2. Sway while holding my baby.
3. Sway while not holding my baby.
4. Sway while holding distinctly un-baby items, like my phone.
5. Be able to identify other parents in public, even when no babies are present, from how they’re swaying when they should be standing still.
6. Unwittingly match their swaying rhythm until we’re just two idiot strangers swaying at each other in the queue in Tesco Express.
7. Leggings as trousers – and not maternity ones. Lordy, what a revelation. JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED.
8. Really appreciate the word “enough”. As in, “clean enough not to poison my child” (Sophie la Giraffe, floor of Starbucks, 20 seconds), “slept enough not to be a danger to myself or others” (three plus hours), or “enough wine to take the edge off without giving my son a hangover via my breastmilk” (one large glass of Pinot).
9. Do so many things one-handed while calming a baby – like online banking, or eating a three-course meal.
10. Miss so many friend conversations. I live about an hour and a half away from most of my friends, so I really should be more diligent. But someone will text me a question while I’m changing a nappy, then I’ll have to feed the baby, then I might need to clean, then we might need to go out, then I might need to do some work, and then several days later I’ll emerge from babywrangling and realise I haven’t replied – not because I don’t care – but because I’m mired deep in early motherhood. Sorry, friends. I will do better.
11. Realise that I somehow know all the words to the Home & Away theme tune, and sing my son to sleep with it.
12. Reappropriate theme tunes in general for my son. For example, New Girl (“Who’s that Herbie / Who’s that Herbie / It’s Herbie”), and The Affair (“I have only one thing to do and that’s / be a tiny baby and / do a poo in my nappy.”)
13. Hum in public.
14. Ambiently say things like “right then” or “let’s go” when leaving a shop.
15. Walk two miles uphill with an 18lb monster strapped to my front like it’s no thing (and by “no thing” I mean “constantly go on about it, and what a hero I am, and how under all this chub I now have abs of steel, of steel, and then pass out”).
16. Shout “SNAP!” at some poor woman in the street just because we have the same pram, and genuinely make her fear for her life for a second.
17. Really, really, really appreciate an afternoon nap like never, ever, ever before.
18. Walk around topless in the evenings. The more tired Herbie gets, the less able he is to navigate through the T-shirt/vest system I have going on when he feeds, so I just take my top off most evenings. After dinner my house is basically like a strip club, but a really shit one with a creche, where the strippers have really let themselves go and are just walking around in their pants, eating spaghetti bolognese.
19. Felt the way about Mrs Crimble’s chocolate macaroons the way some people feel about crack.
20. Become more intolerant. Not in a horrible UKIP way, but now there is an inbuilt sense that my baby comes first, in all sorts of ways. If you look a bit iffy and you approach us in an underpass at night, I will shout at you to stay away and not worry about your feelings. Similarly, I met a woman who said that she didn’t like babies my son’s age because they “just sit there like a lump with no personality, I mean look at him”. This woman is dead now*.
21. Gazed at parents of twins in the street with undisguised awe.
22. Broken down my life into 15-minute bursts while the baby is occupied. Still working on this one.
23. Realise how beautiful all other babies are. For most of my life I didn’t think I wanted children, and was pretty clueless when it came to babies, but now I’m a mother all I see are gorgeous children and brave parents all around me. Well done, humans of Earth.
**And everyone else***.