1. I dress my baby like a giant hipster
I don’t know why I’m driven to clothe my son as though he owns a pop-up artisan unicycle boutique, but somehow I can’t help but do it every morning. Handmade babygrows with Beatles lyrics screen-printed onto them. His own Doctor Martens. A suede sheepskin gilet, for god’s sake. A gilet. If I saw an adult dressed the way I dress my son, I’d want to punch them, or at least tweet obliquely about them. Hopefully all this is offset by my own wild hair, vomit stains and thousand-yard-stare. Although that’s probably all the rage in Brixton right now, right? Damn it.
2. I let him bang his head the day he was born
In my defence I was trying to put him back in his cot using abdominal muscles rendered entirely useless by my emergency c-section. He slipped from my grip momentarily, and in that moment I went through the horror of the whole murder trial, my husband’s face distorted by grief, and my eventual prison execution in the showers. Then the baby lightly thonked his head on the side of the crib and gurgled, and I shrieked for the midwife. He was fine. He had a slight red spot on his forehead for an hour, and I felt like the worst person alive. Happens a lot, apparently.
3. I take him to the toilet with me
Calm down, Yewtree, it’s just because I don’t want to wake him up. His current method of going to sleep is this: shouting, squirming and kicking, staring into the distance making “rrr, rrr, rrr” noises, crying, and feeding, for forty-five minutes. Once he’s finally off I risk waking him if I put him down or unclip him from the baby carrier, so he is privy to about 50% of my toilets. Hopefully therapy will be free in the future.
4. I wasn’t overcome with wonder when I first saw him
I was bleeding out on the operating table when the doctor first laid Herbie on my chest, and I begged him to take the baby away in case I dropped him. When I next came round in the recovery room, he was nestled in my cleavage like a little squirming worm, and my brain just couldn’t take him in.
Instead I focused on the nurse, who was asking me if I wanted a cup of tea. Because throughout labour I had it in my head that I was making too much of a fuss, I said no, but regretted it as soon as she walked away. So my overriding memory of the first time I held my son is of just a mental blankness, and a deep, deep sadness around tea. I prefer him to tea now, though, I should say.
5. I let him sleep in bed with me (safely, obvs)
If I had a pound for every time someone said the words “rod for your own back” when I told them this, I’d have at least a tenner by now. But he won’t sleep anywhere else. Also, secretly I like it. Soon enough the sleep training will begin, and then all will be guilt and tiredness.
But for now I am enjoying his little grunting breaths and his tiny fat weight and warmth in my arms, even if I can no longer actually feel my arms themselves. Presumably he won’t want to be cuddled against me like a teddy bear when he’s 18, will he? Will he? Oh god, will he?