Baby stuff to look forward to

There’s no shortage of lists of the stuff that’s not so great about having a newborn. But now my second baby is one, and I’ll probably never have to go through all of the stretch marks and the labour pains and the newborn feeding dramas again, I can give you a list of some of the best things.

Here are 10 of the best things about babies.

1. The way your baby smells.
You would not expect that something that has burst forth from a human body would smell nice. One of my friends said she always felt she should ask people why they wanted to kiss her newborn who was yet to have a bath – thinking, “don’t you know where he’s been?” But weirdly, you do. They smell delicious. I could sniff my babies’ heads all day. Which is fortunate, because that’s kind of what you end up doing.
2. When you give your baby to your partner for the first time.
Even if he literally complained about his cold while you were in labour, the sight of a dad (or the other mum or other configuration) holding the newborn like he’s afraid the baby is going to shatter is probably the cutest thing in the world.

3. When you go out for the first time and have everything you need.
I’ve edited newspapers, chaired scary meetings, tackled public speaking engagements but nothing makes me feel as accomplished as when I’ve been out somewhere, something has gone horribly wrong and I can say: “No worries, I’ve got exactly what we need in my bag.” Times like when I’ve had to change my baby’s clothes – and had a perfect replacement set, actually in the right size. (This only worked for the first few months – I’m still carting around size 00 onesies.) Or when my son has got scratchy near lunchtime – and I’ve had age-appropriate snacks on hand. This doesn’t happen very often so I make the most of it.

4. When they start smiling
For the first couple of months, lots of babies grin a lot. But you know it’s totally tied to that rumble in their tummies or the dodgy smell wafting up from down below – they can’t actually even really focus on your face, let alone decide it’s worth smiling at. But somewhere around six or eight weeks, the smiles get a bit more deliberate and a bit less gassy. It’s totally worth the wait. Dodgy smells continue.

5. When they start laughing
There’s such a short period in a person’s life when they’ll see the funny side of anything – maybe from five months old to 18 months maximum. After that, you’ve got to work for it. Many parents seem to get a false sense of how hilarious they actually are during this time – luckily kids develop the ability to roll their eyes pretty definitively by the time they’re about 2.5, to put you in your place.

6. When they don’t complain about being cuddled
My son is only three but he’s already pretty quick to tell me he is too busy for a hug with his mum. Make the most of your first year when you can snuggle as much as you like with no (okay maybe just limited) complaints.

7. When they need you to lie with them for every nap
This is a great stage if you have older kids (and people willing to look after them). If you have a period where your baby will only nap if you’re lying there with them the whole time, you suddenly get a lot more sleep. And no one can complain.

8. When they stay where you put them
Life is so much easier before they start moving around. You can pop your baby on the floor while you have a shower and (sometimes) have them play pretty peacefully while you wash your hair. But once they start crawling/shuffling/however else they get around you have to shower in about 32 seconds, otherwise they’re into the toilet brush.

9. The people you meet.
Have I mentioned my wonderful, wonderful coffee group? I met them in 2013 and it is still these women who get the brunt of my midnight messages – everything from “hey do you think this rash is normal” to “I’m stuck feeding again, do you think I should buy this handbag?” One just asked me if we could get away with wine at a 10.30am picnic. What more could you want? When you have a baby there’s an instant bond with lots of people with whom you’d otherwise have nothing in common, and whom you might never have met. And life would be poorer for it.

10. When they sleep through the night.
I’m sure this will be great. Hopefully it happens before they move out.

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