I went to the Baby Show today at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. All the big names (and some I'd never heard of) in innovative products to make mums' lives easier, more stylish and eco friendly and babies' lives safer and happier, were there exhibiting their wares in a consumer's paradise. There was no shortage of freebies, prize draws and special offers and the main stage had an impressive line up of shows to entertain and inform on such matters as baby first aid and maternity fashions.
Why then did I find it all so mind numbingly boring?
I failed to get excited by the abundance of travel systems and 'essential' baby equipment. I found the talk by the UK's leading expert on Baby Sleep a tad obvious and as for the 'natural rubber bath toys'... in the interest of politeness I will just say they were not to my taste! I also think I might have screamed if one more representative from E-on had asked me who supplies my electricity and gas. Seriously, you couldn't walk anywhere near that particular stand without being accosted.
Perhaps after having six babies, I am a bit jaded with the whole 'new mum' thing. I get on perfectly well with the few baby bits and pieces I have without feeling the need to turn my house into something that looks like the inside of Mothercare. Does this mean my babies are disadvantaged and will grow up in some way different to the children that do have access to the all-singing all-dancing V Tech range and personalised blankets?
When I had my first baby 23 years ago, I was completely and utterly absorbed with her. She occupied every waking moment. A visiting friend once laughed at me when my husband took the baby away to change her nappy and I immediately picked up a pile of photographs of her and started leafing through them. It wasn't even a conscious act. It was an absent minded desire to fill the baby shaped hole that having her taken to another room had left.
It is not the same now. This could be because babies 5 and 6 are a 'second' family - I am more mature and have been through it all already. I am starting again as new mum but I definitely feel the need to maintain a greater sense of me separate from my little ones - if only so that I can stay properly connected to the older children from my first marriage. I adore my little ones with every fibre of my being and all things considered I probably enjoy them more than my 'first time round' babies but they do not dominate my life in quite the same way.
Whatever the psychology behind what I felt today at the Baby Show, the bottom line is I was bored by it.
There were one or two exceptions.
Ella's Kitchen had a lovely stand with a cute vegetable inspired play area that my three year old loved. In fact, she stayed there under the watchful eye of her dad for quite some time while I whizzed around the exhibition hall unencumbered to see all that was on offer. I also loved the Race for Life stand and feel particularly inspired to take part now that I have been given some freebie pink shoe laces! My kids were delighted to be given a little cuddly toy each at the Bobike stand as we were having a good look at some possible solutions for the problem of to how to take two babies safely out cycling. We picked up the catalogue to peruse at our leisure. (The soft toys were cuddled all the way home until sleep loosened their grips).
|"Watering" the "vegetables" with Ella's Kitchen|
As well as the Baby Show, the NEC was also hosting something called "Body Power". The trail of people walking from the car parks could be neatly classified into two types. Pregnant ladies/buggy pushers and buff body building types with clothes designed to maximise the visual impact of their exquisitely defined muscles.
Since my Sunday morning trips to the gym have started to include exercises to target particular muscle groups in addition to the cardio-vascular stuff (Dave the personal trainer can be ruthless when it comes to reps) I have noticed a very definite change in the overall look of my body. I can really understand how the whole pumping iron thing can become addictive. I couldn't help feeling a little envious of what treats the "Body Power" people might have in store for them (demonstrations of super strength, perfect specimens glistening with accentuating oil, exercise gear to be seen in...)
Beautiful as pregnant ladies and babies are, I did crave just a little bit to be surrounded by the hunks of man flesh and the somewhat rarer women body builders in their skimpy lycra.
Yes, this world's worst mum definitely felt like she was at the wrong show!