x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

My milk-drinking genius

My baby son can no longer be classed as a newborn, based on his clothes size rather than his tender age of seven weeks

My baby son can no longer be classed as a newborn. I'm basing that surprising fact on Charlie's clothes size rather than his tender age of seven weeks. The tags on his new garments read, rather embarrassingly, 3-6 months. I had to buy them because he was splitting the seams of his newborn clothes. I wanted desperately to keep him in his cute little Babygros, but he started to resemble the man who transforms into the Incredible Hulk, just as he's bursting out of his shirt.

Fortunately, that's the only similarity between my son and the Marvel comic character. My beautiful boy is so much better looking and he has normal-coloured skin. Although his temper is somewhat akin to the cartoon superhero and, even worse, his tummy girth is, probably, comparable. Perhaps we should give Charlie a new nickname? The Incredible Bulk. Bless him. I'm afraid I have to shoulder some of the blame for my chubby-cheeked cherub. I've been assessing Charlie's mini-temper tantrums this week by attempting to analyse his cries. I'm reading a book called The Baby Whisperer, which helps inexperienced mums to decipher baby sounds and body language to work out why they are crying. For example, if a baby sucks its hands the cause is most likely to be hunger. If the baby is arching its back and kicking its legs, it means tiredness. Playing with fingers and issuing a long hard cry means boredom. I spotted a slight problem when I got to the second page. When Charlie sucks his hands, I quite rightly assume its hunger. But when Charlie arches his back and kicks his legs, guess what, I assume it's hunger. And when he plays with his fingers, yes, he gets a bottle shoved in his mouth. It seems my mothering skills have a long way to go. My poor baby. I obviously should have been entertaining him instead of just continuously feeding. He is nearly two months old and the only art he has mastered is milk drinking. He is now, in fact, an expert. I am such a dumb mum.

My error of judgement prompted me to hunt for some suitable children's toys to try to entertain and educate Charlie. I imagined the only items available to buy are teddy bears and rattles, but the range on offer for small babies is unbelievable. The parental pressure to produce bright, intelligent children is reflected on the toy shop shelves. Nearly every product claims to develop a new skill or to transform normal kids into brain boxes. It seems everyone wants their child to be top of the class. Not one to miss out on a bit of competitiveness, I opted to buy a DVD set called Baby Einstein. Even new babies can watch it, as the classical musical accompaniment and bright shapes keep them interested and start to stimulate their brains. Charlie adores his new gift, as does his mummy. He is glued to the screen for 30 minutes at a time and responds with coos and smiles. Clearly, I have given birth to a naturally gifted child who is demonstrating signs of intellect just from watching the telly. My son is going to be the envy of all other mothers, he will become the ultimate genius and is only a few weeks old. Mastermind here he comes. Specialist subject - milk.