Equipping yourself for a new arrival is not a cheap task. Forget about the daily cost of nappies, milk formula, wetwipes and creams, the real cost can be found in the paraphernalia that you must accrue.
There is the holdall you will saddle yourself with that means you can take care of any situation while out and about. It’ll be heavier than WeightWatchers Christmas party, but it’s a must. Then there is the cot, the pram, the moses basket, the footwear that looks so cute but last approximately three seconds before their pudgy little toes begin to sprout from the end like a mini-hulk.
A big cost is the car seat. Keeping your wee one safe is paramount – and the car-seat manufacturers know you’re in between a rock and a hard place, so the prices aren’t exactly friendly.
If you shop around, you can get a decent one that can adapt with your child, so you won’t have to replace it (the car-seat that is, not your kid) every few years. But it’ll set you back a hefty wedge. Still, if it means your pride and joy is safe, then it’s a small price to pay.
Now you’ve got your kid in the car though, that’s when the real adventure starts.
Much like in previous #DaddyDiary entries, I’ve gone to great lengths to highlight how every kid will react differently to different things. So advice is very subjective. What may work for my little ones may well be kryptonite for yours – but in the off-chance that I can arm you before things hit the proverbial fan, then I will continue.
The same goes for car journeys.
My two are very different when it comes to vehicular tranquillity. My oldest loves looking out of the window, spotting various letters and numbers on cars and signs and we try to keep him stimulated with books and his favourite toys – which are inevitably dropped.
When things are dropped in the car, then the old ‘passenger seat switcheroo’ begins. This is when your partner or you, dependant on who is driving, will attempt to grab whatever offending article has been dumped unceremoniously to the floor. That will require firstly, stretching your arm to an impossible angle while sweeping the nearest rear footwell. After a minute of doing this, you’ll be frustrated and your arm will be crying out for rest. But fuelled by your kid whinging for whatever it is that they dropped, you’ll continue.
You’ll unbuckle your seatbelt, swivel round and really go to town to look for the item. This will reap results, but sod’s law dictates that five minutes after doing this, your kid will drop it again.
Y’know, just for fun.
My youngest does not like the car. There has been no warming to it. There is no middle ground. There is only crying or sleep. If the journey is 45 minutes or less, then sleep will give you blissful silence. If it is any longer, then you’ll have to steel yourself with hearing your kid cry and being able to do nothing about it.
We have stopped and pulled over numerous times to soothe our little one, but what they want is to get out. Seeing as that is not possible, my youngest will continue his tirade.
It is 212% more difficult to do anything when a baby is crying. Let alone concentrate. It makes for a fraught journey and the helplessness in being unable to stifle the cries with cuddles, a bottle or a dummy – or even interpretative dance if that would work – makes it so much worse.
Who knows, your kid might be the type that immediately enters slumber with the gentle hum of the engine. Or your beloved may well be the type that bobs their head along with the radio and finds the car ride thrilling.
Or they could be the type that is allergic to cars.
I hope it is the former for your sake and your sanity – speaking from experience…