I’ve done many ridiculous, awful things as a mother.
- I’ve ignored poonamis at 3am when I’m too exhausted to even turn my head, let alone wake a baby it’s just taken me two hours to get to sleep in order to change her nappy.
- I’ve diligently changed the bed sheets twice in one night when my youngest was repeatedly sick on them, before losing the will on the third time and covering it up with a muslin.
- I attempted to get my oldest daughter to nap in her cot just once in her first year on this planet. When it didn’t work after four minutes, I concluded it never would, and consequently for 14 months my husband or I grimly wheeled her round the streets of East London for every single nap, come rain, shine, snow, sleet, floods..
- I’ve desperately bribed my 3 year old by waffling on about the wondrous presents the fairies will bring if she stays in bed all night which a) failed and b) confused her to the extent that we now have to block her fairy door with a thick encyclopaedia every night so they don’t get in.
- I’ve let my 10 month old rip her older sister’s artwork apart as it keeps her happy for two precious minutes. In my defence, we get dozens of new ones a week, some of which I secretly bin when my husband isn’t looking.
- I’ve dressed them in clean, although stained, clothes and than pretended the stain has just happened if we see others.
- I let my oldest wear wellies every day for two months because she was going through a phase of refusing to put her shoes on, and frankly I couldn’t care less.
- I’ve crouched on the tube platform at Hackney Central at rush hour with my freshly toilet trained daughter balancing on her Potette, then held the bag of poo and wee proudly aloft the whole, crowded way home.
- I’ve had long, made-up conversations with strangers about what a gorgeous boy my baby is on the tube, rather than correct them, then lived in fear of them turning out to be a distant relative / friend of a friend.
And really, this is just the stuff I’m not embarrassed to share.
Hands down though, the most ridiculous thing I’ve done as a mother is buy a top and tail bowl. I want to laugh/cry when I look back to the early days of Isadora, with my husband and I both gathering together to wash her, gentle music playing in the background. He asked me which side was for water. I wasn’t sure. We couldn’t decide what to do with the cotton wool after we’d dipped it carefully in the warm water and dabbed at her creases, ignoring the other side of the bowl which I can only presume is the whole reason it has a special name and an inflated price. I’m still perplexed as to why there’s a ridged bit on the top. To squeeze the cotton wool on so you don’t damage the baby’s precious skin with excess water, perhaps? I can’t even believe we used the cotton wool as long as we did (Water Wipes are as gentle and so much more efficient) but we were keen to get it right. While I definitely do not want to disparage every baby item, as there are some real lifesavers to come, here’s a revolutionary idea that the pre-baby me didn’t even consider – hey, if you need a bowl, you’ve already got a few in the kitchen. Now, my top and tail bowl is in my daughter’s bedroom and filled with stickers, hair bows, bracelets she’s made and other paraphernalia. Every time I see it it brings those warm, fuzzy days blurry with sleep deprivation but sharp with so many new emotions right back, and it makes me stop and marvel at my amazing little lady. So maybe it does have its uses, after all.