Levelling Up On Motherhood

19 May 2012
The new, first time mother is the subject of much mirth. She is expected to be oversensitive, paranoid, laying down the rules of what she will and will not do with her child, worried about everything. It was certainly true for me with BabyG. I obsessed about germs and sniffles. Dummies which fell on a freshly mopped floor were boiled for five minutes before going back in his mouth. I changed his clothes three times a day. The first time he fell off the bed (all babies do this at least once), I was ready to call 000, until DH the paediatric nurse talked me out of it.

That was then. Fast forward to today, when I bought BabyG a raisin cookie to keep him entertained whilst I did the shopping. He enjoyed the cookie greatly. He enjoyed it all over his clothes and hair and face, in fact. And as we passed a woman wheeling her newborn in a Bugaboo, delicately wrapped beneath a beautifully embroidered bunny rug, I heard her mutter about never letting her baby get that messy. I had a small chuckle, and realised I have levelled up; I am no longer a "new" mother. For I vowed I'd never let my baby get that messy, either. How else could I tell?

  • Realising BabyG's pants are on backwards and merely being grateful that, after ten minutes of wrangling, I managed to get them on him at all (that old line about dressing a toddler being like trying to get an unhappy octopus into a string shopping bag without any of the tentacles sticking out? A breeze compared to BabyG). 

  • Hearing a thump and a cry as BabyG bangs into something and yelling "be there in a minute!" then (quickly) finishing folding the laundry or mashing the potatoes.

  • Seeing him eat grass and figuring it's all good for his immune system. Actually, when we lived in Sydney, he would sometimes suck on the handrails on the train before we could stop him, and CityRail will surely provide him with all the immunity he could ever need, ever; there's germs on those trains that not even the CSIRO can identify.

  • There's slightly sad moments, too. I've already had to shop for BabyG in the boyswear departments in those insane stores that have decided size 1 does not qualify as a "baby". We have survived the first teeth. Oh, I know I have a long way to go. Toilet training is still not on the horizon, the first day of school too distant to contemplate, the first teenage sleepover - well, BabyG will never be that old, surely. I've got a lot to learn, I'm a long way off being a master. But I've levelled up from motherhood "beginner" to "novice", and I get to roll my eyes and smile knowingly at the mother who really just hopes her newborn will always be so untouched and pristine.


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