But then the applause dies down, and what happens? Your cream leather sofa has so many bite marks in it, it looks like Emmenthal. Buttered toast has been crammed into the slot for the DVD and your Gordon Ramsay box set hasn't been the same since. You can't count how many times the coffee table has been pulled over just as you were about to put the last piece into the 1000 piece jigsaw. The dog will only come out of its bed after 7pm and even then it has to have Prozac in its Pedigree Chum. And every glass/ceramic/Ming Dynasty frippery you ever had is now no more, its life ended in a fit of ornamenticide brought on by your refusal to give the child pudding before main.
There are ways to keep your child in those early, more manageable stages for longer. Try my handy tips.
1. Height. Height is a problem, because the higher the child, the more shelves it can reach, the more cupboards it can open and the more times it can bang its head by standing up when it was under the dining table so that you have to spend the next three days waking it up in case of concussion. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, balanced carefully on the child's head for a period of up to four hours a day, will help to hold back the growing process. Alternatively, phone directories, medical self-help books and atlases do the job equally well - atlases are especially useful if you have twins because they are big enough for two heads. For triplets or quadruplets, the average coffee-table art book - the most pretentious version which is bigger than the coffee table - may be required. If all else fails, pull up a concrete slab from the patio. Okay, so it leaves an unsightly gap when you're having your barbecue, but are you looking for a quiet life, or not?
2. Teeth. Teeth, especially if you're still wanting to breastfeed, are a problem. Teeth, especially if you're wanting to avoid screaming WHILE breastfeeding, are a problem. There is an easy solution. The hammer you choose should be a small one (it's best to use one which can put small tacks into the wall rather than an industrial size hammer as you won't be able to get it into the child's mouth) but, every time you see a white spot on the gum, a little tap with the hammer will do the trick. Check carefully that the white spot IS an emerging tooth and not just a piece of rice pudding left over from teatime - it would be cruel to hurt the child unnecessarily. When the child cries in the night, you will be perfectly justified to tell it off for making a fuss when you know damn well it can't be its teeth.
3. Legs. The fact that children are born with legs can be a real disadvantage, especially when you had only just bought your new sound system and wide screen TV, thinking you wouldn't get pregnant for ages. But with legs the average child can do more damage in your living room than a herd of wildebeest fed on Ritalin. So it's best to hold back the use of these limbs for as long as possible. Amputation at birth does seem drastic, although once you've had three or four children, and then get pregnant with the fifth, you may find it easier to clear your conscience than you would have done first time round. And, anyway, kids love to suck their toes and it would be a shame to deny them this innocent activity. You have a couple of options. One is to place thick elastic bands around the tops of the thighs at each nappy-change to halt development of muscle via blood restriction. Use brightly-coloured ones, of course, and you and Baby can have a little play with them before applying them to the legs. Mummies and babies need lots of fun times together. The legs may go a tad blue once the bands are applied, so if it's summer, some light cotton-based trousers might be appropriate for public outings. Another maybe less risky option is to shout, 'HOT! HOT!' every time the child appears to be getting to its feet, in the same way you do when it approaches the oven. Soon it will associate the act of walking with getting its fingers burned. (I wouldn't advise applying actual fire to the ends of its fingers just to make the point, but it's up to you, as I would never presume to limit your options.)
|'What an IDIOT! She's helping me towards the volume switch on the sound system and I can't WAIT to turn it right up so Granddad has a heart attack!|
4. Hands. It has to be said, these are weapons of mass destruction indeed. You know it. Your cat knows it. The (shocked but recovering slowly) hamster knows it. The (ex) goldfish
Do let me know, as always, how my tips have helped you. Send me pictures of your two inch high babies and your babies who are very fat elsewhere but have legs like blue string. I will post them on the blog for the encouragement of others.