Way, way back in a galaxy long ago where I had a bump not a baby, I wrote about the ridiculous things people say to pregnant women; my new realisation is these things don’t stop once you’ve given birth. A whole host of ridiculous, sometimes ignorant, sometimes rude things are said to you when you have a baby. Allow me to share some…
Is that your first?
As if that makes any sort of difference to you, a complete stranger who we’ll probably never see again. I don’t get why people are obsessed with asking if you’ve got more children (who you’ve presumably left at home because you don’t like them as much now you’ve got a new baby?). The worst one I’ve had was a lady who decided an appropriate follow-up comment was: ‘I can tell’. Now that’s just rude. My child was happily sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, grinning at passers-by. I don’t see how that indicates I’ve had no previous experience?
Is she good?
I know what people mean by this comment: they’re essentially asking if your child sleeps well, eats well, doesn’t cry much etc. But the phrasing is a bit ridiculous. Can a seven month old baby be ‘good’? ‘No actually, she mentioned to be last night that she can see Hitler had a point!’ Erm…
Ooh her hands/feet/face is/are freezing/boiling.
Why are people obsessed with baby’s temperatures? A few times people have told me Alexandra’s hands are cold. I try to explain to them that firstly, baby’s extremities are colder than average, and secondly, even if she’s wearing mittens and has her hands tucked into a blanket she’s still cold. The rest of her could be on fire and her hands wouldn’t warm up any way (disclaimer: this is a theory. Don’t try it at home). Every time I check her chest (or actually take her temperature) she’s absolutely fine. I don’t see why it’s anyone’s business unless the baby is out in shorts during snow or a snowsuit in the Caribbean?
Dummies are just for parents who want to shut their kid up and not pay them any attention.
Comment made by lady in doctor’s surgery (I spend a lot of time there!). We were both waiting for half an hour as it was an incredibly busy day. Her child (who doesn’t have a dummy so is clearly better than my child) spent the entire time wailing while she ignored him and talked to everyone around her about her relationship troubles. My child (call social services now, she has a dummy) spent all of about 30 seconds with hers in her mouth after waking from a nap as we arrived. She then spent the next 29 minutes and 30 seconds smiling and gurgling at everyone. Sigh.
Will she be coming with you?
This has been said to me at least a dozen times when I’ve made plans. Each time, it’s made me chuckle slightly. It gives me a lovely image of Alexandra staying at home with the TV remote and a couple of bottles of milk stacked up next to her while I swan off to see friends. I love the fact people think this is any less of a ridiculous question than ‘will you be bringing your legs and arms with you?’ (This last one is very light-hearted because clearly it’s mostly my friends who are saying this compared to the ridiculous stranger comments above!)
Harriet and Alexandra x