A peek over his shoulder as our 12 week old grandson enjoys his first book.
Becoming a grandparent is a time of immense joy. A time of looking forward with the hopes and wishes for the new parents and their child.
It is also a time of looking back. Memories of our own pregnancies and early years as new parents flood our minds. Long forgotten thoughts and recollections are remembered and shared.
I’ve spent more time than usual thinking about my own grandparents, the influences they’ve had on my life. I’ve thought more about my children’s grandparents, the variety of relationships, each one valued and unique.
I’ve viewed family and friends with a wider lens, more observant of how they relate as grandparents in today’s world. Especially those who are also “long distance” grandparents.
So I want to say a huge thank you to the role models in my life, those who have travelled before me on this wonderfully exciting journey. Bless you.
Women have been having babies for millennia and many aspects have stayed the same.
But some things have changed significantly in just one generation. When I look at today’s gadgets and gizmos and “stuff”, I’m amazed that we coped and that our kids survived, back in the last century!
~ There’s an app for that
There is an app for new parents to enter the details of the early days, times of feeds, how long, how much. How many wet nappies, how many dirty nappies. No more scribbled notes on scraps of paper. No more pins on a bra, to indicate the side of the last feed.
I’ve learned that the pictures and patterns on today’s disposable nappies (diapers) are not just for visual effect, they have a practical use. The lines change colour when the nappy is wet.
~ Baby monitors
So much choice, so expensive. Today’s monitors sound like full on video surveillance with sound and movement sensors, that MI5 would be proud of!
~ Gro bags
To me, a Grow Bag is a container of soil where I’d plant seedlings or tomato plants. Today, they are baby sleep bags, some tight swaddle bags, others with a bit more room for movement.
I showed our daughter her baby book. She slept on her stomach, at the top end of a cot with fabric bumpers around the inside of the cot bars. All of those things are discouraged now. The “back to sleep” campaign, placing babies at the bottom of the crib/bassinet/cot so they don’t snuggle down under the covers and the removal of bumpers continue to reduce the incidences of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). We did use disposable nappies but they were much bigger, bulkier items. We didn’t have a monitor, we left our babies in another room and listened out for when they stirred or cried.
I wonder what changes the next few decades will bring?
Bruno, the teddy bear, joined our family back in the 90’s. He was a gift for our first daughter, when she was born.
He was a favourite companion and part of many games. He joined in dolls tea parties, was the patient when the girls dressed up as doctors, went out on bike rides. He lived in her bedroom until her late teens, when she moved out.
When we packed up our home in the UK two years ago, the teddies were put in a packing box inside a storage unit.
After a UK trip earlier this year, we cleared the storage unit, so Bruno travelled to Australia in a suitcase.
He is now living back with our daughter and her husband, as they prepare for the birth of their first baby. Their dog is getting used to all the baby stuff that has moved into their house, including this cute furry rival.
Bruno has a new role in life. He is the perfect size for a baby capsule/car seat, also for a baby carrier. So the parents-to-be are practicing with the various equipment, their straps, clips and buckles.
Practicing is fine, until bystanders become concerned about a covered baby capsule with a foot shape visible in a locked car. Our daughter had to explain that she hadn’t intended to suffocate Bruno.
I attended my first ever baby shower recently. Our daughter, the mum-to-be, was showered with information and gifts from other women in the family. We had a delightful afternoon tea, with chat about pregnancy, birth and babies.Loose leaf tea, tea pot, china cups and saucers, delicate sandwiches, home made cakes, scones with jam and cream, were partnered with conversations about wee, poo, nappies and ensuring you point a baby boy’s penis downwards. Enlightening information for those of us who have only raised daughters!
When the guys joined our get together, the parents-to-be practiced dressing dolls in newborn size nappies and baby clothes. They will have fun with a real, squirming baby.
Baby showers come in various formats, the more traditional women only, or including the dad-to-be and male family and friends. Ours was quite sedate.
My daughters and their friends have attended showers with various games or ideas:
~ pin the dummy on the baby – while blindfolded
~ cutting a length of wool to guess the size of the mum-to-be’s stomach
~ identify guests from their baby photos
~ guess the ingredients of baby food
~ decorate a baby suit
~ drinks in baby bottles
~ jelly babies inside ice cubes
~ guys putting a huge balloon up their shirt and trying to tie their show laces
~ guess the chocolate – melted chocolate bars smeared on nappies / diapers
(mars bars / snickers / bounty / milky way / etc)
Our daughter and son-in-law received practical and thoughtful gifts to set them off on their parenthood journey.
The first HP book was published 20 years ago today. A hardback print run of just 500 copies.
My girls grew up with Harry and his friends, reading the books, listening to the audio version on car journeys, watching the movies at the cinema, the dvd a guaranteed Christmas gift.
Thank you J K Rowling, our family have have spent many, many happy hours in that wizarding world.