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“Okay guys, today I’m going to show you how to hold a baby. So, let’s say this is your baby, okay? Yes, Gregory, you have a question?
“No, Gregory, this isn’t your baby. This is a doll.Your baby is still inside your wife. Yes, that’s the lumpy bit in the middle. We went through this last week, Gregory; you might want to check your notes.
“Okay, going back to holding the baby. this way here is acceptable; like this is not acceptable, as it could damage the baby. Note the difference. Why don’t you take it in turns to practice? While you’re doing that I’ll go over some of the…sorry, what’s that Gregory?
“No, Gregory, as I said before, it’s a doll. It’s not moving because it’s a doll. It was never alive, Gregory.
“Look…please stop crying, Gregory.
“Okay, that’s better. Now, show me again how you were holding the baby - sorry, doll - just now, just before you thought you’d killed it. Okay class, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with the way Gregory is holding the baby?
“That’s correct Linda. The baby is upside down. Sorry Gregory, I know it’s not easy, but you’ll get the hang of it. This part is the head, and these things here are the legs. That’s better, now it’s the right way up. Excellent! Now, is Gregory holding the baby correctly now, class?
“Very good, Colin, that’s correct. Gregory is holding the baby by its neck, which is quite dangerous and could result in the baby losing consciousness.
“Oh God, Gregory, I told you before, it’s not dead, it’s a doll. I’m not going to call the police, it’s not a real…you know what? Class dismissed. I think we’ve all learned enough tonight. Let’s go home.
“Gregory, that’s not your wife, that’s a birthing ball.”
One thing I’ve come to learn about pregnancy is that there is a tendency for information resources to express your unborn baby’s size in terms of comparable fruit. Six weeks ago our child was the size of a grape. Three weeks ago, a lime. Last week, a lemon. Right now apparently my wife is carrying an apple inside her. The only reprieve from all this fruit was when, between the sizes of a lime and a lemon, our baby was “about as big as a medium shrimp.”
Thankfully for the less culinary-minded among us, many of these sites link to pictures of the foodstuffs we are now trying to measure in our head. Just in case we are becoming overly obsessed with whether my wife’s womb is currently harboring a Cox’s Orange Pippin, a Washed Russet or - God forbid! - a Nonnetit Bastard, there it is, removing all doubt: A Honeycrisp. Goodness.
I never really thought about measurement in this way before. Normally, if something is below a certain size, it’s enough to express it in inches, centimetres, feet or metres. You don’t usually go for the comparable objects unless you’ve got something above a certain size. Being British, I’m used to being told that something is “about the size of three double-decker buses” or has the area of “twelve football pitches.” I’m sure other nations have their own standards of comparative measurement; Giant Buddha Statues in the Temple of Nara, for example, or Donnie Wahlburgs.
The problem I have now is that preparing meals is becoming rather a traumatic experience. It’s fine and dandy to tell me that my offspring is currently the size of a lime, but try taking that image out of my head when it comes time to garnish the Pad Thai for dinner. Standing over the cutting board, knife in hand, small green fruit in front of me, I look like Brad Pitt at the end of Se7en when Morgan Freeman’s trying to talk him out of shooting Kevin Spacey. Do I really enjoy citrus fruit enough to cut what is essentially my own child into segments?
God help me if I’m asked to help with a fruit salad any time soon. I’ll probably start rocking back and forth in the foetal position on the kitchen floor, gibbering to myself and sobbing.
In a way, though, I remain curious each week as to what size my baby will be. It’s less out of interest in the development of my child, and more about what food he/she will now resemble. Will they ever be the size of a pomelo? Durian? Would the makers of the sites ever suggest that my child resembles an Ugli fruit? Would they dare? And should there ever be another week with no fruit for suitable comparable size, will they go back to the crustacean route? Will my baby ever be a langoustine?