Monday 28 December 2009

I blame Disney

‘Cheeky little monkey’ rings out quite often in the homes of the pregnant.

Or at least it does if our home is anything to go by.

We’ve projected a playful persona upon this child. A mischievous wee bugger, scurrying from one side of the belly to the other, delightfully lodging its feet between the ribs of its host, happily toying with the idea of snapping a couple.

Every kick is interpreted as a spirited wink to the outside world, each head butt to the cervical canal a merry nod of its cap in our direction, and all occurrences of an internal organ being trod on is merely an impish wave.

We’ve mentally made this child into a rogue. A scut. A tease. Everyone does, while of course this could be complete and utter nonsense.

What if digging a heel into a bladder is the kid telling us to stop singing, or each head-first dive for the emergency exit is its way of telling us that there is a dreadful smell in there, or each fist pumped into the uterine wall is a demand for the immediate removal of Mugabe.

What if the child is a disgruntled old thing? A grump in a bump. A foetal Victor (or Victoria) Meldrew, constantly displeased with everything around it.

Simply put, we don’t know what it’s thinking, or what its bursts of activity mean. What we interpret as a pixie-like dance with an umbilical chord along to the top 40 chart countdown may in fact be the child freaking out, swinging its lifeline around its head in uncontrollable rage, like a nine iron in the paws of a pro golfer’s discontented spouse.

What makes us force a happy personality on a human who dines on their own urine and whose greatest ability is jabbing itself in the face with a fist it doesn’t know it has?

I believe we are extremely lucky that babies can’t talk, otherwise we’d be witnessing a barrage of abuse in delivery rooms and birthing centres the entire world over. We’d be inundated with complaints of being poked and pushed and prodded into uncomfortable places, being ridiculed over the weight it was carrying, cramped conditions, dreadful food, hideously uncomfortable journeys, late arrivals, and reaching the other side without a stitch of clothing.

They would reveal to us the horrifying truth that pregnancy and birth is in fact a service provided by Ryanair, a fact that we as a civilisation are just not ready to cope with.


Ms. Moon said...

You know, I can't even comment on the subject matter of this post because my brain is dancing too wildly at the delight it has taken in the writing itself.
Ah lah but that was a great one!

unmitigated me said...

She's telling you to turn off the bloody reruns of Lost, and plug into some first-season-Christopher-Eccleston-Billie-Piper epiesodes of Dr. Who, the little Dalek.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the bit about the arrivals gate and the horror of discovering who will be looking after you!!

By the way, anyone organising a sweepstake for names??

Anonymous said...

that's hilarious! in utero=RyanAir hee hee.

Really, he is having a fricken blast in there and loves the warm cramped mushy comforts (but maybe not ET's indulgence in garlicky, hot peppery things).

I hate to tell you this, but it's true that the more active they are in utero the more active they are in real life. Direct correlation. So start building that 1/4 track out back stat!!

Jo said...

Well, I dunno. When I was pregnant with my daughter I could feel this enormous WILL radiating from her. So clearly. And then she was born, and I could recognise it completely,. it was like, yes, THERE you are!

And every so often, her enduring personality makes me think back to those early early days, and remember so clearly - she's just the same.

So maybe you do indeed have a cheeky monkey.

Here to spread the love, the love ;)

hotmamamia said...

If RyanAir can do this, then I need them here in Pittsburgh to get me to Brussels for a decent price in a decent amount of time in haven't lost your touch of cheekiness these last 7 months!!!

River said...

It's amazing the characters we imagine our unborn children to be. I doubt very much that your baby will be a grump however. With parents like you two, that's just not possible.

Martin said...

@Ms. Moon - awwwwwww, thanks.

@Middle Aged Woman - how very British of you!

@gaila - all in time ;-)

@geeksinrome - It's ok, I have lots of masking tape.

@Jo - 'spirited'...

@hotmamamia - I'd love to see a jet setting American on a ryanair flight actually. Free entertainment.

@River - A grump I tell you, a grump!

Susanica said...

Awww...chances are little Fitz will look like a little old lady or man anyway for a short while. All wrinkly and folded up. But before long he or she will lose all those "laugh lines" and shake his or her mighty fist a lot to let you know whatever it is that you don't understand yet. We are very excited for you two X-Box. Babies. Ain't nothing else like 'em! -M

Robin said...

Nope, this one is a "cheeky little monkey". This baby is privy to a little secret about how much he/she is loved and wanted and is just sending little signals to let you know how much they want to meet you and ET. Watch for the "twinkle" in their eye the first time they have a "blow out" all over your dress pants or the exorcist barf over your shoulder. This baby knows you will love him no matter what and he will relish in that little tidbit for all of his days!

Mick said...

You baby will have the personality you have projected onto her.

We were right with ours. Her constant moving in the belly. When music played she would move like mad.

Now she sings to herself all the time and loves music. She's a happy wee thing.

