Four weeks old

Yesterday I found myself casting my mind back to the first nappy change that I performed alone, and I pondered upon how much has changed since then.

In the first few days, I handled Bernard with such a degree of cautiousness that it must have been frustrating for him. That first nappy change was such an exciting experience, requiring focus and concentration. Nowadays, they are over in the blink of an eye. I make sure that all the necessary components are in the right place, and then in a flurry of soiled nappy, wipes, vaseline and fresh nappy (and about the same amount of time as it takes to type those words) it is all over.

We’ve used approximately 200 disposable nappies in these four weeks, and this has (by my estimations) been enough to fill 6 additional black bin bags, most of which are by now in a landfill near you. But the transition to washable nappies has begun, and hopefully we will now be able to return to only producing one black bin bag full of refuse per fortnight.

Prior to this transition, I used to marvel at how soft and fluffy the brand-new washable nappies were. I’d bury my face in them and walk around with them on my head, they were so addictively soft and fluffy. Seriously. But I can’t imagine myself doing that any more. Though they will still be as soft and fluffy when fresh from the washing machine, I know where they have been.

Bernard’s vocabulary has improved, to incorporate gurgles, hums, squeaks and the occasional “ah” noise (which is probably accidental, on his part). This is fantastic. When he screamed, and I screamed back at him, this used to drive Karen up the wall (wonder why). The new system is far more pleasant for all involved.

One of the most significant improvements is that we are learning more about his preferences. He likes certain levels of light, certain levels of noise, certain types of motion, certain temperatures, certain ways of being held. Knowing exactly what values to assign to these parameters makes the world of difference. For example, if we are in the sitting room with the curtains closed and he is whining, I know that there is a 90% chance that if I carry him into the kitchen (where it is brighter) he’ll calm down. If I am sat down with him on my knee and he is whining, I know that if I stand up with him, there is a good chance that this will calm him down (he just seems to like this position more). By knowing what he likes and dislikes, we can get him a little bit more comfortable, even if that involves a completely unnecessary drive up the road and back.

On another note, and I’m not sure whether my bias is overwhelming here, but I feel like this really is an abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous baby.

Bernard pulling a simply adorable face

Incidentally, I did actually write a post a week ago, but never managed to finish it. The bit that I *did* write said this:

> I can’t believe that I’ve been back at work nearly a week and a half already, and the house move is bounding over the horizon towards us like a large, overenthusiastic dog that’s going to cover you in loving but slobbery kisses sometime in a month or so.

> Returning to work feels like the aforementioned dog is actually a wolf, for now, and has just taken a huge bite out of your leg that actually has also encompassed the other leg, one arm, and 80% of your torso. The bit of your body that is left struggles to acclimatise to the new conditions, and generally just flaps around on the ground, oozing blood and gore, spurting bad similes that lead to somewhere undesirable, and thinking to itself “I can’t wait until I get my identity back.”

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