Kate has this theory that new-born babies, aside from mostly looking like what babies look like, resemble mostly their fathers so that any disputes on paternity are cleared up quickly. Well, here is a side by side comparison of what I looked like at Harriet’s age compared with her.

It’s those powerful Scott genes at work. However, I’m a little worried: at some point she better stop looking like I did or we’ll need to rethink schooling options.

A different perspective

It’s something that Kate and I are doing together, but we’re clearly having very different experiences. I don’t think we’ve been so divergent since that time we saw Bowling For Columbine. But this time Marilyn Manson isn’t making a guest appearance.

We’re both caring for Harriet, but due to anatomical differences, we have different roles. Kate handles all of the feeding, while we share the playtime, and I do most of the settling.

Currently the breakdown in hours is something like this:

  • Sleeping – 14 hours
  • Feeding – 5 hours (including mid-feed nappy change)
  • Settling – 4 hours (including bath-time)
  • Play – 1 hour

There’s no play at night-time, and happily she requires minimal settling after midnight, so my participation is generally limited to civilised hours. However, Kate is involved 24/7.

The other aspect is that I’m involved to this level for only these weeks before I return to full-time work, while Kate is looking at doing this for months and months into the future. I’m hoping that at the six-week mark, when I go back to work, the most dependent and most unsettled parts of Harriet’s early life are behind us.

But we are living different lives here, despite spending all our hours together. I guess I wasn’t expecting that.

Birth notices are dead

Harriet in mittens
Harriet in mittens

Several days after the birth of our baby girl Harriet, I realised that I hadn’t bothered to put an announcement in the paper. This was shortly followed by the realisation that there was no point – her arrival had been SMS’d, telephoned, emailed, Flickr’d and Facebooked to pretty much everyone we think would care, so why bother putting it in print? It doesn’t seem that many years ago that you would typically have put this sort of thing in the paper, if only as a keepsake, so there’s been rapid change here.

I checked the newspapers for the last few days to see if anyone else had put in a birth notice for Harriet. Nope. Tellingly, I confirmed this by using the web search interfaces for both The Age and the Herald Sun. The online world really has replaced the printed world in this regard.

It was also clear that hardly anyone was putting their birth notices in the papers either. There are just a handful of such announcements, and their number is dwarfed by the volume of death notices, which have at least five times as many. Understandably the demographic that death notices are intended for is not as web-savvy as the demographic that puts in birth notices.

Another aspect to this is that not only is online the more “traditional” means of notification for today’s parents, but it’s significantly better than newspapers. You can’t tell people about your new kid without also providing pictures, based on the demand we received for photos when we were a bit slack about making them available. Newspapers have never supported large, colour prints of your baby, unless you were at least on the A-list. Or they were born on an auspicious day, such as new year’s day, or the day when the Federal Government commits to maternity leave. While online, you can provide almost limitness photos to sate even the thirst of the most eager relation.

But now the question – if a newspaper cutting isn’t available as a keepsake, for the child to look back on in years to come, what is the online equivalent?