Give me a ‘P’. Give me an ‘A’. Give me an ‘R’. Give me an ‘E’. Give me an ‘N’. Give me a ‘T’. Give me an ‘S’. What does it spell? Parents! Woooooo. I bring you this pom pom-tastic intro, because last week a very kind keyboard warrior informed me that my lists were too negative and I led “a really sad life”. I had no idea that my dad could be so cutting, but it did get me thinking and the result of this brain workout is about to be laid out before you. Are you ready? Of course you are. Settle down and enjoy this week’s ultra-positive list of 9 great moments in every parent’s life.
1. Baby falling asleep on your shoulder
In two hours’ time, when you’re pinned to the sofa, unable to reach the TV remote and in desperate need of the toilet, you may regret celebrating this achievement. But for the time being just enjoy basking in the glory of being deemed safe, protective, trustworthy and warm enough to snooze on. What a feeling.
2. An unexpected lie in
You don’t know what was more of a surprise. The fact baby slept until 8am, or the fact that you didn’t wake up at 5am and spend the next three hours staring at the baby monitor and asking each other if you think your kid is “okay”. Either way, for the first time in a long time you’ve had your requisite quota of beauty sleep and for the rest of the day (okay, the next two hours) you ain’t going to let anyone or anything get you down.
3. Being told your child is advanced
I know it’s not a competition. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it’s a competition. And in this blissful moment your let’s-face-it-totally-awesome kid is winning.
4. Moving your kid onto adult cereal
Newsflash: it’s much bigger, it’s way cheaper and it’s just as capable of being mushed into oblivion.
5. Nailing a pressurised baby to pram transfer
It’s back over to my imaginary commentators from Parenting FM. “Baby has only been asleep for five minutes. In an ideal world, they’d keep him snoozing in the car for the next 1 hour and 55 minutes, but if they don’t get into this restaurant in the next 10 minutes they’ll be blacklisted from all of their friends’ future birthday lunches. They discuss the plan, using a mixture of whispering, dramatic gesturing and sign language, and then they go, go, go. Dad’s on pram assembly duty. He slips out the door, opens the boot and grabs piece one. Without naming any names (grandpa, granny, grandad, nana), some people struggle to get this bottom bit of the pram open, but daddy has no such issues. He works it into shape, puts the brake on, returns to the boot for piece two and gives mummy the thumbs up signal. Now, both parents are out of the car and on the move. Daddy’s got the relatively easy task of fitting piece two onto piece one and then reclining the pram. Mummy’s got the far harder job of getting baby onto her shoulder and into the pram without waking him up. She opens the door, begins humming, unclips the car seat buckle, lowers her shoulder, slips her arms behind baby’s back, takes a deep breath, increases the volume of her humming and goes for it. He stirs slightly, but instantly settles. Stage one: complete. Now, onto stage two. She adopts a wide stance, increases the volume of her humming, instructs Daddy to get his hands on the pram handle in preparation for rocking it back and forth like his life depended on it and then gently lays baby into his pram. Success, but as she does up the straps, there’s a wail and his eyes open. Panic. Actually, don’t panic. It’s an issue, but not a disaster. As long as daddy keeps pushing back and forward, mummy keeps patting baby’s chest and they both avoid making eye contact with the little man they have a chance. That’s it, he’s asleep. They hug and high five. Job done. Now, it’s time for lunch. Or it would be if either mummy or daddy had remembered to bring their wallet.”
6. Developing your thing
You know, you’re thing. That special trick baby only wants to do with you. In my father-in-law’s case this is going underwater at the swimming pool. In my mother-in-law’s case this is kicking a football (with everyone else he picks it up and tries to eat it). In my wife’s case this is all sorts of things, including the bedtime routine, drinking milk from the bottle and touching his nose. And in my case it’s reading. Well, I say reading. He mostly just grabs the book and hits me in the face with it. But, hey ho. Baby steps and all that.
7. When your child learns the world “tidy”
Talk about a win-win. First, “tie-dee” sounds really cute when they say it. Second, you no longer have to bend down and single-handedly pick up his or her Lego 17 times a day. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to do it nine or 10 times, but once again, baby steps and all that.
8. The ‘doing the actions that go along with the nursery rhyme’ stage
If there is anything cuter than my son putting his index fingers together in a bid to create a diamond during Twinkle Twinkle, wagging his finger while playing the role of the doctor in Three Little Monkeys or touching his Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (and eyes and ears and mouth and nose), then I have yet to see it.
9. Sticking all the shapes through the holes in your child’s toy
Oh yeah. Still got it.