Friday, 20 December 2013

Lazy parenting

Haven't blogged so much lately. Orson feeds much more quickly now, and is hugely distractable so I'm actually in some ways missing the days when I was stuck on the sofa with one free hand for an hour at a time several times a day. 

Orson has been a delightfully easy baby so far, and I'm trying to stay aware of how lucky I am in that respect. He rarely cries, always smiles, and eats very (very) well. Nonetheless, I am completely and without limit exhausted by the end of each day. In part I think this is because, thanks to hormones or whatever, at least 50% of my brain, whatever Orson is doing or not doing, is incessantly  and intensely engaged with him. When he is asleep it says 'has he woken up yet? How long has he been sleeping? What are you going to feed him when he wakes up? Is he still asleep? Is he breathing? Did you dress him warmly enough? Has he woken up yet?' 
When he is eating it says 'Does he like this meal? Is he eating enough? Did you warm it up enough? Has he had too many carbs today? Doesn't he like it? Did you feed him too early? What did he eat earlier? Should i offer him something different? Am I going to encourage him to be a fussy eater?Is he choking? Is it too hot? Has he eaten too much? Is he going to get diabetes?'

Till I sometimes want to rip the top of my skull off and scream 'Enough! Shut up for a second' into the bloody hole.

I can see how, evolutionarily, this is a good bet. But man, it's tedious and exhausting.

Which is why I've been working hard perfecting a parenting style I like to call 'lazy parenting'. The philosophy behind this strategy involves, for each new parenting challenge encountered (eg weaning, or dealing with tantrums, or just coping with different weather), to stop and think, 'do I really have to bother with that?' These are my findings so far*.

  • Food/milk doesn't actually have to be heated up. They'll happily have it room temperature, although straight out the fridge may get you a tummy ache to deal with.
  • You can pay less attention to your baby if you stick it in a sling. Baby thinks it's getting a cuddle, when actually its being dragged round primark. 
  • If you lose track of time and forget to take out dinner for your just weaned infant, just buy a banana, chew bits up slightly and insert into babys mouth while you walk him home in the sling.
  • Travel/move house frequently so the baby never gets used to one bedroom, then you won't have problems going on trips.
  • If you haven't got a travel cot, put baby to sleep on a towel on the floor. He can't fall out!
  • If you want to go out in the evening, trick your baby by doing his normal bedtime routine but lying him down in his pram instead of his cot. Then you can wheel him out to a pub or restaurant while he sleeps, but avoid sirens, beeping cars and other possible sources of a screaming baby at the side of the road.
  • To put baby to sleep, wait until he's tired then apply the 'budgie method'. Lie him in the pram and then hang an old cardigan (preferably from primark) over the front. For older children it may work just as well to hang a porous bag over the head, but we haven't tested this yet.
  • Fancy organic bubble bath will give baby a rash. Use only cheap aqueous cream, or nothing. 
  • Socks fall off and get lost. Tights especially for boys can be bought, in various shades of blue and with plane/car motifs, but three pairs for a fiver girls tights from asda are just as good! 
  • A pram which can be adjusted between sitting up and lying down positions while baby is inside provides a great way to transition between fun time and nap time (especially when you remember to pack your cardi), as well as a handy place to change a nappy. 

Now I just need to work out a way to get orso to play quietly while fiddle on my laptop, and to enjoy unbroken sleep from 7pm to 9am and we're sorted ;) 

*no babies were harmed in the course of this research. But don't tell him about it when he's older :)

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