Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Notes from the trenches: Shopping, shots, & shifts

Shopping for babies and children's clothes has always been one of my pleasures. They make the most adorable things - little items you can imagine mommy and daddy wearing, but in the miniature. Worryingly, they also make things for girls of the 'hoochie mamma' variety. The sort of thing if mom were indeed wearing the larger version thereof, she'd most likely be doing so while selling her wares on dimly lit corners to slow moving cars. Indeed there are some clothes out there that are definitely not suited for little girls. And as scary as that thought is, the fact that they continue to make them means there clearly is a market. It reminds me of that recent Woolworths marketing blunder - the 'Lolita' girls bedroom furniture range.

Since moving to London, and after my sisters and various friends had babies, I've bought a fair amount of children's clothes. After having my own child however, it's given me a whole new insight into how to go about the business. It's a simple rule really: Forget fashion, cuteness, or dressing your daughter like a little doll. Each time I contemplate purchasing an item, I imagine how easy it would be to remove and put back on at 2am when dealing with a number 2 situation without waking her. As a result her wardrobe resembles the institutional apparel Hannibal Lecter was forced to wear in the Silence of the Lambs.

Julia, who is three months old, had her second round of shots today. Whenever you show concern for the pain your child is about to endure while being stabbed by a sharp needle in the thigh, pumping her small body full of nasty viruses, the doctors give you their best condescending look and say the same thing: "If you think this is bad, you should see what a baby with measles/chicken pox/rubella/whooping cough/meningitis looks like."

Yes, yes, I know one needs to vaccinate, but it doesn't mean I have to like it when my daughter is screaming in pain and looking at me as if to say, "How? How could you stand there and let someone hurt me like this?" I believe this is one of the first instances of parental guilt and it's a long and busy road from here onwards.

This waking up at 2am and 6am business is beginning to take its toll, and has resulted in a competitive element between Roberto and I. The night before last, a night I actually had off while he took over, he told me I hadn't in fact slept as soundly as I'd boasted. Instead I was sitting up in bed like a mad person talking and laughing away in my sleep - keeping him awake during those precious couple of hours he needed to be sleeping between feeds. He attempted to say this matter of factly, but I could tell he was seething with resentment at my carefree happy go-lucky REM activity. God forbid either of us get some sleep while the other has to slave away at ungodly hours, let alone enjoy the fact.

And if one of us dares complain about being tired after this late/early morning shift, the other will inevitably say something to the effect of, "You think you're tired??? When I last did it, she didn't go to sleep for a full hour after the 2am feed, AND I had to change a number 2 nappy, TWICE!" Yes, romantic times.

And on that note, Roberto, who is on duty again tonight, tells me I need to stop blogging and switch off the light so he can make the most out of the 2 hours and 22 minutes he has left to sleep before having to prepare the next bottle. And it wasn't a request.

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