New babies are great. Everyone loves them. They melt the hearts of even the stoniest of unfeeling bastards with the simple grasp of a finger, or moment of eye contact.
Instinct innit. Doesn’t matter who you are; you’ve had it hard coded into you to care about a new baby. It’s all small and soft. It exudes potential and promise (and poo). It is wholly vulnerable; it NEEDS you to love and protect it.
This is why, when we are blessed with that greatest of gifts, everyone wants to come and see it. Wants to be a part of the miracle of life, the excitement of by-proxy parenthood. I get that. I’ve been the guy spending a bit too much time in the house of the new parent because I’m busy cooing (sorry @chloehyde81 & @jameshyde80).
Me and Mrs L did a pretty good job of locking down our home to visitors. We’ve seen our closest family, some of our good friends, but we have also turned people away. The measly two weeks of paternity leave I am granted was used as it should be, as family time. I didn’t even have to deflect any of the Unwanted Attention I was expecting (although, there’s still time for that)
We’ve had the help and support from professionals, we’ve had the help, support and food from family. We have done well.
We are drip feeding the arrival of our baby to the world.
Subconsciously, I wonder, are we restricting the supply in order to bolster the demand?
The above mentioned Twitter people said something as they left our house last weekend, something which made me realise how glad I am to know them and count them as friends:
“If there’s anything you need, get in touch, even if it’s in a few weeks. Because it’s once everyone stops wanting to help you that you’ll really need it.”
It wasn’t something I’d thought about. But I think it’s true. There will be people who always want to know about the Creature and what’s going on in his (and our) lives: our respective parents, the three sets of aunts and uncles who we are close to and speak to regularly, some of our friends.
There are far more people whose interest in him stops once the next newborn comes along, people to whom our greatest achievement is just another baby, a fleeting novelty who they’re only interested in cooing over in the knowledge that he can be handed back at the merest hint of a cry.
Which is fine, of course. I don’t for a moment expect the rest of the world to revolve around MY child. I’m in no way complaining about this. I wouldn’t want him to be the centre of anyone’s attention for any length of time, anyone but ours.
It is a relief though, to know there’s support there in the long term, once the novelty has worn off. Because it’s not always going to be easy.
Now, who’s going to volunteer to be on my “list of people I can phone at 4am when he’s been crying for hours and just emptied his bowels on my last clean pair of jeans”? *anticipates queue*