Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I AM the dummy!

"Does 'dummy' mean, uh, something else here too?"

Damon was assuming - and hoping - that it did.

"Or else everyone around here has taken to calling me an idiot."


"And that's your domain."

Like the time in Geneva when an English mum asked me for a nappy and then looked at me like I was out of my mind when I went through my diaper bag - note the term! - pulling out wipes, tissues and towels while at the same time explaining that I didn't have any napkins, but I thought one of those would do just as well. 

Looking back on it now, I don't know why she looked so exasperated when she finally took matters into her own hands and grabbed a diaper.  As if she'd never watched American television.  And hey, I wasn't the one without a nappy!

For the record, they don't call them diaper-bags over here either.  (Carry bags, maybe?)   Or strollers.  (Prams, which somehow always reminds me of heavily-bundled nannies in 1920s London.)  I believe what they call singlets here are what I used to call onesies in the USA.  Neither of which will mean very much to you unless you have had a baby.  I just call them those little tiny shirts that you can button under their legs to avoid confusion.

Back to the dummy, though.

"If the term fits." I replied.  Before explaining that yes, dummy was the term for pacifier. 

Seems that dummies are out here.  (As in dummies are out of fashion not as in there are idiots all around us.)

Which is fine with me, having never considered using one.

The generation - and nationalities - that ask are the ones who used them to keep their babies quiet while they spent time doing other things, the ones who have been taught that children shouldn't be heard (perhaps not even seen in some cultures!) and shouldn't make demands and certainly not as newborns.

There is also the mistaken belief that you should make it as easy on yourself as possible, that the baby should be taught early on to be easy, that you have the right to have time for yourself when you want it and that you are somehow a failure at parenting if you spend too much time doing it.

Problem is, I really wanted this baby.  Really wanted him.

Not so that I can silence his demands on my time but so that I can raise him.

Sure, I'd like to be writing more, I'd like to get that children's book out and submit to more - okay, admit it, ANY magazines.

I'd like to do my yoga.  Or at least 5 -6  minutes of abs.

But sticking a dummy in Ian's mouth is like plopping my other four in front of the television.

It's a poor substitute for my attention.

Let's face it, the little guy is already 8 weeks old.

"The Cat's in the Cradle" and all that.

I deliver meals to the elderly with a friend of mine every so often.  I see the amount of time I will have on my hands later on.  Alone. 

Say what you like.  I'll be the 'dummy' for as long as I have the privilege.


  1. HEY! Baby sister here -- I use "dummies" ... and both of my kids still interact with me and play with me (and bug me) ... Yes, I used them when they were babies to "pacify" them and it just continued to be something that had a calming affect for them. I don't feel like I am using them so I can ignore my kids. We still interact like other moms/kids that don't have them do. They have never interferred with any of our interactions (they only interfere with cute pictures)
    I'd say out of the moms that I know, it is pretty much 50/50 of parents who let their kids use them.
    I know you weren't trying to insult those of us that use them, but I just wanted to put my 2 cents in. Love you. ~Laura

  2. Fair enough! I used them with the twins too, just for the record. For some reason, I have this creepy fear that my kids won't stop using them. They use them in Europe a LOT longer than in the US too. And here I hardly see them - but then they are really big on sticking booby in instead here!

    Ian is really so easy going he doesn't need one - like Ryan. If he is screaming it really IS because he needs a booby. And honestly, I probably would forget him if he didn't voice his opinion every once in a while! Cleaning or writing or exercising or some other unimportant thing in the long-term.

    BTW - your girls look cute even WITH their shnoolies in! Just like you!

    And hey - I have new computer so I SHOULD be able to be in touch now! YAY!