Babies are brilliant - ah, those tiny kissable toes - but they also turn you bonkers. I’ve got three and I’m currently slap bang in the middle of the particular bonkers part of babyhood wherein I find myself resorting to desperate measures just to get my little darling to co-operate on daily basics like sleeping and eating. I bet you could add a few of your own to this list…
The arms-to-cot stealth manoeuvre
Your baby f-i-n-a-l-l-y settles to sleep in your arms after what felt like hours of rocking and pacing, but your overwhelming feeling isn’t deep joy at cradling your sleeping beauty, but a panic attack about how to move them to the cot so that you can attend to the pressing matter of mopping the floor / having a wee / drinking a cup of hot tea with your feet up while you read a trashy magazine* (Delete as appropriate.)
Your heart rate quickens. You start to sweat. You tiptoe towards the cot, begging for a miracle and vowing never to eat the children’s leftovers again if your prayer gets answered. And - POP! - your baby’s eyelids ping open like a Tiny Tears doll the second their head touches the cot mattress. Happens every single time.
Desperate singing in a faux cheery voice
It starts with Twinkle Twinkle in a faintly needy tone of voice when they’re a few days old and it doesn’t really ever stop until they’re teenagers. (You know all the words to Let It Go? I rest my case.) We all thought we’d be singing soothing lullabies to our babies at bedtime and maybe indulging in a rousing family chorus of The Wheels On The Bus on long car journeys. But in reality we’ve forgotten all the words and end up singing ‘Oh sweet mercy please just go the beep to sleeeeep’ to the tune of a medley of nursery rhymes instead.
Pretending a spoon full of peas is a train going through a tunnel
You’ve slaved over a hot stove cooking an organic home-cooked meal from scratch for your baby, who clamps her mouth shut and tips the bowl upside down on top of her head the second you present it to her.
You’ll tentatively offer a toy as a means distraction while you attempt to coax the food into her mouth. Heck, you’ll even plonk her in front of CBeebies if that’s what it takes to smuggle some food in while she’s not paying attention. And yes, one day you will even find yourself waving a spoon in the air with a frenzied look in your eyes, pretending it’s a vehicle about to enter a tunnel.
Unless you’re following baby-led weaning. Then you’ll just prepare the food and hand it over hopefully whilst trying not to weep when several pounds’ worth of organic mango gets smooshed all over the high chair.
Playing the most unconvincing game of let’s pretend
“Yum, num, num” you’ll say in a cheery (yet utterly unconvincing voice) whilst licking your lips and pretending to gobble up spoonful of baby food that resembles tinned cat food and doesn’t taste much better. Your baby will giggle just to be polite and then go back to clamping her mouth shut and wondering how the hell to get out of that highchair and away from the crazy person.
Showing them how to crawl… aka making an absolute twit of yourself
We all hate to think of our babies not meeting certain milestones, but when your little darling is the last of her mates to show any interest in crawling, it takes nerves of steel not to muscle in and attempt to show her how it’s done. As ever, she’ll appear to pay close attention and will smile and even clap to encourage you in your lunacy but she won’t actually oblige with the crawling. Until one day when you’re somewhere utterly unsuitable for crawling babies, at which point she’ll set off like lightening as if this is the very moment she’s been waiting for.