Thursday, 31 December 2009

Babies are lovely

Yes. Time for some oestrogen around here after all that music based unpleasantness. MOVE ALONG music dweebs. Show's over. Move along before I say something nasty, like, episiotomy. Go on, scram.

My friend V and I are breakfasting with someone lovely who we will call R (see how I protect the other participants from comment box opprobrium?). We are talking about having children, which R is considering.

"They're nice really", V muses "Babies are nice".

"Especially with hats" I add, urgently. "They are MUCH nicer if you put a hat on them. Especially if they have scaly heads"

"Yes, or unfortunate hair. One of mine had unfortunate hair"

"One of mine had a hideously scaly head. People recoiled at the sight of it. It needed a hat, or else I was irresistibly drawn to picking at the scabby bits. My sister gave him a sweet one that looked like a strawberry. Really, you can't have enough hats".

"I am worried about having to see other people. I don't want to see people in my house", says R. "I don't like the idea of playdates. I mean, other people coming to your house. Awkwardness".

"Oh" I say blithely "By that stage you are really insanely delighted that someone else will do the playing. Playing is really boring. That is what fathers are for, I think. I hate playing. I am shit at it. When they make me play with Playmobil or something, all I want to do is arrange them in neat lines. Or make the warriors use the hoover. Anyway, if you take their child, they have to take yours in return, which makes it entirely worthwhile, and well worth a bit of stiltled conversation".

"Not to mention", says V "That any awkwardness or social anxiety you may experience presently will be a thing of the past once you have had whole roomfuls of strangers looking at your lady parts".

We are all silent for a moment in contemplation of this unsavoury truth.

"Any other concerns?" says V, brightly. "Oh! Yes. You must join NCT classes. Not for all the whale song indoctrination and knitted placentas. To meet other middle class parents. But you must say you are there to learn how to manage your pain and all that rubbish. They don't like being treated as a dating agency for middle class parents. My husband didn't make the right noises about pain management and it was very awkward".

"I didn't do that" I say bitterly "So I spent the first six months of my eldest son's life, in the once daily 4 minute slot that Gina Ford would allow me to leave the house, standing in Selfridges Beauty Hall and crying in the hope that someone might talk to me".

"People will talk to you when you have a baby though" says V, with a note of warning "Endlessly. It's like having a dog, within seconds of leaving the house, someone will come and poke at it".

R visibly blanches "I don't WANT to have to talk to strangers. Or have them poke the baby"

"Oh, but" says V soothingly "You must remember that after giving birth, your brain is like a computer with a screen saver that appears after about a minute, and the screensaver says 'BABYBABYBABYBABYBABY'. So, for a minute or so, you will manage to have a coherent thought about, say, going to the Post Office, or reading a book. But before you can act on it, the BABYBABYBABYBABYBABY screensaver comes back and you're finished. So those kinds of conversations with elderly ladies are the best kind. 'lovely baby' 'yeees, lovely baaaaby'" she mimics, in a dreamy zombie voice.

"I couldn't take my eyes off mine, the first time", I recall. "It was fucking exhausting. I simply, physically, couldn't look away from the baby. It must be in case it gets snatched by wolves or something, evolutionarily speaking. But it wasn't even DOING anything. They don't. Just twitching jerkily. For WEEKS. And there are no wolves in W1*. And even when the baby slept, I would be awake, waiting for the wolves to come and steal it".

"Only the first time, though" says V.

"Oh, yes. The second time I wore ear plugs. The CFO used to have to shake me awake to feed him".

"I found a way of feeding mine without even waking up" says V "Like a baby kangaroo or something. Though a friend of mine fell asleep feeding her twins and woke up to find one of them had fallen into the wastepaper basket".

We all laugh uproariously.

"He was absolutely fine. Sound asleep".

"They are lovely though" I add, guiltily "They have silky heads and they are very warm, like hot water bottles ".

"I'm not sure I could cope with boys" says R

"Oh, boys are really great. They really really really love you. The only thing is, you must resign yourself to leaving the house every single day for about 6 years".

"Like dogs" supplies V helpfully "You need to take them out a lot. They need to be walked. Endlessly".

We both sigh.

"They really ARE nice though". I say. "With the right hat".

*This may not be strictly true, but I think the zoo is NW1, so I am probably safe making this sweeping statement.


Blonde said...

Hmm. I was wavering, but I am now officially Put Off Having Children. Hats notwithstanding.

Margaret said...

I've never wanted children, but I do thoroughly approve of the technological advances in baby hats that have brought us Baby Hats with Little Ears. I am completely entranced by them.

Iheartfashion said...

That about sums it up!
I especially agree with the part about not waking up with the second child. We slept three floors apart from ours so we couldn't hear the nighttime noise. She slept through the night within a couple of months, so no harm done.

Jessica K said...

I appreciate the part about the scaly bits. Soften up with baby oil - so hard not to scrape the bits off.
But the smell of their heads. It is all gone. I should have saved something with that smell.

Anonymous said...

V's screensaver analogy is brilliant - and so true.

little birds fly said...

yes, this is all true, I love the bit about playing, I am not a good player rather torturous...but,take heart! those babies do grow up to be teenagers who can do things for you, like make you lovely blog banners and such. AND, if you forget, as I did, how very, very trying babies can be and go and have another juuust when you were almost out of the woods, you can make those teenagers do the playing with the baby...while you read blogs ;)

MadameSmokinGun said...