Yours will be too.

Like Robin said, she probably can't wait to meet you two :-)

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm pretty sure that the baby is neither happy nor grumpy (insert your own obvious pun about Dopey right here), but is merely thanking ET for the latest influx of sugar...or prodding her for more.

Martin said...

@Susanica - You are sleep deprived, I can tell....

@Robin - Awwwwwwwwwwwww

@Mick - her/she? you sound very confident there altogether....

@areyoukiddingme - I'm just hoping for 'sleepy' or 'professional sporty'

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

if it is anything like its father it will be a grumpy bastard.

MPS read a couple of your comments on my blog and was all 'he is an arsehole' and I was all 'and he is BREEDING'

Martin said...

@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - I'm shocked. Shocked that you snagged one that can read.

Ed said...

Or it could just be gassy.

People in the Sun said...

See, my Honey doesn't think the baby inside her is playful. Actually, most of the time she asks me, "Why does your baby have to be such a cunt?"

I married well, is what I'm saying.

AnnD said...

I never thought of it before but I guess it really is a good thing a newborn can't talk! Jameson came out and he cried and cried and cried no matter what I did and I began to feel terrible, like I wasn't holding him right or comforting him right and my doula said: "He's had a rough night, he's just telling you about. He only needs you to listen."

She is so wise!

Anonymous said...

Very good, I have often wondered that myself.

I also wonder if when the baby is born they think, 'What just happened? Thank god thats over!'


Anonymous said...

p.s I had one of the most active babies in utero the doctor had ever seen. Now I have one of the most active 6 month olds the doctor has ever seen.

I think the personality is there to begin with!

Keith Wilcox said...

Well said. I know science has come a long way in interpreting the signals of fetuses, but no way can they answer the burning questions we parents have about the personalities of our pre-born children. Sometimes I wonder if we project their personalities with our expectations after they're born. You've said it in a funny and relevant way. Thanks.

James (SeattleDad) said...

It does get harder in a way when they can communicate with you.

Daddy, I don't WANT to go to bed. Please daddy....

Much harder than just crying.

Irish Mammy said...

Wishing you a fab 2010 ...will be an exciting one that child of your has a lot to live up to !! I hope you get a cheeky monkey!

Anonymous said...

I've been following you for over a year but never commented.
I had my first child in June and was amazed at how much I could recognise her personality almost immediately from the bump I'd had. I used to try filming my moving bump but the second I pointed a camera at her - nothing. And it's the same at 6 months old!
It's a bit like meeting a penfriend, you know some stuff about them, but it's not until you meet in person that you really get to know them. And every so often they'll say or do something and you think yes, of course, I know you think like that ...

Anonymous said...

Blimey, I never thought of it like that. I'm glad I finished having children before you got round to it. I'd probably never dare have one if I'd read you first.

A Free Man said...

A) I don't think Disney acknowledges pregnancy.

B) A service provided by Ryanair - that sounds about right. I just hope for your missus' sake that this arrival is on time.

Martin said...

@Ed - That could simply be it

@People in the Sun - Classy.

@AnnD - smart woman

@livingrightnow - well it's quite the experience I imagnie.

@Keith Wilcox - We definitely project almost everything. Thanks & welcome.

@James (SeattleDad) - You mean 'fine, don't, stay up' isn't an option?

@Irish Mammy - One that can peel bananas would be nice.

@Anonymous - That's funny.
Thanks & welcome.

@bsouth - It's a service I provide

@A Free Man - I have to google disney & pregnancy now

Momo Fali said...

I much prefer to live in denial and pretend all babies are dancing sugarplums. Until they turn three, anyway.

Sadia said...

I used to think babies were tabula rasa, but I discovered with my twins that the personality traits we ascribed to them in utero have been continuous with their personalities in post-partum life.

merinz said...
I found this great site about fatherhood - thought that you might be interested.

Nick McGivney said...

You're quite the insane parent to be if you haven't yet cottoned on the the fact that this baby is already online, roundly abusing you for 'not understanding' and just being so, like, embarrassing, Dad? I haven't met a four year old yet who wasn't capable of putting at least seven slender vowels into whiiiiiine. It just takes a while to realise that karma loops, and revenge is a dish only really truly available to grandparents. (Hmm. Karma Loops. Feeling peckish now.) Happy 2010, young man, and all the attendant joys it will bring.

Martin said...

@Momo Fali - edible?

@Sadia - so they are early for everything now?

@merinz - nice one, thanks.

@Nick McGivney - Thanks Nick, all the best for 2010.
And Karma Loops... I'm sensing honey?

Buck said...

We are convinced that Bud is hysterically funny with a moderately naughty personality based on in utero activities.
And as it is presently the middle of the night and she's been running laps on my colon for nearly two hours, I dare say I must be right.

I just hope that she sleeps when she comes out, because she hasn't shown any interest in sleep thus far.