Behind the smiley photo

This is one of my favourite photos of me and my eldest daughter. She just looks so itty bitty and sweet. She really was a little doll and just the cutest little button.

This photo does not accurately depict the day on which it was taken though, and so I thought I would share the reality for you in case you also have a baby who hates being anywhere except in your arms and in their own home.

Frida was around three months old here I think, maybe less. I can’t really remember. She was teeny though and outings were rare events for me at this stage.

My sister had a daughter the exact same age as Frida, her daughter was the second baby though so she was much more confident getting out and about. Also, her daughter was a super relaxed, easy going baby. Frida was not.

One day, my mother, sister and I decided to go to the shops. Or, they decided and I felt the urge to join because I was desperate to get out and also my baby was pretty cute and being a first time mum, I kind of wanted to show her off a little.

Here is something you should know about Frida. She HATED the car, HATED the pram, HATED the baby bjorn and generally HATED being held by anyone other than me. So, clearly driving to the shops was a really good plan.

When I say she screamed the entire drive to the shops, I mean she howled to the point of gagging the entire way. I must have pulled over five times in an attempt to soothe her before giving up and just trying to focus on getting there as quickly as possible without speeding. By the time I arrived at the shops, I was in tears, sweaty and exhausted. Frida was sweaty and inconsolable. I had already regretted leaving home but I was at the shops now and the thought of getting back in the car to do it all again on the way home made me feel physically ill.

Eventually, after breastfeeding and taking several Valium (kidding) Frida calmed a little. I was excited to be able to walk around the shops with my mum and sister and buy cute baby clothes and toys and generally be out in the land of the living. My sisters little girl happily snuggled in the baby bjorn while I alternated between attempting to keep my daughter happy in the baby bjorn, in the pram and eventually in my arms.

I remember one particular point when I just wanted to pay for my things and Frida was screaming again. My mum took her out of the store in the pram to try and calm her. I could hear the screams from inside the shop.

By the time this photo was taken, I was a mess. She is happy in this photo because she is upright and in her favourite spot, my arms. I was feeling a combination of relief that she was quiet and terrified about the inevitable shit show would hit on the drive home.

My sweet first born was challenging because she had silent reflux and hated lying flat. She also hated the car because the position it had her in put pressure on her sore little tummy. It was extremely difficult and looking back, I can’t believe we got through it in one piece. She got easier as she grew older and as her medication started working. She never really liked the car until she was forward facing and only tolerated the baby bjorn for short periods when she was facing out. I would try to take her on long walks with friends and it would go alright for the first 20 minutes or so but then she would start to scream and I would end up carrying her while pushing a pram. Needless to say, I was pretty fit at that point.

Daughter number two came along a couple of years later and the good news is she was fine in the car, loved the baby bjorn and slept beautifully in the pram. I never got over the shock of having a baby that would sleep anywhere and easily. Weird.

So, for all of the mums out there who are trapped at home with a fussy baby who hates the world, I see you and I feel your pain. I can laugh now but my god, that baby girl almost broke me and I will never forget the feeling of panic when I couldn’t settle her. I survived though and you will too. In the meantime, may I suggest online shopping and ubereats.

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