… to raise a child, or so they say. It’s an African saying, according to good ole Wikipedia, and usually evokes images of benevolent pie-baking granny types, cheek-chucking aplenty, neighbourly interest and the communal good. But what if your village is …da da daaaaaah … the village of the damned?
Yes, indeed. What if the advice is unwelcome, the comment judgemental, the interest intrusive? What then? Cue the spooky violins as camera zooms in on pregnant woman clutching small child by hand as she tries to outrun malevolent hoardes of shuffling zombies brandishing copies of ‘The Contented Little Baby’ and attempting to thrust poisoned dummies in her child’s mouth.
All right, all right. So I got a bit carried away. But you must know what I mean. It’s all those strangers stroking your pregnant tum without invitation. It’s the scowls you get if you’re spotted drinking a glass of wine. It’s being told that you should have started solids by now! It’s the tutting that your child is too warmly dressed – or not dressed warmly enough (cos it’s always one or the other, sometimes both). It’s the man in the queue in M’n’S who told me, robustly, that I should bite my baby son good and hard because he’d just bitten his twin sister. ‘Go on! Hurry up and do it now! Quick or he won’t understand. Do it so it hurts, mind!’
I’m pretty sure you all know what I’m talking about, but if you want to read a truly brilliant post on the subject, let me direct you towards my good friend Mom-101 for her take on The Village.
And then I’d like to hear your experiences of this kind of thing and, more importantly, your comebacks. (Lurkers, delurk! Yes, that’s you I’m talking to!) Cos, y’know, I never did think of the right thing to say to that stupid biting man. Maybe that makes me the village idiot…