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Carol Perkins: Royal baby

Every child born is a royal one to its family, Carol Perkins notes, in this column which tells what a difference progress has made in the business of babies.
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: If I didn't have a dog, I wouldn't have a dog

By Carol Perkins

The royal baby's arrival has certainly made a splash around the world. By now even the most isolated dweller has likely received the news. Even though the coverage may be a little over the top, some of us can't resist watching. I can't think of a single person in the United States who could have a baby and the "world" would party. Probably the birth of Lisa Marie Presley was the most anticipated of any birth I have lived to see so far, but I don't begrudge citizens a reason to party.

In thinking about this new baby boy, who was born on my nephew's birthday, I thought of the day our first child was born and the thrill of becoming a new mother and bringing home baby girl (who had a name before she was born) to our apartment with the baby bed in the spare bedroom. There was no nursery with Winnie the Pooh wallpaper. I didn't know any couple whose child had a nursery. The baby bed usually ended up in the parents' room.

Like the royal baby, our firstborn had no Pampers. Unlike the royal baby, cloth diapers were the only choice we had. In the mid sixties, I had never heard of Pampers. The feel of cloth diapers might have been soft on the baby's bottom, but they were mountains of trouble. Changing the baby quickly was a necessity to prevent diaper rash. Keeping those diapers washed and folded was a full time job, and I didn't know anyone who had a nursery maid to help. Carla's diapers were housed in a pink diaper holder that fit over the back of the baby bed. A happy sight was when the holder was full. The diaper pail was also a constant source of anxiety because it didn't take long for the aroma from the pail to consume a house.

A young mother back then did not own an "automatic" washer or dryer. She usually went to a Laundromat. Until laundry day, diapers were washed by hand. Seeing a line of white diapers swaying on clotheslines was a common sight and the sign of a mother's hard work.

By the time our son arrived, Pampers were just beginning to be sold locally, but were very expensive. When a relative came to visit and brought a package of Pampers, I was thrilled. I would save them for church or some public place. It wasn't long until many mothers were foregoing eating out or going to the beauty shop in order to buy Pampers or Huggies. Out went the rubber pants!

Among the talking points has been how the baby will be brought up. Will the parents be hands on or leave the baby to a nanny? Guy and I had no plan as to how to bring up either of our children. Basically, we winged parenthood like everyone else we knew. We had no choice but to be hands on. There were only four hands in the room. Having someone else to get up at night, feed the baby, change the diapers, rock and sing "You Are My Sunshine" was not an option. That is not to say we wouldn't have liked a little relief, but those up and down nights created a strong bond.

Every child born is a royal one to his family as is evident by the waiting rooms crowded with grandparents waiting for the news. Aunts and uncles come to pinch cheeks and figure out whom the child resembles, siblings are in awe of the new creature that has invaded their space, and local newspapers publish the birth announcement. All births are celebrated within a community or a neighborhood, but the royal baby's neighborhood just happens to take in the world. - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2013-07-28 05:39:37
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