Mum came to stay the other night. She came to see her two granddaughters (and her third grandchild should be delivered down south within a week or so too). Among a pile of loot for Bella and Rosa she also brought my old Plunket Record Book (this is the record all New Zealand kids have covering their birth through to age five – it’s filled out by the Plunket nurse on her home visits).
It’s full of useful advice, such as the following from the “Advice to Mothers” section:
The Ex-baby: Bring him into the family picture as much as possible to help him adjust happily to the a new situation.
You’d have to wonder whether this applies just to the older sibling, or to the father as well.
There is a specific section for fathers. Judging by the reported experiences of both of Bella and Rosa’s grandmothers, this advice was probably a bit radical for bloke-ish late 1960s middle New Zealand males:
Changing napkins, tucking him down, bathing him at the week-ends, and bringing him to his mother to be fed in the evening or early morning provide opportunities for you to lend a helping hand and learn about your baby.
Your co-operation with the family shopping, the washing up and other household tasks will encourage your wife and lighten her work.
I was hoping there would some anecdote or story about me concealed in the pages of the Record Book, but it’s mainly a dry catalogue written in the brusque hand of some fearfully efficient nurse. Height, weight, testes, teeth, teeth, fontanelle, Karilac, puree, constipation, rusks, potty, steps. The story lies elsewhere. And will not be remarkable at all.