Sarah Edwards is a freelance writer who is trying to find time to set up her own blog. She currently writes for Topps Direct, specialists in online trading cards in the UK.
Guidelines for Parents Who Have Friends Without Children…
….or people who have never been in a room with a toddler ON THEIR OWN…EVER.
There are a great many joyous moments in childhood. You parents get to share the first steps and the first tooth, and spend endless hours discussing your child’s unique mannerisms and classic comments.
If, however, you have friends (like me) who have never come within yards of little people before – please think about us.
We don’t know how to take a child to the toilet, how to navigate clothing removal that doesn’t end up with a screaming child (I learnt this one quickly), or what a Moshi is. Hopefully the points below can remind parents about these friends so you don’t panic when we start to look scared.
Point 1. We truly don’t know how to hold the baby – and may not want to learn.
OK, firstly, don’t blame your friend if your newborn is being held upside down or just basically looks like a squashed-up bag of clothes in our arms. Believe us when we say, “I don’t know how to hold a baby.” “I might drop him/her” is not a line or an excuse – it’s a fact.
Those reassuring comments of “you’ll get used to it” or “wait till you have one,” or the line my friend used for all of two seconds – “you need the practice” – mean nothing to us. We are holding your nearest and dearest, your world – and the crying baby is not a confidence booster, either.
We love you and we love your newborn. We are happy to help out and be there for you – but this doesn’t mean we want the responsibility of holding a little baby.
Point 2. We don’t know child lullabies (or “sleepy music” to your friend without children).
We don’t watch children channels and we don’t have ‘The Greatest Hits of Mr. Chuckles’ (or whatever he’s called) on our iPods. So don’t blame us if, when asked to sing or make up a story, we opt for a rock classic – which, when sung acoustically, actually sounds OK.
Point 3. We buy inappropriate toys.
This is a hot topic at the moment with my best friend. As parents, you have seen age-appropriate toys and know what is suitable. We don’t.
I can look at packaging and guess height or age of children for clothing. But please, give us some clues. If you don’t want to be saddled with a 2-year-old armed with a supersoaker, or a pleasant-sounding recorder that blows lots of bubbles, tell us.
(Not that we do sometimes get it right all on our own – my best friend’s little person loves his lawnmower!)
Point 4. We don’t know how tough (or not) your child is.
Kids’ playtime is different than ours. We need to know when they say, “Play WWE with me!” they actually mean, “Throw me gently onto the sofa.”
It would also be really helpful for you parents to supervise our play and advise your child he or she cannot hit Aunty Sarah/Uncle Bert before said child develops the skills of a ninja and takes out our eyes with one fell swoop of the “play” mop.