I panicked feeling unprepared for parenthood at 38 weeks and took a tree identification course to help me be the kind of parent I wanted to be. What a plonker!

(104 Posts)
nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:00:25

DH and I were remembering the other day that we were so worried that we weren't ready to become parents and we didn't know enough to pass on to our unborn child.

I promptly booked us onto a tree identification walk in a local ancient woodland and spent the day filling our heads with information we could teach our child.

I was so pregnant I didn't fit through the kissing gate and they had to open up the big farm gate for my waddling self.

He'll be 5 this week and has still never asked us about particular types of trees.

His favourite tree is 'a green one'.

The other day he spent hours quizzing us on killer whales and DH said, 'Can't you ask us about trees?'

I'm really really hoping somebody else is going to come along and tell me what stupid things they felt necessary to being a prepared parent so I don't feel quite so silly.

At least you did something to prepare you for parenthood. I was so focused on the whole pregnancy and childbirth thing that I never gave a thought to the fact that at the end of the process there would be a real live person. That I would be looking after. A few hours after DD1's birth reality struck when her nappy needed changing and I realise that, incredibly, I was going to have to do it. All by myself. I don't think I had ever even handled a nappy before. It took me a few goes before I realised how to tell which was the front.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:13:20

DH was concerned that the baby clothes all said, 'keep away from fire' on them. He expected fire retardant suits in case of an accident. Arf.

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:29:11

Ha ha.

Trying to think if I did anything stupid like that?

Nope grin

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:31:36

Think cuntwhacker, think.

You must have done something to prepare that was completely pointless or a little bit premature!

thumbwitch Tue 29-Sep-09 00:34:54

dragon, that is priceless. Never mind, by the time he's 7 it might come in handy!
I don't think I did anything like that at all - I even gave up on any pg books because I couldn't be arsed.

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:34:57

oh yes, pointless things - I bought a nappy wrapper.

Does that count?

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:37:37

well i never bought a nappy wrapper!

[tongue sticking out emoticon]

thumbwitch Tue 29-Sep-09 00:40:46

wassat then? I bought hardly anything, but I did go a bit poncetastically pfb and bought an organic cocofibre mattress with organic matted wool protector and cotton sheets - almost everything else was given to us or we got free or at bargain price through carboot sales etc.

Still, glad I did it cos DS was the most overheating baby ever - and if he'd been on any kind of artificial foam he would have been even worse.

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:40:55


I can sell you mine if you like?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:44:37

ah yes, stockpiling classic books is exactly the same sort of thing.

we have a roald dahl box set. perfectly untouched.

when do they start enjoying being read to, with proper long stories?

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:44:39

oh, that remonds me. when I went for my 12 week scan, I took the instructions to have a full bladder a bit too seriously and drank a 2 litre bottle of water just before going in.

Not only did it mean I nearly pissed myself as soon as the sonographer pressed down on me, but there was so much fluid in my bladder they couldnt see through it the baby!

thumbwitch Tue 29-Sep-09 00:45:40

oh no! I have stockpiled lots of beautiful classic books as well - the full Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter etc.; plus the modern Thomas the Tank Engine books - I hope DS will get into them or I'll be forcing him to read them or else really upset!
I expect I'll be all right with the Thomas books, not so sure about the others...

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:46:04

2 litres! grin

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:50:18

I nested furiously too.
I even organised all the batteries in the house into size order.

Babies appreciate that sort of thing.

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:50:47

Oh yes. A whole 2 litre bottle.

The relief when the sonographer told me I'd have to empty my bladder before she could continue with the scan was immense! I was worried the moment of seeing baby for the first time would be ruined by me pissing all over the scanning couch.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:53:27

I'm off to bed. I fully expect for my stupidity to be trumped by the next time i log on.

Good luck with that! smile

CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:53:42

Oh yes, the nesting. I sorted out all of DH's shit into labelled boxes.

