Ever feel like you can't take your baby anywhere? I jest of course; it would be mildly unfair to expect a three-month-old to be cute on cue, perform for her adoring public and leave the nappies that necessitate a whole outfit change to the comfort of her own home all the time. But once in a while would be nice!
Two recent instances have hit home to me that my daughter - mostly a gurgling, giggling delight behind closed doors - may not yet be quite so primed for the outside world. In the first, our dreams of parading round a serene and smiling angel at a friend's party were replaced with sheepishly presenting a squawking, scarlet demon the moment we crossed the threshold.
In the second, a photographer running a session at the local baby group had set the scene for some perfect festive snaps of our little one. I dressed her in an obscenely adorable crocheted cardigan with strawberry buttons, ensured she was well fed before we set off and arrived early to book the second timeslot. What could possibly go wrong?
As I watched the photographer extract gurgles galore from the twins ahead of us, baby girl - who usually feeds every three hours on the dot - decided that in this case an early snack was in order. Weighing up whether to feed her straight away or run the risk of presenting a wailing, fist-chomping banshee to the photographer, I begrudgingly got out the bottle, knowing we'd lose our turn and that the camera would probably capture her in her perennial postprandial state: sleeping, puking or both.
When we finally got seen, little miss was out for the count. 'She might wake up under the lights?' the photographer suggested. Not likely. One rushed and frustrating sleepy shoot later, she woke up right on cue and puked, thankfully not on the photographer's faux fur throw. Suddenly she was all smiles - if I could blot the puke from her cardigan perhaps we could give the shoot another go? Unfortunately not - the long line of adorable babies performing for the camera before her had sent the session way overtime.
I wanted to love the snaps that came back, but propping a slumbering baby up in odd angles doesn't make for photographic gold. 'She just looks a bit sickly,' said my husband, as I killed off my dreams of bombarding everyone we know with cute Christmas cards.
It's not really a problem, of course; for one thing baby girl has saved me some money if not some blushes. For now, if her parents see her best side more than those on the outside, I can certainly live with that!