The generation game

I was reading the two guest blogs and they got me thinking about the differences between having a baby now and when our Mums and Grandmas had babies.  You would think, really, that there wouldn’t be too many of them – after all, babies are still babies (they haven’t evolved in some Darwinian way to feed themselves or anything) and mothers are still mothers.  The human race continues and women have babies every day – apparently there were 138 million births in 1980 and there have been around 134 million each year since.  Just think how many nappies that is….

That brings me to the first difference. Nappies (diapers, that is.  We Brits call them nappies, which make me laugh because in other parts of the English speaking world a nappy is a napkin. Believe me you wouldn’t want to wipe your mouth with one of my daughter’s nappies…..).    Disposable nappy, how I love thee.  Not because of your contents (although bizarrely I do get pleasure out of changing the smelly ones) but because you can be thrown away when used.  Now, just before I had by baby I had this vague fantasy that I would be some kind of eco mother and use reusable ones.  HA HA HA.  Frankly I don’t know how my mother coped with the old terry ones.  My poor Nana had 5 children – I can’t imagine the amount of disgustingness she had to go through with those bad boys.  Earth, I am very sorry that I am clogging you up with my daughter’s skanky poo receptacles.  I will try to save you in a different way.

Next difference – support.  I mean human beings, not boulder holders/bras (although actually things have improved in that department too).  I suppose my Mum had relatively little of this; she is an only child and lived miles away from her family when I came along, and my dear Grandma died when I was just 8 months old.  She had her friends of course, but I think that most women of her age, and certainly most women of my Grandma’s age, lived fairly close to family and friends they had known for years.  So if the darling little baby was screaming its head off Mum, Grandma or the next door neighbour (whose name and clothing size you inevitably knew in the 1980s) could relieve you, or at least cook you a nice stew. The world is more mobile now and it’s not always the case today, so there aren’t as many people to help out – though to be fair it’s easier to chat on the phone and computer than it used to be.  So now we have various groups that we can join and this fantastic blog to help us stay in touch and get that vital support we all need.

We are also blessed with a far more developed health care system.  When my parents were born expectant Mums only went to hospital when their baby was coming because there was something wrong.  Everyone else was born at home – National hospitals were a really new thing. In fact my Dad remembers his brothers being born in the room next to him – now that would be some scary stuff for an 11 year old boy to listen to….. Now, whether you choose a home birth or not, and whether or not you think hospitals could be better, and whether or not your midwife is bonkers, our babies have a far greater chance of survival simply because of the decade they were born in.

Another thing which I am personally very thankful for is fertility treatment – that’s how we ended up with our little girl.  It didn’t exist back then (mind you neither did contraception in any great way) so if you couldn’t have children you were stuffed.  The world will certainly be thankful when she grows up to be some fantastic inventor of wonderfulness that saves the planet from all of the nappies that she filled that got sent to landfill.

I could go on and on and on about the differences but, when it comes down to it, I’m not really convinced that having a baby in the 2010s is actually all that better.  Life was simpler and more straightforward then, and it seems that modernity and choice just give rise to complexity and confusion.  Take childcare, for example.  Mother who stays at home vs mother who goes to work – what’s best?  Should Daddy stay at home instead?  Should Mummy work part time?  Get a job closer to home?  Who looks after the baby when she is working – nanny, nursery, childminder, grandparents…. I understand from my Mum that when she was a little girl my Grandma expressed an interest in finding a job and Grandad had a really hard time understanding why- her job was looking after my mum and the house and although Grandad’s job wasn’t fantastically paid it was enough to keep them all in food and clothes and have a drink at the weekend.  I can just imagine how the conversation would go now if I said “Husband, I want a job” and he said “Wife, no”.  “WHAAAATTTTT?  WHYYYYYYYY?  I HAD YOUR BABY, I NEED SOME INDEPENDANCE, I DIDN’T MARRY YOU FOR THIS, I AM MORE THAN JUST A BABY MACHINE YOU *SSHOLE!!!” (I hasten to add that this isn’t an actual conversation). Stuff might even get smashed and there would definitely be an argument.  Actually I don’t have a choice now – kind of ironic when you think that when I was born you would have to resign from the job I’m in if you got pregnant – though I still think I would work if I did have a choice.

Anyway enough of my ramblings.  We don’t, of course, have a choice in all of this unless someone has invented a time machine.  But I think that, for me, there are a lot of advantages to having a baby now as opposed to back then that’s only because we have learnt from people who have done it before us – so perhaps it’s worth reflecting on it a bit more before we have to learn the hard way…..

Let me know what you think about which era was best for having a baby in by voting in this poll….!

 

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Love daughter, hate nappies

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I need to get something off my chest – I know it’s controversial – but I hate changing nappies. Now, I’m very much a champion of the “mumsterhood” and I would do anything to support my fellow mums, but really, does anyone actually like changing nappies? Are you sure? There’s pooh there! Pooh is disgusting to me whether it comes from my darling daughter’s little pink bottom, the fluffy behind of a baby rabbit or the hairy a*se of a giant man. It’s pooh, it’s disgusting because it smells horrendous, it looks horrendous, it’s…pooh! 

