Back To Work At 12 Weeks
12.01am: Wake to alarm. Wonder why the alarm is ringing at this time. Remember I now have a twelve-week old baby. I am now somebody’s mother. Panic sets in. Realise I don’t have time to panic; panic is a luxury I can’t afford and that I must shove a bottle into my sleeping baby in the hope, the vain, fragile and laughable hope that she will sleep through until 7.30am. Laugh at my own optimism. Drag self out of bed. Get bottle. Get baby. Feed baby. Put baby to sleep. Go back to sleep. 5.15am: Wake to the quiet shuffling of The Tiny Terrorist as she readjusts her limbs one by one. The grunts, snuffles and sighs increase in a crescendo of bodily noises rivalled only by those of her father. The dawning realisation that it’s Monday tiptoes into my barely-conscious brain and I realise that I actually have to go to work. Panic sets in when I realise that the plan for the day is to take The Tiny Terrorist to my very forward-thinking office to see how it goes. I know how it’s going to go. Badly.
6.30am: Resign myself to the fact that The Tiny Terrorist is going to launch into full wake mode in approximately 14.5 seconds. Spend slightly too long anxiously deciding whether to get up before she explodes in a mess of wet nappy-induced, hunger-amplified wails or whether to wait for her to cry just in case, JUST IN CASE, she puts herself back to sleep. Laugh hysterically at myself on the inside. Gird my ‘getting out of bed at an unacceptable hour’ loins before I hear my husband (read: life saver) get up. Fake sleep. Feel guilty for about 3.4 seconds.
6.35am: Settle into an extra hour in bed. Realise the futility of my plan when I hear The Tiny Terrorist screaming as husband makes her wait until 7am for a feed as per the latest book suggests. Worry the neighbours are being kept awake. Worry more that they’re on the phone to the Social as we speak.
7.30am: Wake up. Again. Realise that this is where the day begins. Realise that I’m lucky to have a husband who takes the first shift. This feeling of gratitude is quickly replaced by unjustified resentment as I remember that this is his ONLY shift today.
7.31am: Jump in shower.
7.32am: Get out of shower.
8.00am: Take over from husband. Thankfully The Tiny Terrorist is so tired because of her terrorising ways that she falls asleep almost instantly on my shoulder. Spend a couple of minutes enjoying ‘the little pudding’ before I realise that this is my only chance to prep for the day but for this I need both hands. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I tell myself that THIS TIME, she’ll stay asleep when I put her down in her cot.
8.05am: ‘The little pudding’ has now reverted to The Tiny Terrorist and is cross, very cross, that I’m expecting her to sleep anywhere except on me. Promise the god of baby sleep that I will do anything, ANYTHING, if he just makes her fall asleep. Instantly. Now.
8.10am: Has this screaming really only been going on for five minutes? REALLY?
8.15am: I win. The Tiny Terrorist is asleep. Do silent victory dance by cot.
8.16am: Slip instantly into highest efficiency mode and pack my work bag, her nappy bag, her toy bag, her bed bag, her feed bag. Load up car with baby hardware – pram, rocker, car seat – and shove seven spoons of Bran Flakes down my throat. Pray to the god of baby sleep that he gives me half an hour (that’s all I ask!) so that I can at least get a head start on emails, do the laundry and prepare dinner.
8.25am: Well, ten minutes was better than nothing.
8.26am: Get The Tiny Terrorist and take her to changing table. Refuse to look at her in futile attempt to make her realise how inconvenient her nano-nap was. Happen to catch her eye by accident and see that she is grinning her toothless, gummy, gorgeous grin. Sulk instantly dissolves into unconditional love for ‘my little pudding’.
9.00am: After a frantic thirty minutes racing around getting tiny hats, tiny cardigans and tiny booties finally get in car. Get out of car. Go back to house to get my wallet, my keys, my phone. Get back in car to screaming baby who’s apparently grumpy that I’m not moving quickly enough.
9.25am: Hit traffic. Fear creeps in as I realise I’m going to have to brake. I’m eventually going to have to stop the car to avoid hitting the one in front and that this chain of unfortunate events will lead to more tears. The Tiny Terrorist only sleeps when the car is moving. When it’s not moving, she screams. I’ve given up trying to find the logic.
10.25am: Due to floods, and tube strikes and general bad luck from the traffic god and the aforementioned god of baby sleep, a thirty minute journey has taken twice as long which means that The Tiny Terrorist has been screaming for a very, very long time. It also means she is twenty-five minutes late for her feed. This is a terrifying combination.
10.26am: Arrive at work with a blotchy faced, snot-ridden bundle. This is not the beaming, gorgeous, soft, squidgy and smiling baby I wanted to introduce to work colleagues. Watch colleagues recoil as they see The Tiny Terrorist’s eyes which are, by this time, full of venom and anger and hunger.
10.30am: Get bottle into The Terrorists milk hole and breathe for the first time in about an hour. Watch with satisfaction as her eyes gently close and her breathing slows. All that terrorising is thirsty, tiring work. Indulge in positive thoughts of, “She’ll have a long nap now seeing as she only had ten minutes this morning. I’ll get her down and then get to work.”
1.30pm: You fool. There was never going to be a nap. That would have been too easy. Instead there was a rage, followed by more rage and finished off with a bit more rage. Now she’s hungry again. And wet. And cross, cross, cross.
4.00pm: Following previous failed nap, I reminded myself who was boss. I repeated our mantra: We do not negotiate with terrorists. Did not negotiate and won. The Tiny Terrorist slept for nearly three hours. Congratulate myself for being strong. Realise I’ve managed to fit a whole day’s worth of work into just three hours due to pure necessity. Go to get The Tiny Terrorist and realise that in the space of three hours nap she has miraculously changed back into ‘the little pudding’.
6.30pm: Get home. Run bath for baby. Accidentally dunk ‘the little pudding’ (they’re slippery little suckers) and, much like a baptism, she emerges from the water transformed back into The Tiny Terrorist. Decide that this is where the day must end before one of us completely loses our shizzle. Put baby down in cot, ready and armed for a fight. Watch her shuffle and drift calmly off to sleep. Pinch self. Thank god of baby sleep.
Rinse & repeat.