Traditionally, the wife of a monarch breaks the news of impending fatherhood with the words, “Darling, we’re going to have a nanny!” For centuries, the upper class have preferred canines to kids, keeping their dogs at home and sending their children off to high class kennels called ‘Eton’ and ‘Harrow’. But even though Charles and Dianna employed full time nannies, William doesn’t seem to want offspring who heel when called.
British polls reveal that the public support the royal couple’s decision to bring up their baby themselves. But, while it’s obviously preferable that your offspring inherit your own personality flaws and not those of a Czechoslovakian au pair with an eating disorder, I wonder if the Royal Couple have read the small print on their parenting license?
The trouble is, babies are like flat pak appliances – you have no idea how much assembly is required until it’s way too late. While I adore my progeny with a primal passion, there are days when I’m tempted to put them back into the condom vending machine for a refund. I actually got morning sickness AFTER they were born- a little something to do with the fatigue which comes from playing “Hunt The Dummy” at 4 a.m. ; learning that ‘toilet humour’ is not a Joan Rivers sketch on multiple orgasms but trying to train a toddler with diarrhea to poo in the potty; and not going into cardiac arrest when your baby interprets eating ‘solids’ as half-decayed cockroaches, sewing needles and loose screws… Which, after your third panic-stricken trip to Casualty will be located solely between your ears.
Then there’s the tedium. My only commandment is “thou shalt not bore” but I was often so bored doing Creative Things With Play dough, I could see my plants engaging in photosynthesis. I once grew a yeast infection as a change of pace.
And there’s no escape. A baby resembles the most selfish, demanding lover you’ve ever had. A baby hates you being on the phone. A baby won’t even let you go to the loo on your own. All day long he just sits around in his vest, waiting to be amused… Which is difficult, as you no longer have a social life as the rug-rat will invariably get hold of your diary and eat August – November. Still, it’s pointless going out anyway. Months of coo-ing “goo” and “gar” means you can only use one word with more than two syllables in it. That word is Tranquilizer. Because that’s what you desperately need…. “See Mother Run! See Mother Talking to Herself!… See Mother Unable to Get the childproof Lid off the Valium Bottle!”
You’ll really know you’re a few nappies short of a full pack of Pampers when you find yourself sitting in the playpen sucking your thumb with the baby sitting out of it, giving you one of those disappointed “Hey, I gave you the best year of my life!” looks.
The truth is, if there were an advertisement for motherhood, it would read “365 days a year, 24 hours a day. No sick pay, no holiday pay, hell, no pay. Must be good at home repairs, finding the lost glove and making mince interesting.” Would you take this job? I don’t think so!
The trick is to avoid all parenting ‘experts’, many of whom seemed to have trained under Dr Seuss. So, Kate and Wills – here are the only baby-wrangling tips you need.
1) Perfect parents only exist in American sit coms. Mowgli survived, right? Any parents who says they cope all the time, are either lying or taking a lot of drugs.
2) A “balanced meal” is whatever stays on the spoon en route to a baby’s mouth. ( Babies think “food” is a decorative option. It’s like dining with Henry the V111th.)
3) “Controlled crying” is the art of not shattering into tears when your toddler accidentally wipes vegemite all over your new Prada suit.
4) “Nanny” is the most beautiful words in the English language.
Oh, and don’t worry, the first 40 years of parenting are apparently the hardest. Good Luck!
If you’re a new mum wanting a laugh, and by god, you must need one, try my novel about motherhood, “Mad Cows” (don’t judge it by the ridiculous movie version!) Hopefully it will make you laugh so hard you’ll break your episiotomy stitches.
Cheers for now, Kathy