A really cute dog.
When I was pregnant with my eldest child this is, word for word, the best advice I got. And upon you, expectant mother, I wish to bestow it.
“Babies are like dogs. They can smell fear.”
On one level, this is a mildly offensive statement. ‘How-dare-you-compare-my-perfect-delicious-and-as-yet-unborn-child-to-your-old-snivelling-stinky-bull-terrier.’
And yet, it’s 100% true. After giving birth, I quickly discovered that the times my baby was most upset was also when I was most upset. The times my baby was calmest was also when I was calmest. In other words, my baby smelt my fear and responded in the only way he knew how.
While I was pregnant with my second late last year, I reflected on this pearl of wisdom, and realised that babies and toddlers are in fact exactly like dogs in many other ways.
So, allow me to share some of the wisdom of dog rearing that you can apply to your parenting.
1. Yes. Babies really can smell fear.
And actually, I reckon science will back me up here. Babies are sentient beings. All they have to go on is pure instinct. If they can sense any stress on your part they respond in kind. You gotta chill out to get the baby to chill out. One obstetrician I spoke to said there were studies that showed calm parents usually had calm babies.
2. You have to take kids out for a walk.
Especially little boys. At least once a day. They go a little crazy cooped up in the house. They need to get out and work off a little energy. (You’ll thank me for this in the middle of afternoon nap time.)