Scarlett has her first cold. It’s heartbreakingly adorable! There’s something about little baby sneezes and coughs that are really cute, which is strange because coughs and sneezes in adults are very annoying as noises go! It’s times like this however, we realise quite how inexperienced and helpless we are as parents.
Scarlett’s 12 weeks old, so she doesn’t understand why things hurt, why she can’t breathe through her nose properly. So understandably she’s crying a lot more and has this little sad look on her face, a look of confusion that yanks at the heart strings. When she’s feeding, she can’t breathe through her nose so she’s also feeding lots, but not for long. And sleeping although much more required, is much less possible…for all of us! We can’t adequately communicate to her that she will be fine. We just want to wrap her up, cuddle her and tell her that she’ll feel better soon and that we’ll look after her; which, don’t get me wrong, is exactly what we’re telling her but she doesn’t understand.
We’d started to think we had the hang of being parents (I know I know, stupid!) and then she’s poorly and we realise how little we know.
“She’s really warm, what temperature is too high?”
“Is it ok she’s being sick so much?”
“She’s filled her nappy three times in the past hour, is that too many?”
Three examples of hundreds of questions we’ve asked ourselves over the last couple of days.
As naturally busy people, we’ve also had to learn very quickly that although we may well be able to power through when we are ill, with a poorly baby, things have to slow down & stop around her. This weekend we had, between us, a good friends hen do, two good friends birthdays and two big work engagements. The work engagements we’re able to work around, we have to, we’re freelance and we have to have money coming in. But the social stuff all had to be cancelled. Now we’re both pretty well known for being extremely well meaning but chaotic, so we often have what could be considered strange things going on,
‘sorry we can’t make the meal as we’re up in York castle meeting a group of monks that day.’
‘….well quite, why wouldn’t you be?!’
but we really hate having to let people down especially at last minute. But one of the biggest learning curves certainly I’ve had is that once you’ve had a child, being a people pleaser is infinitely more difficult. Whereas normally I’d stretch myself as necessary to be able to fit things in, now, if Scarlett is unwell or we can’t arrange adequate child care, that’s it, game over, attendance missing.
The majority of people understand this and realise that with a baby on board, there’ll be times when we’re unavoidably unavailable, but it’s certainly difficult to adjust to when our whirlwind lifestyle (a whirlwind we’re used to) comes to a grinding halt beyond our control!
I also am now filled with a cold, so getting up in the middle of the night with razor blades in my throat, a pneumatic drill in my head and a running tap in my nose, as well as a baby who needs to take all the nutrition she can find from me makes a common cold uncommonly difficult to power through from!
All in all, this week has been a lesson that we’re very much still amateurs in the parenting game. Friday and Saturday night have been spent tucked up indoors at home, after getting a trolley full of calpol, throat sweets, tissues & lemsips (only the Dr recommended calpol for baby of course!). And not sat in a cottage in Oxford reminiscing about the time we bum boarded down a French slope after dinner with the bride to be, but instead taking in turn to walk Scarlett up and down (and telling her the story instead!), texting people to let them know we’re not going to be able to make something, and generally pausing as much as we can and taking care of our daughter (and secondarily ourselves). The ‘we like to take her everywhere with us so she can get used to our lifestyle and experience as much as possible,’ ethos is sound, but only when it’s suitable. Some Saturdays, regardless of what’s going on, will have to be in front of the TV with snacks and XFactor. And actually in a weird way, although it’s been tough, we’ve really cherished the bits of family time we’ve had together. In between confused tears and baby snuffles, we’ve had really lovely moments. She’s found the noise of me blowing my nose hilarious and the odd giggle and little smiles have been so rewarding. And although as a rule it’s not generally our style, I have to admit, sitting on the sofa, all cuddled up, homemade hot toddy’s in hand (our hands, not Scarlett’s!) Simon Cowell and co on the television, (despite the constant panic google checks…!) we made a happy trio indeed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, her glands seem swollen, let me just check again online what’s normal…
(As a slight aside, I’d like to add that I hope my lovely friend Naomi has had the best hen party ever. And a very happy birthday to both Pano and Maddy! We hope to celebrate with you all soon!)