The date and time will always stick in my mind…
Friday 24th October 2014 at 9.08am…
That’s the day my wife left me and left our new family…
OK, that might be embellishing the truth slightly. She did leave me alone with the baby and dog, but she’d only temporarily left whilst she went on a hen do. But if I’d have started by saying my wife had left me for a day and a half, that wouldn’t be anywhere near as interesting now, would it?
I thought it might be ‘cool’, plus help me to get through the hours, if I note down everything that we (me, Baby L and Dax) do during our 31 hours of freedom. This can act as a reminder of daddy and daughter’s first night alone, but also help to shed light on what babies actually do with their time. I’d love to say that it will be wild, but chances are that it will be mild.
To add to the tension and excitement, do me a favour when reading through the following please – every time you see an exact time, or a time range, play the ’24’ countdown timer music in your head. Your enjoyment of the article will increase tenfold and it’ll make me feel like a spy (skip forward to 20 seconds in).
Also, the context is important. I can’t guarantee that all of this is true, but let’s pretend that it is…
Context: Your wife has disappeared, presumed to be kidnapped. You have been left with a 10-week old baby. It is believed that she is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and will explode if she is not fed, changed, comforted and sleeps when needed. Her last feed was 8.20am and last change 8.55am. You receive a ransom note saying that your wife will return at 4pm the following day if, and only if, you successfully manage to prevent the baby bomb going off. That’s 31 hours to cope with. This is your mission if you choose to accept it…
9.09: Dropped the missus off at the station. The 31 hour countdown begins…
9.13: Arrived back home to find that the dog had stolen one of Baby L’s socks from somewhere. I put on the TV and turned on the laptop whilst Baby L chilled in her car seat.
9.17 – 9.20: After being away from the wife for just under 10 minutes, the baby started to cry. I took her out of her car seat and attempted to comfort her.
9.21: The postman knocked on the door and delivered some photos that we’ve ordered. Hay had been waiting for these photos as she needed one for the hen do. She’d missed the postman by 12 minutes. Good start to her trip up to Liverpool!
9.22 – 9.33: Sat down with baby in my arms. She began to doze as I rocked her back and forth in my arms with the help of a dummy.
9.34: Baby wakes up and stares at me. She knows something is different. She can sense my fear. She knows that I’m weak. I can see that she’s plotting something in her tiny, cute head.
9.37 – 11.40 : Baby L goes into her bouncy chair. With my new found multi-tasking skills, I manage to watch TV, mess around on my laptop and bounce her with my foot, all at the same time. Super Dad! Her eyes close after 10 minutes of bouncing. She says asleep for two hours whilst my foot cramps. I also realise that I’ve been watching infomercials on the TV – this included all the classics which I’ve seen multiple times before including the X5 Steam Cleaner, Hip-Hop Abs, Sheercover makeup and Tone Tee. I’m disappointed I’ve not seen the Nutribullet yet. Baby L wakes after a good solid two hours sleep. She starts sucking her hands which mean it’s time to get a bottle ready…
11.41 – 12.01: Bottle goes into the warmer with 3 0z of mum’s best breast-milk. This is the first 3 0z of the near on 50 oz of milk that Hay has expressed during the last week. The little one guzzles it down quickly and lets out a big burp as I prop her upright. She has a little moan, so I’m not sure if she’s had enough, but I’ll leave it at that for the time being and see what happens.
12.02 – 12.23: I put on the best TV programme ever made, which of course is the US version of Impractical Jokers. Baby L snuggles into me and we watch it together. Great to know that she’s got a sense of humour!
12.24 -12.55: I pop her down on her playmat as she seems to be pretty chilled and I take the opportunity to quickly make a sandwich (chicken and stuffing if you’re interested!). After eating, I play with Baby L who is more than happy looking at the hanging toys. That is until I accidentally poke her in the eye with one which makes her cry so I have to pick her up to make up for my mistake!
12.56-12.59: Whilst I have her in my arms, I decide to go change her since I haven’t done since the missus left. Quick change, just a wee, nothing to write home about…although I guess that is technically what I’ve just done.
