Baby Business: Ways you will inevitably harm your child

I read a piece recently, written by someone who must have lots of money and is trying to come up with ever more creative ways to spend it, about baby-proofing your home. Well, not even doing it yourself, but paying some clever arse who is great at inventing unnecessary job titles to do it for you. If anyone wants to pay me several hundred pounds, I’ll be round there like a shot to point out the obvious, saying words like ‘scale down your knife collection’ and ‘minimise access to power tools’.

It made me think how much I hate that whole concept, as if by sticking enough plastic corners to all your lovely furniture you can completely eliminate the risk of your child getting hurt. I don’t want to cover my house in all this crap, or have locks on all the cupboards and I’m all in favour of a little bit of risk-embracing in life. In this spirit I’m going to tell you about the ways in which I have already inadvertently damaged my baby and we’ve all lived to tell the tale.


Those little scratch mitts won’t last forever and you can’t keep ignoring the fact that your baby has started to sport nails rivalling those of Gail Devers in the Atlanta Olympics. Or Flo Jo, for the older readers. Cutting those nails is a right ball-ache, being as they are miniscule and moving at the speed of light, but it’s got to be done, so man up and get it sorted, yeah? The first time I did this, I came tantalisingly close to causing no damage at all, but obviously got over-confident after Nail Nine and pinched a bit of skin off with the clippers on the final one. It didn’t bleed but OH MY GOD I FELT DREADFUL. To give you an insight, my baby cried for twenty seconds and was then fine again; I cried on and off for the next nine hours, at one point driving off wailing “You’ll be better off without me, I can only do harm here”.


One day you’ll be sat there cuddling your baby, taking in those intoxicating aromas of off-milk and milky poo, and you’ll think to yourself, ‘Christ, this smells really bad’. There will be a new, worse-than-ever smell, and it’ll be coming from this little bundle of lusciousness because YOU’RE A BAD PERSON WHO HASN’T WASHED THEIR BABY PROPERLY. Your child will be secreting a minging cheese paste, probably within the folds of their fatty little neck. When you find it, all yellow and disgusting and wipe it off with your finger, gagging and grimacing throughout, it might even be sore underneath because of all the neglect and that. Bung on some Sudocrem and resolve to do better next time.


‘Golly, I’m so efficient! Look at me carrying my baby in a harness AND doing the hoovering! I’ll put that shopping away now, that’ll be fun for her to look at’. These were my thoughts five seconds before I opened the fridge door into my baby’s head. To give her credit, she only made a brief ‘Rargh!’ sound (think goats on youtube), but I felt absolutely terrible and once again considered phoning Social Services to report myself. It’s okay though, once you tell people this, everyone has a story about how they’ve accidentally wanged their child into a wall or some such. My favourite comes from a friend who was showing someone how he put his daughter into one of those harnesses. With a breezy “…and so, you just slot her in like that!”, he pushed her in from one side, failing to notice that the other side wasn’t shut, essentially posting her through and frantically grappling to catch her before she landed on the floor. Which he did, for those who enjoy a happy ending.

So there we go. There’ll be more obviously, since one of the first things my husband said about her was “Man, I can’t wait to teach her how to spin fire!”; not to mention the untold psychological damage inflicted by parents with a questionable music collection and a fondness for practical jokes. I just thought I’d tell my mates who are doing babies that it’s both okay and inevitable if you ruin them just a tiny little bit, it’s life innit.

P.S. Please don’t give me any tips on how to cut nails etc, or advising me to bite them for her instead, I think that’s rank. Kind Regards xxx

  1. Is it very wrong that I chuckled loudly at you opening the fridge on baby’s head?

    My small thing also went through similar traumas relatively unscathed. Although the bump to her head as she fell off the sofa might still show something up in later life…

  2. thescribbl3r said:

    I did a bit of baby-proofing when K was little, but we lived in old houses where every room including the kitchen had fireplaces with raised hearths of death so there were limits. I found that just teaching her NOT to poke things in sockets (jammy toast in the VCR was her finest hour) and other stuff worked well enough and despite my early fears, I didn’t actually kill her with my ineptitude. The other thing is, if you do all that and you make your house into a fortress, what then? If you go to someone else’s place, the chances are it’ll have all the stuff that you usually protect her from and she’ll head straight for door hinges and ornaments and all that stuff. Better, IMHO, to teach “No” initially and then explain why when she’s a bit older.

