Friday, 17 February 2012

At least I recycle.

Before M was born I was convinced I was going to use cloth nappies. I spent hours researching the pros and cons of each brand and was ready to order the full birth-to-potty kit. The money I would save! The smugness I would feel!

I remember mentioning it to a few friends who had children. It's really important to me, I said, to consider the environmental impact of my choices. We admire you, came the very British response, but maybe you should get some disposables too, just in case.

What they meant, of course, was that I was a lunatic if I thought I'd have the time/mental capacity/strength of feeling to actively engage in saving the planet with a newborn in the house. I mean, really. At this rate the planet is just going to have to take care of itself until the boy is 18.

It is armed with this knowledge that I bequeath my one and only cloth nappy sample (unused, still in its envelope) to another soon-to-be mum. By all means try it, I shall say. You might want to get in a few disposables too, just in case. Here, have some of mine.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I'm asking you nicely.

I've never been one to cause a scene. I don't like to draw attention to myself. Ok, yes - my hair was a vivacious shade of red for a while, but that doesn't count because I thought I looked quirky and interesting. (Infinitely better than pale and interesting, in my view).

My point is that I'm still learning how to be assertive. Somewhere along the way in my distant past I had the curious notion that to assert yourself was akin to aggression. I took hold of that idea and made it my own. Nice girls don't cause any trouble. I really wanted to be a nice girl.

Fast forward a decade or two and this thinking just doesn't seem to work any more, however much I want it to. In attempting to manage my baby's unpleasant and distressing symptoms during and/or after a feed on a daily basis, I've been under the impression that somehow my experience was normal. That as long as the baby is putting on weight, everything was fine. Only it's not. It's not fine. It can't be.

I need some answers. Surely that's not unreasonable? Why is it ok for a medical professional to tell me that it could be anything? You have training. You have experience. I get that babies have a lot going on but I need you to narrow it down a little. In short, I need a diagnosis, not a brush off. Is it a milk allergy? Do I need to go dairy free? Do I need to change his formula? Do I need to break into song and insist you help me via interpretive dance? Because I may find that easier than putting on my big girl pants and telling you calmly and firmly that this really needs to be sorted out please.

Another doctor's appointment is booked for next week. Deep breath. Big girl pants at the ready.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Give me the inspection criteria. Somebody. Hello?

Being a new mum feels strange. At times I feel more like a primary caregiver. It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm somebody's mother. It stands to reason that I must also be a grown-up by now. I'm not sure which I find more alarming.

Having recently left a profession ruled by exams, inspections and reams of seemingly pointless paperwork, I'm wondering how to find evidence of my progress so far. All I have to go on is the to-do lists in my head. Get fully dressed. Tick. Intercept nappy contents before they make contact with the outside world. Tick. Intercept baby vomit with sleeve of cardigan. Tick. Change cardigan. Tick. Complete one daily and one non-daily housework task per day. Tick/Fail. Read at least one baby book to M per day. Fail. Read one article from the Guardian per day, thereby exercising brain. Fail. My days are made up of, and rated by, tiny successes and failures.

The trouble is, I don't know what the heck I'm meant to be doing, and I'm sure to be doing it wrong.

I guess this is one transition that will take a little longer than I thought.