Before you have kids, and even whilst you’re pregnant, it’s impossible not to speculate about how you will raise your child(ren). A combination of your own upbringing (either wanting to emulate it, or do the complete opposite to what your parents did), seeing how friends and family members do it, and what you see in the media: together they create a miscellany of ideas in your naïve brain. You’ve got this sorted; bring on the baby!
Haha. I may as well have entitled this post ‘Don’t be a D*ckhead’. Until you meet your own baby, you have absolutely no idea how you will parent. You might have ideas but it’s impossible to tell how they’ll pan out… Babies care not for your ideas or, indeed, what’s in any books you’ve read. Every time I now hear someone say, “God, my kids will never do that,” I have a little inward chuckle. Never has ‘never say never’ been a more apt expression.
Here’s a selection of my gems – some quite divisive topics. Some still stand but I can’t say how long for!
- “My child will never have snot pouring down its face, or use a cuff to wipe it.”
Dear pre-child self. You do realise that kids can’t blow their noses until they’re two AT THE EARLIEST, don’t you? Humorously yours, Jo x
I blame my aunt for this one. Nothing brings out the Miss Trunchbull in her like a sniffing child with snot rattling around in their nostrils. I’ll be sending P to her for nose blowing lessons on her second birthday.
- “My child will only have wooden toys.”
Durable, toxin-free and eco-friendly. Triple tick. Except that everyone else isn’t aware of what you’re thinking and people will want to buy your baby toys. Most of P’s toys are wooden but a few aren’t and that’s fine! In fact, there are some brilliant plastic ones that she loves, particularly stacking cups (so many uses!), and the Tomy ‘Hide & Squeak’ eggs. Cheep, cheep!
- “My baby will never sleep in my bed.”
I really was a tit. I remember a friend telling me that her friend’s baby was bedsharing with them at 6 months and uttering that awful phrase, “Oooh, she’s making a rod for her own back.” If I could go back in time, I’d head there and tell myself to ruddy well SHUT UP. The only thing she was making, I now realise, was a secure attachment. My breastfeeding self envied her in the early days – I would have loved P to sleep next to me but she just seemed to hate me encroaching on her space. We improvised with a co-sleeping crib attached to our bed, which was brilliant.
Bed sharing gets such negative press but for some families it means more sleep for everyone. Check out the safe sleep guidelines at The Lullaby Trust.
- “I will never eat my baby’s leftovers.”
Pre-baby, the combination of other people’s kids and food seems a bit grim. It goes EVERYWHERE. It congeals. For the love of God, keep it away from my nice clean, snot free clothes!
The good news is, with your own, you have six months of milky puke, snot and dirty nappies to ease you into the weaning carnage, after which point you’ll think nothing of eating half a satsuma that’s been dragged through mashed potato or pesto pasta; it’s one less thing to clean up. I draw the line at anything that’s already entered P’s mouth, though; I’m not a total heathen.
- “My child will never have a dummy.”
Speech delay. Tooth misalignment. Having to wean them off it. This is something I was adamant about. It lasted about three weeks and P was going through as phase of being hard to settle. The dummy worked. For one night; we didn’t persevere. However, I wouldn’t say no to using it if we have another baby. If it soothes and calms baby (and parents), it isn’t something I’m going to write off.
- I will never do the ‘lift and sniff’.
Only about four times a day.
- “My baby will never watch television.”
It was reading this article years ago that cemented my feelings about infants and television. I have to say, out of all my ‘never woulds’, this is the one that I’ve stuck to most, but with exceptions nonetheless.
I intensely dislike background television, which is often an issue when we visit friends and family. I hate how P’s eye is drawn to it and my usually bright and chatty girl becomes mute and sits staring at it with her gob open.
We don’t have television on at home day to day but I have made exceptions: A bit of CBeebies when we were both ill; Baby Einstein or ‘Andy’s Baby Animals’ if she’s ever overtired/wired in the 30 minutes before dinner (AKA: ‘The Witching Hour’) and Cinebabies, which was a firm favourite of Lauren and I in the early months.
Should I have another baby, it’s quite possible that P will watch more television. I’d rather she didn’t but I’d never say never 😉
So, hit me! What did you swear blind you’d NEVER do? Have you stuck with it or do you laugh now, at your pre-baby ideas?
Jo, The Mother Side xx