I shared a previous post about the things that you start to say when you have a baby that fall outside of social etiquette and I promised a few other similar blogs.
The second part to this is the things that you do that cause you to pause and either hang your head in defeat or laugh (I mostly choose to laugh because otherwise I’d be a wreck).
Here are a few things that are now standard in my life as the Mum of a newborn that have made me realise being a Mum is not too dissimilar to being crazy:
- Bum sniffing – I don’t know when or how it happened but somewhere along the line (I think maybe it’s like a chemical change in your brain when you give birth), I became one of those Mums that sniffs their baby’s bottom to work out whether they have pooed. It is actually both necessary and convenient. Why bother removing clothes until you know for definite when you already have them on and off about 19,000 times a day anyway and the baby cries every time? Although half the time I don’t even need to sniff to know when he has pooed really. Aside from the fact that most of the time this boy’s poos are so loud they could wake up a village in the outer Hebrides, I have developed a superhuman sixth sense which means I can sniff out his number twos (wees as well) in a four mile radius. Unfortunately this new ‘power’ isn’t glamorous enough to be considered a superhero! Half the time I’m actually sniffing more to prove to my husband that he genuinely has pooed again (really I’m not sure it’s normal for babies to go this often) or to be polite in front of other people (better to go “hmmm has he pooed, I wonder?” than “omg he’s crapped again I can smell it from here!” and for the company you keep to politely go along with the charade because presumably they can smell it too).
- Singing loud for all to hear – unfortunately not just a quote from Elf. Singing apparently seems to calm my baby boy down. Sometimes. If he feels like it. It’s 50/50 and could go either way really. But you cling to the hope that it might stop the screaming and sing every song you can think of, usually at the top of your voice to try and balance out the crying. To start off with it was the latest chart songs (I particularly rocked Justin Bieber Sorry and 1D History – no really, I don’t have any shame) but as time went on and I had no time for the radio and knew fewer and fewer songs, it has gradually evolved into EVERY NURSERY RHYME ON THE PLANET. I had forgotten how many there are but there are basically six or seven melodies and about 40 million possible rhymes for each one. And I don’t just sing them quietly – I belt them out like a drunk in a karaoke bar (and I should know – this used to be a pastime of mine PB). What’s more, I create dance moves, actions and faces for each of them too. And the repetition is unreal – I use the same ones again and again and again. I’m like a one woman stage show for infants. You might well think what you do in the privacy of your own home, but it’s not just there; it’s in the car, it’s walking in the street with the pram, it’s in the doctor’s waiting room; it’s bloody everywhere he cries, which is (er let me see) everywhere!! And I’m not content with the millions of established nursery rhymes – I’m even starting to make some up of my own. To the extent that now I sometimes have songs stuck in my head which are just the shit I am singing to him and I hum them to myself while I’m cleaning the toilet and in the shower. This can’t be normal?
- Rocking – in any other circumstance this amount of rocking would be a sign of insanity. But with a baby it seems to be part of the ride. Rocking to sleep, to ease crying, to wind, while singing (see above). Occasionally the rocking is accompanied by marching to the beat of Nelly the Elephant. And it’s not just rocking the baby – even if the baby is asleep in his crib I’ll be rocking while I’m just stood talking to my husband. Essentially what I’m telling you is that I am rocking and singing songs I’ve made up at the top of my voice in the street. And that it’s apparently not crazy…
- If you’re happy and you know it kiss the toes – in my life PB other people’s feet were a no-no. I couldn’t even look at another person’s feet without feeling sick, let alone touch them. But with my baby I’m completely addicted. I can’t stop kissing his toes! They were just so tiny and cute to start off with and then I realised how much he liked it and he laughed and smiled while I tickled and kissed them, which spurred me on. Like me, he always has cold feet but lately they’ve started to become cold and clammy. But weirdly I’m undeterred and the kissing continues. As much as I’d love him to stay a baby forever, one day he will be a sweaty teenager and it’s probably going to have to stop but for the time being I’ll be playing This Little Piggy with them on repeat (at the top of my voice while rocking probably).
- Creeping around – I never knew how noisy my house was until I had a baby. While I was pregnant I vowed I would make lots of noise while the baby slept to make sure he was a good sleeper like me (my Mum used to hoover in my bedroom after I went to sleep). Then he arrived. And I was just so desperate for him to stay asleep I promptly forgot my vow and turned the house into a library. Unfortunately my house has other ideas. Every door in this place squeaks, the floorboards settle and make noise even when nobody is moving and my husband is incapable of just sitting still without rustling something. I now walk around in exaggerated tip-toeing motions (like a cartoon), try to get through doorways without opening doors any further Mission Inpossible-style and practically commando roll to get out of rooms. I genuinely jump if something I touch makes a noise. This video should give you a flavour.* I’ve identified noisy things and have even debated whether I actually really need the toilet in case the flushing or tap running wakes him up. I’ll bend next to the crib with one arm underneath the baby for half an hour, gradually moving it out like a tablecloth under a glass, or this morning I was trapped on the bed for an hour with him asleep on me, mopping up sick with my pjs because if I moved to get a cloth he’d wake up.
- All kinds of yuck – my standards have significantly deteriorated since becoming a Mum. Gone are the days of pristine hair and make up and hello to baby sick that you just can’t be arsed to wipe off or change out of because you know there will be more on the way. I’ve gone from ironing bedsheets to only changing them when the baby sick hits the inside of the sheets rather than just the top of the duvet. I voluntarily pick bogies out of my son’s nose, bite his nails off and use my spit to clean his face just before going into the clinic so they don’t think I’ve forgotten to wash his face. And cleaning generally has gone from clean to ‘that’ll do’.
What else have other Mums started doing that’s socially unacceptable in other circumstances?
*thank you to Small Steps Magazine