Come on, come on, come on, big push, comeoncomeoncomeonCOMEON, push, come on screams fill the air from the other side of the room. One Born Every Minute is a thing on telly for people who have decided they want to expel their offspring before a national audience of three million brooding ladies and tolerant boyfriends. I'm neither a brooding lady nor a tolerant boyfriend; I'm nearly a husband, but I am pretty tolerant. Maybe I'm a bit broody too, but don't tell anyone I said that; it's embarrassing for a man to admit. "Broody" is a word usually only used to describe a woman who wants kids but I can see no shame in applying it to a man too. So at a push I may be a brooding-tolerant-nearly-husband, but I'm definitely not a lady-boyfriend. Glad we cleared that up. I'll hear no more about it.
A large portion of my job currently seems to involve listening to work colleagues talking about the pros and cons of lugging around a gestating foetus, and their methodological preferences with regards to de-wombing it. My role in this is to listen, or pretend to, while alternating my facial expression between understanding, impassive, shocked and embarrassed. I accomplish this with aplomb and with no extra charge. Occasionally I get distracted by a bee or a laser pointer and wander off, but I don't think anyone has noticed thus far. I just slip back into the discussion unnoticed, with a remark about birthing pools or breast feeding, and it's like I never disappeared in the first place.
When I have my own babies, forecast for 2013/14, they're be much more to it than just nodding my head and interjecting with the odd conversational bullet point. There's foot rubs and mixing formula milk. Measuring hot water for various mysterious purposes and wiping goo off body parts and household surfaces. Having panic attacks and running screaming out of play centres and into oncoming traffic. Buying baby stuff at inexcusably extortionate prices, using them for three months until the kid outgrows them, then mothballing them until the next child/spring-clean (whichever arrives first). That covers everything I think; if there's more to it I don't want to know. Unless I've missed anything important. It's ok to leave a baby on it's own for a couple of hours, right? As long as it's for something important like buying cigarettes? From a duty-free shop in an Australian airport?
Do babies come with a limited edition number and a certificate of authenticity?