Over the years it has deteriorated back to its original state, but his shed is still full of platic boxes labelled such as:
"screws: 1 inch"
"screws: 3 inches"
"rawlplugs for plasterboard"



CuntWhacker Tue 29-Sep-09 00:54:41

and no, your stupidity on the Tree identification will not be trumped by me grin


nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 00:55:36


i'm not alone, thanks grin

Clary Tue 29-Sep-09 01:02:21

dragonbutter those roald Dahl will come in very soon, don't worry.

I actually think RD is to read to yourself, not to be read to. When he's about 7 or 8 I would say.

I did lots of daft things I am sure; when pg with DS1 I refused to eat chocolate, maybe thinking it would mean he wouldn't like it (doh)

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 11:29:20

hmm, i'm assuming that didn't work. smile

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 17:30:11

i was fairly confident this would have been trumped by now! was i really the most unrealistic pregnant woman ever?

Not quite the same, but I insisted on going to work to lead a tree course whilst 39 weeks pregnant to prove that being a mother would not change my commitment to my job hmm. DD had bloody better like trees!

LadyoftheBathtub Tue 29-Sep-09 17:48:01

I became obsessed with the gaps in the grouting in our kitchen and at 4o weeks pg was desperately (and extremely badly) trying to re-grout/repair them. I remember saying to baffled DP "I don't mind about anything else but we cannot have a baby with the grouting not done!!!"

However, although I have pretty good general knowledge and am good at answering a lot of the quastions I get from DS, I feel I'm pretty crap at identifying trees - I can only do about 3. I'm pg again, that course sounds like a good idea...

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 17:53:53

I am particularly quick to identify an Ash.

sarah293 Tue 29-Sep-09 17:55:51

Message withdrawn

FabBakerGirlIsBack Tue 29-Sep-09 17:57:11

I have bought mine all the Famous 5 books, some of the Secret 7, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas sets, Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter (from great nanny) and the kids love them.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 17:59:12

The day he finally asks me about trees is going to be a fine day indeed. grin

scrappydappydoo Tue 29-Sep-09 18:09:55

Oh I practiced putting nappies on a doll and then practiced strapping said doll into the car seat (made dh do it as well).

Kinda related - when looking for a pushchair I thought I'd found the perfect pushchair went to the store and I couldn't collapse it - I burst into tears sobbing loudly I'd make a terrible mum cos I couldn't even work a pushchair. Dh escorted me from the shop and banned me from pushchair shopping for a month

sarah293 Tue 29-Sep-09 18:14:46

Message withdrawn

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 18:24:59

have they got lights on? and a star on top?

PortBlacksandResident Tue 29-Sep-09 18:34:27

I didn't buy a baby monitor because my baby would be with me all the time and it was just lazy parenting hmm.

Of course he was born blue and i made DMum rush out to get an Angel Monitor with sensor pad straight away grin.

Weegle Tue 29-Sep-09 18:39:59

I was actually mostly 'normal' and 'level headed' in my first pregnancy... however, we live in the South East and DS was due summer 06 - anyone remember the threats of water shortages and stand pipes... because I took them seriously and stockpiled over 200 litres of cheap bottled water because I couldn't possibly cope with breast-feeding a newborn with no water, and having to go to a stand pipe...

we never had the water switched off grin and most of the water ended up back down the drain when we moved...

pointydoug Tue 29-Sep-09 18:49:03

lol @ tree course

lobsters Tue 29-Sep-09 19:22:37

I wish I'd done a tree course after DD picked 2 berries off the tree in the front garden and popped them in her mouth, and I had no idea what the tree was. I'm jealous.

I do have classic Winnie-the-Pooh books ready though

cleanandclothed Tue 29-Sep-09 19:42:21

I think a tree identification course is great! I am always ashamed of myslef walking around that I don't have the botanical knowledge that my parents and grandparents have. Bet you anything you do use it in the future!

