God, I’m old.
Horribly, achingly, witheringly, crushingly, pointlessly old. And I hate how every year, month, week, and day passes like they are half as long as they used to be, making my aging an exponentially worsening misery. Each birthday is a thunderclap above a storm surge encroaching ominously nearer. Each Christmas delivers more physical decline – a back twinge here, some discomfort there, and more hair everywhere except my head. And, every now and then, something comes along and makes it all much worse.
My niece, Millie, just had a baby. Everybody is excited at the arrival of this wonderful little thing, and overjoyed that both are healthy and happy. I’ll visit very soon and will delight in her little wriggles, gurgles and cringes (and I’ll spend some time with the baby too! Ba-dum-tss). I’ll offer emotional congratulations, and I’ll beam with pride when I finally hold Edie. All in all it’s a truly joyous and wonderful thing. Or it would be…IF IT DIDN’T MAKE ME FEEL 324 YEARS OLD!
Surely my niece was running around in nappies herself only a few short years ago, I remember some mention of her going to school but she can’t have finished already. When she said she worked in a pub I thought it was a joke as she could only have been about six. And my brother, the tearaway that smokes and goes to girls’ houses, that introduces me to bands and plays football with me, HAS A RUDDY FLIPPING GRANDCHILD!
I know I’m being selfish, but I’m about as comfortable with this as I would be in a bomb-lined hole full of venomous snakes and barbed wire, on a really chilly day, with just pants on. How can this have happened? I’m going to buy beige nylon slacks. I’m sucking a Werther’s Original. I NEED DRIVING GLOVES! Actually you should take my license off me before I drive the wrong way up the M23.
So in my elderly state I was surprised to hear that Wetting the Baby’s Head is still a thing. Furthermore it’s still an exclusively male thing. I found this a bit weird and did some further reading. I went on madeformums.com and found an amazing thread about this very topic.
“Men are insensitive! My OH went out and got so drunk the night that our second baby was born that when he came to hospital to pick us up the next day he was so hung over that I had to drive home (after a forceps delivery with an episiotomy). Stupid git!!”
“most men can be so insensitive to how us women feel dont u think!!?? :evil:”
“men are such insensitive pigs!!!!!!!”
“why should the bloke get to go out on the piss?”
“when i ahd my first baby my husband went out 3 nights in a row to wet the babies head!!!”
I find it outrageous that men celebrate by ignoring the very thing they are celebrating. It’s ridiculous that so many have no empathy or DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE TO THE HOSPITAL. And it’s insane that these women think ALL (or “most”) men are “pigs”, “insensitive” or “gits”. You picked a dud, we’re not all as vile as yours.
A night out to celebrate the arrival of a new baby should definitely happen. But why only men? Why is it a boozy, late night in a pub as soon as the baby arrives? Why can’t the night out happen before the birth meaning you can savour the emotional rawness and joy as a family? Why do some of the women ask “Why does he get to go out?” He gets to go out because the last nine months have been exciting, scary, nervous, stressful, difficult and tough for him as well as you. Yes, you had the enormous physical responsibility and undertaking, but he may have been on an incredible emotional roller coaster too (though the men in the above relationships probably didn’t care). The question should be “Why aren’t we celebrating together?”
The far bigger questions are why we look for the excuse to drink in every aspect of life’s journey, disregarding the monumental glory of it in the process. Why drinking is still so defined along lines of gender.
But, biggest of all, how did I get so damned old?
Below: Me and Millie