I’ve been glued to Twitter for the past couple of days. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’ve been enthralled by the Royal Birth. I can’t explain why. I wasn’t this fascinated when the miracle of Kimye Junior was bestowed upon the world. Perhaps it’s because I’m a die-hard Monarchist? Perhaps it’s because I had a crush on Prince William for 3 weeks when I was 15? Perhaps there’s another reason I haven’t yet figured out yet? (My mind is a very cluttered place right now – seriously, a thought couldn’t move in there without bumping some dusty old memory off a table and breaking it.)
There has been a lot of talk (mainly from my Husband, the evil Republican who believes that Australia’s Head of State should be a president) that the Royal Baby is no more special than any other baby. I have to say, I kinda agree with him. (But not about the whole “Australian President” thing.)
Call me cold-hearted, unsentimental, uncaring or just really fucking weird – but I don’t think any baby or child is special. Special to their parents and loved ones, absolutely. But not special-special. (You know what I mean, don’t you?)
If Husband and I have a baby, I don’t expect it to be a huge event. I don’t expect to be showered with gifts. I don’t expect my own Twitter hashtag. I don’t actually expect anyone to care (apart from Husband, obviously). Having a baby is nothing special. It’s a biological function. It happens thousands of times a day in Australia.
I’ve been noticing, as more and more people I know have children, that many parents are trying to make their children special. Not just special to them, but special to everyone. A baby is no longer called by it’s name – it’s Princess Georgia or Prince Joshua. The baby gets its own (very expensive) photoshoot with its own designer wardrobe. (And don’t get me started on the quarterly professional photoshoots many children now get!) Birthday cakes are elaborate affairs involving at least six layers, two different kinds of frosting and a three-figure pricetag and the associated birthday party has its own party-planner. The child has a FaceBook page, a blog and a brand before it can even talk.
Why? Why are parents trying to make their children super-special? Is it a need for attention? A desire to be seen as being a better mum or dad than other parents they know? Maybe a need to have a child who is popular or perfect or both? Or is it simply to give their child a better childhood than they had? (And if that’s the case, I don’t think throwing more money at a child means they have a better childhood.)
If we have a baby, I don’t want the child to be special to anyone except those that love it and want it to be special to them. Perhaps I really am unsentimental or cold-hearted. Or perhaps pregnancy hormones haven’t kicked in and marinated my brain to the point where I believe my child will grow up to become a super-popular super-star super-special kid?
If kids are in our future, then we plan on giving our child a fairly normal (to us) childhood – I plan on baking unelaborate birthday cakes myself. I plan on us using our trusty old camera to capture the candid moments of our child’s life. I don’t plan on allowing them to have a FaceBook account until they are well into their teenage years. I definitely don’t have a logo and brand in mind for them.
Parental love and affection aside, a child is not special simply because they were born. A person becomes special by doing something special with their life.
PS: Did anyone else find the Duchess of Cambridge’s choice of frock as she left the hospital slightly eerie?