Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: The Truth About Babies

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ah, just wait until Wee Rodders is a petulant, dirty teenager then threaten to e-mail this post to all his friends. Make teh interwebs work for you, and remember you have the rest of his life and yours to even up the karmic scorecard. :)

    Or you can go the Loudon Wainwright route, and write a charming wee ditty lyrics like this:

    Rufus is a tit man
    Suckin' on his mamma's gland
    Suckin' on the nipple
    It's a sweeter than the ripple wine.
    Yes its sweeter than the wine.
    You can tell by the way the boy burps
    that it's gotta taste fine.

    Rufus turned out not to be much of a tit-man after all, but that's a whole other story...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But seriously, I'm very glad to hear that things are looking up. I feel like I've helpfully intoned "ah, but you'll forget the hard times" so often that it even sounds trite and hollow to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Wow. What an incredible piece of prose. It almost makes me want to get up from my desk and go make a baby. Except for the pooing. And vomitting. And doing wees everywhere. And the not sleeping. And the right-wing tendencies.

    Other than that.....choice.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    The trick, as I remember it, is The Two Week Rule... that is anything any child does good or bad will only last two weeks before they're on to the next trick in the book.

    If you can string sentences together like that I'm afraid you're still getting enough sleep and that can't be tolerated.

    Also, the main role of the midwife seems to me to be to reassure parents that the child will grow up despite them, not because of them. In that, you've got yourself a winner on the day.

    Have you had the cloth nappy/disposable nappy diatribe yet? We were hell bent on using cloth until I discovered number one child was bright red (baboon red) from knees to navel... simple answer, switch to disposables with their magic urine-retaining power and to hell with the environment.



    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Ahhh, memories...

    In case any of you non-parents out there are entertaining the notion that there might be a tiny bit of hyperbole involved... there's not, that's pretty much an impartial, documentary-style, cinema verite of a blog post. That's exactly what parenthood is like

    (for the first child, some conditions apply, your mileage may vary, results not typical, seek medical advice before embarking on any similar programme, plus $98 postage and handling, if you have received this in error do not read)

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I think Little Rodney would feel right at home at the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

    Anyway, thank you for a post that was both hilarious and life-affirming: by which I mean that it has thoroughly affirmed my life choice to be a childless bachelor.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Ah... the breast police. I remember them well.

    I know I shouldn't laugh about other people's woes. but I did. In sympathy with you, of course.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I feel like I've helpfully intoned "ah, but you'll forget the hard times" so often that it even sounds trite and hollow to me.

    And you do, until someone writes a piece like that, and it all comes flooding back as you whimper 'yes' and pound on your wrist-rest while crying tears of ironic laughter.

    Never mind. In years to come, someone will email you and tell you they're having a baby. You'll attempt to give them some kind of warning, and they'll reply

    Jesus wept: your child advice is a little frightening -- but I guess
    it's best to expect the worst and then be pleasantly surprised.

    And you'll laugh...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    Aha! I was about to suggest "Try goat's milk" when your last para solved the mystery and confirmed the diagnosis. Sack your midwife.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    You might not be so tired if you let your wife carry a bit more of the load. It sounds like all she does is lie around the house on plumped up pillows, do the odd bit of breast feeding if she feels like it (and formula if she doesn't, the lazy sow), and watch you run round like a headless chook.

    But seriously (yer knew I wuz joking right?!) you missed out on some real fun: telling the ante natal class (where the debate is usually over hospital birth vs home birth vs water birth) that you were planning on having yours by CAESAREAN!!

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    We had the same issue with Midwife, "she's just hungry, keep feeding her"

    But when we finally got diagnosed with Reflux by Paed he said overfeeding a reflux baby is the worst thing you can do because feeding stimulates the stomach acid in anticipation of digestion which in turn makes the reflux worse. doh ! Starve him, that's the answer.

    Some midwives seem very aware of Reflux issues and some are ignorant or non-believers.....

    Glad to here things have settled somewhat.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Gosh terribly sorry David. Did I forget to mention the fountainous arcs of poo? Can't think how that slipped my mind. It was utterly indelible at the time. (And for all I know, the current inhabitants of our first New York apartment are still working on it).

    Pat yourself on the back though, and Jen, very cautiously, on the hard-working boobs. Barring his unfortunate digestive issues, Bob-Rodney is clearly some sort of genius baby. Neither of my boys ever managed to wee on their own heads.

    PS By the way that's Doctor F*cking Lying Beyotch to you. You wanna Public Address Gangsta Parenting Rumble, bring it on! Playground, three o'clock, bring your blankie. Yo Mama'll bust you up, just as soon as I ... oh crap, gotta change a nappy. Can you pass the wipes?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Oh .. on the breast police issue, at Birthcare we had to sign an "offical" waiver form acknolwedging the "dangers" of formula feeding when we had to give topups as well !

    They also refuse to tell you what brand of formula they use so as not to be seen promoting one over the other.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Its an unappreciated fact of nature that traumatic amnesia is almost solely responsible for the ability of the human race to keep the birth rate above the death rate...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • James Harton,

    I'm expecting twin boys in February. I really hope that I don't wind up with a Little Rodney Hide and a Little Richard Prebble! Still, it could be worse for everyone and you could have a Little David Benson-Pope!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Mother Nature, the ruthless wench that she is, provides some balance in all this. Not only does she make parents forget the bad times, she also makes sure none of us remember the first two or three years' of our lives.

