A diva is a female version of a hustler (Beyonce)

Yes, celebrity requests for only the blue M&Ms, bespoke toilet seats and ironed carpets (Kanye West does not like bumps beneath his feet) are nothing compared to the diva-like behaviour of babies. Only Mariah Carey, who reputedly has an assistant walk backwards in front of her at all times in case she falls over, beats the babies.

So below we have the top ten baby diva demands…

diva
The baby wears Prada
  1. My room temperature must never fall below 16 degrees and must always be between 16-18 degrees. Leading to the fun games of ‘thermostat roulette’ and ‘blanket off, blanket on’.
  2. My milk should be fresh from the breast. With Bella we had a month long ‘battle of the bottle’, where missy acted like I was shoving an actual turd in her mouth, not a nice bottle filled with lovingly (ha) expressed breast milk.
  3. And if not from the breast, my milk should be from a receptacle that is trying with every fibre of its being to replicate a breast. Bottle teats shaped like nipples, milk heated to ‘straight-from the body’ temperature, and teat rubbed all over the chest so it smells like a boob.
  4. I need distraction 24/7, I must NEVER be allowed to become bored. Why can’t babies just sit in front of the TV and watch Friends like normal people? No, waking hours are about constant distraction. So we move from playmat, to Bumbo chair, to swingy chair, to swingy swing, to jumpy thing, to sofa, and then we start the rotation again. Our lounge looks like the Fun House threw up on it and I half expect Pat Sharp and the twins to burst in at any given moment brandishing gunge and good times.
  5. Wind me. Oh no, babies cannot wind themselves, this is part of the on-demand service, a service which takes HOURS, with more positions than a tantric sex-athon.
  6. Clean my fat folds. Baby fat folds need daily attention or else you run the risk of the cottage cheese phenomenon (clutches pearls in horror). So like you would with the ten tonne women, you strap a sponge onto a stick and get busy up in those creases.
  7. Never sneeze in my presence. Babies go cray cray when you sneeze. Just don’t do it, it’s not worth it.
  8. My bath water must be precisely 37 degrees, or I will LOSE MY MIND (and possibly piss myself).
  9. Hug me, how DARE you hug me, sit me up, how DARE you sit me up, put me on the play mat, how DARE you put me on the play mat, sway with me, how DARE you sway with me. You get the idea.
  10. I will NOT sit in my own filth – OK, this one’s fair enough, neither would I.

Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin (House of Pain)

It has been over five months since Bella was born. I am not going to be a birth-bore and go on and on about the labour, but it is the beginning of our story. It was all in all a very positive experience and compared to some other stories I have heard I consider myself lucky. But the memories of THAT pain still linger, a fading residue round the edges of my consciousness. They say at some point you forget it all; nature’s way of ensuring we continue to procreate. I haven’t yet.

Nothing you read or get told can prepare you for the birth. The only way to describe it is feral. Bella was a surprise breech and we only found out she was the wrong way round when I was 8cm dilated and swearing like a ship-wrecked sailor. The more dilated I got was in direct relationship to the number of c-bombs dropped. I was not composed or graceful in labour, I basically turned into Ray Winstone.

My waters broke at home and it was less movie scene gush, more long leak. For the first five minutes I thought I might just be peeing myself, this being an all too common pregnancy occurrence. But ten minutes later it was clear something was amiss. So we went into hospital, only to be sent home after being told it might take a day or so to kick in. No. One episode of Made in Chelsea later (guilty) I was rollicking round the flat biting on the furniture and dropping class-A swear words like they were HOT. So back to the hospital we went, contracting in the back of an Uber whilst shocking the driver with my unladylike language.

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Bella in frog mode

I didn’t know whether or not I would want drugs before I went into labour, but by the time we got back to hospital I was clear – yes please, all of them, now please. Gas and air, although I am sure fun for a night out, did not touch the sides. I was planning to stay in the birthing suite, which sounded like somewhere you might go for a nice week away, with a double bed, spa music and a pool. But the need for immediate relief and the fact that there was an arse where a head should be meant I waddled like a writhing John Wayne downstairs to the labour ward. There we waited for the man with the drugs. His aggressively long epidural needle gave Phil what my mum would call a “turn”. He went green. The midwives then hastily constructed “Phil’s corner” next to my bed, with a crash mat in case he fainted, a blanket, glass of icy water and a cold compress to mop his brow. I said nothing.

