Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seriously: Parenting

You know it's been a long time since your last post when regular readers start to worry (hello to Cathy at Playing Hooky :-) Oh dear.

Two nights ago I found myself sitting upright in bed with Baby Gingerbread asleep in the armchair I'd fashioned out of ... well, my arms, actually ... while Mr Gingerbread snored his head off next to me. (In fairness, he had laid a sympathetic hand on my thigh, which is what he does to assuage his guilt at getting to sleep while I comfort a burpy baby.) I was exhausted. We'd just arrived in from a week at home in Ireland and even my bones felt tired. But whenever I put the baby down, he'd wake up, crying piteously, and no amount of back or stomach-rubbing would shift the burp that had got stuck somewhere in his little tummy. So we both sat upright, waiting for the gas to come up - or go down. In bed with two men. How very 'Fifty Shades of Grey ' of me.


It occurred to me again how hard parenting can be. And I realised that only when I had a baby myself could I fully comprehend how hard my mother and father had worked at raising me and my brothers and sisters. I mean, I was lucky to have kind and caring parents so it would be utterly churlish of me not to recognise their effort, but it's only at 3 a.m. in the wee small hours of the morning, tired to my very marrow, rubbing a 3-month-old baby's back in the black silence of our bedroom do I understand fully how much effort being a halfway decent parent requires, much less a good one.

My own mother has taken to informing us that she "might not live very long". She's trying to prepare us for her eventual clog-popping - statistically seen, most likely to occur with a cup of tea in one hand, a cigarette in the other and the phone jammed under her chin. She said this again over Christmas and my youngest sister - who has the delicate sensibilities of a barracuda - told her to shut up and stop looking for attention. I don't care how much she "prepares" us with these portents of doom, nothing could prepare me for the loss of either parent and the mere thought of it rends my heart asunder. A bit of my world would die with them; it doesn't even bear thinking about. So Mammy Gingerbread -  I know you're reading this, and possibly already sobbing into one of the many tissues you store on your person - please stop. You've read enough Louise L. Hay to know the power of thought.

In all, I've learned that it takes a while to learn to be someone's parent. And I think you do it best if you're still someone's child.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I am terribly sorry, my dears. Such a long time since my last post :-( I really enjoyed reading your lovely comments and they certainly helped to cheer up some very tiring days and quite a number of sleepless nights. Life with an 8-week-old is certainly challenging, mostly because a lot of it takes place with afore-mentioned 8-week-old in your arms. They don't like being parted from their parents, did I mention that? And as typing is generally a two-handed job, it can be quite difficult to blog.

But Baby G is starting to charm us with his antics. Yesterday morning I passed by my bed, where Baby G was getting some shut-eye (on a side note: I never, ever wanted to co-sleep. Never. But the baby had other ideas. He sleeps best with a fistful of boob and his feet tucked under the flap of fat left when he vacated the premises a month ago. I sleep curled around him like a crescent moon, one arm stretched out above his head, the soles of his feet resting on my thighs. Before he was born, I tossed and turned in bed about three dozen times a night; since his birth I sleep like a statue, waking in the morning with stiff limbs and scratched bosoms.) In any case, the child was asleep with one arm up the air, a tiny fist clenched. Startled, I realised he was doing the Black Panthers' salute. While I watched him, his tiny body did a Riverdance of flailing limbs and resettled into something equally uncomfortable-looking but much less political.

Motherhood. Ahhh.
Right now, I'm at the point where I'm pressing my nose up against the windowpanes, watching people outside in the fresh air, doing exciting things like going for a walk or buying bread. Simply leaving the house involves a lot of planning - I have to get the baby in an Ahglooba period. Yes, that's right: we've started to speak his language. We have two words so far: Nnnnngah, which expresses general displeasure - you know, when you decide you're hungry but food doesn't appear magically in front of you straightaway (this works best if you beat someone's chest while you're howling "Nnnnngah! Nnnnnnnnnnnngah!" And maybe do some kicking, too.) Ahgloobah is a general sound of contentment, doled out to parents deperately trying to please you. Both words are quite excellent. Missed the bus? Nnnnngah! About to tuck in to a cup of hot tea with a chocolate biscuit? Ahglooba! It's great fun. And, considering that the little chap will have to grow up bilingually, we're probably doing irreparable damage to his language-learning skills. Oopsie.

Anyway, here's a gratuitous baby picture for the first Advent Sunday. What does one have a baby for, if not to dress up in ridiculous holiday hats? (Note the look of pained tolerance in his eyes. Poor child.)
"Help! Help! Am being held captive by lunatics! Help!"