My salad dressing days

January 18, 2006, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was changing The Son’s bed when I noticed the following label:

“A baby who is being sick will want watching.”

Gosh, I thought. It’s true that I don’t have much time to watch TV or read books these days, but I hadn’t considered observing a projectile vomit as entertainment.

Clearly I need to think outside the box a bit more often.

This little nugget of wisdom was closely followed by:

“This mattress may not soak up vomit.”


I didn’t buy a vomit-absorbing mattress?

I sighed.

Once again, it seems I have stumbled and fallen at one of the many Hurdles of Parenthood.


So I delved around a bit in my amnesiac brain to remember the moment: the moment when I failed to purchase a vomit-absorbing mattress.

Ah yes.

We were doing that first-time parently tour of the nursery section of a major department store. A sweet young woman with a glamorous-sounding title was trailing us past shelf after shelf pointing out ‘essential items for Mother and Baby’.

Whenever we veered towards a product, she merrily proclaimed ‘oh, that’s a very popular model with our parents!’. (The shop equivalent of seeing lots of people eating in the window of an otherwise iffy-looking local restaurant. “Weren’t sure we wanted it before but want it now!”)

But I can see now that we were being distracted from the business of cot mattresses by having to make earth-shattering choices such as: disposable breast pads or washable breast pads, and one pack of maternity pads or seven?

We grabbed a well-known brand of sling (which, when we unfurled it at home, turned out to be a long – not to mention expensive – length of stretchy cotton with a cute pocket…probably for carrying breast pads).

‘Oh, Baby will be very comfy in that!’

I seem to remember The Husband and I making a pact in the car park not to be swayed by persuasive sales-talk and to leave with just a few choice bits and pieces, but already our three wire baskets contained four cot sheets, two cot blankets, four pram blankets, a sparkly-twinkly gadget that shone weird images onto ‘Baby’s’ ceiling, seven packs of maternity pads, disposable and resuable breast pads, sunshades for the car windows, two snuggle-cuddle robes, an expensive plastic two-compartment container (‘a must for topping and tailing!’ – I thought this sounded like a technique for chopping French beans but it seems to be the universally-accepted phraseology), mini nail clippers, three soft toys and an industrial-sized bag of cotton wool balls.

Weary from this heady bout of consumerism, our wills were weak by the time it came to the major items (a very clever sales trick indeed).

So I don’t remember being shown the vomit-absorbing mattress, although I do vaguely remember being given a choice.

It was something along the lines of:

‘Well, there’s the cheap-as-chips mattress, which will probably fall apart after three weeks of use and the chemicals contained therein are quite likely to asphyxiate Baby. But it is just five pounds, so you gets what you pays for, I suppose!’


‘We do also have a premium, spring-loaded, coconut-hair-lined*, deluxe mattress, which is that bit more expensive, but when it comes to your precious bundle of love, most of our parents don’t want to compromise on safety!’

Doubtless she went on to mention add-on features (‘by special request to the manufacturers’) which included the ability to absorb regurgitated carrot, but if they were mentioned, we were too busy feeling guilty about buying a chemical-laden scrap of recycled foam.

Bloody Miriam Stoppard.

Too busy advising how best to hold our babies and how to resist throwing them out of a third floor window when they cry for hours on end, she failed to tell us about the importance of vomit absorption when it came to mattresses.

I blame her.

* I’m not actually making this bit up


1 Comment so far
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Ah dear Marnie! How this takes me back to the good old days when my own precious little bundles were cocooned in some other baby’s cast-off shawls and placed, albeit carefully, in drawers. And there’s nothing wrong with THEM by the way. I mean the children, not the drawers. Although the latter were a tad woodwormy, come to think of it …
“sending you a cheery wave!”

Comment by oneglassofcava

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