Sunday, 2 August 2009

Babies everywhere

A good friend has just had a girl. It is wonderful. The baby is gorgeous (rather than being crumpled up and looking like E.T as (if we were to be honest) most babies do), mother is well, father is reportedly taking to fatherhood as Aussies take to cricket, and this is all very, very lovely. Even more so, as my friend was told a number of years ago that it was unlikely she would be able to have children.

So this is a very special baby, indeed.

My friends (the ones who go back a long way) have hit sprogging age. The first to reproduce was perhaps the one we thought most unlikely to be straight, and also the most unlikely to get married, have a responsible job, settle down and have a family. That was a couple of years ago. In the last twelve months, two more close school friends, my bro's wife, some orchestra friends, a lass I was in Tanzania with and a couple of colleagues have all sprogged.

I have noticed a few things in this time:

  1. Most babies have their photos posted on Facebook within 48 hour of birth;
  2. Not all babies are amazingly ugly (and some actually look quite sweet);
  3. Some babies cry more than others;
  4. All new mothers love having friends around so they can hand the sprog over for a while.

A few months back I called in to see my nephew and sister-in-law for an hour or so on the way back from Swindon. I'd actually called in to pick up some Easter eggs my folks had left for us, but the opportunity to see the little fella was welcome. I'd also taken some plastic construction vehicles for him to play with. They were a big hit - he just about had the co-ordination to bang the things together and make a lot of noise, and then he discovered the nipple-shaped magnet on each end, which evidently made a fantastic focus for suckage, and kept him quiet for a couple of months.

I rather like my nephew. He's a happy chappie (and is easily pleased), and I can't wait until he's a bit older and we can take him to exciting places, feed him full of sugar and e-numbers, and hand him back to his parents in a hyperactive state.

But seriously, I'm a little worried that I might be beginning to like babies. I'm no longer terrified of making them cry and instead find myself making silly noises, pulling faces, and swinging them around by any extraneous limbs until they put their energy into wondering where the ground went and forget to cry.

I think this is a sign of getting old.

I turned thirty last month. I was in Prague with N. (I had a notion that if I had a birthday and wasn't in the UK for it, people would forget and perhaps I wouldn't have to really be thirty. This notion turned out to be false.) I do feel rather old. Maybe it's something to do with living somewhere relatively conventional, having what appears to be a 'safe' job with a growing company,

Maybe it's something to do with having the bone mineral density of an average grandmother.

Really. I have. The t-score from my recent dexa scan showed -1.6 for my hips and -2 for my lumbar spine. Or perhaps it was the other way round. No matter, they're the sort of scores you expect when you're in your sixties with a sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately I'm on the sort of medication which is suited to (and only licenced for use by) post-menopausal women of the age of average grandmotherhood. Coupled with being thirty, this would be more than enough to make me feel old.

Luckily, this is balanced out by having the bowel control of a new-born baby. This is particularly the case when I'm running. At the moment, I'm lucky to get a few kilometers down the road without an urgent need to find any sort of premises in which I might be able to use a loo. Bear in mind that this puts me in either deepest, darkest Brentford (home to a number of spit and sawdust pubs) or into well-heeled and ever-so-slightly-up-its-own-bottom Richmond. Neither of these locations take particularly kindly to lycra-ed up runners making a desperate dash to the loo and leaving shortly after without swelling the coffers of the licensee. I've been made to feel pretty uncomfortable on the way out, but nothing compared to the level of discomfort I was feeling on the way in. Either way, when my nephew starts crying because he's filled his nappy, I do feel a certain level of empathy with his plight.

It's empathy tinged with a bit of jealousy, though - my nephew's likely to grow out of it.


trousers said...

I've read the post in full but need to come back and properly take it all in. But one thing that sticks in my mind: when I started liking babies, I think it was less to do with getting old (I believe I was in my mid 20s), and more to do with coming to terms with certain things within myself.

But then, I perhaps needed to reach a certain age before I was able to come to terms with certain things within myself...

I suppose (again, for me anyway) it's also about being a certain age where some of one's peers are having kids: therefore you get to associate babies with close friends (ie their parents), therefore it's easy to be more appreciative.

I reserve the right to be entirely wrong as regards your own thoughts and experience on this :)

Rob Clack said...

I still think lightly grilled is best.

And welcome back. I thought you'd abandoned us entirely.

Hope your old bones respond to medication. Or are they responding adversely to the crohns medication?

Kahless said...

So is the next logical conclusion that you are going to sprog sproggs?

Glad to see you back blogging.


Random Reflections said...

I realise this was not the point of your post and as ever I have picked up on the more obscure point, but you should get one of those that was pitched on Dragons Den which is designed to help women urinate like a man. It's a plastic tube and helps to make going to the loo more 'directional' shall we say... I guess you might want something to direct it into though as well like a bottle (unless urinating against a wall etc has been your life's ambition) and then what with carrying a water bottle... this is looking less and less practical by the moment.

But I know Brentford and going with my suggestion could still be wiser.

Of course you might have no idea what I am talking about and I can't remember what it is called. I'll see if I can remember. Just in case you decide this is the most inspired suggestion you have ever heard. I think that is perfectly possible.

Anyway... moving on... welcome back and happy birthday for last month. I have enjoyed my thirties more than my twenties. I would recommend turning 30.

Random Reflections said...

Actually I just checked and it is called a Shewee.

It's probably best not to ask what combination of words I had to search for to track this down...

But Why? said...

Good of you to wander by. I think there's a level of curiousity with is aroused when one's peers start having families. It also feels a bit more legitimate to take an interest in the kids of friends, rather than in the fairly random babies one comes across before peers start sprogging.

Rob C,
Not completely abandoned, but I do find my free time is being a bit cramped by, on one hand, the evils of commuting, and on the other, the joys of domestic bliss (said without the faintest hint of irony...)

As for the bones, I went to endocrine outpatients today. The doctor chappie decided that I should probably stop taking half the medication I'm on, cautioned me against taking too much exercise, particlarly weight-training, in case I grew muscle which (in some strange, mysterious and completely unexplained way) would cause my bones to disappear, and then referred me to the metabolic bone disease clinic and sent me off to get some blood taken, which I think was mainly to counter my complaint that everything we'd discussed could have taen place over the phone, rather than me taking half day off work to be kept waiting in outpatients.

Rant over. Thanks for dropping by :)

Certainly not (yet). But I perhaps wouldn't rule it out completely for a far-off day in the future ;)

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I am generally enjoying being thirty, though I do occasionally feel old (e.g when I interview people who were born in 1987...)

I do have a certain amount for respect for the marvel that is the she-wee, if only someone could invent something similar for diarrhoea. Still, I ran home from Hammersmith today and suffered no ill effects, so perhaps things are looking up.