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1. Learning how to do many tasks with only one hand available
Making a cup of tea, filling a bowl with warm water, making and buttering toast, typing on a keyboard (I’m writing this on the sofa with one hand whilst the other is pacifying my son in the hope of sending him off to sleep), unfolding a nappy, doing the gardening, building an extension (obviously some things I’m still learning how to do).
2. Being productive during unsociable hours
When you’re awake between 12am and 7am it seems like a waste just to sit there in a comatose state and keep saying how tired you are. Find something to do which is beneficial in some way and can be done with one hand (as above) and can easily be moved around the house as required. One night we spent an hour together writing a list of baby equipment that we still needed – I recorded it all on my iPhone. I always keep my Amazon Kindle handy and it is light enough to hold in one hand and I can choose between books depending on my mood.
3. Your face is replaced by that of your child
Perhaps this is a desperate attempt to remind yourself of why its worth being so tired/broke/lacking time, or a conversation starter to help explain why you missed the last 5 minutes of the conversation, but pretty quickly your face on all digital mediums is replaced by that of your child’s. The background wallpaper on your phone is a photo of your baby (probably asleep, to give you hope that if it happened once it can happen again); your desktop wallpaper becomes a whopping great photo of your child doing something fun, so that when co-workers come over you can accidentally minimise all windows to show them; your Facebook and Twitter avatars are photos of your child, probably being held by you so long lost friends don’t think you’ve just come out of cryostasis.
4. Sleep becomes the new gold in your personal trading account and you get it whenever and wherever you can
Firstly, 6 hours of sleep becomes a great night, and can give you a psychological boost for the entire day (you forget about the cumulative effect of a lack of sleep from previous nights). You then take any opportunity you can to sleep. I don’t during the day, as I have things that I want to get done. But by the time 8pm arrives we’ll try and squeeze in 2-3 hours of sleep before the rest of the nights begins. Finally, you no longer feel socially awkward at nodding off at a friend’s house. Last week we went out and I grabbed two hours sleep on their spare bed.
5. You derive great enjoyment from seemingly small and unimportant moments
What you previously would have considered a bit gushing and immature, you now cherish and recount whenever possible. The other day we were winding our son after a feed, which usually involves sitting him on one of our knees, one hand holding his chest and the other gently tapping his back. After looking at each other for no more than 1 minute in conversation, we looked down to see that he had fallen fast asleep. Perhaps it is the effect of tiredness (a bit like being drunk) which gives rise to great amusement from small things, or, as I like to think, they are magical moments of life happening before you – simple yet beautiful.
That’ll do for now – time to make a cup of tea, update my Facebook photo and get some sleep!