We are fifteen weeks in and beginning to be faced by some tough decisions. Will the baby's room be painted yellow or cream? Exactly what multi-system pram will be purchasing to ferry our newly birthed child around in? Will it be brand new or second hand? And, sweet mercy, what are we going to call it when it arrives?
I love my wife dearly. I need to make that clear from the outset. But having a baby is testing - there are a number of areas to be agreed upon by two independent minds with their own opinions which, so far, appear to have little in the way of common ground. Let's take my opening paragraph:
Yellow or cream? This of course is not actually about an argument in the B&Q aisle on a Sunday trying to decide which shade of paint we should pick. We are approaching our 20 week scan and we need to decide, if the option is there, whether or not to find out the sex of our child. I am of the opinion yes, it will help us to prepare better for Junior's arrival. My wife thinks no, she would like that particular question to be a surprise for the both of us after her efforts in labour. Both equally valid, and in my reflective moments I can see both sides. However, they are mutually exclusive.
Which pram? How can anyone ever be expected to pick a pram? The wealth of options there are, designs, clever gadgets that can be built in and range of prices make it staggeringly difficult. Luckily we both agree on a few things - robust, spacious so there is room to move, adaptable so it can be slept in if we happen to be out and (this is the really important one) facing the parents.
Why, oh why, do parents buy prams that face the baby away from them? Humans learn language through interaction, modelling and imitation. Babies can only do this with people who are responsive to them and they need attuned carers responding to their early efforts (and certainly not the television - another bugbear of mine). So babies, in their early months, should ALWAYS be facing the carer who can talk to them and respond to them and make eye contact. Let them watch you move all your facial muscles around to form words and expressions. Let them imitate the sounds and see how delighted you are when you try to talk to them, or smile, or look. Let them feel safe because they can see someone they trust. When they are a bit older, and taking an interest in the world around them, then yes face them outwards. But for those first few months have them facing you. Diatribe over.
But back to the real crux of the matter. Brand new or second hand? I think second hand - why cough up hundreds of extra pounds - it's like buying a brand new car, think how much you lose simply driving it away. Guess what my wife thinks...
And then finally, we have returned to the issue of names. I am delighted to announce we have reached a consensus on a single, possible boy's name. Maybe. A straw poll of dads last night at a friend's wedding suggested the best strategy is to have a few names on the table and to make the final decision when you meet your offspring for the first time. If my wife and I don't pull our fingers out we may need to resort to the Native American naming tradition of picking whatever we see outside the room after Junior's arrival. Welcome to the world Tired-grandparent-sipping-vending-machine-coffee. Rolls of the tongue nicely I think...