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The helpless blog of a first time dad: Shopping for a newborn gave me sinking feeling

Darryl with just some of his many purchases!
Darryl with just some of his many purchases!

Morning sickness does not smell like proper sick. Babies can have bouts of hiccups in the womb. Braxton Hicks is not a Country & Western singer from Tennessee. And anything you tell a pregnant woman will likely have to be repeated at least twice before it’s confined to her memory (and even then…).

I’ve also learned that nothing has a galvanising effect quite like the words “we’ve got 99 days to go.”

The story of why there hasn’t been a blog post from me for three weeks begins with my wife and I standing in Homebase looking at kitchen sinks.

As an aside, I’m not sure if my wife is expecting a baby or a visit from Her Majesty the Queen as she wants everything to be new and shiny for the arrival, hence the need for a replacement to our slightly discoloured kitchen sink unit.

As I tried to work out why two sinks that looked exactly the same could have a £40 differential in price (typically, my wife said we should go for the more expensive one “just to be safe”) her pregnancy app pinged on her mobile phone.

It carried the usual update on baby’s progress – hair is beginning to grow, they can open their eyes and, if it’s a boy, its testicles will begin to drop down from the abdomen (which would open any man’s eyes!)  – and also told us that the countdown to our due date could no longer be measured in three figures.

When my wife told me this I responded with a descriptive word that I will not use around my child when it’s here but which I’m sure they’ll supply plenty of (and coloured green by all accounts).

Before you could say “unclaimed bonus Nectar points” we were out of Homebase and heading towards the Mothercare store nearby.

And so began a 21-day spell where my feet have not touched the ground, which is part metaphor and partly because I’ve been up a ladder painting the nursery, hanging curtains and removing all evidence of my single life accrued over 15 years from the spare room and placing into the loft. Here it will stay, probably never to be looked at again, until Junior has to sort through my things after I’ve gone, which seems only fair given that he/she has turfed me out of my “man cave.”

It winds my wife up something chronic that I never throw things away but you never know if the CD soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean – still in its Cellophane – will be of value one day. We could certainly do with the bonus income after our three-week spending spree on Junior.

When the countdown clock stood at 101 days we had a changing mat which my mum and dad had bought us for Christmas and a teddy bear which my wife’s maid of honour had bought as soon as she heard she was pregnant.

Had Junior been born three months premature he’d have had to make his own way home on public transport (wearing the clothes from the teddy bear) as we hadn’t even looked at car seats for him/her to make their first journey.

I knew we weren’t prepared for Junior’s arrival but I don’t think I was quite prepared for just how much stuff a baby needs.

And when you walk around the baby section of your local supermarket or chemist you find out something else you must have which you had never heard of before.

Grobags, scratch mits, anti-colic feeder bottles, a baby wedge to stop them rolling about on the floor, Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Essentials Kit, muslin squares, something to stop them pulling off their socks which I’ve forgotten the name of, Milton sterilising fluid, nipple pads (they’re for my wife I think), special baby-safe washing powder, special baby-safe shampoo. Short-sleeved baby grows. Long-sleeved baby grows. Short-sleeved bodysuits. Long-sleeved bodysuits. A hat.

I only went in there for nappies.

And that’s before the credit-card maxing purchases like cot, wardrobe, changing unit, Moses basket and stand, pram, car seat.

In the last three weeks we’ve literally bought everything but the kitchen sink!

I felt I had to draw the line somewhere and that line turned out to be breast pumps. £99!

When I was a kid, whenever a football team thrashed another team on a Saturday afternoon, Grandstand’s vidiprinter used to spell the final score out in capital letters just in case you couldn’t believe your eyes, so, for example, Southend United 7 (SEVEN) Leyton Orient 1.

So let me say that again. NINETY-NINE POUNDS for a breast pump.

If that’s not milking it I don’t know what is.

Instead, I went to the electronics section and bought a DVD of the Best of Countryfile for £9.99 and told my wife to gen up on milking herself.

She didn’t appreciate my sarcasm and the DVD is still on the shelf, still in its Cellophane. Who knows, it might be worth money one day.


My wife’s appetite is ‘shining’ example of how pregnancy can change you

Humour has no place where hormones are concerned