All hail His Majesty the Baby

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Cartoon by Laura Riding

Sigmund Freud coined the term “His Majesty the Baby”. What baby wants, baby gets. What’s the alternative?

An absolute bloody meltdown resulting in damaged ear drums, fleeing pet cats, parents rattled to their very core. It’s easiest to obey.

Our son Reg’s needs are fundamental and crucial for his survival, so we don’t grumble about it.

Caring for a newborn is pretty straightforward – for me, and so far. Perhaps because he’s an only child, he seems to be pretty chilled and I am lucky enough not to suffer from post-natal depression.

His requests are basic and primal: feed him every few hours, change his nappy – which is sometimes a breezy two-minute affair, and sometimes an operation that would turn even Dexter’s stomach.

Presently we are mainly focused on keeping him alive – which we will continue to do, obviously – but that is pretty much it for now. Until the “real parenting” begins.

Real parenting will be when he is a bit older and starts having those meltdowns over needs that aren’t primal, that aren’t necessities for survival – maybe the need for something sugary, or the newest game or toy.

Possibly these meltdowns will occur in the cereal aisle in Sainsburys, on a zebra crossing, in a busy train carriage. Every parent reacts to these meltdowns differently.

We’re all guilty of casting a judgemental eye towards the parent who’s having a shouting match with their kids in public, it’s too easy to assume they’ve lost control.

My personal favourite was a tired looking dad ironically bellowing “YOU MUST NOT SHOUT” at the top of his lungs to his kids in a car park.

There was also the poor mum telling her four-year-old that if he didn’t calm down and sit nicely for the rest of the bus journey then Father Christmas wouldn’t come.

He replied with “You said that last year, and he came anyway” and continued running up and down the aisle. That’s the issue with that threat – there’s no follow-up – you can’t cancel Christmas.

So, how is Reg going to respond to being asked (told?) to abdicate the throne?

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