I’ve been doing a spot of cleaning up lately and found a half empty bottle of glycerine in a bag that I must have once used as a nappy/everything bag at some point. If I had to come up with a picture to sum up my first year of motherhood it would probably be a glycerin bottle with a dummy in the top.
I know, I know. Neither of these things are great (but I never claimed to be perfect, or even good at this gig) and I bet there are people shaking their heads from their high horse about they never gave their kids dummies blah blah blah and wondering what the heck glycerine has to do with anything. Well, we would have been lost without it, so I’ll tell you a story about how a little orange topped bottle played such an important part in our early life as parents.
We had bottles, half bottles and back up bottles everywhere. The car, their bedroom, our bedroom, the kitchen, the pram caddy, EVERYWHERE.
First of all, here’s how we got started with the dummies. I took a packet of dummies to the hospital because I thought that is the kind of thing one did. The nurses weren’t keen on it and advised me against using them so I didn’t. On the last day of our stay, an experienced nurse told me ‘use a dummy if you want, just make sure they’re the cheap round ones’. So I threw the expensive orthodontic soothers out and jumped on the dummy bandwagon with gusto.
With so much gusto in fact that my Paddy’s namesake, my Uncle Paddy, joked that there must have been a sale on dummies we had so many of them. We really did. I know of people who thought that three dummies was an ample supply but we couldn’t get by without at least 20 a day. Collecting the spat out dummies and dunking them in boiled water was almost a full time job (I was beginning to realize why people didn’t give their babies dummies) and we couldn’t leave the house without a stash.
One time, when the boys were a few months old and we were visiting mum and dad, they were just cranky cranky cranky and would not settle (the boys that is) and mum said ‘can I just try something?’ Absolutely, I’m all for advice from those in the know. She whipped out a fairly ancient looking bottle of glycerine which had probably been hanging around since we were babies and smeared some on a dummy. Instant relief for everyone. From this moment on, I carried glycerine around like I once carried my Benson and Hedges, that is, everywhere and in bulk.
If one of them woke up, ‘try some glys (sic)’; when they were cranky in the car ‘where’s the glys?’; ‘can you get some glys on the way home? We’re down to 4 bottles.’ But as much as we were in love with this little bottle of serenity, we did keep it a bit of a secret because it’s not really the ‘done thing’. But it worked for us. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a mother, it’s that you should do what works for you.
Lots of mothers of a different generation saw the bottle and said ‘oh yeah we used that’ and that made me feel better because I know their kids and they have turned out really well and maybe the glys had some tiny part in that (maybe??). One mother of my generation even chased mum and I down the street to show us her bottle of glycerin and we were pretty wrapt to meet someone else in on the secret.
I don’t remember the last time I used glys on a dummy. Paddy weaned himself off the dummy and Bede only has it for a sleep now, sans glys. And they’re trooping along quite well so I don’t think it’s hurt them too much. I like to think that I’ve made up for it with all the organic food, extended breastfeeding, reading and classical music I’ve subjected them to.
For the record, I kept the half empty bottle of glycerin. I might be able to use it for a grandchild one day.