It started before The Baby was even born, when Mummy was pregnant and pretending not to feel sick all the time.
“In my day,” said Knitting Nanna, “we didn’t have all these rules about what pregnant ladies can’t eat. You could smoke and drink, and doctors prescribed Guinness. In my day, we only had to avoid green potatoes, and the babies all turned out perfectly healthy!” Mummy muses that healthy is not a word she would ever associate with Daddy, the product of this practice, and lover of beer and kebabs. Thankfully, Mummy does not like Guinness. Or green potatoes.
Mummy should have realised this was merely the start of things to come. It seems that everyone who has ever had a baby has had it on a different day, and on that day the rules were different from all all the other days. This confuses Mummy greatly, as she cannot always remember what day is it today, let alone which piece of advice belongs to which day.
“In my day,” says Grandma, who has had three babies and can’t always remember which was which, “it was very important to have the baby weighed every five minutes. You must take the baby to the clinic all the time, because it is impossible to know how she is doing unless you know exactly how much she weighs.”
“But Mrs Health Visitor said don’t come back for a month,” explains Mummy.
“Take her anyway,” says Grandma, “just to be sure.”
“I’m amazed you are sitting her up,” says Terribly Old Great Granny. “In my day, you couldn’t sit then up ’til they were eight months old and you only fed then at 10:00, 2:00 and 6:00.” Mummy wonders what happened if they were hungry at 3:00, as Rebel Baby would almost certainly choose to be hungry at rebelliously different times…
“Leave them to cry at the bottom of the garden!” says Terribly Old Great Grandad, “It ne’er did ’em any harm!”
Mummy looks at the size of her garden and thinks that the neighbours would not thank her for that. She wonders if it would be OK to leave her at the bottom of someone else’s garden.
“We weaned you at three months, on freeze-dried cheese and tomato instant baby food,” says Grandad nostalgically. Mummy suspects this was much more convenient than the home-made organic vegetable purées in the recipe book Mrs Health Visitor so kindly provided, and makes a mental note to check if this is still available.
In twenty or thirty years, muses Mummy, I wonder what I will be telling the baby about? There must be things we are doing now which will seem ridiculous to her in the future.
Mummy doesn’t know, but she suspects that Ewan the Musical Womb Sheep may be one of them.