Recently, I have been experiencing something that I never thought would be an issue – another parenting problem that I was never warned about. It is the ominous fact that at some point (or quite frequently, depending on who you are), you are going to have to VISIT OTHER PEOPLES HOUSES!
This sounds like such an obvious statement, I mean, we cannot lock ourselves in our four walls – we would go slightly mental. We also cannot stick our babies to the walls which means that this is a new challenge to embrace. I know many Mothers will be saying,
“Who care’s what others think. Let babies be babies.”
But I am not one of these parents, I worry.
On a positive note, let me begin by saying how delighted I was when the little man started to crawl. I was the proudest parent in the world, it was truly a tear in the the eye moment. He could venture out, and touch things and not get frustrated. How exciting – until he got in my cupboard and smashed my plates.
When he started to cruise with confidence, I would proudly watch him circle a room with ease (In my house I would add).
Now he is near walking (since beginning this blog he is walking, seriously where has my baby gone?). Now, however, I want him to learn to sit still when told – especially when there is breakables in the vicinity. Not even just breakables, I want him to steer clear of most things that are not his toys. He managed to reach a book on a high shelf the other morning and although I am seriously happy with his love of books, I was not happy with the fact that he not only lifts the flaps, he rips them off and eats them… like a goat.
Now, I am a parent that goes a bit stir crazy when I am sat in all day, so I try to venture out each day (not easily I may add, I’m sat here at 12:37pm still in my pajamas, obviously blogging and not getting ready to leave, as baby naps). But eventually, I will get out to other peoples homes…
My word, the anxiety I feel when I realise I have to put my child down, over the threshold, of someone else’s house. The anxiety level is dependent, in my opinion, of three things:
1). The tidiness, cleanliness and amount of ‘ bits and bobs’ in the house.(especially when they are within reach. Hopefully there is nothing breakable/edible at ground level.) One time My little man decided to to take a bite out each apple when discovered a ground floor fruit bowl.
At ground floor level, at my friends house, is an Xbox. Now, my baby does not even pull it out, he just switches the button on….off….on…off…on…off. And it beeps every time; I cringe every time. Every time I try and stop him he uses his full force to go and start the process gain. We have tried to cover it up with pillows, cards even my own body by, but there is obviously something magical about that little Xbox button. Also, My husband is a game player, and I know I would not want to be responsible for my friend’s husband losing all his hard earned game achievements if this button pressing is damaging. At the said friend’s house he even managed to get hold of the phone and ring her mother- in-law. What is it with electric items? Why are small hands drawn towards them? (note to self, take speed dials off phone).
2). Do they a have children? I am not childist at all, but there is a different level of understanding when a household has children, because at some point they will probably come round yours return the favour.
When I have other children come round mine now, I have a new level of understanding; Really, I genuinely mean it – It is fine that they are sick on the sofa, it is fine they have trodden cheese into the floor, it is fine that bash My little Man’s toys and draw on the place mats. (I am honestly not being sarcastic, because I really hope if Mine does it back you will be equally understanding).
3). The level of friendship you have with them.This is a huge factor. Twice, my little man tipped over a plant pot in doors. Once, was at a close friends and I knew it would be no problem, she just laughed and exclaimed that the floor needed a clean anyway (and breath.) Even though I knew she meant it, it did not stop me continually picking up soil for the rest of our chat and popping it back in the pot.
The second happened in uncharted territory and I think I just over panicked, but it was at my best friend’s Mum’s house who had a pristine white carpet (EeeeK). I was standing talking and I didn’t even see the suspect plant pot, I definitely knew about it when it was all over his, hands, legs, floor, carpet (I swear this soil was extra dark and mushy, or the shine of a white room made it look worse). I literally could have cried on the spot; I was so embarrassed. I apologised profusely, but the deed was done and said Mum was actually fine. I think I made the situation more obvious with my panicked, babbling, ‘sorry, sorry, so sorry, I’ll help tidy it up, please let me help,’ at about 5 thousand miles an hour.
Basic trip out to a house (Timings obviously vary)
10:00 : Judge whether the little man in in a good mood and decide to leave house.
10:30: Yes! he has pooed, hopefully that means we may not to have a public nappy change.
11:00: Leave house, with a jammed pack bag of toys for distraction.
11:30: Arrive at destination. Scan the room. Zone in on ominous looking objects that can be thrown or moved. Ask if you can move them, or casually move them anyway.
11:35: Baby has found his toys and I can have a quick conversation.
11:40: Baby is bored of toys and has found ANYTHING ELSE.
11:50: I am now juggling about 5 objects that I have moved out of reach. Also asked a million time, ‘ do you mind him touching that?’
12:00: Given baby a snack for distraction.
12:05: Baby has made an absolute mess of the snack and I am trying to sneakily tidy it up.
12:15: Stairs are found.
12:30 – He is getting irrate because I am pulling him away from most things that he desperately wants to touch. I feel awful because he is just curious and wants to look and investigate.
Now, sometimes I am in a crazy sweat by this point and my hair has gone frizzy. Depending on where I am, I either go home feeling sweaty and like I had just run a 10k or I stick it out if he is not posing a danger to himself.
I do not want anybody thinking I am crazy and this issue is keeping me awake at night, but at times I do get myself in abit of a worried state. The main reason is because I am torn between not wanting to disrupt the balance in other peoples homes and just letting my little Man be a baby, and let him explore. I have found the best situation is to meet people out and about and everybody is happy, but this is one of the many ways in which your life will change when you become a mother. Long gone are the days of long gossips over coffee and giving friends full attention because you will, and you will want to, talk and chat your child. You will want to teach them and play even when others are around (even if it is learning they can’t touch everything). I can say, easily, that for ages I was the only one in my group of friends with a baby and the real friends will not care about any of the above issues and always, always welcome you with open arms, regardless of the chaos that we now bring. I have friends that love it, and family embrace it like it has always happened, and even though I still feel anxious when I have an approaching visit, I wouldn’t have it any other way.