Getting out and about with a newborn
The biggest shock to the system for me that I felt most overwhelming and tricky with a newborn was how small tasks turn into the biggest ordeal. I had always heard that ‘you wont be able to leave the house in 5 minutes like you used to’ and was always baffled by this as, as long as I had nappies and wipes and a spare vest, I was pretty much good to go (thank God all I need to feed him are my boobs, and I never forget them).
The most life-changing, (and yes I say life changing because life soon becomes about going ASDA) is how inconvenient it is to shop with a baby. I remember the first time I needed to ‘nip into’ a Tesco Express by my house and had this tiny baby in a carseat. I actually got mild anxiety thinking of the possible scenarios that could play out. This may sound daft to you if you don’t have a baby, but to me, it was so difficult to grasp the concept.
Before having a baby a normal person would park their car, get out their car, walk in, maybe pick up a basket, get their items, pay and leave. When you’re alone with a baby, it sure as hell gets difficult to carry a carseat (have you ever carried one of those things? They’re crazy heavy) AND carry a basket (because lets face it there’s no way you’re going to be able to hold those items and carry the carseat, so you pick up a basket). But wait, how do I get the items in the basket, both my hands are full? Ok, ok so I put the car seat down every time I want to put something in the basket. The basket then gets heavy, the carseat is heavy and suddenly both my arms are bright red. I’ve then got to get to the till, put basket down, put baby down, get my purse out, pay, take the bag of shopping and the baby, head back to the car and put both in and drive home! HEEEELL NA… Must be an easier way…
Round 2… Lets try the pram. I hate this thing, the less I need to get it out the boot and clip the carseat in the better. Realistically, I ought to just get a grip and use the pram more as it saves me breaking my back and getting sore arms from carrying the car seat. It just seems so much upheaval for a trip to a Tesco Express. Hey ho, here goes. Take the pram out of the car and unfold the wheels, take the carseat out the car and put onto the wheels. Go into Tesco, carry a basket with one arm and try and push the pram with the other hand, basket becomes heavier on one side and basket begins to tip… end up wheeling the pram into the food aisles due to being unbalanced. I also become unnecessarily paranoid that the basket will pick up and almighty force and begin swinging to and fro and into the baby’s head (this would never happen but my Mum-brain works in strange and mysterious ways)
Round 3… Lets try putting my shopping in the bottom of the pram. Ok this seriously looks like I’m shop lifting. How about using a Bag for Life, the buggy clips, and taking a spare bag to unload the first bag and pack it back into the new bag… too many bags right? The bag for life works great when using the ‘Scan as you shop’ in a big Tesco, but alas, I AM AT A SMALL TESCO…
Round 4… A trolley, one trolley big enough for a car seat, outside. Can fit less shopping in than a basket and is the opposite of discrete but IT WORKS… that is until you get to a different express and they only have the tiny, stupid trollies.
I used to sit and daydream about Round 5… what I wouldn't give for Oscar to be stable enough to hold with one hand so I could nip in with him on my waist, run in and grab a few bits, pay and leave… Little did I know this is impossible because if your baby isn’t stable enough and needs two arms holding him, this leaves no hands for your shopping and if he is stable enough it means he's old enough to want to touch EVERYTHING in the shop
To sum up, Tesco express with a baby can just GET FUCKED… if anyone has cracked it let me know.
This I have avoided like the plague. I have tried to always get petrol when I am giving someone a lift in my car so that they can stay in the car with the baby while I pay, or I have used Pay at Pump so that I don’t have to leave him. The times I have left him, when he was smaller and/or asleep the thoughts that have gone through my head are like no other. I know very little about phones in petrol stations and why you have to turn them off but I just know that you have to, something about the sparks and the fuel… I’ve really no idea. But the thought of a petrol station EXPLODING is the only thing on my mind when I get fuel with Oscar in the car. That, and someone kidnapping him, the car overheating, the car locking and I can’t unlock it - the sheer anxiety of what could, but probably would never, happen is another level. I’ve left him a handful of times, only when I’ve parked on the pumps closest to the checkout, waited in my car until the queue had completely gone, dashed in with the exact amount of cash, THROWN IT at the man behind the till and ran back. Even typing this gives me heart palpitations. Now that he’s older, if I’m not in a rush I will get him out and take him in, get a drink and make it a leisurely affair.
The big food shop
This gets more difficult as time goes on. It took me a while to realise that trollies exist that you can put your carseat on top of and actually strap in, I thought this was GENIUS the first time I found it. Tesco and Lidl have these and are exceptionally high, they have a car seat rack on top of a standard trolley. Although its a great idea because it means you can shop without disturbing your baby, have an entire trolley’s worth of space, you can’t see where the hell you’re going. I have hit many a small child by not knowing where I’m going. ASDA - however, are right on the money. They have low trolleys, with wide handle bars and a carseat rack. If ASDA met Tescos, and had the perfect trolley and Scan as you Shop - Holy moly I would be one happy Mama.
When Oscar got old enough to sit in the trolleys with the child seats and have his legs dangling I was buzzing. I felt like he was a proper little boy, theres tons of space in those seats so I always either stuff his blanket around him or grab a thick wooly cardigan before I leave if its a hot day to use. I find it makes him less 'grabby' and not wanting to touch everything on the shelves if he's a bit more wedged in. This doesn't, however, stop him from putting the metal clip that you insert into the trolley in front afterwards to get your £1 back, I can't imagine the filth on there. Once the novelty has worn off of how exciting it is to have your once tiny baby, sat up in a trolley, it soon becomes THE most annoying thing on the planet, to have to concentrate on doing your shopping but also to make sure your child doesn't touch or eat or lick anything, this includes trying to bite the handlebars, touch everything that crosses his path as you put it into the trolley and touch the car keys and put a few of those in his mouth as you hang them up.
Shopping in town
Manoeuvring a pram around town is bloody hard. Nearly nine months later and I still make a royal ass of myself. I almost always smash the front wheels into the side of a door frame or the door itself, always go into mannequins or clothes rails. Pair this, with the fact you’ll need an extra large changing room and can’t go up the FUCKING escalator anymore so spend half your time at the back of the shop to get to the lift.
Meeting anyone or doing anything near bedtime
This for me, is just a big fat Ha Ha NO. If someone wants to meet me outside of my house, and it’s anywhere near 6 o’clock, I invite them to challenge Oscar not to fall asleep in the car on the way there/home. Believe me, I’ve tried not to be the anal bedtime Nazi that stops me from meeting up with friends, but I just can’t help it. Once you become obsessed with naps, bedtime and timings, it’s game over. 6-8 months for us was the best age to leave the house at 11, and arrive at a lunchtime destination, have slept in the car, be sociable for a few hours, and have a nap on the way home around 2, aaaah the 11 and 2 o’clock naps, I miss you old friends - you were so convenient.