Obligatory whingeing Christmas Blogpost.

I might as well just be throwing slabs of lamb at her and shouting “Baaa”.

So I had to put the Christmas Decorations up at the weekend.  Actually, I didn’t  have to.  But I was bored, and it was slightly easier than repainting the bit of the dining room wall that is covered in buggy-wheel marks.

But we have a baby who is pulling herself up on everything so it wasn’t as simple as whacking a tree up, covering it in glass baubles and draping it in fairylights. Even I know that would be dangerous.  So here are my three top tips for making your Christmas decorations 100% baby-proof:

1) Secure the tree to the wall somehow using string and nails.

2) Prevent glass baubles from smashing by wrapping them all in sellotape.

3) Decide this still won’t do and just put the stuff back in the loft til next year.

But the thing that is really pissing me off about Christmas is the fear of giant presents.  We have a little house.  Our relatives keep laughing when I tell them not to buy anything for the baby, as if I might be joking.  As if I might actually want my living space filled with plastic crap she won’t give a fuck about.  “Come one, son, how about we just get her the little A La Carte Kitchen with Aga and real functioning Dishwasher, and maybe a trampoline and a wheelie bin full of lego, she’ll love it.”

Fuck off.  Its my house, I pay the mortgage.  I’m not opening a toy shop here.   I know Christmas is about giving, but the point of giving is  to see the delighted reaction of the receiver, not to watch them gaze momentarily at a monstrous plastic toy, showing no signs of emotion whatsoever, before gleefully chewing the shit out of the discarded wrapping paper.

Also I’m starting to get dubious about all these “early learning” toys for babies.  They can barely recognise their own name and cannot distinguish between food and power tools – why am I reading her books with fluffy textured bits in them? She feels (sucks) different textures everywhere all day anyway (bread sticks, drill bits…) – why does putting bits of flannel in a book alongside pictures of badly-cut-and-pasted baby animals suddenly make it educational?  Fair enough if you’re reading to a three year old who understands the concept of rabbits and fur, but to a baby?  I might as well just be throwing slabs of lamb at her and shouting “Baaa”.

It’s a massive con.

So, no toys, and minimal decorations. It’ll be 2013 and still no one has invented jet-pants.  The only upside to Christmas with a baby is that you get to do this:

Christmas Day should be fun…

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The storm, the calm and the floorboard…

Its comes from nowhere.  A red shriek of fury and you instantly know you’re in for some trouble.  Somewhere inside her core hunger, tiredness and boredom have reacted together and her tiny life splits, a vent opens, and out it all pours.

For hours.

You have to find the cure.  Some days, it is milk.  Some days, it is darkness and singing.  But not today.  Today is the day it will grind you down, leave you shattered and  exhausted.  So you try everything.  You pace every room with her in your arms, never stopping in the same place twice.  You stand by the window in the sun, swaying.  You bounce her up and down, or let her stand, or lie her on the mat with the nappy off.

You catch a silence, and freeze., hoping that’s it.

But then for no reason, it rises again.  When she looks at you, it no longer makes her smile – there’s no recognition in her eyes, and her face is red, tears are rage distilled.  Your wits ended an hour ago and you’re making silent prayers for mum to get home.

Then you find it.  A floorboard in the bedroom creaks underfoot, and she jumps, catches a breath.  A floorboard you’ve never even noticed before.  Add it to the list.  Back and forward you rock – the see-saw-creak has her in a trance and you just know you’ve got it.  A few more minutes and she’s gone, away, at peace.

When she shut her eyes to finally sleep, the lashes were wet and starry.

I need a brew.

An angry little potato

Tired?  yep!  I am definitely more tired today than I have been since the first few weeks after Ada was born.  I think  a lot of it is a mark of the change, rather that any real significant change in sleep patterns or activity.  Maybe the most significant change to my lifestyle will end up being to do with fitness and exercise, and the fact that I’ve suddenly stopped cycling 50km a week to work and back.

I mean, what if I get fat?

Finding time to exercise needs to be a priority – it will stop me being so tired; I was in bed at 3pm today.  Of course, I couldn’t sleep because Ada was being an angry little potato.  Say what you will about a life of leisure, there is nothing easy about trying to have a mid afternoon snooze in the same bed as a screaming baby…

I wish I’d videoed her reaction to the intro to Hells Bells by AC/DC too – confusion giving way to acceptance.  Sort of like my week.