Because she was bum-down, we had to decide whether to go for a C-section or vaginal delivery. I started to get fearful. Labour is such an all-encompassing experience and I was so IN it that I wasn’t really feeling any emotions beyond “get it out” and this was the first time I felt properly scared. If we opted for a C-section Phil would not be allowed in because there was no room in the theatre for him to faint. At this point we both started to cry.

Luckily I then hit 10cm and the decision was made for us. Breech vaginal deliveries are apparently a bit unusual, so as I got ready to push, a gaggle of junior doctors filed into my room to have a butchers at the specimen in action. Despite being barely clothed and on all fours, being British I of course attempted polite conversation whilst ten complete strangers stared at my vagina. “This is Lindsey”…”Hi guys, how are you? Going anywhere nice on your holidays?” Phil stayed at the top of the bed at all times, for which I am grateful. Some things cannot be unseen. My friend’s husband described being at the business end as akin to watching his favourite pub burn down.

The pushing bit only took about twenty minutes and then Bella arrived into this world, bum first whilst simultaneously pooing and pissing (that’s my gal.) We deliberately didn’t know what flavour we were having so the first order of business was “it’s a girl!” Then she was deposited in my arms and immediately mewled her way towards my breast, fully confident in what she was doing even if I wasn’t. She was born with a full on mullet, looking every inch the late 1980s tennis player. I didn’t expect to look down and see a (very) young Andre Agassi sucking at my nip.

That first skin to skin was the most amazing moment of my life so far…beyond knackered, covered in every bodily fluid imaginable, high on ALL of the drugs and just staring, staring at this tiny creature that we had made. And so at 10.15am on the 7th of November, our story began….

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Phil does skin to skin

Allow me to reintroduce myself…(Jay Z)

My name is Lindsey.  And I am a MUM (Caps Lock required.)

When I was pregnant everyone told me that having a baby is the biggest change you will ever experience. As they imparted these words of wisdom I would nod blithely, hearing “blah blah blah”, convinced that I knew what I was getting myself into, then immediately go back to scrolling the Cos website for maternity clothes (Cos are not afraid of a smock), whilst sipping my decaf flat white (I hate myself a little bit). But they were right. It is a seismic change. And I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.

I work in advertising and used to spend 14 hour days trying to sell you things you don’t want or need from sweets to drinks to vagina cream (I feel it’s important to get the word vagina in there early doors). Now I spend 14 hour days in a very different way, as a MUM (Caps Lock still required).

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Just chillin’

What else do you need to know about me? I used to be a breakdancer in a crew called Mean Feet (see what we did there), what my mum used to call my “troupe” despite repeated reminders that troupes were for clowns. And I love all things hip hop and R&B, although I am not ashamed to admit that my music taste stopped evolving in 2001.

I am engaged to Phil. We met on Guardian Soulmates.com five years ago. Before I met him I put a call out to the gods of dating for a 6 foot plus guy with curly bouffant hair (a younger, stretched out version of Jeff Goldblum if you will), and Phil came to order. Sometimes you do get what you wish for, although I had to go on a vast number of painful blind dates with a lot of sub 5 foot 8 guys to get there. (FYI a Cuban heel does not count towards your height for the purposes of internet dating profiles.)

In November I gave birth to Bella (full name Gabriela). Luckily she was a girl, as Phil is half Brazilian and the boys names on his list were a welcome mat to bullying (Ronaldinho and Romario to name but two). Bella is in equal measures a little legend and a little dictator. The moment she popped out, bum first (more about that later) I technically became a mum, but what I have learnt is that becoming a mum isn’t instantaneous, it’s something that evolves, and something that takes two to tango. So this blog is the story of me and Bella, as I become MUM.

 

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