If there's anyone reading my blog who still doesn't know, I have given birth to 6 children. This is neither a boast nor an apology, it's just what is.
Of those babies, one was a projectile vomiter, and all of them managed to spit up on me many times.
As most of you also know, when I was 6 months pregnant with #5 (Tom) I moved to Canada. Then #6 (Michael) was born here 3 years later.
You need this background information to follow this blog, so I apologize to those who know it already, but I get into trouble for assuming people know things before I launch in.
When you are preparing for your 5th child it should all be fall-off-a-log easy, but there I was as a new immigrant, buying stuff ready for Tom, and I was a fish out of water. I didn't know I was having a boy because I missed a bit of pre-natal stuff due to the emigration, but that was the least of my shopping issues. They just sold different STUFF. I pined for Mothercare.
I was quite tickled with my bassinette, which seemed such a good idea. The endless choices were on the whole quite bewildering though. And I was very, very confused by these things called "receiving blankets". To receive what? They weren't big enough as a blanket, not even for the tiny bassinette, and they weren't blankets at all, to my mind, made of thin flannel fabric. More like undersized sheets. I just ignored them, not knowing what they were intended for, and not really knowing who to ask.
Anyway, along came Tom, who puked all over me, as babies do, and I just changed my shirt and cleaned up as I went along. You're ahead of me, aren't you?
So, as I said, a few years later, I had Michael and by now I had friends I didn't mind sounding stupid to, so I asked what the receiving blankets were for? I was told, all sorts of uses, but mostly, for throwing over your shoulder to catch the puke when you burp the little bugger.
So you receive puke in it? How delightful.
I caused much mirth and merriment with my n00bishness here. I was asked, obviously, what had I used before?
Well, y'see, I'm so old that my first babies wore square diapers (nappies) that had to be expertly folded. It's not easy to take a 2 foot square of white towelling and make it fit on an 8lb child. But I was always good at origami, and I never had one fall off. They were awful things though. Made your child a funny shape, thus making clothing a bit awkward, and the plastic pants that went over them made horrible noises, and the rash they got was vile...........but disposables were new, and right out of my budget.
Thing was, I had an endless supply of 2 foot squares of white towelling. Which was vital because Alex could puke a whole bottle of milk and hit a wall at ten feet. So if I didn't protect myself carefully, I quickly ran out of clothes.
It all seems a long time ago now.
What's far more recent is my daughters who both used great piles of these thin "blankets" to cover shoulders when carrying their babies around after feeding, and man were they useful. My life would have been so much easier......nobody told me.
So, I tell this story quite often, in a sort of quaint "these brilliant new-fangled ideas!" sort of way. I think people think I'm quite mad.
Sometimes they ask, well, what did mothers in England use instead, if they didn't have old square diapers lying around?
I don't know. Maybe there were really intelligent women making the equivalent of a receiving blanket and just not telling me. I honestly can't tell you. I do tend to be a bit "out" when it comes to trends and popular culture. I probably totally missed something.
But AHA!!! NOW...you see...NOW the English are way ahead!!!
Look what my clever friend Jilly makes:
Beautiful, shaped burp cloths, that fit nicely round your neck. For babies like Alex you'd need them four feet long, but most babies aren't like that. For normal babies, these elegant little creations slip easily into a bag or pocket, and don't make you look like you're wearing a cape.
Never seen anything like these over here.