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Hard to take.

Hard to take. Photo: Quentin Jones

If you've ever had a smartphone pushed in your face by a parent scrolling through pictures of their child on a jumping castle, you'd know it can be as interesting as Kevin Rudd's concession speech with the volume turned down.

The generosity of digital photography means we are now treated to frame by frame variations of junior eating a slice of cake, where only the breathless parent and a clay animator can spot the difference between shot one and 26.

If you're a parent with a modicum of self-awareness, you probably limit the frequency and duration with which you impose kiddie pics on people other than immediate relatives.

However, even grandmas and uncles have a threshold of tolerance for slideshows of your sweetpea because, let's face it, the only individual even remotely as fascinated by your child is the other person who contributed their DNA.

Being able to talk to your husband, wife or partner about how wonderful your offspring is, is one of life's perfectly harmless, endlessly joyous indulgences, yet many parents take it for granted until the opportunity is removed.

A friend of mine who recently went through an ugly divorce is enduring the nightmare parenting arrangement of her bitter husband planting the kids on his front step for picks-ups.

He refuses to partake in any form of communication with her, even on issues solely concerning the children's welfare. He certainly won't discuss how beautiful their son's eyes are or the cute way his daughter taps her bottom lip in concentration when choosing an ice cream.

My friend doesn't mourn the relationship but says she desperately misses having someone to share those observations, anecdotes and silly photographs.

"Talking about it with other parents, even my mum and dad, it's just not the same. No one else gets your children quite like their father," she says.

Having experienced a separation, I know the one subject my ex and I are never at risk of disagreeing about is our daughter's intelligence, kindness, good-manners, gentle nature, sense of humour, ridiculous dancing, gorgeous smile ... you know, the list goes on.

Neither of us tires of sharing photographs and stories about our delicious child because we thankfully understand we're the only two people on the planet who'll never get bored of it.

Despite all the other conflict and static we've experienced, we've managed to keep this one commonality sacrosanct and I daresay it brings my ex as much wonder and joy as it does me.

As most parents know, child-rearing can be an enormously time-consuming, at times exhausting responsibility and even the best marriages and relationships can find reasons to argue about trivialities.

Occasionally there's resentment or hostility about differing attitudes and styles of parenting that can cloud even the enjoyment of having produced a wonderful little person.

Wherever this is the case, it's my sincere hope parents fight to keep at least this one above-mentioned channel of communication open with each other.

There's just something ancient and magnificent being able to laugh about your kid's poop, running style or superhero impersonation with the other person who created them.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

10 comments

  • Kiddies are such a blessing in relationships.... I am glad Mr De Brito that you can experience such joy and wonder and share it with the mother of your child! May you continue to gush at your child's achievements..no matter how trivial they may seem to the outside world....

    Commenter
    There is true love
    Date and time
    October 15, 2013, 6:29PM
    • There's a lot of negativity towards kids and 'breeders' in general on SMH so I'm pleased to see this positive affirmation of kids and parenting. It really is the most amazing experience and I really enjoy the complexity of emotions I've had as a result of having kids.

      Commenter
      iron maiden
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 15, 2013, 7:09PM
      • I've got a vid of the little guy doing one of his first rolls. Even months on there are times when I just can't stop watching it.

        Having said that I can't stand it when parents pollute their Facebook page with endless baby shots. Worse still when they actually change their profile pick to a picture of their little one.

        Commenter
        Nyd
        Date and time
        October 15, 2013, 7:46PM
        • That's correct. The only option is to unsubscribe from their feed. Have a new mother as a friend? Get ready to unsubscribe from day 2. Otherwise you're just going to grow to resent them.

          And new mothers, get a clue. I'm a new parent and I certainly understand that people can't stand seeing endless pics of your kids.

          Commenter
          Dabug
          Date and time
          October 15, 2013, 10:41PM
        • @ Dabug

          I don't mind it when new parents (or old parents, for that matter) put up endless photos of their children, not in the slightest. Don't even mind the constant anecdotes - unless they stray into toilet territory, in which case it's STFU Parents material.

          The part that bothers me is when they put up a post along the lines of how worthless their lives were/ how they didn't know what love was/ how they weren't really adults/ how they never understood the meaning of life until they had children. Then smugly declare to any non-parents who might disagree that we "just don't understand".

          That, and one woman of my acquaintance who advertised on FB for a new home for her dog, because "we don't have time for him now that little (baby boy) is here". Frankly unbelievable!

          Commenter
          Red Pony
          Date and time
          October 16, 2013, 1:32AM
        • Don't subscribe in the first place. FB and the like is a waste of time and so grandstanding.
          Go find some real time and real pleasures rather than sharing two second sound bites and a few selfies,
          Who's going to remember those moments in 29 years!

          Commenter
          No thanks
          Date and time
          October 16, 2013, 2:33AM
        • @Red Pony
          Those who say they never knew what love was etc will hopefully get over it in a few years and be a bit embarrassed by themselves and their hyperbole. I remember when a close relative had her first child and it was scary to see how a generous social justice minded person suddenly became ruthless and selfish on behalf of her child. No one (including her parents) was more important then her parenting and frankly she was a bit terrifying. Now that she has had a bit of time and more kids, the warm generous person has come back again and she's a great mum teaching her kids to be kind, generous and polite.

          Commenter
          CityDweller
          Date and time
          October 16, 2013, 10:05AM
        • I've unfriended many people who put up loads of photos. One day an acquaintance uploaded 300 photos. I don't know how a supposedly busy mum has the time to do that and she was a constant offender prior to that. I often wonder what their husbands think.

          Commenter
          Bender
          Date and time
          October 16, 2013, 11:27AM
      • Babies are funny. My new wee niece is a cackle of a creature and has shown me a different side to my brother. She will also be my wee treasure that I will teach the ways of the world without the context of being a parent.
        Parents also need to keep in mind that their children are not precious creatures who should be allowed to run rampant and be praised for doing so. Children require boundaries and to be taught social behaviours so they don't end up being "one of those people" in their generation.
        Children are not glass. Children are not entitled to territory. Children are not unique like snowflakes. Children do not need to be rewarded for everything just because.
        Iron Maiden, I am not anti children. I am anti parent who believes I, and others, need to accept their child's behaviour regardless of how poor it is wherever they are.

        Commenter
        M
        Date and time
        October 15, 2013, 7:48PM
        • I'm glad you're not anti children. It wouldn't make attractive reading if you were.

          Commenter
          rudy
          Date and time
          October 16, 2013, 4:59AM
      Comments are now closed
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