My daughter, aka the sh*t machine poohs every day, sometimes twice a day. The only bits I like about this is that a) I assume it means she’s healthy and b) the funny red googly-eyed straining face she does when she’s curling one out. It’s pretty amusing, especially when she does it in public and everyone’s watching her. Poor girl is going to get some serious ribbing in adult life if people don’t forget about it before she’s old enough to feel embarrassment.
I don’t make a big deal about hating pooh (except dog pooh which will never have a place in my life) I don’t complain about changing nappies I just don’t like it. OK sometimes I will pass her to my husband right after she’s done one and when he goes “I think she’s poohed”, I act surprised. Very occasionally I just look at him with a sad face and say “she’s poohed”. But mostly I just adopt my coping mechanism which I’ve had for every stage of her pooh and get on with it. My coping mechanism in case you were wondering is this 1) Hold breath 2) Try not to look at it 3) If it’s really bad say “Oh my God, this is disgusting” repeatedly in my head.
Here’s why I did this at every stage; because there has been no stage that wasn’t disgusting. The black tar ones when she was first born were revolting and scary and almost as big as her. They took about 700 balls of cotton to remove – then once I’d manoeuvred her little bird legs back into her blasted baby grow, she’d do another – straight away. Then there was the “liquified alien” stage – the clue is in the name. Then there was the yellow curry-sauce projectile stage which was the worst, and dangerous to boot; I got poohed on (and screamed), my best mate got poohed on (it took 2 washes to get it off her white top), my husband had to deal with what can only be described as a butt explosion which went so far up her back she had to go in the bath. Which brings us to now, where we are in the semi-solid-sludge stage. Guess what? It’s still gross and it will continue to be gross – forever. My love for her is unconditional and endless; and so is my hatred for pooh.

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poo Nostalgia

Before continuing, I should point out that I am writing this post on the basis that you know and I know that mothers of babies find poo fascinating and could probably talk about it all day, so let’s not pretend we think that this post will really be disgusting.

On the way back from the monthly weigh-in (baby, not me) today I was chatting to one of the other gorilla mums about how quickly our babies are growing up. I found it rather frightening to be sat in the waiting room for the weigh-in to see at least 2 “baby babies” as I call them – that is, little babies who are probably only a few months old. I was frightened because that was Hannah just a few weeks ago, and that in that same amount of time I will be back at work, and back into my own routine. It made me think about just how true the advice was that I was given by sooooo many people that I should take time to enjoy Hannah when she is so small because the time flies by so quickly.

Anyway, I digress. Me and the other Gorilla Mum (it was Anna, actually) were talking about poo – as one does – and the effect on it of our babies eating solids. I, like Anna, was entertained and amused by the particular effect that banana has on it – poo with little black streaky dots in it, what’s all that about? The conversation then developed into how the substance of the poo has changed (a lot more solid than it used to be) as well as the colour (mainly orangey) and that we missed that oddly cute smell of a baby’s milk poo. My husband and I still quite like changing her nappy, and it’s even a favourite Grandma (my mum) and Nanny (his mum) task to perform.

Now, I’m a clever lass (or clever enough to think at least) and I know this is not going to last. I have very clear visions of the future based on the experiences of dealing with my (gorgeous) nephews for a start. However, I just don’t want the future to come too quickly. The poo is just one issue which, for me, symbolises the pace at which life is moving now. Hannah is in size 3s at the moment, but not for that much longer and there will be no going back. My little girl is growing up. Do I want this to happen? Yes of course – I want her to develop and grow into the fantastic young woman I know she is going to be.  But not too fast please, because she can never go back.

My grandma, after whom Hannah is named (one of her middle names), used to say to my mum that each age has its rewards and I think that’s true.  There’s nothing like the wonderfulness of a newborn, but then you don’t get the fun of playing with a newborn that you do with an older baby.  I guess Hannah will, as I am to my mum, always be my baby, but I’m not half going to miss those early days.  Especially when she hits the terrible twos……..

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This season I’ll mainly be carrying…

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3 bibs, a portable changing mat, a spare cardy and vest, 5 nappies, 3 bottles, milk powder (3 servings), hand sanitiser, 2 dummies, baby wipes, nappy bags, my baby’s “red book”, muslins, and a bag of “stuff” including a dummy fastener, teething gel, 2 nappy creams (though I rarely even use 1), gripe water, infacol, tissues, a digital thermometer and Nurofen sugar free.

The only difference between this and when the baby was tiny is that back then I would have taken 2 spare baby grows and 2 spare vests (and probably needed them all!) and I wouldn’t have needed the Nurofen or teething gel as she’d have been too young. Oh and if I was still breast feeding (I fed her ’til she was 5 weeks) I would have had some lanolin.