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 22:33:05

i love the mix of reactions here.
some think it's pretty cool others and dying laughing at my stupidity.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 22:33:53

are not and.
should have taken a grammar course instead.

morningpaper Tue 29-Sep-09 22:36:25

I took golf lessons

I thought "My last few months of freedom to learn something new!"

So I panicked and chose golf


nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 22:36:57



Horton Tue 29-Sep-09 22:38:12

I love your tree course. I was mainly too busy making curtains in late pregnancy to care about trees. Of course, DD has barely ever slept in her room so it really wouldn't matter if it had curtains or not.

It's the leap from "don't know enough" to "tree identification" which beamuses me.

Just he usual here, I think - insisting on every aspect of LOs room being perfect - DH later asked why, given that he didn't sleep in it for 6 months (he wasn't stupid enough to ask why at the time).

Before #2 I half-obliterated the peach coloured paint in the downstairs loo. It remains half-obliterated 3 years later blush

They don't do 'Everything you ever needed to know about Fairies' courses do they? No they bloody don't.

So I appologise if you where in H&M on saturday and a deranged woman hissed loudy at her DS while simultaniously pulling her hair out "do I look like a bloody fairy to you? I don't KNOW how they manage to fly and hold the bloody pound coin at the same time, I don't know how small they are, and I DON@
'T know the words of the spell they use, I am not a fairy,OK?"

I was at the end of my tether blush

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 29-Sep-09 22:44:24

I would really appreciate an evening class in dinosaurs and space exploration now.

OMDB the answer to all fairy-related questions is for them to write a letter and ask.

Then you make someone else (DH?) deal with the correspondance - which at least will not have to be done in the middle of H&M.

..or google it (DS's answer to everything) but you would have to be pretty confident of your parental controls to allow that one.

sarah293 Wed 30-Sep-09 08:50:31

Message withdrawn

Doodlez Wed 30-Sep-09 08:53:12

Oh God, that's brilliant!

I looked up Long Division because I knew I couldn't fathom it when I was a child so what help could I be to my unborn?! That said, I figured with calculus, he/she were on their own! blushgrin

Doodlez Wed 30-Sep-09 08:58:19

There is NOTHING wrong with Golf! angry

Stealth I like the idea of writing a letter, it would at least buy me time. Wish I had thought of that in H&M hmm

Wonder what wikipedia has to say about tooth fairies?

MrsBadger Wed 30-Sep-09 11:36:50

I don't think I was especially mad

but I did make DH test his sling with a 2kg bag of spuds - wish I'd taken a photo now...

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 12:58:07

Doodlez, you swotted up on long division while you were pregnant! ROFL!

That's got to be on a par with tree identification surely.

ToffeeCrumble Wed 30-Sep-09 13:29:59

LOL. The thread title really made me laugh. Funnily enough i recently bought books on trees and wildflowers as i wanted to be able to tell my girls the names of trees and wildflowers like my grandpa used to tell me. Mine are 2 and 5 though. Funny that you did it when you were pregnant.
I assumed my recent purchase of tree and wildflower books were yet another sign that i am becoming middle aged!

phlossie Wed 30-Sep-09 13:44:30

I thought 'tree identification course' was going to be a sort of course where you identify what sort of parent you'll be according to your family tree, eg I'm an Ash because I'm tall and a bit flaky... hmm (I grew up in Glastonbury.) But it was an actual course where you identified actual trees. Brilliant.

I organised our book shelves into genre order... but mostly I was just obsessed with the birth, so did a crano-sacral massage therapy course, drank gallons of raspberry leaf tea, embalmed myself in clary sage oil, had reflexology etc etc. It was all pointless. After being induced, the birth was pretty quick and then I was left with a - dun-duh-dah - baby shock. I had no idea what to do with him. But at least I knew exactly where to find my parenting books. wink

mmrred Wed 30-Sep-09 13:48:41

I decided to 'have a practice' with a breast pump before the birth - do not try this!

