stillbloodysingle

Smart, sexy single desperately seeking similar…

Business as usual

Can you believe it? The little man is already seven weeks old.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s an insignificant amount of time. Yet in 49 days I’ve seen him change from a tiny foetal creature, squinting and purple with wrinkly skin two sizes too large, to a chubby-cheeked cherub, smooth-skinned, wide-eyed and curious about the world around him. I already struggle to remember a time before his existence.

Of course, life has changed significantly since his birth. My days are now moulded to his wants and needs: everything stops for feeding time and I’ve developed an expert knowledge of pram-friendly coffee shops as well as the nicest nappy-changing spots in town.

Some friends have dropped by the wayside, and we only meet when I make the call. Others have surprised me with their generosity, taking time to call on a regular basis and making activities as baby-friendly as possible.

These friends are the very best, as far as I’m concerned. They understand that I still want their company – in fact, that I need it more than ever – and that if I don’t get in touch it’s only because I got distracted by a nappy change, a doctor’s appointment or an hour or two spent getting the little piglet’s wind up.

To be fair, I understand those friends who aren’t quite so visible nowadays. After all, they signed up for friendship with me, not me and my wee sproglet. And since one of us is prone to howling the house down at a moment’s notice (and we’re now an inseparable twosome) you can’t blame them for cooling the friendship just a little.

And if you don’t have kids, it really is impossible to imagine just how completely your life revolves around your little miracle. I never understood it myself until now.

But despite this realisation, I’d expected things to be harder. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky, perhaps I was just imagining the worst case scenario, or perhaps the worst is yet to come … but the whole single parent thing has been easier than I imagined.

Even things with the Baby Daddy have been easier than I anticipated. Although it is a little odd to spend weekends playing happy families with someone who, until recently, I was exchanging little more than terse emails, we’ve managed to keep things cordial and have occasionally even enjoyed each other’s company.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments (usually at 3am) when I’ve considered hurling my boy – or myself – out of the window. But mercifully, those moments have been few and far between and have been massively outweighed by the joy I feel every time I look at his chubby cheeks, his bright, expressive eyes or his wrinkled little brow.

And, perhaps surprisingly, my life hasn’t been completely devoid of delightful men. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to claim any passion and intrigue, He Who Shall Remain Nameless and I have been enjoying each other’s company by long distance call, which has been a real pleasure … and there’s a week in the sunshine with The Semi-suitable Man just round the corner.

In terms of romantic action it’s not much, but it’s enough to keep my little heart happy for now.

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Back to square one…

It’s 7.30am, and I’m cleaning bright yellow poop from the change mat, the table, the (mercifully wooden) floor, the rug – located an impressive 1.5m from the change mat – a selection of newspapers and magazines, and a book.

With impeccable timing, the little man issued his squitterings just moments after I opened his nappy. Of course, I escaped unscathed: I’ve long since learned that when changing a small person’s undercrackers it’s prudent – nay, crucial – to stand to the side. Pity the man who approaches the task head on; on his own trousers be it. And his floor. And his table. And his book.

(I hadn’t rated the book too highly myself, but it must be said that my review was considerably less harsh.)

Anyway, improbable as it may seem, after the rough times my little pud has had lately, I’m more than happy to be undertaking these tender ministrations. In fact, it’s practically a pleasure. Because for 12 days straight, I’ve been changing his nappy in a hospital room.

It was all very sudden. The Baby Daddy was in town as we were scheduled to register the bubba’s birth. When we said goodnight and climbed into bed, the little fella was fine. But after his 2am feed, he wouldn’t settle and was making a strange groaning noise … and I knew something wasn’t right.

Ninety minutes and one call to the midwife later we were back in the car, on our way to get him checked out.

“Back again?” said the nurse in A&E. I nodded grimly.

I was so tired I could barely think, but I quickly understood the doctor’s assessment: my little man had a stomach infection and wouldn’t be going home tonight, or any time soon – he was set for a hospital stay and an extended course of antibiotics.

The doctor inserted a canula into the back of his tiny hand. Once again, I watched with my heart in my mouth as he screamed with rage and fear while the medicine dripped slowly into his bloodstream.

Thank goodness, the antibiotics soon took effect and my little man started looking pink and healthy again, but those canulas kept giving out: by the time we were discharged 12 days later, he’d had 16 replacements and attempted replacements, not to mention a lumbar puncture, which took four attempts to get right. He’d started screaming as soon as the nurses took his arm and I was a nervous wreck.

After that little lot, you can imagine that cleaning poop from a generous area of the living room really is an absolute joy. And now that we’re back home, we can start creating a routine all of our own.

Right from the start I’ve been careful to avoid Slummy Mummy Syndrome, principally to safeguard my own sanity: I’m dressed (almost) every morning before breakfast, and I make sure I find time to blow-dry my hair and put on a minimum of make-up, just to remind myself that I have other roles beyond Chief Nappy Changer and Supplier of Infinite Milky Meals.

Naturally, these efforts are all for my own benefit: a lady with a baby isn’t high on most men’s list of attractive propositions. And so it is that after months of flirtation and sweet words, relations with He Who Shall Remain Nameless have slipped back into the strictly platonic. His company is still a pleasure, of course, but when you’ve tasted someone’s lips and become drunk on the scent of their skin, it’s kind of hard to be satisfied with anything less.

Still, as with everything else, the feeling will pass and I just have to wait for myself to forget, or to be distracted by something new.

Not that I’ll have much time for anything new. At the moment, my little piglet feeds almost constantly, and five precious minutes for myself seems like an impossible dream, never mind the time to meet someone new to crush on. But of course I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From his soft, baby skin to his fluffy newborn hair, this little man has me wrapped around his little finger – and I absolutely love it. My love for him is completely unconditional … surely there isn’t a man on the planet who could compete?

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