So, to speak truthfully, I’ve had moments of wishing my baby was a bit more chill, and a bit less feral. You know, the kind of baby who will lay contentedly kicking away in Mum and Baby yoga, before peacefully dosing off in time for me to do my post natal stretches and take a moment for myself. Not so much the kind of baby that leaves me to attempt said stretches stood on one foot whilst simultaneously rocking, feeding and trying to remember if I turned the hob off.
Rogue Babies, also known as spirited, characters, lively and demonic (just in the occasional dark moment), are wilful little beasts who do not:
Toe the line
Obey the word ‘No’
Have a care for your physical or mental wellbeing
They are however:
- Extremely affectionate
- The absolute funniest of beings
- A whirling dervish of energy
- Always entertaining
So I am trying to remember, (at least when I’m not too tired, stressed or busy), that life with a rogue baby brings more than its share of hilarity and loveliness, and often it is in the midst of what could be the most stressful moments, that the magic really unfolds.
Exhibit One – Rest and Sleep
The nights when our son refuses to go to bed can be slow, painful and pretty annoying. We are tired, hungry and cranky, and want nothing more than to eat our tea, make a little conversation if we’re feeling particularly generous of spirit, and watch some Dexter while moaning that the other ate more of the chocolates than were rightfully theirs. Yep, that’s how we roll. So we could really do without the little guy throwing his weight about when he needs to be throwing some dreams, in his cot, by himself.
Some nights grown up will wins out and the little rascal eventually happily admits defeat, nodding off at a reasonably respectable time and victory is ours. Others, not so much. On one of these nights, after various failed attempts at shushing, rocking and begging, we decided to all lay in our bed together, partly from desperation, partly because we couldn’t think of anything else to do, and partly because we really wanted to lie down. The baby laughs, the baby shrieks, the baby rolls over and sits up. Eventually, after more lies downs, more cuddles, and a fair few slaps, bites and hair pulls from the baby; he is back in my arms and flips onto his tummy, shuffling down until his head is on my chest and his arm is laid across his Dad’s hand. His breathing slows, slows, slows, and, at last – he sleeps. And I think: this is one of the nicest moments of my life.
Here we are, my boys and me, laid together, and oh how I love to lie down. We’re in our home, me, my husband, and this baby we worked so hard to make. He’s fallen asleep with us because he’s content, secure, and of course – a bit rogue. We haven’t had our dinner and I’d foolishly bought wine, but still – this was perfection. I wished for a moment that I could capture it. Then the logistics of finding the camera, not using the flash, being pinned under 20 odd pounds of sleeping squishiness and the fact I’d chew my own arm off before disturbing him brought me to my senses. I have a feeling I won’t forget it anyway.
Exhibit Two – Trying to Get Stuff Done
It can be so hard to get anything done, at all, during rogue baby times. Luckily, Good Housekeeping magazine is neither my bible nor my friend, but there are things we all just gots to do to survive in this jungle of family life.
One recent afternoon, the baby and I were upstairs so that I could sort out some washing and change out of the lasagne covered clothes I was wearing (thanks for that, gremlin). I had gotten as far as getting the lunch soaked outfit into the washing basket and finding a pair of half clean jeans to wear when he decided he was no longer interested in pulling everything out of my bedside table and must be picked up immediately. One hand is on my leg, and one pointing up at me urgently, like there is some national emergency he must inform me of. I attempt to pull my t-shirt on first but the pointing and grabbing quickly become more persistent, and he has now shimmied up my leg to a standing position, his lower lip wobbling dangerously at my defiance of not responding to his demands in the first five seconds. I pick him up. He smiles his big smile, laughs his big laugh and tries to slam his forehead into mine, a sign, I believe, of affection.
I really do need to put some clothes on though and do the washing.
Aha! Gremlins – and babies – love to dance. Let’s see what funky tunes cool Mummy has on her iPhone. Oh… Mama Mia by Abba. That’s odd. How did that get there? I can’t imagine. Anyway, it’ll do I guess. Music on, baby down, jeans in hand, sorted.
‘Waaaahhhhh’ how dare you put me down, Mama ‘Waaaahhhhh’ you Judas!
I pick up, he smiles, laughs, hits me with his forehead, and I sigh. Seriously, how can I still not be dressed?
But, while we’re here, Mama Mia’s playing and the baby is bopping in my arms, we might as well…
Ten and a half minutes later, or, three plays of Abba’s finest, performed in my bra and pants, baby on hip; I’m actually pretty happy with our spinning, jigging and the shapes we have thrown about upstairs. I’m even feeling a little smug at my revolutionary method of combining housework, baby entertaining and exercise, as I throw the dirty washing down the stairs item by item and kick it into the kitchen the same way, baby still firmly attached to my hip – albeit still in my underwear. Not too shabby multi-tasking though, hey? And a very giggly, happy rogue chap to boot.
Of course, I’m under no illusion that all stressful or exhausting moments are actually full of the happiest times of my life, if I just look hard enough. I’m not a total loser, and know that some days are hard, some days I’m on the edge and some days I just need to get through. But, it does seem that getting myself in a pickle about being a bit late, or not ringing so and so back yet, or, err, wearing clothes, is firstly, a bit pointless as my baby completely rules me and, as previously established, is rogue. And secondly, means I might well miss out on some of the nicest moments it’s possible to have, in favour of a clean kitchen sink. So this morning I abandoned the breakfast dishes, and sat with my son at the washing machine as he cackled in delight and smiled crazily at me.
Have you seen this wonder Mama, it SPINS. Aaaaggghhhhh, it’s almost too much for me!
Yes my beautiful, feral little scamp, I see it, I see you, and I am grateful to share this with you.
Just please let me get dressed today.
Does embracing the rogue help you get through the (often literally) sticky times? Or do I just need to get myself together?!
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