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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Where to put Baby so that it doesn't see life as tedious - more Not-a-Mommy-Blogger advice

Bringing home The New Baby is like bringing home that lovely chair you fell in love with in the traditional pine shop.  It's very nice and all that, but in the average-sized family home, where the hell do you put it so it can be used and admired but not be In Everybody's Way?  Good luck with finding a chapter on that in your spanking new How-To baby book that cost you thirty-five quid.

And it's even more awkward with babies than it is with chairs.  At least a chair doesn't realise that it's been stuck in a dark corner and ignored just because once you got it home you found there really was no place for it.  Babies somehow sense that they've been put in a dark corner and left for weeks to gather dust.  I don't know what it is about them, but you have to admire them for it.

Anyway, even though, as you know, it is a zillion years since I could call myself a Young Mother, and Henry the Eighth was still on the throne when I was suckling my offspring while throwing chicken bones over my shoulder, I still remember what a difficult moment it is when you're standing in the middle of a room with a Baby which has been fed, watered and changed, and wondering, 'What the dickens do I do with this now?'  Such a tricky moment!  Yes, there's its cot or its pram or baby buggy, but, to be honest, it spends hours of each day in those, and as a Good Parent, surely you'd want it to have a change, otherwise years from now, it's going to turn round and say, 'Mother, you kept me from hunger and thirst, and you kept me clean, but, flip, I'd have gone without some of the stewed apple just for a look at something other than that stupid duck mobile on my pram.'

I'm here with some helpful suggestions that will not only entertain Baby but will be useful to you, too.  What could be better?!

1  Everyone has on their piano or their mantelpiece a big vase of flowers which just needs that little something to finish it off.  Often you buy a bunch of flowers at the market and find that you should have bought two, because the only vases you have are really too big and your chrysanthemums or freesias just look lost in it.  Bingo!  Add Baby!  Just nestle Baby in at the front, arrange the flowers nicely to the left and right of its head, then hang Baby's arms over the edge to balance it nicely and complement your expert flower arranging.  (There's nothing like a bit of symmetry to cheer one up, is there, especially when your nipples hurt like billy-oh?!)  The other good thing about putting Baby in with the floral arrangement is that Baby can dabble its little tiny feet in the water all day long.  All babies love to do this, and, what's more, it will make Baby's toenails nice and soft for when you cut them before bedtime.

Warning: If your vase contains a bunch of roses, please don't forget to tell Baby to mind the thorns - it's only fair.

2. Gosh, isn't it so annoying when Baby comes along and you run out of money because of all you have to spend on things for the new arrival!  Poverty of this kind can be extremely frustrating, and what don't you need just as you're feeling so hard done by?  That's right.  You don't need all the foodstuffs in your freezer to be falling all over the place, just rubbing in the fact that you haven't been able to buy any new Ben & Jerry's walnut and toffee icecream or frozen salmon fillets for weeks, having had to purchase a cot, a highchair and fourteen thousand nappies.  So, it's obvious.  Use Baby to take up that extra room in the freezer, so that you can stack your fishfingers and your chicken thighs nice and tightly together to stop them rattling about.  Just tuck Baby into one of the freezer drawers and then arrange the frozen packets around it.  And, how convenient that babies are so flexible and have so many little nooks and crannies!  Just when you thought there wouldn't be a place for that one packet of dried basil you froze last year, there's that little crevice just at the back of Baby's knee where you can tuck it.  And, hey, suddenly, a solution for keeping the frozen raspberries from sticking together.  Put them in between Baby's fingers and toes, and they'll be just right for arranging onto a cheesecake.

Warning: Baby may need an extra vest, and perhaps another pair of socks.

3. What a winter it's been in Britain!  All that snow, and what do you get with snow?  Yes.  Draughts under all the doors.  So, so irritating, especially when your living room is nice and warm and you're in a lovely soft chair, reading the newspaper, and the only bugbear is that Arctic wind sneaking under the door frame and making your feet like ice.  Sorted!  What are cuddly soft babies for if not to lie by the door for you and stop the draughts from playing around your toes?  And, what's more, the good thing about this is that Baby can have a lovely sleep at the same time, and then, when it wakes up, be thrilled by the woo-woo sound of the wind as it whistles under the door.  Babies love to experience Nature, and what better way than this?  Of course, you may find that Baby moves around too much to keep the draught out completely (why do babies move so much?) but the solution to this is easy, and it's Why Swaddling Was Invented.  Wrap Baby tightly up in a long piece of cloth (if you don't have swaddling cloths ready, elastic bandages will do the job, but be careful when you undo these not to do it too quickly as Baby could be catapulted against the wall, and that would be harmful).  Sometimes it's hard to know whether you're doing the swaddling properly, but if you have one of those Guides to Moths and Butterflies nature books, look up 'pupa' and compare Baby with the picture (or see below).  If you can't tell the difference, you're doing fine, and now you can just rest Baby by the door and sit back with your newspaper.




Warning: If Baby does insist on wriggling about, despite your expert swaddling, wedging it closer to the door with a heavy piece of furniture might solve the problem.




Do let me know how you get on with my suggestions.  I mean, I'm not trying to be patronising or anything, but I know how much it helped me when I was a young parent and someone with more experience and skill took time to advise me.  Drop me a line.  Just think, with Baby nicely tucked up in the freezer, or by the door, you'll have so much more time to comment on people's blogs.