    On the whole damaging them thing: I first ‘broke’ K when she was a few weeks old and I was desperate for a wee and just wanted one minute alone in the bathroom. I settled her in the middle of our double bed, surrounded by pillows so she couldn’t fall off, hobbled off to the loo ( a couple of weeks post c-section) and left the door open. No sooner had I started then there was the inevitable thump, followed a few seconds later by a howl. I cried for hours – and like you said, she stopped within a few seconds of being cuddled. I was convinced she would be scarred for life by that one, although she seems to have got through it unscathed… 😉

    Our finest hour as parents, though, was when she was maybe 7 days old. I was in hospital for the first 5 days so had only been home a day or so. I was upstairs in bed, as per instructions, and my ex took her downstairs and said he’d make me some tea and toast. He duly appeared with baby and food, looking very pleased with himself. It then occurred to me that buttering toast is a bit of a two-handed job, so I asked him what he’d done with the baby while he sorted that. He looked inordinately pleased with himself as he told me he very carefully laid her in the tea towel drawer. As I quietly went a bit apoplectic, convinced that she would be damaged beyond all possible hope of recovery, he tried to make things better by saying, “But I didn’t *close* it!”

    She’s going to be 21 this year. I’m still waiting to find out if that drawer thing has scarred her for life… 😉

  3. I have just laughed out loud at you opening the fridge on your baby’s head. I am fairly certain this makes me a bad person. Hey ho! Great post. We have all found the under-neck cheese on our babies and yes, it is gross.

  4. Jacqueline said:

    Neck cheese, i hear you!

  5. LofRede said:

    The thing I am going to take away from this the most is that you said kind regards at the end. Kind regards. Ugh. Other than that, baby fall down bang ow ha. Love you mate

  6. Excellent as always.

    I’m not fond of *overly* baby proofing (but I don’t have kids so according to 95% of the mothers I know this means I’m not allowed to have an opinion on child-rearing).

    Anyway! I sell glass things at craft fairs, and this exchange happens at least 100 times a year…
    Mum: oh it’s all so lovely but I couldn’t have this in my house, my little one(s) would break it!
    Me: (looking at 9 year old and 12 year old children standing next to her) oh do you have another one at home??
    Mum: (looks confused) no just these two.

    Argh!! How will your children learn to be around nice things?! Bah.

  7. vickyfinch said:

    Oh it’s fun this motherhood gig. I’m sure when we birth our babes a guilt valve gets released.
    As for child proofing the house… The most I did was stick those plastic things in the electric sockets, as I knew a little boy who stuck a fork in one.

  8. Ruthie Saylor said:

    May I just say that these baby business posts are BRILLIANT for people who don’t have babies as well as those who do? I’m often rendered mute and useless around my friends and their children because I am afraid of (a) breaking the baby and (b) saying Wrong Things to the mother, of whom I am in awe. Equipped with this sort of stuff I’ll be no less in awe but (I hope) a bit less of an imbecile. Thank you thank you thank you.

  9. Jen Riddall said:

    I always think it’s a bit odd to read someone’s blog in such depth and then leave without any acknowledgment. Especially when the blog is as absorbing as yours – I like your way with words. It’s a bit like repeatedly going to a fancy beauty counter to use all their glorious make up but never buying anything. Hmmm, on second thoughts this is a weak analogy because I actually do this quite a lot… Anyway, I’m very glad I stumbled across you on twitter (through a friend) as I got to discover how you awesome your writing is, and as someone whose words help generate a living (somehow!), this is always a great find.

    • Irregularly Irregular said:

      Jen! Jen Jen Jen Jen! Thank you so much, that’s lovely to read, especially from a proper Real Life Person and from someone who Does Good Words. Next time you’re in Boots can you blag me some stuff from Chanel please? I don’t get out as much as I used to and my scammed supplies are dwindling xxx

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