The Blands

The baby manual that doesn’t exist

It's only natural to look to books for advice when embracing parenthood but are you getting all the information you need? As a way to fill the void Steve pens the ultimate baby manual that doesn't exist!   

We’ve all said it, read it and been told it… there is no rule book or manual when it comes to your baby.’ We all know that’s not strictly true. In fact, there are loads of books that profess to tell new parents what they should expect through the pregnancy, labour and then into parenting. But there’s so much they DON’T tell you!

So here goes. My list – in no particular order - of things the other books DON’T tell you!

1. You will NEVER win an argument against your child… at least until they have learned to join a few words together. As tempting as it may be to try and reason with them as they hurl the TV remote at the wall or eat the crayons you’ve just bought them, it will do no good, so don’t bother. Just accept that plenty of things that are well beyond your control can and will happen.

2. Silence is NOT golden, it’s terrifying. Fred is such a chatterbox now that the only time he shuts up is when he’s getting up to mischief. Silence means he’s covering himself in baby food or tearing his and your favourite books to pieces.

3. Prepare to spend days, weeks or even months humming the theme tune to the Big Bugs Band or Peppa Pig (other kids programmes are available) to yourself. It might be annoying but just imagine life without his or her favourite TV programme. Finding a go-to kids’ show to give yourself a moment’s peace is allowed in the early days.

4. Buying expensive toys is a complete waste of time. I promise you that Fred gets more enjoyment out of the packaging around a new toy than the toy itself. There’s nothing like a big cardboard box or some packing paper. It was the same with my two nieces. They’re now seven and four so you’d have thought I’d have learned my lesson by now!

5. Accept from an early stage that your precious car that you looked after so well before you had a baby will look very much like you’ve lived in it for six months. You’ll probably look like you live in your car too. There’s very little you can do about either problem.

6. Be aware of swaying from side to side in public when you’re not holding a baby. In the early days you spend so much time swaying and rocking a baby to sleep that it becomes second nature. If you find yourself doing it in the supermarket, think about a go-to dance move to style it out.

7. Floorboards ONLY creak when your baby is asleep. Annoying but true.

8. Despite number three, technology isn’t always the answer. It is easy to see the iPad or the mobile phone as the golden ticket to an hour of peace and quiet. In reality, it probably is, but we all know it’s not doing them any good, don’t we!?

9. The first time your baby sleeps through the night will be a terrifying experience. Waking up for the first time at a normal hour after a reasonable nights sleep can be very scary. I’ve heard so many tales of parents waking up at 6am for the first time since he or she was born and presuming something terrible must have happened – only to find that their little one has finally got the knack of sleeping through.

10. You will say some sentences that you never realised could be sentences. Words that would never have been put together suddenly become the most unlikely of bedfellows. For example, until you have a baby, you never have to ask anyone to get Dairylea out of their hair and you never Google ‘how do you get Rice Crispies out of a child’s ear’ or is fake coal harmful to eat?’ It’s not by the way.

THE most important rule of all is that, of course, there is no actual rule book after all for your child. If you’ve got a happy, content baby then consider yourself a winner and a total success as a parent. It’s all we ever want after all, right? The only guru worth listening to when it comes to your little one is YOU.