This is a tongue in cheek look at a baby giving advice to another baby, on what to expect in those first few weeks of life…
“So you have just arrived, well, welcome to the ‘world’!”
“What a funny old place this is? It seems so emotional. Mummy, ‘the soft one’, cries a lot, and the flat chested one, Daddy, doesn’t seem too sure what to do with the crier, or you”.
“If you are wondering about all the noise, don’t be scared. This is just what its like on the ‘outside’. You’re used to muffled sounds and hearing the sweet tones of mummy, and the base of daddy’s voice, then to suddenly hear everything is SO much louder, is a shock. And not just their noise, everything is noisy! Doors, cars, children, pets, guests, Grandma, the midwife. It is so busy and so noisy. You will get used to it though, and some noises are really soothing, I particularly like the hoover, that makes me so tired for some reason. Or when mummy or daddy sing to me, that makes me feel calmer”.
“I don’t know if you have noticed, but isn’t everything so BIG, and bright!…
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We all like hearing a good luck story; we celebrate our own good luck and may share our good news with others. I love hearing when my friends are lucky, for example win a competition, or an opportunity presents itself that they didn’t think was likely. Let’s face it, we all hope to be lucky! So why am I writing this? Why would I not want to hear of people’s good luck? Not because I am a Grinch, or don’t want good things happening for others.
I love to hear about your good fortune, except in one situation…When it is said in relation to a baby or child, to a person sharing their story, which is the opposite of lucky. This mostly happens on social media and occasionally in person at baby and toddler groups.
Let me explain. I am not talking about statements like ‘I am lucky to have had him, or ‘I’m lucky I had a healthy pregnancy’ or ‘I feel so lucky to have my babies’ not in that way.
To give you some examples…
A desperate mother posts on a Facebook forum,
“my 11-month-old wakes so many times in the night! I’m exhausted and nothing I do works, any tips or anyone else experienced this?”
You will inevitably find a response like, “I’m lucky, we never had this problem, mine have always slept 7-7”
Why? Why say it? Why do people feel the need to share their ‘luck’ in this situation when another is desperately trying to find others that relate?
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I see a woman almost daily on my morning dash to preschool. She, like me has 2 children, but, unlike me, she always looks serene. It’s almost like she floats to her destination, children in tow. There is no coaxing, crying (her or the children) fussing, falling over, fighting over the pushchair. The children are just as serene as she is. Now my question is, how is this the case? Is it that this woman just has it nailed? Is she more organised then me? Does she leave the house half an hour before she needs to in order to make the journey smooth and stress-free? Is she drugging her children? Are her children just compliant and quiet?….
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Naps have been an obsession of mine since my first baby was born, she is now just over 2 ½ and I still spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about them. Getting the children to nap, wondering how long they might nap, and if they haven’t napped, why not?
This week my daughter has dropped her day nap. Making a 12-hour day seemingly double in length, and it reminded me of a post I wrote about 5 months ago. It was of course just a stage, and now my daughter sleeps in a big girl bed and my son naps in his cot or pushchair, but at the time I wondered if we may ever get to this point…….
As I sit bouncing my baby son up and down in his car seat, willing him to sleep and not wake up his sister, I wonder if other mothers have days when the monotony becomes a little suffocating? I love my children, in fact I truly love them more than I thought was possible, but some days are hard work, especially at nap time.
My son will only sleep in a car seat during the day, which at nearly 8 months is getting a bit ridiculous, not to mention extremely heavy when rocking him to sleep in that. Whilst my daughter will only sleep in her travel cot in the day. Despite having a cot and a ‘big girl bed’. Which basically means that I have to work around the child that’s less portable and more fussy (my daughter) and therefore am in the position of rocking my son to sleep in his preferred chair at least once a day (and that’s a good day). I’m sure I should be trying to work on getting him to nap in his cot, or encouraging my daughter off the rock hard travel cot mattress to a normal bed, but you know what, I haven’t got the energy right now. If that’s how that’s sleep then fine by me, as long as they sleep! In fact, more recently as my son has got more difficult to settle I have been finding nap times a combination of completely euphoria mixed with exhaustion! I honestly don’t know whether to have a party in this situation or curl up in bed.
I repeat to myself on a daily basis ‘this is just a phase, it won’t last forever, and one day I’ll miss them being so small’. Just when I am daydreaming about escaping to an exotic Island alone, my son will beam at me, or my daughter will hug me. In that moment I am reminded that, to steal a line from L’OREAL, they are worth it! Especially if they have napped!!
I was reminiscing and reflecting about my childhood with a friend and it dawned on me, there are so many things my children won’t know. The world has already changed so much that some of the things about my childhood will seem completely alien to them. Like when my parents used to play Vinyl records.
How did this happen? When did I become so old that some things I remember are almost extinct? Will my children see our generation as dinosaurs, so out of touch with things they have grown up on? I would like to point out here, I am only in my 30’s, not exactly ready to collect a pension, yet, the gap in our generations seems huge.
Here are just a few of the things my children may never know…
- Tapes. Especially mix tapes. How will they declare their love when they are teenagers without presenting their Romeo (or Juliet) with a mix tape with all the songs that remind them of their chosen one?
- Winding car windows down with the handle. You know the one, that took real muscle power to open even a crack. They will just touch a button. In fact, so much of the world for them will be at the touch of a button. I had to physically pull out the choke on my first car. They won’t even know what a choke is! They will think it’s a wrestling move (is wrestling still big? probably also an out of date reference)
- Bars of soap, everything comes in squeezy bottles. Even hand soap has a pump! They may not know a simple bar of soap.
- Video players. Everything is on demand; TVs record, there are ‘on demand’ set boxes and dedicated catch up internet sites.
- Landlines that connected to the wall and phones with a cord. There was no hiding away to talk to friends after school, you could only go as far as the phone cord would allow. And on the subject of phones, remember when you could only call friends after a certain time in the evening when call tariffs changed. And no Smartphones, in fact if someone had told us 20 years ago that one day our phones would be able to tell the time, connect to the rest of the world and record videos we would have imaged something from Back to the Future!
- No Google. I know this is going to make me sound like I am really old; I honestly remember looking through books to find the answers to my homework. We didn’t google. I’m not even sure there was google when I was at school, certainly not at primary school. When we did get the internet it was dial up and used the phone line so you couldn’t make a call at the same time.
- Just having 4 channels on TV and thinking this was enough choice. If you missed a programme and had forgot to set the video recorder, that was it, you missed the programme and better hope the Radio Times had written a good enough description about what happened in the show.
I am sure generations before have felt similarly to me but I can’t help but feel that this is one of the most dramatic leaps between just one generation. The invention of the internet has given way to an instant gratification society. We don’t have to wait for anything. We don’t wait for answers, for contact with others, for information, for shopping, for anything we want.
We can find anything whenever we think of it. I, like many I know, am addicted to this new technology. Yet, I find myself in an odd position. One side of me feels like I need everything right on tap, especially my Smart phone, while the other is appalled by the lack of face-to-face connection. I am plagued by guilt for how much time I spend on this type of technology and therefore, not looking at my children in favour of checking Facebook updates. I try and give them the childhood I want them to have, yet they will inevitably have this childhood I may not be able to relate to. I just hope I can keep up and learn with them.