I’m not someone who claims to know everything. Far from it, my knowledge has more gaps than Shane MacGowan’s teeth. For instance, I never knew that 1367 was a prime number or that camel’s milk doesn’t curdle and these are basic, simple facts that we all know from birth.
But one thing I’m sure nobody realizes until they have a baby themselves is that their belly buttons don’t drop off immediately. I am the only one who didn’t know?
We don’t tend to focus on the truly gross bits of babies. All the attention is quite correctly on the incredible feelings of connection and bond to your newborn, or the overwhelming sense of protection you have towards your baby. And because of this, the fact that your little lad has a scabby piece of Vimto crust hanging off his stomach gets ignored.
I’m not a prude and I don’t tend to get squeamish but that thing is enough to turn your stomach. Especially when you’re changing his nappy and the belly button pops his head down just to see what’s going on, like a hyperactive puppy when the door bell rings.
“Hey guys! What’s happening down here? Somethings happening! Can I get involved? Please let me get involved!”
I’ve documented my problems with nappy changing in great detail and this didn’t help one bit.
In the hospital I remember staring at this putrid string of aubergine for the first time and I’m not going to lie, I thought it was his willie. While totally horrified at the colour and its general demeanor, part of me was jealous of the size. Then I realized it was pegged down and that would be weird. So I quickly checked the other babies on the Special Care ward and they all had them too, even the girls. Then I noticed it was hanging off his belly button area, which would have made things clearer for me from the beginning really.
Zac’s fell off while he was still in hospital. Ben’s hung on for three weeks like an unwanted party guest at your house. In the end we turned the music off and started yawning until it got the hint and phoned a taxi.
When it fell off it was the middle of the night and my sleep deprived stupor made me think it was wriggling away like some kind of fugitive louse. I was half tempted to go and grab a glass and envelope like you do with a spider. When sanity prevailed and I saw it was just a tiny piece of gristle I actually considered putting it in the memory box we’ve been putting together for the boys but then quickly realized that would be fairly gruesome. Especially if you opened the box years later and it wasn’t there. I can hear the creepy horror music just thinking about it.
If I ever meet whoever designed the prototype for newborn babies I’d complement them on the standard design and most of the added features but I’d definitely suggest something a bit more user friendly in place of these disgusting belly button things. Maybe an MP3 player or something.
Well, that and the fact that sometimes babies forget to breathe for up to five seconds. FIVE SECONDS. Whoever came up with that needs a slap.
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