Blake will be one next week, and the past twelve months have flown by in a way that I can barely believe. It has been an absolute roller-coaster of emotions, as well as learning curve steep enough to feel like I'm trying to climb up a demon drop slide. Here are a few of the things that I've learned along the way (only some of which involve bodily functions):
1. Throw unused mashed banana away straight away. You are not going to want to deal with it two hours later.
2. There is no upper limit to how many times a cupboard door can be opened and slammed shut.
3. Apparently bath bubbles are fine for consumption. That or it takes more than twelve months for adverse effects to appear.
4. Boys discover their willies way earlier than you might imagine.
5. Other parents don't always provide a particularly good support system; they have their own problems.
6. Poverty can actually make you a better parent.
7. At no point does poo-finger become any less traumatic.
8. Being dribbled on fast becomes a way of life.
9. As your baby becomes more active, you will find yourself putting nappy changes off until absolutely necessary; no one likes an impromptu wrestling match.
10. People will always criticise your decisions.
10a. Take their advice with a pinch of salt and carry on doing it your way.
11. Controlled crying works. Sometimes. For some people. If the baby decides it's going to.
12. You will break every rule that you've set for yourself, from dummies to co-sleeping to television consumption.
13. Broken sleep does not get any easier.
14. Babies will hold onto an exploding poo for days, only to release it in spectacular fashion the moment you find yourself out in public and away from accessible baby changing facilities.
15. At some point, you will probably have to throw away a rug or two after too many nappy free sessions.
16. Babies will do things at their own speed. Ignore the charts and milestone predictions.
17. Other parents do not want your opinion on what they're doing. Unless it agrees with them completely.
18. Hangovers will never be the same again.
19. Baby brain never goes away. Ever.
20. Your relationship will change, but that's usually mostly OK.
21. The post-partum hair loss does eventually slow down.
22. Join local buy and sell groups on social networks; baby clothes are bloody expensive and they grow out of them in the blink of an eye, so cheap used bundles of clothes are a money saving essential.
23. Forgoing the baby monitor at night is a terrifying prospect.
24. Sadly, some friends will probably lose interest in you.
25. Parents feel guilty about most of what they're doing, most of the time. Just embrace it; chances are you're doing a fine job. Let those feelings of inadequacy wash straight over you.
26. People will continues to ask questions like, 'how is the weight loss going?' even when you're feeling incredibly svelte.
26a. Who am I kidding? Svelte is long gone.
27. Childcare is a fucking nightmare if you work weekends.
28. Baby socks exist in some kind of parallel dimension in which they are invisible 99% of the time, turning up only occasionally to be shoved into the baby's mouth.
29. Pram shoes are completely pointless.
30. One day, you will unexpectedly stumble upon one of your baby's newborn vests and feel an uncontrollable broodiness that says it's time to do it all over again...