So it’s nearly a year since my best childhood friend finished cooking her beautiful baby and we all said hello to Squidge.
Before she popped, we spoke at length about all things baby – and due to the wonders of modern technology tapping into my communications, deepest fears, and insecurities before selling the info to ad agencies, all of a sudden listicle upon listicle appeared in my timeline.’13 things you’ll feel when your best friend has a baby, 13 ways to beat the jealousy when your best friend has a baby’, ‘13 things to say to your best friend who’s just had a baby’, ‘13 gifts to get your best friend when she’s just had a baby’, and perhaps most brutally ‘13 ways to make new friends when your best friend has a baby and becomes boring’ (it’s always bloody 13).
Although those carefully crafted, no-time-spared titles aren’t exactly the same as the listicles I read, they’re – to quote Mr Killer, the best science teacher in the World – “as near as damnit is to swearing”.
Some of the lists were funny, making 13 points which didn’t really say anything at all accompanied by GIFs of funny laughing babies. I have no quarrel with those, they were excellent loo reads.
The ones I do have quarrel with, were the lists which really laid it on thick that my best friend’s life was going to change drastically, I was going to feel a raging jealousy like I’d never felt before, I was going to resent the fact that we’ll never get to go out partying ever again (stop laughing. I shall return to this point), I was going to want to phase her out ‘kindly’ in 5 easy steps because I would get bored of the never ending dull baby chat. I was going to wake up and realise that we’re completely different people now, our lives incompatible – you get the idea. For once in my life, I’m not exaggerating all of those things were read by me.
I couldn’t get enough of those articles. I’d often send them to my friend and we’d laugh/ write ‘WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT’ in capital letters at each other followed by more exclamation marks than were necessary, or (probably) legal.
So here are the 13 things I’ve felt since baby Squidge graced us with his presence:
- OVERWHELMING EXCITEMENT – A new friend without me having to awkwardly initiate a conversation or do anything at all, result!
- AN OUTPOURING OF LOVE – This sounds cheesy, but the day I found out that babe was out, I cried a lot. And said ‘I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH’ a lot, and then cried a bit more. And then held it all in until it was Facebook official.
- INTEREST – far from zoning out when conversation turns to car seats or rockers or cot sheets, or baby socks, or nappies I’ve been interested and engaged. Just like with any other thing my friend has ever talked to me about before. It’s genuine interest as well. No joke, I’m beyond fascinated with the ideas behind baby led weaning which leads us on to…
- THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY PICTURES – Squidge covered in porridge, Squidge trying to fit an entire broccoli tree in his face sideways, Squidge asleep, Squidge grinning. Every picture makes me smile a big soppy smile, and when I inevitably reply with ‘AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW’ I mean it, and it’s usually accompanied by a real life squee.
- THE PHRASE ‘TMI ALERT’ WILL STOP STRIKING FEAR INTO YOUR HEART EVENTUALLY – I’m not going to elaborate on this too much, but I no longer have to brace myself for whatever horrifying sentence is about to follow it.
- NAPPY CHANGING IS A SKILL– I’ve changed a few nappies before, but I swear Squidge was extra wriggly. You know that bit in Pitch Perfect where Fat Amy does the horizontal running? That, but in double time. I changed several nappies when he was a few weeks old, and after panicked cries of ‘NO DON’T PUT YOUR HEEL IN THE POO!’ (me) and ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU FOOL?’ (Squidge – I could see it in his eyes) I immediately began a petition for it to be included in the Olympics and all parents to receive OBEs.
- NOTHING HAS CHANGED, WE WERE NEVER PARTY ANIMALS ANYWAY – I said I’d come back to this point. All of these articles assume active drink-heavy, dance-y nights out are our jam. Well let me tell you, our collective idea of a banging night out from the age of 17 (18 if you’re an officer of the law reading this) was a couple of drinks, then retiring to a tonne of cushions on the living room floor and watching Disney films whilst chatting about rubbish until the inevitability of falling asleep at 10 to midnight. We don’t get to see each other much now for geographical reasons but when we do, plans are generally the same minus the drinks. Disney films, and chatting rubbish until passing out with exhaustion at whatever time Squidge is feeling a nap. Also, no floor. We both make ‘oof’ noises when we get up these days.
- POOSPLOSIONS ARE ALWAYS FUNNY – even when your friend insists in strong terms that they aren’t.
- A FIERCE OUTPOURING OF PRIDE AT EVERY MILESTONE – I am constantly amazed by everything Squidge does. I was probably prouder the day I was sent a video of him rolling over than I was on my own graduation day. He’s constantly learning about the world and interested in literally everything. I like to think that I’m like that as an adult, and I find it cool that I’ve clearly retained a decent amount of my childlike wonder about stuff. I no longer laugh at my own toes wiggling though you’ll be pleased to know. If that were the case I’d definitely be the cackling train weirdo even more than I am already.
- BABIES WILL LAUGH AT ANYTHING – they make great test subjects for new comedy material if you’re looking for a confidence boost rather than constructive feedback. I dread the day Squidge learns how jokes work and realises that it was my silly-voiced delivery that amused him, not the carefully crafted but horribly laboured puns.
- MY FRIEND IS BASICALLY THE SAME, JUST VERY TIRED – If you’ve got a mate who has a baby, don’t complain about only getting 8 hours sleep a night. It’s just common sense. This is the only rule you need to stick to 100% in order to keep your friendship intact, I promise.
- THE DECIBEL LEVEL OF A BABY FART IS ROUGHLY THE SAME AS A PASSENGER JET TAKING OFF FROM HEATHROW – you will stop mid conversation. Whoever is holding the baby will hold him aloft for a few seconds. Everyone will stare in amazement, wonder, and jealousy that it’s not socially acceptable for them to do the same. One or both of the parents will declare either ‘I think we’re safe’ or ‘your turn’ and the conversation will resume as if nothing’s happened.
- DID I SAY LOVE? My friends and their son are all ace, and I cannot be happier that I’m a small part of their lives. Not crying *sniff* it’s the hay fever *double sniff*.
I generally don’t like change. I once bawled my eyes out when Mum told me we would no longer be getting real Christmas trees, but that’s a story for another day. All of the lists I read about friendships breaking up and the arrival of babies ripping apart social lives seemed to have one thing in common: a deep rooted fear that the status quo is going to be flipped on its head and the World will end.
There’s no denying my friend’s life has changed drastically. I mean, no-one can clear up a poosplosion that involves an entire packet of baby wipes and ever be the same person again. But I’ve embraced the change from a distance, and my life has changed by extension but in the best way imaginable!
So yeah in conclusion, those listicles can shove it.