I was lying on the beach yesterday, reading an awful load of shite (more about which at a future date) when the resort's GM stopped to chat. After some niceties she congratulated me on the birth of the new baby. I genuinely, honestly, thought she was referring to MY baby, and thanked her kindly, while thinking: Christ, I hope you're not planning on congratulating everyone here who has a baby, or you'll be walking around til the end of time (the French are, it seems, a prolific lot).
Anyway... Seems she was referring to some other child, not my monstrous eating machine. And so, with cap in hand, I beg humble apology of Kate, and to recompense, would like to offer her these little tidbits, hard-worn from years of parenting experience.
Firstly: ouch! Thank God that's over, right? Now you can get down to the joy that is being wholly responsible for the emotional and physical well-being of another HUMAN BEING. And not just any human being, but the future king. As they say in Dublin, hate da'.
Notwithstanding his royal status, he is still just a newborn, and as such, boring as shit.
This is something which you will begin to suspect in a few days' time, however you must never ever give voice to this suspicion, or they'll have you on Prozac before you can say 'But I'm a princess!'
Your husband, on the other hand, will likely mumble something along the lines of 'He doesn't do anything'. No one will tut and mutter PND to him, mind you, but you have full authority to knee him in the balls. It might seem extreme, but it's the only way you'll prevent him from banging ON and ON about how dull your new child is for the next few months.
Back in the happy care-free time that was pregnancy, you may have entertained the notion of 'letting the baby tell you what it wants'. By now you'll have realised that, because you are not versed in the language of Cry, this sentiment is all a load of bollocks. Go pick up a copy of Gina Ford's book instead. Or even better, hand the Prince of Wails (c) to one of your fleet of maternity nurses, book yourself into a spa, and come back in September.
By then, the shock of finding yourself looking like you're 6 months' pregnant, even tho you've just
had the bloody thing, will have worn off somewhat. You will be at peace with the fact that you're
still wearing maternity clothes and one of these days you will definitely do some pelvic floor exercises; just as soon as you've had another slice of cake.
At some point over the next few weeks you may feel the urge to explore 'co-sleeping'. Like 'co-eating' and 'co-bathing', 'co-sleeping is a term dreamed up by someone who wishes to mask the obvious fact that the activity in question is just downright bonkers. Resist it as much as possible. If you remain curious, here's a good way to get a feel for it. Send a courtier up to the zoo for a large bag of snakes. Send another off to the petting farm down at Vauxhall for a few of their goats. Climb into bed. Wait until the goats and snakes are all sleeping, then have them placed under the covers with you. Now, go to sleep.
The goats will also come in handy for practising baby-bathing. Just make sure you dip them in grease first. And arrange everything you need - cloth, lotion etc - so it's just out of reach. (This activity also goes by the name of Parenting Twister.)
You've got about a month before people (or in your case, Grazia) start asking when you're going to
'go again'. There is no polite way to answer this, but: 'When the wall between my vagina and anus has been reconstructed' will usually shut them up, albeit temporarily.
That is also a handy line to use when your husband gives you The Look (usually around the time of the 6-week check-up).
Finally, trust in Enstein, who was spot-on with his time-bending theories. Parenting time defies all laws of physics. On a day-to-day basis, it crawls along, slower than labour itself, each minute spread out before you like a vast estate in Gloucester. But suddenly four years will have passed and before you know it you too will be watching aghast as your firstborn delights sunset-watchers on an Italian beach with the majestic spectacle of his spread-open buttocks...