River turned 1 years old on Wednesday and it got me thinking about my expectations of the first year of his life vs the reality of how it all panned out.
The problem with the internet, and by the internet I mainly mean Instagram, is that there are so many false representations of parenting. Pinterest is chocablock full of “great ideas” that need a masters in fine art and a professional photo studio to replicate.
Here’s a few examples of what went wrong in year 1:
I was expecting to do the cute “baby in pumpkin” picture but this is what I ended up with. I can still picture his little face crumpling with betrayal as he was wedged into a big orange prison. In reality the cold slime on naked legs must have felt somewhat alien to a baby and needless to say the pictures never made it to social media. I’m almost over the shock so I can share them almost guilt free* now.
(*still riddled with guilt)
- Creative Arts
“Lets get the craft box out” is enough to awaken any hidden Monica Geller that you might have sleeping inside you. Paint goes absolutely sodding everywhere and babies don’t quite understand “NO DON’T PUT THAT HAND ON OUR NEWLY PAINTED WALLS” or “STAY IN THE BLACK BLOODY TRAY!”
- Sleepy Time
Whenever I imagined day naps for my unborn baby I pictured lovely warm naps with all the teddies a little man could wish for and a nice cosy throw that would smell like him. Sometimes I might be able to sneak in for a warm snuggle and Eskimo kisses. What we actually have is a half naked lunatic that drags cushions off the couch like a caveman dragging his club behind him trying to find a quiet corner to have a sneaky unscheduled nap. Not on my watch, pal. No, I have to stuff him into a sleeping sack and can’t be within a 10 mile radius or he will hear me and insist on getting up to play.
“Aw, look at that baby using his spoon.” – Me, in a restaurant as I pick up fluffy scrambled egg from the floor for the fifteenth time and try to put it back on his tray without anyone seeing or judging me. I did once make the mistake of giving him a spoon with his yoghurt in public which resulted in the covering of some poor unsuspecting lady in Peppa Pig Fromage Frais. I suppose it’s not as bad as the time he put a cauliflour cheese handprint on the back of someone’s black coat in Nando’s and I just left the restaurant, at least on this occasion we apologised.
- Down Time
I really wanted to spend every moment when River wasn’t engaged in some creative play by reading to him. Problem is, the kid loves Countdown and I love the kid watching Countdown for 40 minutes and having a bit of peace. At least it’s a bit educational…
- Birthday Baking
On the lead up to River’s birthday I carefully planned his cake, I had grand ideas but limited creativity. I scrolled through Pinterest like an 80s kid at Christmas with an Argos Catalogue hot off the press. I was going to do a multi-tiered, naturally sweetened, buttercream frosted extravaganza. As you can see, what I ended up with was a cake that wouldn’t look out of place on the end of a clown’s face. Ah well, I tried.
So what’s have I learned? Put in the effort and get that Pinterest perfect life?
Nah, just going to lower my standards.
Written by Stephany Donaghy-Sims for her blog, The Milky Gay.