Surfermum Wed 30-Sep-09 13:51:22

I remember crying because I couldn't remember any nursery rhymes past the first couple of lines and would therefore be a crap mum, then taking myself to the local charity shops to find a book.

I did take nesting to an extreme, tidied my desk and someone else's at work, reorganised the kitchen cupboards, reorganised the bookshelves & got rid of a load of books...
DD is 12 days old and has mentioned how wonderfully the kitchen cupboards are organised already!

oh but DH recently bought 2yo DS a birthday present - a huge book on dinosaurs (it has pictures labelled 'actual size') and one on space
DS not really allowed to touch them as he'll rip the pages and they were expensive

bran Wed 30-Sep-09 13:57:03

I need to do that tree ID course. DS is 5 and is forever asking me the names of trees. My mother is a great horticulturist so I'm looking forward to when we move closer to her and I can just say "Ask Granny".

I have blocked foolish pre-child notions from my mind. The only one I can remember is saying "but my child won't eat in the car" when my brother recommended leather seats in my new car. grin

Hassled Wed 30-Sep-09 14:01:52

I read the thread title and thought it was going to be some sort of voodoo/indigo child thing - that if you hugged an oak it would make you a better parent. I think the truth is much funnier .

But when I was about 8 I was OBSESSED with identifying trees. I didn't need to see the leaf - I could tell by the outline. I had loads of tree books and bitterly resented my mother's lack of interest and knowledge. You would have been my Ideal Mum, dragonbutter .

vacaloca Wed 30-Sep-09 14:06:20

I bought loads of children's books in Spanish to read to my bump - in preparation for the baby to come out bilingual. I read fuck all.

MyNameIsURL Wed 30-Sep-09 14:19:17

<<ponders how MP could swing a golf club with a swollen pregnant belly>>

TheMitsubishiWarrioress Wed 30-Sep-09 14:43:56

This is funny smile, but also DB, why not just share the knowledga anyway?

Going for a walk, pick a leaf and say 'hey DS, this is a x,y or z tree.

My DSS is currently studying Horticulture at PHD level as a result of early interest and encouragement in an interest in the natural world.

That is what knowledge is best for....sharing....

m1nky Wed 30-Sep-09 14:53:24

The first thing my friend did when she found out she was pregnant, was to go and buy a naughty step... that was probably a bit premature seeing as her kids nearly 18months and still hasn't used it!!

bran Wed 30-Sep-09 15:02:14

I didn't even know you could buy a naughty step. We just used, how can I describe it, a step. grin

m1nky Wed 30-Sep-09 15:52:26

my thoughts exactly haha but I'm too polite to say anything! wink

Fennel Wed 30-Sep-09 16:29:25

pmsl at buying a step. grin did she live in a bungalow?

I was in denial, babies weren't going to change us, oh no, so my main purchases in the pre-baby weeks were a new squash racket, a new bike, and we also devoted considerable time and money to digging a deep garden pond. While I was pregnant. (That caused lots of rows a couple of years later when I insisted that we fill it in again and DP refused)

artichokes Wed 30-Sep-09 16:59:05


I wrote my family history and life history in a book in case I died in childbirth and my baby never got to know me.

I read several books on "routine" parenting {Gina Ford etc) and several on Attachment Parenting (Sears etc). I then made an excel table and noted the plus and minus points for both techniques. DH was made to study said table for several hours ahead of a conversation about what kind of parents we should be. The conversation proved inconculsive so several friends were invited to add their opinions after studying the table sent to them via e-mail. None of these friends had any kids yet - thankfully they were very patient and polite about it all.

muminthecity Wed 30-Sep-09 18:09:14

I found out at my 20wk scan that I was having a girl. After the scan I left the hospital, marched down the King's Road and promptly spent over £1000 on beautiful little embroidered dresses, skirts, tops and shoes (yes, shoes, about 5 pairs blush) all in Newborn sizes. As it turned out, DD was a whopper and went straight into size 0-3 months, and lived in a babygro for about 6 months so never wore any of the clothes I bought. I couldn't even take them back because I'd already removed all the tags and washed everything.

