If only I had £1 for every time somebody said this to me when they see Phoebe, I’d be a multi-millionaire by now. “Yes”, I say “yes she has, which is funny really when her dad is as bald as a coot”. I need to think up another one liner, even I’m getting bored of that one.
“You must have had terrible heartburn to have such a hairy baby”. No, no I didn’t. None at all. Actually I think maybe having heartburn would have been preferable to what it’s meant for me to have a baby who never went up higher than my naval, leaving me with an abdomen so stretched and destroyed I’m facing major surgery.
“Wow she looks much older than she is”. Yes, yes she does. She has the hair of a 3 year old and she’s pretty much at the top of the chart for her height and her thighs could provide shelter for an entire Sylvanian Family.
It would appear that a baby with hair is a real talking point. We get stopped everywhere we go. But do you know what? I could talk about that hair all day long with every person who stops me and never, ever get bored. You see, I’ve lucked out with one of the most sociable babies I have ever come across. She’s definitely more sociable than Artie was at her age, although he’s an absolute whirlwind now. She doesn’t have the easiest time of it. She struggles massively with pretty severe reflux and, despite passing the 6-month mark when “everything will get better, you’ll see”, it just seems to be getting worse. And yet she still has the biggest smiles for everyone who so much as glances in her direction. She is interested in what people are doing and what they have to say and I can see her visibly brightening people’s days as they interact with her. Rather like a kind of human PAT dog.
I was stopped in my tracks recently by a video a friend had posted on Facebook about the power of children to make friendships. Rather than question whether they should strike up a conversation, whether they would be considered strange or interfering, the children just started to chat. Just as Phoebe does when she smiles round at everyone she sees.
I can say from recent experience that a smile or a few kind words from a stranger can totally change the way your day goes. When Phoebe was a newborn, her reflux caused her so much pain that she would regularly be inconsolable during the brief public trips I had to make. I remember once, standing holding her in the middle of Waitrose screaming her head off and me, a hormonal mess sobbing along with her. And a lady just started talking to me, telling me about her children who were now grown up. She never mentioned Phoebe’s crying – or mine – she just helped me to regroup and then she was on her way.
Be that person who just says a few words. And if someone says a few words to you, remember you might be the only person they will speak to all day and you have the power to impact how their whole day goes.