Babies are funny little creatures, aren’t they? There are plenty of things in their world that they really ought to be a bit more apprehensive about. Creating your own new ‘pond dipping’ game in the toilet your big sister just peed in could result in injury a tummy ache, for example (Yes, my son did this at the weekend). Attempting to scramble upstairs every time you spot the gate open when you can barely walk may well turn out to be a bad idea. Trying to poke your chubby little fingers into a plug socket could give you a nasty surprise. And putting small pebbles from the beach straight into your mouth is never going to make you popular with Mummy.
Yes, right now my 13-month-old son is just a bit of a liability. So it makes me chuckle to think of some of the things he actually perceives as a genuine threat and to remember some of those Little Miss struggled with too.
1. Men with beards – both my two have struggled with this one and to an extent I do agree – I’m not a beard-lover myself (sorry to all those I’ve just alienated!). That said, I’ve yet to burst into tears at the sight of one! Our best beard-related wobbly was when the vicar, a youngish, friendly and very non-scary man of God, came to visit us ahead of Little Mister’s Baptism. Baby boy took one look at him and screamed. He then clung onto me for the entire visit while continuing to glare suspiciously at our hirsute houseguest.
2. A pair of George Pig armbands – we’re trying to get into a regular family swimming routine and bought these for Little Mister a couple of weeks ago. When I first took them out of the box and started to blow them up, his bottom lip started to tremble. When I cheerfully tried to show them to him he moved away and started to cry! This was repeated for a good half hour every time the offending inflatable came anywhere near him! He has now grudgingly accepted them. All very random.
3. Hand driers – Probably a more common baby phobia than the previous one. Little Miss used to be terrified of them, especially the Xlerator ones. I can recall being at a family gathering at a posh golf club when she was five months old. We’d taken her off to sort out a ‘special’ nappy and I forgot about The Fear. I returned back into a room full of seldom-seen, well-wishing relatives with a screaming, traumatised baby. Parenting fail.
4. The hoover – Little Miss used to panic when it came out at the end of the day at nursery. She was concerned by Henry Hoovers. Maybe it was the face. I can remember her seeing one in a shopping centre and quizzing me about where it was going and having to give it a ridiculously wide berth. Even now, if I’m hoovering at home she hops up on the bed out of the way – although she has softened somewhat now and does like to have a go at pushing it herself (teach them young I say!).
5. Andy at nursery – Linked to the above, for Little Miss at least. Our kids go to a lovely nursery and at the end of the day the owner’s husband, Andy, who looks after all the maintenance, comes round to do the cleaning. When Little Miss was smaller it became a running joke that she didn’t like Andy. He tried not to take offence, it was the hoover! Well, now it seems that her younger brother also takes exception to the appearance of Andy too. We’re not even sure it’s because of the hoover as he’s always seemed fascinated by that at home. Andy tells us he’s trying not to get a complex. And he doesn’t even have a beard!
Image credit: freedigitalimages.net/Phaitoon