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 19:14:13

Oh I wrote letters to my unborn too.

The final letter was written when he was 6 months old.

It read, 'Seriously, we need you to sleep, properly, ALL NIGHT! Thankyou' angry

Lancelottie Wed 30-Sep-09 20:54:01

OK, Artichokes, your Excel parenting spreadsheet gets my top vote...

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 20:57:56

... you emailed it to your friends.


did you do a powerpoint presentation?

southeastastra Wed 30-Sep-09 21:00:36

grin i thought it was a 'what sort of tree would you be' course too.

i don't think i could identify an ash shock

MmeLindt Wed 30-Sep-09 21:04:45

I bought a book about trees in a panic about not being able to tell an ash from my elbow.

Still upstairs, unopened.

I say, "Ask Grandad" so DD now takes photos to email to Grandad if we cannot answer her questions.

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 21:06:00

It's not too late guys.

Getting to know conifers weekend!!!

let all your ante-natal friend know!


I wanted dd to hear classical music while I was pregnant. But I don't really like the stuff. So while I watched crap interesting things on telly I put headphones with lovely music playing on my belly.

Poor kid, I'm surprised she didnt turn out half deaf!

opinionatedmother Wed 30-Sep-09 21:12:13

erm. nope. did if anything too little prep - my lounge was still bare plaster & floorboards until a week before due date and everything was about getting that finished.

i bought a large tv and a laptop. this proved to be sensible. still don't have a baby monitor (am of a philosophical bent - if its yelling and i can't hear it, is there a problem?)

was bought a fork & spoon by a friend which DD has just started using aged 2.

IdrisTheDragon Wed 30-Sep-09 21:13:54

From reading the title of the thread I thought it was going to be a course with a tree diagram that would identify what sort of parent you would be.

I am sure I did daft things while pregnant. Sadly having given birth to two children has made my brain unable to remember any of them....

IdrisTheDragon Wed 30-Sep-09 21:14:03

From reading the title of the thread I thought it was going to be a course with a tree diagram that would identify what sort of parent you would be.

I am sure I did daft things while pregnant. Sadly having given birth to two children has made my brain unable to remember any of them....

almondfinger Wed 30-Sep-09 21:17:39

Love the spreadsheet!!!

I sang a comfort song to the bump at every opportunity (when I was alone) so that when it was born I could sing it and it would, you know, comfort them. It never worked, she has never shown an ounce of recognition when I sing said song! Incey wincey bloody spider was what did the trick for a while and is still a firm favourite.

DH slept on the fleece for the buggy to scent it for comfort. It smelt of wool.

I've been thinking about a book on trees, but also mushrooms (in case we ever decide to go forraging - currently live in Londonhmm) and birds.

YouLukaAmazing Wed 30-Sep-09 21:23:00

Message withdrawn

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 21:24:48

I sang bob marley to my bump in the hope that he would be born with dreadlocks. wink

although have to admit that was actually a good idea. when he was born very sick and in an incubator in NICU, they wouldn't let me hold him. I sang him the same bob marley song instead of cuddling him and he settled right down from tears.
(some of this hippy shit works you know)

almondfinger Wed 30-Sep-09 21:52:04

Awww, glad it works, ha ha at the dreadlocks.

Mine was Summertime and to be honest by the time she came even I was sick of it. Now she ggets fly me to the moon and dd2 loves it too.

I became crazed and manic when I hit eight months, sanded the floorboards of the stairs, upstairs hallway and baby's room, painted them all white (it looked CLEAN, you see), put together a massive flatpack chest of drawers, the cot, a tall bathroom cabinet, painted the bathroom. Totally unnecessary, we moved a year later and ds1 must have been in his room for all of six months....what a lunatic. Also Obsessively watched the baby whisperer on Discovery Channel and then agonised over not following her advice once ds1 was born.

