Baby X part 2 1/2 the smell of fear


My God, I?m tired. So very, very tired. Baby X has recently decided that he doesn?t like sleeping for more than a couple of hours at a time, and every time he wakes up he decides after about ten seconds that his life would be much much better if only his mummy or daddy were to pick him up and cuddle him. So he screams until this happens.

Sometimes he screams so much that his little face goes bright red and his eyes scrunch up ? this is especially rewarding as it can take him quite a while before he opens his eyes and realises that he has in fact been picked up and everything is OK with the world again, during which time your ear has been pummelled with the small pink noisemaking equivalent of a jumbo jet engine and your vision has started to blur. Seduced by adverts in the avalanche of baby catalogues that have arrived through our letterbox, we have bought a baby seat that swings, a baby seat that bounces, and a baby seat that vibrates. Each of them is guaranteed to soothe your baby into a happy snoozy state. None of them work.

Of course, whenever anyone comes to visit he is as good as gold, looking unbelievably cute and alert. So much so that we have now had over eighty ? EIGHTY ? pieces of clothing and toys bought for us by people who have fallen for the whole temporary cuteness thing. His wardrobe is completely full, which is a good thing seeing as the amount of vomit he produces necessitates an average of four outfit changes a day.

He can also poo so violently that it blows back up the sides of the nappy and escapes through the buttonholes in his clothes. This surprises him so much that he sometimes stops screaming and looks genuinely astonished at the sheer horror of the mess he has created.

Feeling brave, we decided a couple of weeks ago to try and leave him with the in-laws for an evening while we went to a party. It was the first time we had been out for months, so naturally we dropped the baby outside his grandparents? front door with a bag full of nappies and milk and a note saying:

?Baby Instructions:

Just add milk.

Hand wash.

Do not tumble dry.?

We rang the doorbell and drove away as fast as possible (and thankfully, it turned out that they weren?t on holiday that week.) Five mojitos later, we had almost forgotten that we had a baby and were starting to relax when we received a text along the lines of ?Pls clect bby. Sfa ruind. Poo evrywhr.? We haven?t really been out since, although I?m planning a similar ?treat? for the other grandparents soon.

Apart from that, people keep asking me if my life has changed – the answer is yes, in that every single conversation I seem to have contains the word ?baby? at least three times and the word ?tired? at least twice. And I can now change a nappy while in a state of such zombification that technically I?m still asleep. I don?t feel much more responsible, unless by ?responsible? you mean ?worried that baby might die and it?ll be my fault?, in which case I?m all about the responsibility.

In the meantime, I?m working on my new invention ? the baby volume control (based on one of those electric dog collar things) ? which will surely make me a billionaire once I?ve persuaded the States to let me test it on actual babies. Although even that carefree attitude to child welfare would put me a rung or two above Melissa Smith-Means from Alabama, who was caught on film not only taking her child to the shops on a leash, but actively using it to drag the prostrate kid along the floor by the neck after it threw a tantrum. Apparently upon being arrested, she told the police: ?My young ?un loves being dragged around on a leash. It?s how I was brought up?, thus giving a clear if not exactly heartwarming insight into family life in certain Southern US states. Having said that, it?s given me an awesome new idea for a slogan for a baby t-shirt: ?My parents wanted a puppy but didn?t have a big enough garden?. I?ll see if I can persuade De Gruchy?s to sell it?