Dear Sackgirl and Botboy
As you are growing up, you will hear a lot of wisdom from everyone around you.
Your friends at school will pass on things they have heard, from someone who heard it from their older sister, who heard it from their friend, who heard it from their neighbour down the road’s best friend’s, mum’s aunt’s 3rd cousin, who breeds cats so it must be true.
Your older cousin was told, age 8, that you can’t get pregnant standing up. Seriously, in this day and age, I thought kids were able to google better information than that!
They used to tell us not to sit on a public toilet because you can catch diseases. There is a hell of a lot more chance you will just end up with a cold wet bum where the person before you piddled on the seat.
My mum used to tell me that if I swallowed chewing gum it would wrap around my heart. I believed her (well, she is my mum) up to the point I asked in a biology lesson at school and was ridiculed for weeks – by the teacher.
When you become a parent, the amount of wisdom spewed at you will increase tenfold, until you are drowning in a sea of confusion, guilt, and inadequacy.
Don’t pick up a crying baby, it’s teaching them to use their crying to control you!
Feed the baby whenever she demands it.
Stick to a routine rigidly and never deviate, no matter how much that child cries.
Don’t have a routine, a child is not a program.
A good mother knows instinctively how to breastfeed.
Swaddle your baby.
If they get up early, put them to bed later.
Never let them nap in a car seat.
Never wake a sleeping baby.
There are certain points in their development you can potty train. Miss the first one, and they will be in nappies until they are 10.
While it’s okay to listen to wisdom offered by other people, remember that they can only advise you from their own experience. What worked for them might not work for you. What happened to them might not happen to you.
It’s a strange conclusion to reach, half way through a month of writing blog posts giving you advice, but trust me, most advice is nonsense.
It’s your job to work out which is which.