Dragonbutter, I nosed at your profile, love your mosaics, they're fab grin

Am very impressed by the number of budding (sorry) tree enthusiasts that this thread has revealed.

Would be very happy to exchange tree identification tips for advice on how to entertain a stroppy 10 month old who can already outwit me at nappy changing time!

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 22:20:16

why thankyou geraldine.

i'be been formulating a new design in my head tonight. i love this stage of a mosaic.

pushmepullyou, if you have an old mobile phone or dont mind giving him/her yours to hold, thats the only thing that used to work with my champion nappy anarchist. They are so delighted at getting hands on forbidden object, they forget to struggle....

Dragonbutter, how exciting, whats the next one to be of, or is it a secret?

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 30-Sep-09 22:28:55

not sure yet top secret

penona Wed 30-Sep-09 22:29:54

Oh my, the excel spreadsheet of parenting styles is just the funniest thing I have read in ages.

Do you still have it? Could you post it for us? Oh, and what style did you decide to go with?!?!

Thank you for making my night.

morningpaper Thu 01-Oct-09 13:59:17

> <<ponders how MP could swing a golf club with a swollen pregnant belly>>

<cough> well my instructor spent a lot of time with his arms around me holding the golf club, telling to stick my arse out FURTHER to get the bump out of the way

Honestly it was terrible

DownyEmerald Thu 01-Oct-09 15:01:51

I can sense a business opportunity here:

wildflower/butterfly/fairy/dinosaur/stars and planets/truck identification for the modern parent

how much --could I get away with-- should I charge do you think?

DownyEmerald Thu 01-Oct-09 15:02:34

now why didn't that work?

back to work!

nevergoogledragonbutter Thu 01-Oct-09 21:07:24

i did attempt to join a barbershop quartet choir while pregnant with DS2 and was told I couldn't possibly sing properly with a huge baby in my tum. Something to do with lung expansion.
But the teacher never copped a feel MP.

LOL oh stop it with your barbershop quartet choir, that's hillarious!! grin

DungeonButter Thu 01-Oct-09 22:11:49

i'm not even nearly joking geraldine.

I love a good hobby me. grin

lol I am loving your hobbies grin

weliveonpastaandtoast Sat 03-Oct-09 21:35:15

Oh, I love this thread, I got really anxious about tree identification when pregnant too but settled for lots of unopened well-cared-for spotter guide books...

roundwindow Sun 04-Oct-09 08:49:20

Haven't read the whole thread but just wanted to say grin grin grin to OP, that's the best laugh I've had all weekend!

Can't trump the tree identification course but am thinking about daft baby gear purchases which I suppose can put me firmly next door to you in plonker-land (this must have been done on another thread) Towelling change-mat cover from the White Company anyone? you can imagine what happened the first and last time I used that grin

ApplesinmyPocket Sun 04-Oct-09 09:03:12

Haha, nice one, Dragon! A tree-identifcation course - best one I've heard!

I don't think I'll take a leaf out of your book, though. People would think I was barking mad.

(Might be some tree puns left for someone else, branch, roots, nuts, etc.)

lljkk Sun 04-Oct-09 09:56:15

ROFL at Morningpaper and the Golf.
All I can remember is that I intended to go volunteer in nurseries for a few weeks before the birth, because I knew had no practical experience whatsoever in caring for babies. This was 10 years ago, and maybe I would have been accepted as a volunteer back then (in reality, I decided to sit on the sofa, eat lots of chocolate and generally enjoy brooding).

Can you imagine getting a volunteer job at a nursery today, the leaps and hoops of getting CRB checked and suitable-person vetted?

DungeonButter Mon 05-Oct-09 12:34:58

Yay! We made it into the roundup.

Still waiting for the day i make it into the round up for saying something ridiculous rather than just being ridiculous. but hey ho.


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