- By trade I am a journalist with a background in current affairs, culture, health and fitness, travel and high profile interviews. I also own and run an outdoor fitness business aimed at people that hate gyms and bootcamps (www.spartanfitnesslondon.co.uk). Most importantly though, I am on Shared Parental Leave from May 31 to October 3. Everyday from 0730 to 1800 I will be in sole charge of a real and completely awesome baby girl.
Monday, 17 April 2017
Day One - A Vom, a Blowout and the wrong time
GIVEN that Alexa – that's M'lady's name – is a pretty good sleeper one can only assume that she knew what was about to go down; a transition from delicious bespoke milk sucked from a comfortable private tap to generic powder stuff delivered by a bottle. Rather than crack on with her usual 1900 to 0700 sleep, with perhaps a quick 0500 feed, the little stinker decided to sound the alarm at hourly intervals throughout the night. Full pitch wailing like never before. The girl is not a crier, so I can only surmise that this was some sort of noisy protest against the change of carer. That, or she had a cold and was very uncomfortable when laid flat. Totally fine when held upright, but unhappy flat. In the grand scheme of things it wasn't a big deal but this wasn't the plan. She was supposed to smile all the way through to the send-off of Mummy, with me painted as the hero. Instead, everyone was tired and a bit miserable. Actually, that's not true... the nincompoop baby slept in until 0730 to catch up on some shut-eye, delaying her Mum's breastfeed and thus departure for work, while I was just plain awake.
Thanks to the splendid efforts of the Milk Lady the A-bomb was exclusively breast-fed until about a week ago, when we tested out formula as well as starting the weaning-onto-food process. The plan from now is to give her the gold-standard milk from Mumma in the morning and evening, while I provide bottled formula and solids during the day. This is very much an ideal and if it doesn't work out due to breast milk supply drying up or timings not working out, then so be it. As an aside, before I am lynched by the Milk Mob or labelled as a white-shirted activist for the The Breastapo, I hasten to add that I fully appreciate that breastfeeding is very tough and absolutely not for everyone – we have been very lucky that the latch was established early doors and things have gone well. When I say "we", I mean we are pleased for our daughter, not "we" have been breastfeeding. At this stage I have neither imbibed nor supplied breast milk. Glad that's clear. Phew.
Post-feed it was nearly time to send off the adult of the house to earn a crust. I had a motivational goodbye speech ready. But first:
"Where's my work pass? Is it in your car? Did you bring my jacket in? I bet it's in there. Can you check?!". Things were delayed.
Not a problem. While my darling wife continued her own search by kicking the walls I put our little one (LO in forum speak – yeh i'm down with the Mumsnet lingo) down on her play mat and dashed out into the rain to hunt for the ID card. No luck, but I was sure I'd be crowned a champion for even attempting to brave the elements in my flip-flops.
"Did you leave her on her front?" asked the female who knows how to speak.
"Yes – tummy time..." was my response.
"I wouldn't do that straight after a feed," added Wifey while pointing to the result of a projectile vomit onto her lovely red work dress.
"Ah, good point. Soz."
Despite the setback of the worker having to change into a new dress, spirits remained high. My Churchillian speech was seemingly not needed as Lauren skipped off to the office to crunch some numbers and crush some skulls (no idea what she had lined up to be honest).
So, 0830 came round and it was time for round one of Daddy-led-baby-led-weaning with porridge fingers followed by banana on the menu (see bottom for recipes). As always we ate together but I'm not a neanderthal so I went for the more upmarket chopped bananas on a bed of porridge oats, heated in milk. As is the norm the fat-legged monster girl forced the good stuff into her mouth, swallowed the small bits she liked and gobbed the rest back out, before picking it up again, wiping it on her face and smearing it on her plastic eating outfit. I am genuinely looking into manufacturing adult versions of these eating coveralls, not X-rated versions for food perverts (although probably a decent market), but outfits to wear when eating the likes of ribs, soup and general slop. No doubt these already exist in America but I digress. The girl didn't choke. She was a star.
0900- nap time. Always the same. Nope, not today. Today 0900 was Turd O'Clock. Not an issue... A couple of wet wipes and a rolled up nappy later and we were back in action. Vest on, Summer sleeping bag zipped up, three rounds of Twinkle Twinkle, a few sssshhhhs and she was out. Lovely stuff.
She woke up giggling at 10am, fully refreshed. I dressed the lovely girl in a cute vest with "tuesday" on the front, an ironic T-shirt eblazoned with "Troublemaker" and some fetching stripy trousers. Then she played on the mat with her current favourite light-flashing gizmo. For now the "soft and fluffy cow" that repeatedly exclaims "THE BABY LIKES MILK... TIME TO COUNT... DO YOU KNOW YOUR ABCs?!" is on the back-burner. Real shame. Hope the high-pitched freak-show remerges soon, I really do.
1100- Inhaled a full bottle of formula milk. Easy this baby business. Too easy. I'll probably crack on with some DIY, cut the grass and do dinner before lunchtime, I thought.
1115 - BOOM. Not so much a strained face, more a raised eyebrow and knowing smirk preceded the megaturd. A toe-to-neck job. A complete blow-out. Farewell pretty outfit. You're wearing a bin liner from now on my lovely.
It was time to take stock. The delicious little ball of podge was mugging me off and I needed to strike back with force.
That bit wasn't true. This isn't a dire Mockney Gangster flick. She's a six-month-old baby – they do giant, yellow poos. If you're lucky they'll be seeds in it. If you strike the jackpot you'll get chunks of sweet potato.
1230- walk in pram (more to follow in a later post on our choice of wheels). M'lady LOVES a sleep on the move so she was out for the count for a good 2 hours here. Spot on.
1400 - my first foray into the NCT group's off-the-cuff play-date/coffee meet-ups. Yes, I've been drafted into an elite Whatsapp group of Mums (now plus me) who keep each other sane. It's been a brain-saver for the girls, so I've fully signed up to whatever they get up to. Obviously there is already a strict schedule in place, but the group will be great for the 20 minutes spare time i've got in the week around Baby Swimming, Baby Sensory, Baby Massage, Baby Yoga, Baby Mensa, Baby Powerlifting and Baby Bricklaying*.
*some of those were not real things.
Anyway that was pretty much it. More milk was drunk at 1500 and a later than planned solid meal of sweet potaoe, baby corn and asparagus was taken at 1630. Mummy was home for bathtime at 1815. The baby girl was asleep at 1900.
Now, I must confess that at one point during the day I looked at my phone's clock and it said "1651" and I thought "wow this day is going quickly and I am nailing it" and I fully accepted that it was the real time. An hour later I realised that for some reason my phone was showing the time for Jiangxi, China, which is SEVEN hours ahead of London. Clearly my mind has already turned to garbage.
Anyway, Day One was done, the baby is still laughing and I have survived, albeit with a few bits of slurry in my fingernails.
Recipes for today:
- Porridge fingers: 3 Tbsps real oats, 3 Tbsps whole milk, mush up in a cup. Microwave for 2 mins, cut into fingers
- cut up banana into 4 chunks
- Oven cooked sweet potato cut into thick chunks
-Griddle fried baby corn
-Griddle fried asparagus