Among the gazillion things that undergo a change after having a baby (your body, your sleep patterns, your social life) is your home. What was once NEAT and PRETTY is now a dumpyard of toys, nappies, plastic plates, plastic spoons, plastic cups, more toys and loads of other baby-related paraphenalia. (You can read a room-by-room analysis on how your house will undergo a change post-baby here).
Of course, you want your house to go back to looking nice again (by 'nice' I mean 'presentable' and at least looking somewhat like a house; though I wish it would look like the inside of an interior design magazine). But you know that will NEVER happen for the next 18 years, till said child (and future children) leave for University.
Your constant attempts at tidying up are – let's face it – futile. Coz your child's room/ your living room will go back to looking like a scrapyard of toys/ nursery/ toy shop the second they wake up/ return home.
Dear guest in my house,
There are a few things I would like to let you know…
As much as we LOVE having you over, it is essential that you UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT that the following will take place. Whether you like/ approve of it or not. It's just the way it is now, with the little boss in the house.
1. There will be a mess
As I mentioned above, attempts to tidy up are futile, or very short-lived. Do not judge me, I try, really I do, but just like me you will have to accept that messy is how its going to be.
2. There will be noise
The type and decibel level will depend on
a) the age of my child
b) the reason for the noise
c) the time (i.e. nap-time, play-time, nearing bed-time).
You will experience ear-piercing kind of crying if my baby is hungry or overtired.
You might witness a full-blown tantrum if my three-year-old doesn't get what he wants.
If its play-time, you will almost certainly hear the crashing of legos as my son brings his tall lego tower down. I assure you that you will hear this loud crash repeatedly.
And, if you're lucky, you will probably get to hear infectious shrieks of laughter when my little boy watches Daddy Pig make yet another blunder. Oh, you probably wouldn't know, Daddy Pig is Peppa Pig's rather silly daddy!
If you want to hear that laughter again, tickle him or play hide-and-seek and pretend you just cannot find him. Trust me, that laughter is a sound you will love…
3. There will be tantrums
For ANYTHING or EVERYTHING.
PS: Do not get startled at how my son will transform into a Hulkesque figure, or suddenly possess X-Menish capabilities. I advice you read my post The Seven Deadly Stages of a Tantrum to understand this aspect better.
4. There will be weird requests
But these requests are NOT weird for my child. And, more importantly, must be adhered to.
Like 'find me' – a cue to play hide-and-seek.
Or 'I want to ride a horsie' – where I will suddenly become a horse that my boy can pretend-ride.
5. There will be a lot of repetition
Children love routine and repetition; it gives them a sense of security. So if you are asked to read the same book 20 times, or watch the same episode of Fireman Sam over and over again, don't bang your head in frustration. Just grin and bear it, like I do.
6. There will be crumbs and food left-overs everywhere
On the floor, on the dining table and yes, you will probably even find a cheerio in the insides of the sofa.
7. There will be lots of television
… only you won't get to decide what to see. Warning: there will be no news, no movies and no National Geography. There will be 'Wheels on the Bus', one-eyed characters called Minions and pups who call themselves the Paw Patrol saving the world.
You must let the television be on, so that you and I can have adult conversations and so that your hostess – me – stays sane.
8. There will be never-ending bedtimes
When I go to put my son to bed, expect me to be gone for at least an hour. If you're not a parent, bedtime for you is a relaxing time. For me, it's often a dreaded time. As much as I want my son to retire for the night, I know that the process is going to be long, drawn-out and often tantrum-inducing.
Be warned of the following:
- I will be gone for a long period of time. Help yourself to a drink
- My son will keep making appearances (it could be to tell you 'bye' and 'good-night' one more time – isn't he a great host?!; or to drink one more sip of water; or to check if his red car is put next to his blue one and not his yellow one)
- At some point you will hear me shout and/or my son protest/howl. Read this to understand why
- I will most probably dose off with him, and will only get up at midnight or some such late hour to go back to sleep again. So I'll see you in the morning then
9. There will be early mornings
Despite that long drawn-out process of going to sleep (which in itself seems tiring enough), and the later-than-usual hour that my son went to bed last night, don't assume he will sleep till late. He will STILL be up at 6.30 am, will dart around the house like Usain Bolt on dope and be vrooming his cars (sound effects et al) around. Invest in good earplugs if you're spending the night…
10. There will be cars everywhere
A house with a child/children in it is infested with toys. Toys just multiply and spread, like a virus. They eat into your space, your face, your ears. In my son's case, it's cars. Big ones, little ones, noisy ones, very noisy ones, police cars, construction vehicles – you will see ALL types and sizes of cars in my house.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed your stay…
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