Friday, 20 December 2013
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Saturday, 30 November 2013
It's an unsavoury symptom of the fact that buses have very little space for anything other than bottoms, and, in oxford at least, tend to be overcrowded at all times of day. Double deckers are able to carry three pushchairs, or one pushchair and one wheelchair. Several times I've had to wait for the next bus because there are too many prams already. But there is no formal allowance for the little wheeled carts, without which many elderly people would presumably be unable to fetch groceries. It's so unfortunate that the upshot of this seems to be that the little old ladies are cultivating an unhealthy defensiveness and hostility towards the mothers against whom they always lose the competition for space.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
So I'm sitting at the front of the bus with Orso on my knee, and he's making eyes at everyone, and the whole crowd are falling in love with him. I'm thinking yeah, go on, look at how awesome my baby is, smug as you like. And then he throws up all over the place :o
Monday, 25 November 2013
Anyway, Simo and I swore blind that we weren't going to stop going out, or let our lives revolve around the baby. We weren't going to let the everyday phenomenon of self-spawning make us lose sight of the bigger picture, of our idiosyncratic interests and intellectual activities. In short, we were going to be cool parents, who stayed just as close to all our non-parent friends and didn't become boring.
But its so HARD!!!! At some point, some number of weeks into the brain-numbing relentlessness of the nappy changing, breastfeeding, rocking etc etc you just realise that fighting the baby-take-over just makes life harder, and we-must-not-do-anything-that-makes-life-harder.
I'd like to think I'm still a fairly considerate parent. I fold my pushchair up on busy buses. I try to keep Orson quiet in places where people need quiet. I try not to subject family members to him before about 8am. But clearly I'm falling into all the cliches of a new parent who thinks everyone should be interested in the details of their darling offspring's daily habits (i'm blogging about it, for god's sake!) and that life pre-baby was a meaningless distant memory (see Exiting the cave). As for being a cool parent? I haven't got the energy!
So yes, I am guilty as charged, and I'm sorry! I really ought to be more considerate to the feelings of all those who cannot or choose not to have children. On the other hand, its hard enough worrying about the impact of all this on my academic life without worrying about my social life as well. Hopefully one day when all of this has calmed down a bit (*will that ever happen, she pleads*) my good friends will still be there for me, waiting patiently with a large bottle of vodka.
Turns out that the best way to make a feverish baby stop screaming and calm down is to call a doctor and claim the baby won't stop screaming * embarrassed*. Anyway, we all three survived it and the boy's appetite has returned with a vengeance. On a more serious note, it made me feel so bad for all those parents of truly sick babies : (
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
This raises several questions in my mind.
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Monday, 21 October 2013
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Where is it acceptable to change a baby's nappy, do you suppose? I usually change Orson while he lies in his pushchair, on a little mat, when i'm out and about (which is most of the time). But where is and isn't this acceptable? Can I do it in the street? In a cafe? What about if the cafe has no change table and I can't fit the pushchair in the toilet? Is it weird if i put his mat on the pavement and change him there?
Breastfeeding is the classic minefield. Apparently its not okay in the swimming pool. I'd rather not do it on the bus (but have had to at times). I'd probably avoid it in a fancy restaurant. Is this right? Or should I parade womens and babies rights to feed and be fed wherever and whenever its necessary?
More specifically to me, what are the (implicit) rules about talks and conferences? Can I bring my baby to your presentation? Is light gurgling an acceptable background noise or a thoughtless interruption? Is screaming a shortlived disruption or a mortifying disaster? Are there any workshops/conferences that provide creches, or is it understood that when people are working, they don't bring their children?
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Well he appears to be thriving - with thighs of thunder, an eloquent vocabulary of gentle gurgles and murmurs and a generally sunny disposition. All good.
Mummy, however, could do better. With husband working very long hours, including weekends and evenings, and still no childcare in sight, the days are feeling rather loooooooooong. So I have a plan.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Recent story from the beeb says men with small testicles make better parents - "the idea being that larger testicles would suggest greater commitment to creating more children over raising them."
Friday, 20 September 2013
It should be a small thing compared to the enormous achievements I've produced in the last four months. But somehow it's different. I've been pondering why that is.
