Having a new baby - Being a first time parent
No, this isn’t a big announcement about an impending arrival. Merely what it’s like as a first time parent.
So your new baby is here. You’re a first-time parent, and you’ve never been so scared in your life.
From the age of 18, your greatest fear has always been running out of money in the pub. Now, your greatest fear is running out of milk in the night.
There’s no doubt that, as a first-time father, you will have been to Parentcraft classes. You know the ones, a tiny room, barely large enough for a small primary school class, crammed with 14 pregnant women and their birth-partners, half of whom do as they’re told, the majority of the remainder sitting patiently and asking sensible questions.
Oh, and that one woman who, though she is only 12 weeks pregnant with her first child, thinks that because she’s read a Dr Miriam Stoppard book on babies, she is now Baby-Guru, and that the other mere mortals in the room, including the midwives, should bow down to her immense knowledge.
Not to mention her husband, (who we shall call David), who reminds you of a cross between Walter the Softie from the Beano and Rodney Trotter. He always does what Baby-Guru says.
“We decided that we wanted a Christmas baby, didn’t we David?”
“Because Dr. Miriam says that conception is best achieved when both partners are on a natural high, isn’t that right David?”
“And David was full of endorphins rushing to his brain, weren’t you dear?”
“Well, Barbarella had just finished on the Sci-Fi channel, and as there had been a double episode of Star Trek shown before that on Sky One, well, David just couldn’t control himself, could you dear?”
And so it goes on.
Being a first-time parent makes you think in ways that you had never done before.
That new pub in the middle of town that you referred to, less than a year ago, as “wicked”, is now “badly designed” as it doesn’t allow kids.
The sleek sports car that you’ve been saving up for for years? You’re now putting the money towards a family-friendly saloon.
You also have to deal with NPFs – Non-Parenting Friends – your former best mates who, despite their affection for you and your newborn, just have no interest in babies whatsoever.
Very similar to yourself about a year ago in fact.
These are the type of people who, as a present to your new baby, will offer a toy three times the size of the infant. These are the same people who obviously think that Baby Gap is the volume of time parents have between having Kid 1 and Kid 2, and not a fashion outlet for kids.
Still a friend is a friend, and it’s these people who will point out the positive side of your child.
You’ve been up all night due to a baby who didn’t want to sleep? Yes, you look like you have the hangover from Hell, but ahhh, bless, doesn’t baby look lovely and peaceful now?
It’s no use pointing out that you’d look lovely and peaceful if you could sleep during the day, and rely on others to feed, clothe, wash and change you!
Your baby wakes up with bad wind? Your heart will sink at the obvious pain your little one is in, which you can tell by the kicking of the arms and legs. Your friend will point out that the kicking and thrashing about that junior is doing is what, in 16 years time, will be done again and called dancing, and that you won’t understand it then either!
My point is that a new baby will make your friends attitudes change towards you.
No longer will you make an appearance every night at the pub and be the fashion-sporting cool dude they all once knew. Now you’ll be the guy putting in an appearance every six months, when time allows, sporting patches of baby sick and talcum powder marks over your trousers.
Now you’ll be the guy putting in an appearance every six months, when time allows, sporting patches of baby sick and talcum powder marks over your trousers.
Yet your friends will be the ones to pick you up, and take you away from the baby-revolving world that you have become adjusted to.
They may also be the ones to save you from insanity when the baby is trying to break the world screaming record, so make sure, come Hell or high water, you keep your close friends close.
You’ll need them!
Taken from an article I wrote for another website in 2002.