Saturday, 28 August 2010

Week 7: The Daddy Question

Unreasonable? Moi?

The other day I was perusing the virtual universe that is mumsnet and found that they have a forum named ‘Am I being Unreasonable?’ and I thought that if it were a competition, I could win with this recent conversation that I had in the car park of Marks and Spencer with my husband:

Me: What are you doing?!
Him: Packing the car…
Me: Yeah, I see that but why are you packing it like that?!
Him: Because it’s the only way I can fit it all in…
Me: Love, (note the use of the pet name to try to soften the nagging tone but which actually only serves to patronise), we’ve discussed this before (i.e. why are you being so stupid?), I try not to pack things on the seat next to the babies car seat as I feel it is a risk (not neurotic at all.)…
Him: Yes (teeth gritted)… but we have bought so much (you’ve bought so much) that I can’t fit it all in the boot.
Me: Well I can (you imbecile), let me do it (thereby emasculating you in front of the whole world).
Him: Whatever. (I’m in a huff now)
Me: -
Him: -
Me: -
Him: -
Me: - So are you in a huff now, you *****? (add in your own choice expletive here)
Him: NO (note the capitals used here to demonstrate the teenage tone)
Me: Good.

Yes indeed folks, a modern man is a wonder. I have my moments of awe, pondering why he hasn’t left me yet… is it because mostly I am nice and not the neurotic witch this conversation seems to suggest, is it because our daughter ties us together now, is it because he doesn’t have the energy due to sleepless nights? Or is it because I do such a very good job of packing the boot? Either way, I’m glad he’s in for the long haul, because me and CK love him, huffs and all.
The Mummatron

The Modern Man, it’s a wonderful thing

It makes me rage when I hear women say, “my husband wouldn’t touch our babies!” Or, “my husband doesn’t have a Scooby how to hang out the washing, doesn’t even know where the washing machine is.”

I want to screech at them in true fishwife fashion (and boy don’t those poor fishwives get a bad press!) “Have you never heard of training?” If you had someone working for you who had nay clue, you would understand that careful explaining of what the job entailed, and how to do it, would probably result in an efficient employee. But when it comes to husbands… so could it be that there is an alternative motive?

Some women are trying to tell you that their man is too much of a macho hunk to be hairy-arsed doing any of the pink jobs around the house, some women actually want that sort of man. Fine, just don’t complain to me when the baby is screaming and he wont pick it up because he is busy doing a blue job like using the power drill, (which I believe these days come in pink too!)

Another motive is that, let’s face it, making someone feel inadequate and hopeless is a grand way to get power over them. Even in these days of enlightenment – well the dawning of it anyway – people seem to assume that a woman will instinctively know how and what to do with a new born baby. Oh yeah? Why is that?

But I digress. Some women will take advantage of that; snatch the baby away from its’ father if it cries; constantly tell him how to handle the little person who is so new to you both; take control of every aspect of childrearing, and in general make the man feel as if he is as useless as a slimy appendix. (These same women then profess amazement when their husband eventually finds another woman who apparently understands him and thinks he is a handsome, capable, in-charge kinda guy.)

I know it is hard to see your baby crying in the big hairy arms of its father and to feel that you are the only one who can make it happy, but that baby is going to grow into a mutinous three year old and a hulking, sulking, teenager. That’s really when it helps to have two of you to deal with this perfect stranger who has been living with you for years.

Men are usually great with babies, the little souls feel comforted by their size and secure in their arms – the babies I mean not the men who, of course, have big, manly souls (in case there are any dads reading this!) Bringing up a child is a job which can only be enhanced by as many helpful people as possible in the childs’ life. The more people in the house who know how to work the washing machine, the more time there is to play with and show affection to the little person – until they are big enough to learn how to use the washing machine themselves, then, bingo, everyone’s a winner, you all have more time for each other!
Granny Bloggings

Friday, 13 August 2010

Week 5: Joi De Vivre

Fun in the Sun
In the days of yore, before CK (BCK), one of my annual joys was festival-going. So I’m not the glasto type – the whole mud bathing, lager drinking up all night thing doesn’t appeal – I’m much more of a Radio 3 festival goer. World music, art installations and eclectic eating experiences were my bag, baby.

This year, with a 4 month CK in tow, we decided to give it a go. We chose a nice, small, family friendly festival and bought day tickets. We even brought granny bloggings and gramps along for extra pairs of hands to look after the wee’un. And did we have fun? No. Well, I didn’t anyway.

I was too busy worrying about whether there would be a nap, whether feeding would happen, and if it didn’t whether we’d be up all night paying the price. I worried about her ears, no ear defenders means deafness, ear defenders means crushed little shell likes. Where is my sense of joy? How could someone so small have stolen it so easily?!

