I know, I know, you’re going to read these and shake your head because you’ve heard it all (or most of it) before. Thank you in advance for indulging me, and the lessons I’ve learned in only seven weeks and three days under the tutelage of Sensei Calvin (looking thoughtful and wise at right.)
1: TGFL. That would be “Thank you-know-who for leather (and ultrasuede.)” The range and frequency of UFOs (Unidentifiable Food-like Objects) smearing, splattering and otherwise embedding themselves on our furniture is astounding. I knew deep down that there was a reason beyond good looks and access to credit that we spent this much on seating. And if I amortise the cost of professional cleaning over the expected lifespan of the couches… what a steal!
2: On the one hand…: Ambidexterity only requires training and daily practice. Really. Cooking, dishes, laundry, typing, browsing the web, reading, cleaning, writing — left hand, right hand, what’s the difference?
3: Fashion forward: The ponytail can (must) be a signature style. After all, it’s either that or trying to find the time to wash baby goo out of your hair, a couple of times a day. We are now on the lookout for fashionable and attractive hair holders other than the elastic bands that were normally for the gym. (Who knows when we will see the gym again?)
4. Mind over matter: If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Who imagined one could keep one’s cool while changing for the third time in a single morning because the spitup exceeded the physical limits of the burp cloth?
5. Clean up your act: Caffeine and cola were never challenges I had to face, so life presented new ones. Going cold turkey on my beloved peanut butter for the sake of preventing allergies; and on tomatoes and oranges to minimize irritation of the diaper rash; and on lentils, broccoli, garlic to spare the baby bothering gas effects… and…
6. Weaknesses are really strengths in disguise: I am grateful my ‘seek and peck’ typing style was fast and accurate enough to test out of the need to learn to touch type. Think of how frustrated I’d be right now, when all I can do is one-handed typing.
7. Less is more (or less): Reasses how much bed width you really need to comfortably sleep. Then halve it. Somehow this little person takes up almost as much space as an adult. I have now mastered the art of delicately balancing on the edge of the bed, tucking the sheet under my overhanging limbs and getting some sort of sleep in the process. (So this is why someone invented the king-sized bed!) While you’re at it, reasses how much sleep you really need. An 8-hour-a-day kinda gal like I was? Think again.
8. It’s all in the delivery: Forget American Idol, I can make up and perform a song about anything, from the content of diapers to the temperature of water in the baby bath. Try that Simon Cowl!
9. It really is the little things that count: Like getting to take a shower — I dream about long soaking baths and am jealously guarding my last two fresh* SugarBath lemon-scented cubes for that day my dream is realised.
10. Rethink the laws of physics: There is no maximum to how much laundry can be generated. There is no burp cloth that will contain what baby presents you with. There is no nappy that can stand up to an explosive evacuation. There is no limit to how many clothing changes (of baby or caregiver) that may required in a given hour. There is no maximum to how many kisses you can, will and will wish even more to give your baby from top to bottom. There is no end to what you will do to earn a smile :0)
BONUS LESSON. Set the record straight: Most significantly of all, Calvin has taught me to truly appreciate my mom. On my next birthday I’m celebrating her. It’s clear now that I didn’t do very much deserving of a cake, party and presents, but she certainly did!