Friday 13th, a Small Elephant and a New Trio
This was a blog post I did for MySpace, which I thought I’d put up here too in the absence of any other blog contributions in the last 13 weeks. Even though it has nothing to with the Trio. At least not this trio.
Friday the 13th has come and gone. Just another day for most folk, but some really do think it’s unlucky. I met someone this morning who told me that she’d made her son stay at home today, because on the last Friday 13th he crashed the brand new family car. I found myself imagining her getting home from work to find her son frantically trying to repair the completely demolished greenhouse, which he crashed into with the lawn mower.
I guess i don’t believe in luck.
This was also the day my wife Corrina was ‘due’ to give birth to our first baby. There’s not much sign of any action though, so it looks like the bump is refusing to join the select group of babies who arrive on their ‘due’ date. Apparently only between 3 and 5% of all births happen on their ‘due’ date. (I keep putting the word ‘due’ in inverted commas. Sorry if you find that ‘annoying’.) Man, I have learned so many statistics recently. Did you know that 74% of all statistics are made up? 23% are based on unqualified research, and the last 5% are put together by people who can’t count. All true.
Most of the parents I know talk about how incredible it is having a baby. I can’t really comment as we haven’t had ours yet – but the whole build up to it has been kind of amazing. Our families have been busy making stuff. Sewing, stitching, knitting… (There’s even been curtains made!) It’s great to see how everyone has been kind of ‘rejuvenated’ by the prospect of a new addition to the family – a sense of optimism is definitely in the air. Maybe it’s all a wee bit more amplified because we both have fairly small families with hardly any young’uns. Who knows. And our pals have been fantastic too – we are completely kitted out for the new arrival having not spent a penny, thanks to donations of little-used (and in some cases, never-used) newborn baby stuff. I still don’t know what half of it’s for.
Actually, the not-spending-a-penny thing isn’t entirely true… A lot of the advice we got from friends when we told them about having the baby was along the lines of “Don’t buy anything! We’ve got buggies/cots/seats/clothes etc we don’t use anymore…” Great stuff, we thought. A lot of the stuff you only use for a few months anyway… But a couple of months ago I was talking to one pal, who is already a father with another on the way, and I was given this single bit of advice: “Buy something!”
Huh? But everybody else said…
“No, buy something – even if it’s just a wee thing. It makes it real.”
That struck a chord with me ‘cos it certainly wasn’t feeling very real at that point. So the other day, we finally got round to it – “Let’s go buy something for the baby” we said.
Now it sometimes feels kind of like we’re one of the last couples I know of to have a kid, but just in case anyone out there is yet to go through this fantastic journey, one small, humble piece of advice I would give is to be wary of the big-brand shops.
We made the mistake of going to one of them. Not mentioning any names, but let’s just say it’s not called Fathercare. We really did intend to just buy something wee, but all of a sudden we got totally taken in by the “Look, what’s that thing? – oh, we’ll be needing one of those!” scenario. The whole layout of these stores is unreal – you’re immediately confronted by this bewildering array of stuff and you’re given the impression you just won’t be able to survive having a baby without them. After what seemed like an entire weekend wandering round the store, we got to the checkout. I couldn’t believe it – the till showed a total of nearly £100. The assistant asked if we wanted a store/rewards card. When we eventually regained the ability to speak, we asked why. Noticing that the bundle of items we’d picked up were all for a new-born, she said: “Well, let’s face it – you’ll be coming in here for probably the next seven years, so you’ll save money in the long-run.” Are you KIDDING?? You think we’re coming back? We just bought £100 worth of stuff that I’ve never heard of before! (Apart from the small elephant – I’d heard of those.) Now, I’m aware by this point that we’re the mugs for actually falling for the “This stuff is absolutely CRUCIAL to your successfully looking after a baby” routine, but the staff actually seem to believe it too! We started to get the picture of what everyone was talking about with the “Don’t buy anything” advice. Where would it end? “Baby’s 2 years old now, time we bought a self-moisturising, temperature-controlled, safety-bath-hat & activity centre.” (Available in a choice of colours, of course…)
Another friend (and parent) asked me recently, knowing that the due date was very near, if we were ready. I said I didn’t really know.
She said: ” Do you have nappies?”
“Do you have somewhere for the baby to sleep?”
“Then you’re ready.”
I guess that sums it up. (I may have simplified that conversation for effect, but you get the point…)
But if you have loads of money to spend, then absolutely, go and spend it on your baby. Why not? I’m sure I would if I could. You’ll probably never feel there’s a more worthy reason for spending such a huge pile of cash. If you don’t have loads of money, does it matter? – Do you really have to spend £20 on a pair of shoes for a baby who can’t walk yet, and won’t fit in a couple of months?
Of course, all this talk of spending (or not spending) money is all pretty insignificant in the big scheme of things. Needless to say, I’m very excited about the impending augmentation. Corrina and I have been together for 18 years now, and I kind of thought we’d always be a duo. This was a somewhat unexpected adventure, but now I cannae wait.
Trio it is then…