This summer, my girlfriend and I are expecting a baby, a little boy. It’s a very exciting time. Barring landing a simultaneous lottery win, we couldn’t be happier. What have I learned so far? Mainly that nesting mums-to-be are hard work, and I know nothing about fruit.
“A plum?” I asked, months back, as my partner read aloud from her baby book.
“That’s what it says. ‘Today the baby is the same size as a plum.’”
Baby books, it seems, are only able to express volume in relation to the primary ingredients of a fruit salad.
“Today,” she read, another time, “my womb is the same size as a cantaloupe melon.”
I had to Google how big that was exactly – my related knowledge begins and ends with the watermelon. A cantaloupe, I discovered, is smaller. Why can’t these books describe things in terms most men can buy into?
“Your child is currently the size of a chicken nugget.”
My partner and I both work from home, she has a proper, grown up, 9 to 5 job and I write for a living. So, to pull my weight, I cook, iron and do the majority of the cleaning. In addition, once the baby arrives, it’s our plan that I’ll be the primary daytime carer when she goes back to work.
That’s all in the future, right now I’m learning that a nesting mother-to-be can be quite hard to handle. Recently, after a long day, I heard a commotion coming from the kitchen. My partner was sat on the floor surrounded by pots, pans, plates and tins.
“I wasn’t happy with the way the cupboards were organised.”
“So, I’ve unpacked them all. There’s a lot of stuff.”
“I need the cupboards to be right for when the baby comes.”
I wasn’t sure that my son would demand alphabetically categorised cupboards. I let it slide.
“But I’m feeling tired now and there’s so much of it. Can you put it all away?”
Dutifully I escorted my partner to the sofa, made her a cup of tea, then spent the next hour reorganising the kitchen – not my ideal activity at 9pm on a Friday evening.
Then there’s the decorating. Nesting mothers-to-be seem obsessed with paint.
“The baby won’t like the chipped gloss on the landing.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll do the woodwork.”
“And creosote the fence.”
“I did that last week.”
“I know, I’d just feel better if you creosoted it again for when the baby comes.”
We now have massively orange fence. I’m sure the baby will love it.
Finally, this week I was sent out with instructions to buy grapefruits. Nesting mums-to-be seem obsessed with hitting their statutory 357 pieces of fruit a day. As you know, fruit knowledge isn’t my thing. I came back with oranges. Because they’re practically the same thing aren’t they? Apparently not.
“They’re nothing like grapefruits. The week when the baby was the size of a orange was weeks before it was the size of a grapefruit.”
Clearly someone hadn’t been paying attention.
Yet, for all the nesting madness and fruit failures, I’m loving every minute of ‘expecting’. Make sure you look out for me in the months ahead, I’ll be the new dad pushing the pram around while my other half works. I’m part of growing breed – stay at home dads – proud to take on such an important role. We’re going to be a team, the baby and I. And if he has some innate fruit recognition ability I know I’ll be onto a winner.
Chris McGuire is a writer who recently moved to Devon after a London based career as a TV producer. What he knows about fruit could be written on the back of a chocolate orange. @McGuireski