Monday, 10 December 2012

All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth

Time marches on.  Our last two weeks have been amongst the hardest since Henry was born.  And today, the culprit, emerged from his gums like some ivory flag, proudly marking the reason for all the upset.  Henry has not had a good time of it cutting his first tooth, and for the last weeks has had regular doses of ibuprofen, paracetomol and Bonjela.  His appetite has been affected, sleep cycle and general happiness (we are very lucky and he is normally a cheerful wee soul).  But perhaps now he can rest a bit?  We hope so, because a tired, cranky Henry leads to two very tired parents.  Again and again I reminded of how difficult this would be if I didn't even have a partner to share the burden with.  Single parenting is not an easy choice I imagine.  If, of course, it is ever a choice.

And what else has changed in life in recent times?  Stinkpig is now independently mobile.  That's right adults, lock up anything you don't want chewed, slapped, pulled or slobbered on because it is now likely to be within his reach.  And if it is not within his reach?  Why, he will just stand up and attempt to bring it within his reach!  Henry is now crawling, and is on the verge of walking as he shuffles round various pieces of furniture.

This has led to new highs of parental guilt.  I challenge anybody living in an everyday home, looking after a newly moving child to protect them from knocks, bangs and scrapes.  In the last week, and only with me, he has:

  • had a lump under his eye where he slipped in the bath (he even bloody crawls in that), banged his head off the side and slipped momentarily under the water.  I have never moved so quick, very nearly cracking ribs in the process of pulling him out of the water.
  • pulled a pan rack, complete with pans, down.  It was only by sheer luck that it bounced beside him rather than on him.
  • within the space of two minutes slipped three times on the kitchen floor and banged his head.
  • slipped pulling himself the kitchen cupboard resulted in another banged head.
  • trapped his hand under the pan while his other hand pushes down on it to lever himself into a standing position.
  • pulled a cola bottle over onto his hand.
  • pulled the bin down on top of himself.
The list could probably carry on.  And that is just with me. His mum could probably add an even longer list (because she his with him more, not because she less competent than me).  Being a baby is an extreme sport; being a parent is a continuous test of how good are your risk assessment skills and how much guilt is it possible to feel without breaking down into a gibbering, weeping wreck.  And, as a parent, the standard response is to quickly pick him up, laughing, and pretending it's all a game.  What a thoroughly confusing approach for the child!

"Oooooo...a tall thing.  I wonder what tastes like that?"


"Owwwwwwwww - where are those people that supply the food and the wet wipes?  Ah, there they are...I have hurt myself, I feel like cryin...why are you laughing?  Why is that funny?  Why are you bouncing me up and down?  I've just banged my head, I don't feel like dancing.  Actually, this is quite fun...more, more!  Oooooo...what's that tall thing?"

If you have a newly crawling child - good luck.  Life is about to get interesting*.

(* for interesting read a terrifyingly stark reminder of how incapable you are of not only keeping a tiny baby safe but also how untterly incompetent you are at predicting, in a home that you have likely lived in for years, what will be of interest and pose a risk to said infant.)

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