1. Sway from side to side
To some people the idea of a petite dance partner playfully biting your shoulder as the sun rises is the epitome of romance. To me it’s the signal that yet another night has been a complete washout.
2. Examine the ingredients of baby wipes
Up yours, fruit extract. If those baby wipes aren’t 100% water they ain’t getting anywhere near our baby’s behind.
3. Open and shut the front door
“Wave bye, bye baby.”
“Wait, where is his hat?”
“Okay, got it. Let’s go.”
“Hold on, I think he’s pooped.”
“All changed, we’re off.”
“Love you, thanks for packing his baby bag.”
“What, I thought you did it?”
Repeat until you abandon the trip due to nap time.
4. Pick books off the floor…
…Then try to maintain my composure when my son knocks them straight off the table again. And again. And again. And again.
5. Drink wine
On my own. On a Tuesday afternoon.
6. Use the word ‘routine’
Is he in routine, out of routine or attempting to settle into a new routine? I have absolutely no idea. And I am not sure my wife does either. All I know is we are going to look each other in the eye and use this catch-all phrase to explain why he’s not sleeping/crying/hungry/happy/tired/just not himself/shoplifting/poking other kids in the eyes/pooping/attempting to climb into the washing machine (delete as applicable).
7. Talk crap
Forget Game of Thrones, the weather or the state of British society, if you ranked the things that come out of my mouth, first place would belong to the thing that comes out of my son’s bottom. Occasionally, I worry that I’m obsessed, but then I remember a trio of funny stories about the time his waste exploded up his back, came out orange or didn’t appear for eight days. And by the time I’ve made it through these anecdotes the hairdresser is usually finished.
8. Eat rusks
Where have these taste sensations been all my life?
9. Watch people sleep
Or, more specifically, one tiny person. Why does he move around so much? And how on earth does he manage to sleep standing up while chewing his cot? Damn it. He’s awake again, isn’t he?
10. Chant the German word for milk
I have no idea why I began repeating the word ‘milch’ in a bid to make our baby take his bottle, and even less idea why it works. But it does and now I am stuck endlessly chanting this word over and over again, like a Bavarian farmhand who is dreaming of a career in kabbadi.
11. Enjoy Eurosport
What’s not to like about a channel that regularly shows ski jumping between the hours of 1am and 4am?
12. Arrive late
Pre-baby, I was a pretty decent timekeeper. Now? I can’t remember the last gathering I got to on time. And I’m not talking 10-20 minutes blame it on the traffic late, either. I’m referring to 2-4 hours, send out a search party late.
13. Argue about stuff I don’t really have an opinion on and couldn’t really care less about at stupid o’clock in the morning
This week’s 3am ‘differences of opinion’ read as follows: whether we should dress baby up on Christmas Day; whether we need to shorten his afternoon nap; whether we need to become more organised; whether we should or shouldn’t change his nappy; and, that old favourite, whether my wife or I got up the last time he woke up.
14. Load the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer
To paraphrase Shakespeare: though he be but little, he is fierce at creating dishes and laundry.
15. Hide in the bathroom
I’m not proud of this entry, but I am man enough to admit it. Sometimes when the stench of a nappy is a bit too much, or I simply can’t be bothered belting out yet another rendition of ‘sleepy time’, I pretend to need the toilet. And do you know what? My wife never, ever pulls me up on it. Probably because she uses the same trick.
16. Laugh uncontrollably, to the point of tears
Usually this plays out like so. One minute you think you are in the depths of despair (for example, a traffic jam with a screaming baby). Then the world shows you that things can get much, much worse (for example, baby poops). Then you have two options. You can laugh or you can cry. All signs point to a meltdown involving the latter, but somehow you both find the inner strength to start giggling. Better still, baby quickly joins in the fun. It’s at that moment you realise a) you’re with the right person and b) the baby idea was 100% worthwhile.
This is a joke. Obviously.