    This is because all new parents make screw ups, out of inexperence or exhaustion, and is so their kids don't hold it against them.

    However, blogging posts like this one may rather counter that effect....

    And don't talk to me about the F******g Breast Police. Bloody Terrorists. My other half has ME (we went ahead and had a kid anyway because about 40% of women with ME get better if they get preggers and we thought, its worth a go and we want kids).

    Now, she was just too bloody exhausted to breast feed, and our daughter turned out to have other health issues which made this difficult.

    This did not deter the Breast Police. Insensitive boors. Had a huge row with one nurse over the issue, one very fraught 2am in the hospital.

    Self righteous bigotry takes many forms.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    And you should be due for a run-in with the organic anti-vaccination police any day now, too. Whooooooo-eee!

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Its an unappreciated fact of nature that traumatic amnesia is almost solely responsible for the ability of the human race to keep the birth rate above the death rate...

    Though with the internet breaking it down, allowing information to percolate and last forever, that won't last forever.

    I think those Waikato demographers are going to be facing a few more problems now...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Sympathies. As one who has a not quite 3 year old who was generally bliss, and a 9 month old who is more reminiscent of the little girl with the "...curl in the middle of her forehead...", may I offer some advice (a not necessarily wise thing to do as I notice no other parent has braved the attempt - remember, never tell other parents what to do with their kids - but then I'm hopeless at taking my own advice).

    1. Six weeks - the first is hideous. Then it should get better. The goos start, they focus and smile and everything changes.

    2. Bypanthan and Daktozin. The first whenever bum crack rash appears and the second when it gets really bad. Do not use sparingly. Forget all the mung bean papaya cream cures. Use modern medicine. It works.

    3. Put the baby in the baby's room (I know some will shudder at this). They snort, fart, stop breathing, wake up whenever you wake up and generally make sleeping impossible. Put them in their own room and you'll both sleep better.

    4. Ear plugs. There ain't much you can do and unfortunately, short of rubbing Jennifer's feet and making her a cup of tea, you're surplus to requirements. For a first time mum, this requires a level of maturity approaching sainthood, but it's worth a try. Offer to do more washing and cook every meal and clean the toilet. Demand Jennifer has a snooze in the afternoon while LR sleeps - even if she doesn't you win brownie points for being a caring kind of guy.

    5. What's your antenatal class members up to. Commiserate and seek support.

    Good luck, it does get better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    My other half has ME


    I developed CFS as a result of a post-natal infection after the birth of my daughter. Cutting through all the bullshit incorrect diagnoses, when we finally got on the right track, I was told by every health professional I met to stop breast-feeding. Something about the way you could put your fingers all the way around my collar bone. I wouldn't do it, I took her to a year. AND I fed my babies in the food court, not behind the curtain on the armless plastic chair in the 'easy hose down' decor of the parents' room.

    And when my son wouldn't stop feeding while I was still in the hospital, and my milk hadn't come in yet so I had nothing to give him, the very nice night nurse took him away to the nursery, did something to him, and I didn't see him again for seven hours.

    Self righteous bigotry takes many forms.

    I think there are a lot of people shopping a 'one solution for all' thing, and forgetting that every baby and every parent is different. I tend to perk my ears up whenever someone uses the phrase 'well, in THIS case...'

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I was all with the humour in your post, until about two thirds of the way along, and then you wrote about doing what I, until I was a young teenager, thought was a... hmm. No, I can't do it, not in a blog about babies. Restraint.

    You know your baby has really achieved true nappy power when the poo comes out, changes direction mid-flight, and goes back up the rear of the nappy, escapes the tightly constrained nappy, either pinned or artificial, heads up the back of their singlet and t-shirt, and attains hair. Twice. In one day.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,


    Bullshit diagnosis is kind of unavoidable with CFS/ME, isn't it? I had it myself for four years - a relativley mild dose, but it put an end to my Law School studies - and the nature of the beast seems to be it isn't clear what it is for some time. I know this doesn't make it any easier.

    Greatly admire you for sticking to the breast feeding thing though.

    And Lyle....I'll see your Super Poo story and raise you....our wee one got constipated for 10 days when she was in a cast from chest to toe (clicky hip syndrome).

    One evil night - Good Friday 2004 - the constipation ended. Gallons of it. It went up the back of the cast, and down the legs. Unbeknown to us, a couple of sores had developed under the cast. When the poo got into them, it stung and the poor wee soul shrieked for hours.

    We had to take her down to the hospital. What I'll always remember - apart from walking up and down in pediatrics, singing her favourite soothing song until I lost my voice - was these two wise old nurses, who sussed out what had to be done straight away, and went to work on this young registrar, encouraging him to reach the same decision as they had while making him think it was all his idea.

    Master diplomats in action.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Kirsten Brethouwer,

    hahaha i laughed and laughed (with glee of been there done that and thank god i'm out on the other side). sack the ped though. tsssk cows milk formula what was (s)he thinking.

    welcome to The Parenting Wars..

    Waiheke Island • Since Nov 2006 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,


    I'm not a parent and have no plans to become one. But you have my sympathy and gratitude that you and your partner are passing your genes on.

    I have no experience from which to give advice. But remember biology isn't that much different from engineering - more than one solution to any problem and don't forget your stats - yes your baby can indeed be the outlier.

    Oh and just a point about milk allergies, the enzymes the body uses to degrade milk change through development. There is every chance that Bob will grow up with no milk allergy in later in life.

    Good luck


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Oh my goodness me that was funny.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

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