I was recently blessed with my first grandchild. He is now eight months old, bright, jovial and a pure joy to have around. His smile could bring a strong man to his knees. However, amid all the niceties, a conundrum rears its ugly head.I have always assumed, and rightly so, that when the statement “slept like a baby” is used, it means that one enjoyed a good night’s rest. I think the person that coined this phrase suffered from severe narcolepsy and was never awake to see the reality of his statement.
In truth, if someone asks you how you slept, and you respond “Like a baby!” it means you were up every two hours for at least thirty minutes at a time. You probably didn’t get in bed until after 11 p.m. and you were up in the morning by 5 a.m.
I’ll give you parents with newborns a moment to ponder the statement before I proceed.
Since we’re on the subject of babies, let’s explore another popular statement: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” The most accepted explanation behind this saying goes that long before immersive baths were considered an important daily routine, one family shared a single basin full of hot water, starting with the father. By the time the baby’s turn came around, the water was so polluted with grime there was a fear of losing the infant in the filthy bath.
In actuality, this phrase is German in origin and is purely metaphorical. It is used to caution one against undoing or destroying the entirety of something due to a single imperfection.
I have saved the most difficult for last. “Smooth as a baby’s bottom” and “easy as taking candy from a baby.” As we delve deeper into these most challenging sayings, we find that “smooth as a baby’s bottom” is used because a baby’s bottom is smooth. Likewise, “easy as taking candy from a baby” is used because taking candy from a baby is easy.
As we wind down our journey through these time-honored sayings, for once I don’t plan to tie them back to my writing. I will, however, wonder how so many different authorities with different ideas all writing books about raising children can be right. The more I think about this, the more my headache grows.
I think I’ll just go snuggle my grandson some more.