24 comments:

  1. Personally I favour sticking them in the front seat of my car - especially when the nappy is very full - as they act as a useful car alarm / car thief deterrent.

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  2. A modest proposal indeed...

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  3. Anne Geddes once tried No. 1 with a bunch of cute babies and plants and flowers and trees and then she took photos of them and made them into calendars and figurines and now she probably has as much money as that woman who writes all those books about wizards and sh*t!
    (Sorry, I don't know where that last little outburst came from.) - G

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  4. There's no hope for my I liked playing with mine- babies, I mean...

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  5. Yes, indeed, food for thought.

    They might well make tasteful garden gnomes. And how about - for summer babies when you need fresh air rather than excluded draughts - door stops?

    Or maybe tucking the baby into the cat's basket? A sort of symbiotic hot-water-bottle effect.

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  6. I always wondered why I don't feel the cold like other people...

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  7. Oh, some useful tips, cheers - I'll pass them on to my daughter-with-new-baby. Thanks especially for warning that elastic bandages might be harmful, causing baby to be catapulted against the wall - I wouldn't want that sort of damage, we've just had the walls plastered. Babies could be handy for unblocking loos too - just plonk them in and then whoosh them up - if you giggle manically at the same time, they'll think it's great fun - and it will save you having to pay a fortune to go to Center Parcs.

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  8. Steve - that's a very good idea. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the car combined with a dirty nappy ..... I remember it well. Isn't it what the hard shoulder's for on the motorway - stopping to change the baby on the back seat?

    The Merry - that was a swift response.

    Georgina - yes, I was thinking of those Anne Geddes pictures too. Yuk, is all I can say in response.

    Jinksy - you PLAYED with your CHILDREN? Take a merit.

    Isabelle - Jinksy puts us both to shame, it seems.

    The Japanese Student - !!!!!

    Vintage - I'm so glad I said that if you've just had your walls plastered. There's nothing like the shape of a baby etched into a new wall to spoil the decor.

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  9. I have never had babies because I was just so unsure of what to do with them... Your post was so helpful that I just might go out and find me a baby daddy - if my girlfriend doesn't mind.

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  10. No babies here yet - but I will certainly store away this advice for future reference....

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  11. I found the perfect solution - lock baby in car seat & put on kitchen table. Get three year old to demonstrate to baby how to make strange looking objects with play doh... and bugger off for a cup of tea.

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  12. I'm sorry to be picky, but an extra pair of sock will RUIN the raspberries.....

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  13. The draught excluder tip would have been handy , when the children were tiny and we lived in a barn . But really , we'd have needed triplets each time , which might have been rather tiring .
    That stick-on stuff in rolls probably worked out cheaper in the end .

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  14. S, D and BS - I'd hate to cause relationship problems. You know how I'm all for family happiness, as seen in my posts.

    Katie - just let me know if a baby arrives. I'm full of good advice to help you be the best parent ever.

    Bad Penny - you have the right idea, definitely.

    Invisible - Gah, I missed that. Put the socks on Baby's hands, perhaps, during the raspberry season.

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  15. SmitandSon - yes, I think I'd go for the stick-on stuff every time rather than repeated sets of triplets, too. Although they would fill up a lot of gaps in a half-full freezer ...

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  16. Fran, I'm only marginally interested in the baby advice, but what caught my eye today was the list of book reviews on your sidebar! The one that jumped out and caught my attention was Precious Bane. My daughter-in-love is a Shropshire lass and her mum gave me the book when I went for a visit a few years ago and I absolutely loved it! I think I even wrote a post about it exhorting anyone who would listen to drop everything and read it! Now I'm going to have to come back here regularly.....

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  17. Molly - I wouldn't call it 'baby advice' so much as 'ways to get banged up in a cell for 50 years'. Anyway, great to meet you, and, yes, Precious Bane was one of my reading highlights last year. Such a different kind of book.

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  18. You Brits spell "draft" like "draught" which is the proper way.

    That settles it. I'm moving to England.

    Um...think you could put us up in one of your spare rooms? Maybe even the kitchen? My children, who are no longer babies would look lovely in some sort of floral arrangement placed atop your grand piano or the television.

    Side note: My husband is a trained assassin if you need anything "taken care" of.

    Think about it.

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  19. I like your way of thinking :-) Thanks for the laughs.

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  20. Oh yes, I can totally see perching Baby on the piano. Maybe stick the sheet music in its mouth? Multi-functional baby!

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  21. Brilliant Sulk - He's a trained assassin? We have a woodlouse problem underneath the patio, if he's free.

    Carolina - You're welcome.

    Talli - Ah, but will it turn the page at the right moment?

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  22. I was totally picturing those Anne Geddes photos as well. *shudders* If one of her images comes out with a baby in a vase on a piano we'll know where she got it from.

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  23. I wish I'd had this advice when my girls were tiny, they'd refuse to lie along the door frame now... though I find them quite useful as hot water bottles.

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  24. Jayne - Anne Geddes hasn't been round here with her camera yet, and I wouldn't let her in if she did. At least I'm not SERIOUSLY advocating putting babies in stupid places ... she puts them in teacups and umbrellas and all sorts of ridiculous poses. Hate it!

    hausfrau - at least they are proving of some use to you, in return for your years of sacrifice in bringing them up!

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