I know it will come back one day, I know I will enjoy my own life again without feeling the weight of responsibility for her, but I’m not sure when that day will be. I look forward to it though – on that day I will be down the front, dancing my socks off and grinning with glee.
The Mummatron

The Carefree Life
When the stork of baby delivery flaps in one window it seems that all joi de vire flies out the other. It’s true that the carefree life of making decisions based on what will give you pleasure is over, at least for many years.

The human baby is a weak and helpless thing and stays that way for quite a time. We are a slow growing creature and need protection until we can reproduce and carry on the race. A successful parent is one who sees the world around their offspring through potential dangers – is the cave warm enough? Is that sabre tooth tiger on the prowl again? Of course the worries may have changed a tad if you live in East Oxford or Hampstead but the principle is still the same; how can there be any carefree joy in your life when all the time you are worrying about your baby!

The good news is that as your child grows you can begin to teach it to be aware of those dangers itself so that you don ‘t have to be constantly vigilant. Does that mean that you can go out and have a romantic evening with your husband without worrying about the baby sitters’ state of sobriety or whether your child has decided that tonight is the night it will try to climb out of its bedroom window to get closer to the stars…You’ve seen the film ‘three men and a baby,’ so you know it is not possible. You will worry about your child for the rest of your life but the joy it will bring into your life far outweighs the anxiety – especially once it has left home and you don’t know what it is up to!

Granny Bloggings

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Week 4: Births

The Circle of Silence
My good friend is giving birth. Right now. Right now, she is giving birth. I think I have broken out in a cold sweat. It’s funny how until you do it, you don’t have a clue what to expect.

After I had CK one of my friends who is yet to get pregnant asked me how the birth went. When I gave her my stock response (A tight lipped “fine”) she drily informed me that she wasn’t impressed that I had now entered the ‘circle of silence’. It’s so true… It’s like being part of the Illuminati. Once you have given birth you are part of this secret circle of knowing, conspiratorial women who nod silently and sagely at each other but who remain silent.

There are however some women who are decidedly outside of this circle – those who lie in wait for passing, innocent pregnant women, upon whom they leap and divulge all the secrets and lies of giving birth; “My pelvis snapped in half”, “The baby got stuck and it all went wrong from there”, “I was in labour for 6 days”. What that means is that when you are writing your birth plan (if you get around to it!) you have no idea what to really expect. Both extremes are ridiculously inconsiderate – what women need is the truth, the truth dammit!

And who’s to say they can’t handle the truth?! Having said that, I didn’t warn my friend. I just hope she is still my friend when it is all over and she doesn’t hold it against me.
The Mummatron

Birth of a granny.

Everybody kept saying to me, you’ll love being a granny!

I had my doubts…. I was terrified of my own babies until they were old enough to say “nope.” I always manage to make an excuse when anyone asked me if I would like to hold their precious little bundle: “oh it looks so cosy there, I wouldn’t want to disturb it”, “I have just remembered an important meeting – in Marakesh”, “I’m sorry my arms don’t seem to be working!”.

When my daughter announced that she and her lovely man were going to get married, my first thought was, “oh no, they want to have children”. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it would be fun to have a little tyke in teeny weeny designer jeans running about the place, but the thought of my own daughter being pregnant and giving birth was too frightening to contemplate. Whenever the subject of offspring came up I would make quiet murmurings about world over-population and adoption, whilst wishing I could also mention piles and varicose veins.

Then there was concern that PCOS would stop pregnancy from becoming a reality and I saw the fear on my daughters’ dear face and my defences started to crumble. Mere weeks later came the announcement that we had a grandchild on the way and then we saw the ultrasound photos. How is it possible to be terrified of something – my daughters’ health – and yet feel total euphoria about that little ET lookalike in black and white on the screen!

When my daughter went into labour and we waved her off to the hospital I found myself retreating to a calm, ‘well there’s nothing I can do about it now’, place, I didn’t hit the whisky or take up smoking – not even a cigar when the birth was over and mum and babe both fine!

The next day we met wee C.K., and you know what? Right from the first time I held her I knew that all those know-it-alls were right, I love being a granny! It is the best thing ever.

It is the joy of seeing a small creature meet the world around her, and become aware of other people, learn to smile, learn what a power-tool crying is, learn that even if you have just been bathed and changed, if you smile after you have filled your nappy - and your sleep suit down to your toes, - everyone will think you are clever and cute! And all of this without the terrifying final responsibility of motherhood – which, of course, you have to go through to become …….. Super Gran!

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