Monthly Archives

February 2016

12 unexpected joys of new motherhood

1. Pyjamas
I have lived in pyjamas since Herbie was born, and I love it. To the point where I feel overdressed in leggings. To the point where I am considering having “day pyjamas” and “night pyjamas”. To the point where, when Herbie eventually goes to nursery and I have to wear human clothes again, I’ll probably need therapy. Because pyjamas are comfortable, forgiving on a biscuit-filled belly, and SO easy to breastfeed in. Sitting in the bay window. Which juts out onto the street. Hey, I wonder why those Mormons never came back.

2. I feel more at home in Starbucks
No longer am I the lone weirdo with a soy latte and a laptop. Now I am the neglectful parent with a soy latte and a laptop.

3. Watching Herbie change
Every day, he wakes up a new and slightly different person. He has Stu’s colouring and my face, and he shouts “OLLY GOLLY GOCK!” at anything that moves. His eyes are perfect in ways I can’t describe. His mouth makes me want to cry, for reasons I don’t understand. His feet are tiny and fat and edible. I see my husband’s grin ripple across his features when he’s happy, while in the evening, my own grandmother’s crumpled sleepy smile emerges. When he is older he will ask me why I stare at him so much, and I won’t know what to say.

4. Naps
“Don’t let your baby sleep in your bed,” they told me. “You’ll never get a full night’s sleep,” they told me. Well, HA! In your face, THEM. Now that I’m an (almost) full-time mother I get to spend the odd afternoon curled up around Herbie, making up my sleep deficit. It’s basically like cuddling a hot water bottle that squeaks and giggles in its dreams.

5. Netflix

The comfiest way to watch Making a Murderer.

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

6. No one expects me to go anywhere
When I was young, my favourite part of staying out all night and doing dubious things was the 6am retreat, when we’d all pile into someone’s house, pupils the size of saucers, to get comfy and drink tea. Similarly, when I used to go out to pubs and parties and drink so much that my stomach burned, my favourite part was the next day’s hangover, when I’d spend the day under a duvet with my flatmate watching movies, eating carbs and gently snoozing. Now, that’s how I spend most of my non-work, non-active parenting time, because I live 90 minutes away from all my friends. And, although I miss them awfully, notice how I’m not complaining.

7. I get extra potassium in my diet
Because Herbie gets bored after a half a banana.

8. Dressing my son up like a tiny haberdashery
Right now Herbie is wearing grey leggings with Dia de los Muertos skulls on them, a raglan T-shirt, a stripy cardigan with Fairisle-patterned pockets, and a bib covered in Russian dolls. And a trapper hat. And fur-lined hi-tops. Meanwhile, I’ve spent precisely three seconds on my own appearance, and look like a homeless man. But it’s okay, because my toddler looks like a Gaga album cover. And yes, that was the look I was going for.

9. I have something to put my shopping in
Hooray for prams! And hooray for accidentally shoplifting from M&S. Oh, don’t look at me like you haven’t done it.

10. I get to relive my own childhood
I mean, not literally my childhood. I went to a country primary school where we had to curtsey to the headmistress every morning, and brambling was a legitimate classroom activity, and I wasn’t entirely sure what century was. And when Herbie was about two weeks old (this is completely true) I tried reading him my childhood staple, The Children of Green Knowe, and got a bit confused when he showed no interest. BUT I get to crawl around on the floor all day, growling and building Mega Blok towers for Herbie to rampage through like Godzilla. I also have a legitimate reason to watch Despicable Me 2 now, because he was recently mesmerised by the Minions. Meanwhile, Antichrist is available on Netflix now. No, thanks. We’re going to watch Inside Out again.

11. Oxytocin
Jesus, have you ever had a hit of this stuff? It’s amazing. Boobfeeding half-asleep, grabbing Herbie for a 0.00005-second cuddle as he zooms through the house, just looking at photos of him – it all makes this stuff thrum powerfully through me. It feels like The Force, but for mums. I wish I could bottle it.

12. Everything is an adventure now
No matter where I go or what I do – whether it’s shopping for toilet paper, picking up my antidepressants prescription, or bundling Herbie up and heading off somewhere on the train – I always feel like a superhero, because I have a sidekick, and it’s this guy:

Teeth!

10 steps to the perfect first birthday party

1. Reflect on the past year
As your baby’s first birthday approaches, look back on how far you’ve come, how utterly, utterly changed you are, and how you know instinctively that there will never be a time when your baby doesn’t come first.

2. Be flexible with your plans
Accidentally arrange to go shopping with the delightful Susie Verrill on what turns out to be your baby’s actual birthday, because lack of sleep has stopped you from understanding calendars, or the basic concept of time. Still actually go shopping, though, because his birthday’s on a weekday when no one’s free for full-on baby stuff, and besides, babies love shopping, right? Erm.

3. Knives
Meet the delightful Susie Verrill and her wonderful son Milo in town while the universe throws Storm Jonas at you for being so selfish. Spend most of your trip hiding out in Prezzo, wringing out your wet hair while the staff frown at you for letting your children play with knives.

4. Choose your venue wisely
Decide to throw a birthday party at the weekend, but to keep it small by only inviting family. When the RSVPs come in, realise your family’s too big to fit in your house. Eventually settle on hiring a back room up some rickety stairs in your local pub. Ask the publican about accessible entrances and baby-changing facilities, only for him to look at you like this:

giphy5. Keep the theme consistent
As the party approaches, walk around with a vague party shopping list in your head containing items like “goody bags” and “party hats”. Then look at Pinterest and have a heart attack. Rush into Wilkinson’s and panic-buy bunting, balloons, face-paints, and piñatas until you have a party theme, and that theme is pirate-Frozen-Mexican wrestler-murderous clown.

7. Cater for all diets
Leave the baking to your husband, who creates three cakes – one gluten-free option, one “cake for the adults”, and one magnificent M&M-filled rainbow cake that’s covered in e-numbers; delicious e-numbers that you absolutely cannot eat because you’re super-allergic to them. Eat some, obviously, because you have no willpower, then run around town trying to find industrial-strength antihistamines as your face gently swells like an inflating balloon.

The inside of Herbie's birthday cake, and also the reason why I can currently see through time

A photo posted by Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) on

8. Be on top of the party prep
On the morning of the party, head to the venue with your list, decorations, and triple-checked party goods. Arrive and immediately realise that you’ve forgotten the changing bag. Come home to fetch it. Return to the venue and discover there is no music in the room. Return home to fetch a BlueTooth speaker. Fail to find a BlueTooth speaker. Return to venue resolving to play Musical Chairs by beatboxing your-fucking-self. Grimly put up bunting and pick at the catering.

9. Be on top of party games
After a single glass of wine, get distracted by guests, and completely forget how to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Do your best, but then find your shirt being tugged by one of the younger party guests. “Robyn, will there be any good games at any point?” He asks you. Your baby then falls asleep for the duration of the party. Give up, scatter face-paints among the children, and drink more wine.

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10. Keep a note of who gave which gift
Come home after the party, at which point your baby wakes up and wants to play. Pour yourself a) more wine, and b) the contents of your handbag, which happens to contain the considerable leftover catering. Eat curly fries and allergy-cake while your baby rampages through his birthday presents and you swear never to throw another birthday party again.

Herbie vs presents

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

Happy first birthday, Herbie. Sorry your mum’s an idiot.

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