Yes. I had a child.
I joke, I joke. But there IS a baby! At 21, I have become an older sister for the third time. Before I start going on about how cute he is (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww-), I would just like to get all the terrifying maths out of the way. Yes, when he's 10, I will be 31. When he's 21, I will be 42. By the time he's 30 I'll be over half a century @_@ I have kind of almost somewhat come to terms with the fact that my family, which had just about settled down, with me and brother at uni and younger brother midway through high school, now has to start all over again. All our memories and nostalgia are going to be meaningless to him, we have to create a whole new set of memories for this tiny little bundle that has arrived in our house.
And yet, it's totally lovely. Our home, which was getting quieter and quieter what with two of us away at uni and one teenager increasingly confined to his room, is now filled with the kind of warmth and light and noise that only seems to come with a baby. I've been lucky enough to have holidays for the last 3 weeks and the next fortnight, and I don't think I can bear to leave him and go back!
He is a total Bear, seriously. Five weeks old now. He snuffles and sneezes (in twos, always) and whimpers and scrunches his face up and frowns, and occasionally cracks a huge, adorable, toothless smile. He is the new centre of our lives and we are all totally smitten by him. I didn't want to put a proper photo because I'm wary of plastering his face all over the internet, but just so you can appreciate his adorable bear-ness and babygrow...
Things that I have learnt, then, having acquired a new baby brother and been mostly in charge of him:
- Nappy changing is a dangerous, dangerous game.
- The care one takes to avoid certain projectile nappy situations (see 'strategic placement of baby wipes over certain areas of anatomy') is directly proportional to the likelihood one will be hit with a jet stream of wee.
- Emergency baths, following projectile nappy situations, will start out as a careful procedure involving smiles and shampoo and baby moisturiser, but after the 94th emergency bath, will consist of repeatedly dunking the baby in question into a large bucket of water like a giant biscuit.
- I can now make bottles of formula milk on autopilot, to the point of walking into the kitchen half asleep, and coming to as I'm walking back out again with a bottle all made up. Totally Bourne.
- Babies need to be winded. A lot. Like, a lot a lot.
- Nappy rash is the most horrific ailment known to mankind. And Sudacrem is the saviour.
- I have established my own baby talk. It disconcerts certain people, ahem, but it's established now. Nothing I can do about it.
- If one discovers that a certain gesture makes baby smile, one will never tire of repeating said gesture, however much slapstick self harm it involves.
- I have new respect for new mums. I see them in the street and feel the urge to wrap my arms around them, saying 'It's okay, I know.'
- I WANT a papoose.
- A 21 year age gap means that people are inevitably going to assume that this baby is my child, whenever I am without my mum. I find myself being repeatedly congratulated in shopping centres, and getting 'aww bless' smiles from old women. I'm not complaining, but the subsequent explanation tends to get a little awkward.
- That baby smell ^_^ awwwwwwwwwwww
- Our house is no longer a coherent house with rooms separated by function (kitchen, living, dining) etc. Every single room has become baby oriented. The Room for making Bottles, the Room for Changing Nappies, the Room for Emergency Baths...
- Baaaaby clothes....Oh my god, so cute! I melt every time I'm shopping.
- Forget feminism, I wish to give up everything and just be a stay at home mum. Seriously. I want one. It's ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong, it's been the most stressful time of my life so far, all this anticipation of baby, then mum's health scares, then mum in and out of hospital, me having to take time off uni, then mum being in a bad way. It all added up. But he definitely makes it all worth it. And my mum is improving, and so it's all good!
So yeah... It's been one of those major life-trajectory-changing events.. We're all re-evaluating where we stand in light of this new development. I keep worrying about not being present for a big part of his formative years- after all, I'm just about flying the nest! Yeesh. How can I make time to be around and spoil him?! And how am I meant to stay all hip and cool when I'm 21 years older?! What the hell man. But we'll make it work. I guess it's just that we lack a blueprint- I don't know of anyone else who's been in this situation. But just because it's unchartered territory, doesn't mean it has to be a bad thing. We've never been more happy or more thankful, especially because we know how touch and go it was for the last 9 months.
So..I guess, in conclusion: Welcome to the world, babybear. It is so lovely to finally meet you.