Friday, 13 September 2013
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
I once read or heard the statement that all successful song lyrics are variations on just two themes - a) I love/want/desire him/her or b) I hate/miss him/her. The pursuit of, celebration of, and nostalgia for romantic love would surely be identified by alien anthropologists as THE organising principle of all human activity, the meaning of life, the raison d'etre of our existence. Chuck in some other key passions involving envy, betrayal, guilt, fear and so on and you have the ingredients of just about any song, novel, play, soap opera or film that anyone dreamed up.
Monday, 9 September 2013
Monday, 2 September 2013
By Mei-Ling Hopgood, Macmillan Publishers Ltd, 2013
Argentinians let their children stay up late. French parents apparently inculcate a wholesome attitude towards food. Kenyans don't bother with prams.
Friday, 30 August 2013
Oliver James, a clinical child psychologist of unashamedly psychoanalytic bent, categorises mothering styles into three types, and offers advice on how to make the best job of mothering within the constraints created by each style. There is the Hugger - who is most generous and loving towards her baby, the Organiser - who prefers older children and finds the early years a challenge, and the Flexi - who chops and changes between both. In a nutshell, the best way not to f*** them up is to be a Hugger, and if you're too damn selfish to manage that, then make sure you get a top of the range nanny!
You might guess that I wasn't the most sympathetic audience. I'm disappointed by this, since I like James' Guardian column (no wait, that's Oliver Burkeman!), and I'm generally a right sucker for self-help psychobabble.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Gopnik makes the interesting argument that the ability to carry out counterfactual reasoning - i.e. thinking about things that are false or counter-to-fact - is *the* distinctively human capacity, which has underpinned our huge success as a species, by enabling us to make plans and come up with ways in which we can modify our world. By thinking about ways the world could be different, we can anticipate the future and formulate ways to modify that future, by constructing tools and so on.
Furthermore, contrary to older theories in which children were viewed as basically stupid adults (Piaget), Gopnik argues that when it comes to this most important cognitive capacity - counterfactual reasoning - children and even babies are out in front. This is best demonstrated, she argues, in their vast capacity for imaginative play. Adults, in comparison, are severely limited beings, with far fewer neuronal connections as a consequence of all the pruning that goes on in adolescence, and are therefore much less able to think outside the box.
Rather than viewing children as adults in the making, Gopnik argues that adults basically exist in order to enable the existence of children and babies who, though very vulnerable and dependent in terms of basic needs, are essentially the 'R and R' department of humanity, without which we would be stuck eking out an existence by trial and error learning like our chimpanzee kin. Without childhood, she claims, we would have no cultural advances, no ability to radically construct the world we live in according to our needs.
Children literally make the future : )
|This is 'The virgin with the child' by Mariotto di Nardo, in the Christ Church picture gallery|
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Poor little mite had his second lot of jabs today so he's not feeling at his best either, and of course it isn't his fault i'm tired, so i feel terrible that i can't muster more .......more mummy for him. I can't think of any songs to sing or games to play. I just desperately want to put some ear plugs in and lie down and go to sleep.
How do other mothers cope with this? I need some ideas on staying sane, on sneaking in me-time, on finding low-input ways I can keep him happy. Lazy mama?
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Sunday, 21 July 2013
Friday, 12 July 2013
That is, it's a year since he started growing and developing inside me :)
I realise old habits die hard, but in some ways its surprising that we still measure peoples age from the date they were born, rather that from when they were conceived. Obviously, back in the day the precise time of conception was unknown (still is to some extent). But its funny to still use this, even though whether a baby is early or late has huge consequences for when it will reach its developmental milestones. I think of Orson as a week older than his birth date, as he was a week late, and arrived with loads of hair and bath-wrinkled skin. But I've known him loads longer than 11 weeks, most intimately!! I even recognise some of his traits - lying on his left side, staying up late - from before.
And of all the developmental thresholds he has crossed in the last year, swapping water for air is just one among many.
In countries where they have summer every year nice days are rubbish (unless you're English and on holiday in them of course.) The folk don't know how to enjoy themselves. They treat it like any other day (which it is). They even go to work for gods sake. Such days are wasted on them. *smugly licks ice cream*