You’re ready for all those big milestones – the smiling, the sitting up, the crawling, the walking. But what about all those weird little ones that take you by surprise? By Rachel Tompkins.

The umbilical cord falling off

This usually happens about 2-3 weeks in, and if you’re lucky you’ll find it when you take their clothes off. It resembles a lamb’s tail with a sandwich-bag clip at one end. Not to be enjoyed by the squeamish among us but perfectly harmless. If you’ve seen Sex and the City, you’ll know to keep it away from any pets…

The sh*t shower

You’ll be dutifully changing your little one’s newborn nappy when suddenly a volcano-like explosion projects itself from their tiny bottom. Don’t be fooled by how small they are, at this age they must be almost entirely made-up of poo, if the amount they can produce in one sitting is anything to go by. The quick-witted amongst us will be able to reach for a cotton wool ball/ wipe/random item of clothing in time to limit the damage, or the shocked, dazed and confused parents of us will literally be standing there showered in their baby’s excretions. It’s a story to tell your friends at least.

The poonami baby-gro extraction

You won’t believe it until you’ve experienced it. This is basically when your baby does a poo so big that it seeps all up the back of their nappy and up their back, down their legs, all over their tummy – basically they’re smothered in the stuff! And the only viable way you can see to get that baby-gro off without risking covering their faces in poo too is to get a pair of scissors and literally cut it off them. Good luck (and remember to take a pic to show your mates…). 

The first time your baby eats mud* (*or spiders or worse!)

After spending every waking minute since your baby has been born sterilising absolutely everything they might put near their mouth, once they’re on the move you quickly realise that they can feed themselves now. Well, that is if you accept that picking dried mud off the buggy wheels and eating is counts as ‘food’, or that ingesting a shrivelled-up spider from the living room floor counts as one of their five-a-day! Admittedly it’s hard to distinguish a rolled-up woodlice from a raisin, but as long as there’s nothing they could choke on then it’s not the end of the world. Strengthens the immune system surely?!

The public nipple-flash

This happens after your little one has lulled you into a false sense of security with breastfeeding. They’ve mastered it and will do it anywhere. Then one day you’re innocently sipping coffee in your local deli and chatting to your mate when suddenly you feel a bit draughty down there and notice that your child has unlatched themselves to reveal your whole boob, nipple and all, to the world. Worst case scenario it’ll still be squirting milk too, in which case hopefully there are no unsuspecting businessman in the line of fire.

The first fall

Whether it’s a kamikaze roll off your bed while you’re drying your hair, or sliding off the sofa when you’ve been distracted for a split second, that first time your baby falls to the ground with a thud will literally make your heart stop. Be prepared for the fact that this will just be the first of many, and as your baby starts crawling and walking there will undoubtedly be trips to A&E. But rest assured that you won’t be the first parent who’s been there, and you certainly won’t be the last. And experience soon teaches us that thankfully our little ones are much more robust than you’d think!

Sex

It’s what made the baby in the first place (unless, like me, you were subject to the wonders of IVF) but since having the baby it couldn’t have been any lower down your priority list than having a colonic. Eventually though, needs must and as you open your legs for the first time you’re filled with sheer, utter fear. If you had a straightforward birth and everything remained ship-shape down there then you’ll probably be surprised how quickly spring back to shape, so to speak. If so – enjoy! If not and things were more complicated and you’ve been left feeling like a patchwork blanket, than all I can say is have a big tub of lube at the ready. It will get better in time though!

Stepping on the scales again

This is mum, not baby. Some of us chose to meander our way through pregnancy in blissful ignorance about how much weight we’re putting on. If you’re one of those people then the utter fear about stepping on the scales for the first time post-baby can’t be underestimated. A glass of wine sometimes help soften the blow. Either that or remembering that you did produce a human with that body so what’s a few pounds, or stone, between friends?

Sleeping through the night

Some parents have the luxury of this happening in the first few months, for others it’s closer to a year… or three… before this Holy Grail of parenting takes place. Sod’s law is though that you’ve been dreaming about it and longing for it for so bloody long, that when it does happen you start to panic. Is the baby ok? Suddenly you’re laying there wide awake and the baby is not. What if they’re not breathing? You wake your partner to tell them you’re worried and then worry about it even more until you can’t resist getting out of bed, tiptoeing down the hall and into their silent nursery to check. Predictably the minute you peer over them they open their eyes and you’ve just woken your blissfully sleeping baby! DAMMIT. 

Your first night out

You’ve spent the first few months of motherhood so tired that all you want to do of an evening is collapse into bed. So when you eventually get one of the grandparents to watch the baby for a few hours so that you can have a night out just the two of you, you flit from feeling surging excitement about the freedom, to terrifying guilt. A word of warning about the conversation though – expecting anything other than baby-talk for the first hour would be simply churlish, as would not having to check your phone every three minutes in case the baby’s woken up.

Once you’ve got past that initial weirdness though, had a couple of drinks and begun to relax, you’ll realise that you’re actually enjoying yourself again. And your baby is absolutely fine. Yes!