Tell her NOT TO DO IT for Christ's sake!!!! What are you thinking?

Sinda said...

It's all true. I think you need a guest spot in Eden & Alice's venture.

Sinda said...

Also, I hate playing too. HATE IT. Always have. Always will.

Soda and Candy said...

Ha, that screensaver thing is brilliant.

I love bebeh hats. And my brain is already mush so that won't be a problem!

redfox said...

We have utterly failed at making use of the pain management technique of finding dates. I suspect the three of us will just become one fused ball of cabin-bound derangement, like a sort of human rat king. How nice! (Send hats.)

WrathofDawn said...

OMG. The BABYBABYBABYBABYBABY screensaver is the BEST description of early motherhood I have ever heard.

Fortunately, that screensaver has an expiry date and by the time the baby is 20 or so, it is gone altogether.

Unfortunately, by that time, menopause has stolen half your brain cells, so in its place is a WHATWHOWHENDIDN'TIALREADYDOTHATNOIDIDN'T screensaver in its place.

The previous paragraph has been left exactly as I first tyPed it as an example of the kind of things you do whilst under the influence of menopause. Such as type "in its place" twice in the same sentence with blissfull unawareness until you reread what you've just typed.

Menopause. Hmmph! Mentalpause is more like.

But hats. Hats are always good.

fourstar said...

Pah, you don't scare me with your baby talk. Proud father of two and joint-owner of lots of little hats :)

So yes, what she said, plus my added twopennorth, which is this.

Do not, under any circumstances, read The Book.

If you are bought The Book (perhaps by a well-meaning parent or a non-child-furnished friend) smile sweetly, take it home, and burn it. If, by accident, you find yourself reading a friend's copy of The Book, beat yourself about the head repeatedly with the nearest baby monitor until you forget The Book. Should you find yourself idly browsing The Book in an airport branch of WH Smith, wait until you have boarded the plane, then ask the steward/ess for a very large gin & tonic and drink it down in one; you should lose all knowledge that you ever set eyes on The Book shortly afterwards.

(If you don't know what I mean by The Book, you almost certainly don't have kids - yet...)

Jaywalker said...

Redfox - That would have happened if we had tried it. And yes, the fused ball of cabin bound derangemnet is a perfect description. But at least you are mentally prepared. Eh? EH? And if all else fails, put the Shite tea cosy on the baby. They make nice hats.

Heather said...

a perfect description of early parenthood. The screen saver analogy is the best I've heard yet.

Pippa said...

Fantastic, perfect imagery of the first few years of me being a parent.

Clairelh said...

So funny and so true. So relieved to find other non-players here too. I'm going to forward this to my friend who is due in 6 weeks. A bit of real life preparation never hurts.

westendmum said...

All true. I have lots of hats as Erbie still has NO hair. Hats are good.
WEM xx

pinolona said...

thank you, like Blonde I am definitely snapped out of any remotely broody thoughts. Will get a puppy instead (you can put hats on those too, it just takes a little persuasion and sleight of hand and copious bribery with chocolate drops).

Hänni said...

This is my favorite post ever! (And the whole hat thing definitely sells me on baby making, annoying screensaver notwithstanding).

The Jules said...

The surge of oxytocin in my man-brain at the sight of my new born son left me scarred with soppiness, so now I can't look at one of the little buggers (with or without hat) without going "Awwwwww bless."

S'not right.

Anonymous said...

Hats are good, but so are little tiny baby shoes. Really, it's just the bits in between that are the problem....


auntiegwen said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again Gina Feckin Ford hasn't had any babies of her own contented or otherwise so I think Gina Feckin Ford should shut the feck up.

Tigerbaps said...

Best waffle post EVER. Such was the scrambledness of my stupid brain and my complete loss of dignity I was wheeled along a busy maternity unit corridor, at visiting time, with legs akimbo because I couldn't push the monster out and they took me for a section. They kept shouting "JUST CLOSE YOUR LEGS LINDSEY". I cared not a jot. I also, rather famously, would forget to put my tits away after breastfeeding and even answered the door to a flustered church minister with my tits out.

Hodmandod said...

Six years you say? I have been going outside for 20 years now. Spent more time in draughty playgrounds than almost anywhere else external in my adult life apart from offices. You found me in one in fact.

Hodmandod said...

And I have made good 'baby friends'. Nothing to fear there, you just choose from a selection the ones with the sense of humour, startling inner life, and total lack of interest in kitchen design. Then you have someone to talk to in draughty playgrounds.

R said...

Ha! Excellent, I now have a detailed record of our conversation which I can refer to at times of maternal crisis. Husband enjoyed it too, although he did keep asking, 'did you really say that?'. xx

Léonie said...

I love this post. Make sure your book has lots of dialogue in it.

Happy New Year xxxx

Fabhat said...

Oh dear - I don't think we have enough hats. Must buy more hats, but I di have a furry zip up top with ears on it! I think I am only having a baby so I can put it in clothes with ears.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Babies ARE lovely. Especially mushy, dripping wet baby kisses from an 8-months-old.

Jessica said...

Best. Post. About babies. Ever.

I hate playing. I made a shite babysitter because of it and a shite big sister too. I didn't even sugar-coat it either, I'd just tell my little sister (and now my nephews,) that I don't want to play their game. Because it's boring, or because I don't like it, or because I'm busy staring at the cat.

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