know the words to. Also, are baby group leaders trained in a certain way? They’re always so friendly. I often wonder if they go home and pull legs off centipedes or something.
C – Cold Tea. Colic & Calpol. Calpol is the saviour to most things and when it works it’s pinky/purple magic, peace and lower temperatures are usually restored for a while. Parents-to-be or new parents, get used to cold tea; it’s basically on the parenting job description. Quite often newborn babies do this non-stop crying thing just as you want to wind down for the evening, sometimes it can drag on for about three hours and be relentless. This is known as colic and unfortunately Calpol doesn’t solve this ear deafening chorus. Hang tight, it is something that they do eventually grow out of.
D – Dining on chicken nuggets every known and then is OK; ignore what the Daily Mail say and join us slummy mummies who don’t always make food from scratch at every meal time. Drums are never OK, unless you’re attending a birthday party of a child whose parents you’re not too fond of. Dressing kids up in ridiculous outfits is probably one of the best parts of being a parent.
E – Ewan the dream sheep. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably brought one and if you’re a parent-to-be then it’s probably on your ‘to buy’ list. It’s basically a fluffy sheep that costs about 30 quid and pumps out white noise in a quest to get your non-sleeping child to sleep. Hijacking the ‘E’ I actually roadtested a MyHummy and they’re fab!
F – Feeding. Breast or bottle? Rather than open up that boring debate and get the keyboard warriors out again, I wrote about this here. If you follow me, you’ll know I’m a firm believer in fed is best.
G – Gloating parents & Gro clocks. Don’t be a gloating parent. Be a proud parent, but don’t be a gloater. Ever. Especially if your kid abides by the rules of the ‘don’t get out of bed until the gro clock is yellow’. Because most of us have children that don’t take any fucking notice to whether it’s yellow or blue. They just get up. Early.
H – Hangovers with kids are horrendous – but you get through them because you have too. And also going out getting smashed is even better when you’re a parent because more often than not, it’s a treat to escape the absolute little shitbags. Hormones are also shit, especially in the first five days post-baby.
That is actually me. Half naked, nursing a horrendous hangover. With two children gatecrashing my ‘lie-in’.
I – Illness and (shit) Immunity. Your children will get ill often, especially when they enter the deep dark world of childcare. You’ll get used to your child coughing, spluttering, snorting and puking on a regular basis. But – so the story goes, when they get to school they’d have built up a strong immunity to most common illnesses. There’s a win in there somewhere!
J – Jumperoo. That huge contraption that every parent purchases and then brings home to discover that it doesn’t fit through door frames and has your child bouncing like they’re going to enter the Chinese state circus.
K – Kisses make everything better.
L – Lifts. Get used to them, you’ll be queuing at them a lot with a pushchair in tow. So if you’re crazy enough to plan to go shopping with your kids in tow – add on about three additional hours, this should cover the time you spend waiting for lifts whilst silently seething at all the lazy bastards who could walk the stairs, but choose not too.
M – Muslins – probably the best thing ever invented. As is make up, especially under eye make up. M is also for your new name, prepare to be known as no other name than ‘mummy’ and you’ll be called this frequently, with rising tone and volume as the urgency heightens. There are also a type of mum you meet along your parenting journey – don’t be a twat mum.
N – Nursery is bloody expensive. But it’s also fab for a number of reasons; allowing the lovely little darlings to work on their social skills and for us parents to have some time alone. In peace. Or maybe just go to work. Naps – try to get the naptime schedule working around Homes Under the Hammer or Loose Women – works particularly well when you’ve only got one child, so that time is alllll yours.
P – Prosecco, Poo and Parent & Child Parking – Prosecco is better for you than water and you should drink it whenever and whatever the occasion. Poo stinks – it also goes through many stages; newborn poo just like bum gravy with the occasional chicken korma thrown in, the weaning poo gets a bit more textured and then the toddler poo is just like an adults. Same stink, pretty much the same size. Yet you get the pleasure of wiping their bum after it. And don’t even get me started on parent and child parking spaces – they bring out some sort of evil I didn’t know existed within me until I became a parent.
Q – Quiet time – this never happens, but you can dream. It’s not uncommon to find that even when they’ve eventually gone to bed there’s always those ten minutes when you still find yourself watching In The Night Garden, or something similarly trippy.
R – Reflux – now this is a bit of a shitter and if you’re unlucky enough to get one who likes to vomit. I completely feel your pain. Just a little tip – always have a constant supply of muslins and also, never wear black clothing.
S – Sleep deprivation & Sex. You may never want the latter again if you have a child that doesn’t sleep, and even if you do you’ll more than likely get awoken midway through, or wonder if it’s worth using those precious moments for when you could be getting some shut eye.
T – Toilet training, teething & tantrums. Seems like all the best things of parenting begin with a ‘T’ doesn’t it? Basically all of these things are shit and I won’t depress parents-to-be by listing the treats that are in-store with these three beauties.
U – United front. Make sure you and your partner stick together and keep united on the parenting side of things – especially discipline. If one has already said no, make sure the other also backs up that decision. There’s no good cop, bad cop scenario when tantrums are occuring.
V – Vasectomy. Otherwise known as ‘the snip’. If your child doesn’t sleep, has reflux, is shit at toilet training and you never get a hot cup of tea then your other half might want to consider this to prevent you ever going through this misfortune ever again.
W – Weaning and Why? When your child reaches around six months old then you will start the process of giving them bits of food and herein starts the whole debate – do we spoon feed or baby-led wean? We buy all the books – Annabel Karmel and the entire Ella’s Kitchen library stack of recipes, and after mashing a few sweet potatoes and bananas up – we generally just nip to the shop and raid the shelves of Hipp Organic jars or Ella’s very own pouches anyway.
In comparison, weaning is actually a far more pleasant experience than having a threenager who likes to constantly question and ask ‘Why?’, generally at really awkward moments. Why have you got boobies? Why has daddy got a willy? Why is that man fat? Why is that girl being naughty and she’s allowed? Why are we not home yet? whilst I softly mutter to myself ‘Why did I decide to have these kids?‘
X – I’m too tired to even think of an ‘X’, so all I’ll say on this matter is that if you ever get so hungry but the chicken nuggets have run out and you decide to dine on a xylophone than you’ll need an x-ray, but it’ll probably be OK as Doc McStuffin’s is shithot and she can cure everything at check up time.
Y – Yes. When you get the option to do anything that doesn’t involve a child. Always say yes. Time apart keeps you sane.
Z – It’s the trusty zzzz’s that we never get, also known as sleep Also, Z is another really tricky letter to think of a decent word.