Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Parenthood: The things they never told you!

As a new parent there are many things you may run out of from time to time - sleep, nappies and patience, to name but a few - but the one thing I can guarantee that you’ll never run short of is advice.

From the moment you declare to the world that a baby is on the way – and when to tell people that is often the first bit of advice you’ll get – everyone and his mate will be queuing up to offer words of wisdom.

Of course this isn’t a bad thing. Yes, 90% of the advice can be filed away under the heading “Statements of the bleeding obvious”, much can be politely ignored and some is just downright batty but in the mix are some true gems that make you feel grateful for having a close family and fine friends.

One thing I’ve noticed though is just how much of this advice seems to be geared towards making parenthood convenient. A classic example is:

“Oh don’t sleep with your baby! They’ll want you to always sleep with them!”

Of course they will, after all it’s very comforting to all concerned and is what we’d all be doing if we were living a more natural life. After all, this idea of everyone sleeping in separate rooms is astonishingly recent and, whilst having your own space is all very nice, the first thing most of us do when we leave home is to hunt down someone willing to share a bed with us.

Attachment Parenting is the ‘new thing’ to help address this slightly perverse view of baby rearing and, like most new ideas, is just taking us back to how we used to behave before work, 60’s pseudo science and Victorian morality arrived to fuck things up.

I can’t say we’ve fully embraced attachment parenting. Not because I don’t agree with it but because I’m not sure my back would be up to the job... although the fact that it seems to have more than a hint of the bobble hat brigade about it is also a bit off putting – why is it that so many people with good ideas feel the need to spoil it all by wearing daft head gear and drinking Yak’s milk?

Anyway, this blog wasn’t supposed to be about the advice you get, it was supposed to cover the advice that doesn’t rear its head above the carry cot.
So far I have come across two very important points that I wish I’d known about before Marty arrived.

The first is floorboards! Do yours creak? If so, sort them out before baby arrives, especially those in the proposed nursery. I singularly failed to do this and I very much regret that fact. Ours creak like crazy things and as a result getting Marty to sleep and then getting out of the bedroom afterwards is like a scene out of an Indiana Jones film. If the floor creaks he’s going to wake up again so I have to mark my start position, take 4 paces to the left, 3 steps forward, two to the right.... I have yet to be chased out of the room by an enormous boulder but I have also yet to get out of the room first time without Marty waking up.

Another thing that no one mentioned was glasses. Do you wear them? Did you invest in gloriously expensive ones? Oh dear!

Here is a simple test to see if your glasses are suitable for parenthood. Pick them up in both hands by the bits that go over your ears. Now, whilst holding on tight, stretch your arms out wide. Now throw the glasses on the floor and giggle in delight. Now pick them up in your fist and hurl them across the room whilst shouting ‘Daggies!’. Repeat until the guy in the opticians notices what you’re doing.

I only need glasses for reading so I have taken to buying a box of them every few months from Poundland. In our house they have the life expectancy of an asthmatic Mayfly but they are wondrously cheap and provide Marty with some exercise.

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