Had a child this year? Need some LOCAL tips on keeping them safe this Holiday? Here are 7 people to watch out for in your Christmas Lime:
- The relative whose motto is “What doh kill with fatten”: We all have THAT aunty/ uncle. The one who had 2-16 children who “all” grew up to be “jus fine”. For this reason, these relatives are the most dangerous – especially when it comes to food.
These are the people who, with all good intentions, will offer your BABY sweets, a sip of rum and coke and anything shy of “gramoxzone” to eat (likely from their plate/ hand/ cup). Watch out for these peeps. Remember, YOU and your doctor know when it is best to introduce sugar, starches and the like to your child. Don’t be afraid to politely say in your best Trini accent “nah, no thanks – baby full”. #1 way to avoid your child from having a Christmas Day allergic reaction or super poo due to food (like shellfish) lovingly doled out by a relative at a Christmas lime? FEED BABY BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME.
- Making Hot: Be smart when packing the baby bag for a Christmas lime. Pack a couple outfits for the day. Why? Come on, we’ve all been to that friend/ relative’s house that has either: a) no circulation at all (its as if they even fraid fans),
b) the heat turned up to 82 because, you know ‘Trini Christmas is warm”, or c) Is kept so freezing cold with air conditioning that you find yourself reaching for a blanket to go over your jeans and long sleeves. Now, if you know you are heading somewhere like this or, WORSE, a new location with baby on Christmas Day, you want to have some clothing options for every situation. Why? Who wants to be the mom of the bare backed child in EVERY BODY’s Christmas 2016 picture? How will he/ she end up bare back? Because some aunty/ friend/ neh nen decide “de chile making hot”. Save yourself please. Pack a couple options to keep baby SEEMING cool/ warm no matter the circumstance.
- Aunty Anti-Bottle: I have written about the breast feeding mafia (hereafter referred to as the BFM) before. Chances are, the president of your family’s BFM WILL be at your Christmas lime/ lunch/ dinner. If you are still breastfeeding, be sure to do so somewhere away from the staring eyes of younger children or older male friends who may stare inappropriately. I’m being real, plenty “uncles” out there lil boarder line scary….If you are NOT breastfeeding. I pray with you. Chances are your older relatives breast fed their children through near university (by their recollection
anyway) so don’t expect applause when you break out a bottle. Be prepared for comments attacking you for you child being:
- Too skinny
- Too fat
- Warm/ cool/ normal
Because you are using a bottle to feed your child. Resist the hesitation to squirt aunty Anti Breast with breast milk (don’t waste it!). Instead, when it is time to feed your wee one, find a quiet corner – away from the crowd and feed your child as you would at home.
4. Uncle Cougher: Bless him. That uncle (by blood or parental choice) who is always hacking. It’s not the cold but rather his “allergies”, “dust”, things that “went dong de wrong side”, someone’s “perfume” or “de breeze” that has him coughing. Before you
had children you marveled at his ability to recompose himself from coughing fits just in time to down another Cuba Libre (known in T&T as a rum and coke). But, let me assure you of one thing. Now that you have a baby, it is going to physically hurt you to let him hold your baby. Fight the power to spray him down in Lysol. Politely find the receiving blankets you stopped using 3, 4 hell 7 months ago, wrap baby in same (even if fretting) and hand baby over for a short hug up. When you notice the cough appear again, make up an excuse to grab baby back. Head to a quiet area to “wet wipe bathe” aka “damp sanitize baby” and cover him/ her in prayer.
5. Cousin Cold: I have a large and wonderful family. One of my favourite things about Christmas Day is seeing all the cousins (of various ages) together withe the older generations. My cousins vary in ages from 44 to a couple months old. Cousin Cold is any one of the crew who has a lingering cold they brought to the islands with them from (gasp) ‘away’. Now, be real parents, illness happens. As much as you will try to protect small man/ gyal from getting sick at Christmas, being around crowds can bring a germ or two. This said, be vigilant. When Cousin Cold, who you WILL recognize by their running nose or “sick rag” in hand/ on shoulder (OMG I NEVER understood why people use this practice of carrying a germ infested rag around when sick to ‘catch’ coughs – GROSS), comes asking to hold the baby, simply say “Sorry, he can’t play with you when you are sick.” Ignore the protests. Prepare yourself to be berated by the more experienced parents for being over protective. While they are talking and Cousin Cold crying that they can’t play with baby, say a quiet prayer asking the Lord to shield you from Cousin Cold’s germs that are likely swirling around the air anyway….
6. Anti Schedulers: Sigh. The whole baby by schedule thing is a real personal parenting choice. A LOT of people, of ALL ages (be warned eh), vehemently
reject the notion of baby having a schedule by which to eat and sleep. Remember you DO NOT have to share the details of your parenting style with anyone or worse, justify same. Avoid the drama completely. Quietly find the corner, pop the play pen 0r whip out the feed when you and baby know its time to do so. At all costs remember that Christmas limes are NOT the places to indicate to anyone how much ‘the schedule’ has saved your life.
7. The friends without kids: Hear nah, prior to this year, I was one of these people. I WAS the Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases who got threw up on and felt sick! I
was the person at the lime who acted like babies crying, children running around or worse, children vomiting with, like OMG, no notice or concern for how MUCH that designer Christmas Day outfit cost, is akin to Armageddon. These people (who were like me) look uncomfortable holding baby and often refuse to do so. Feel sorry for these people. Laugh at them – OPENLY. Know that either one day (sooner than they think) they too will be parents and, like you, will come to understand that poop happens – never when its planned.
Now, these folks aside, don’t be an ass. There is loads of good advice lurking around your family. I can never discount the great advice from my grandmother on helping baby sleep or the tips from my aunt who had 4 boys that helped me with my wee one. Even if some of the advice received is contra-modern logic/ medicine, never be too smart to listen – even on Christmas Day!
Have a great Christmas everyone. Remember, a little wine can help but too much makes you the hung over parent and there ain’t nothing Jolly about that!