13.00 – 13.39: Baby L looks pretty tired and falls asleep on me whilst I watch TV. Must be all the excitement of the playmat. I watch a football catch up show and she doesn’t stir, so I guess she might not be a footy fan when she’s older.
13.40 – 13.43: I make the mistake of attempting to put her in her cot, firstly because my arm is dead and secondly because I could do with a dump (I did say I was going to write everything we did!). She’s fine when I put her down, but it only takes a few minutes before I can hear a bit of crying downstairs.
13.43 – 14.10: I try the good old technique of laying her on my knees and jigging her around, but that doesn’t stop her crying. I try a few other things and she stops briefly before starting again, so I decide it’s probably time for another feed.
14.11 – 14.33: I warm her bottle again with 3 oz of boob juice. She looks a bit shocked when I give it to her and I realise it is a bit on the hot side. I decided to take the plunge and give the bottle a suck myself to see if the temperature was too much. It was! On the plus side, breast milk didn’t taste too bad. It’s no Cravendale, but it’s better than skimmed milk for sure! Maybe that can be the slogan for breastmilk?
14.34 – 15.43: I decide that it’ll be good for us all to leave the house. Dax needs his walk, Baby L could do with a bit of fresh air and it won’t do me any harm to stretch the legs. We walk down into town, loop around and come back. The little one (baby, not dog) sleeps for pretty much all the walk in the baby carrier whilst Dax does his usual thing of attempting to pick up everything he sees on the ground.
14.44 – 16.05: I get home, soaked in sweat having made the mistake of wearing a t-shirt, hoodie and coat with the baby carrier. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Baby L is like a little hot water bottle – she must have that gene from the missus who I use to keep my feet warm in winter when in bed. I put the little one down onto her babymat whilst I go to change my t-shirt!
16.06 – 16.20: Baby L starts to whinge a bit so I pick her up and bounce her on my knee. I realise it’s been a while since she was changed so I go change her wet nappy and pop her bottle in the warmer to heat up.
16.21 – 17.56: I give her a feed of 4 0z this time, whilst I pop on a film about football hooliganism and violence. It’s probably not the most appropriate programme for a baby, but she seems to enjoy watching the flashing images as blood splatters across the pavement and listening to the crunch of fist on face. She decides to close her eyes and have a sleep which is great because I normally can’t watch something without stopping and starting repeatedly. During this time, she decides to have a massive fart which sounds really sloppy, so chances are she’s just crapped herself.
17.57 – 18.32: I take her upstairs to change her and find the mother of all shits when I open the nappy. It looks like someone has sneaked a curry in there. I manage to clean her up as best as I can, in the process using five wet wipes (I normally use one!). I decide that it’s probably in everyone’s interest if I give her a bath, so I take her into the bathroom and get her ready for bathtime. With her laying down on the changing mat so I can wash her face,, I make the schoolboy error of not putting anything under her nether regions, so obviously she decides to wee then wriggle around in it, meaning that all of her back is piss-stained like a common tramp. I put her in the bath and splash the water around which she seems to enjoy. I dry her, get her ready for bed and put her on me downstairs.
18.33 – 19.04: Baby sleeps on me and I decide to try and put her into her cot. She stays asleep in there for a few minutes, just enough for me to pop a pizza in the oven and warm her bottle before I attempt to send her to the Land of Nod for the night.
19.05 – 19.27: The sprog guzzles down another 4 0z of milk and let’s out a big burp. I swaddle her, put white noise on my phone, pop in a dummy and put her in the cot. She falls asleep instantly, just in time for me to get the pizza out of the oven. Couldn’t have planned it better if I tried!
19.28 – 00.13: I watch ‘Rush’, mess around on the laptop and do a few other bits and bobs whilst Baby L sleeps. She briefly stirs once or twice, but popping the dummy in her mouth helps her settle.
That’s Day 1 complete with a body count still at zero. Find out how I get on during the night and on Saturday by reading my summary of day 2 alone with the baby!
What was it like when you had to look after the little one for the first time? Did you do anything that you probably shouldn’t have? What was your biggest fear and accomplishment?