As a nineties/noughties teen I loved (or rather – still love) Friends more than is probably acceptable. So did all my friends. It made us laugh, it made us cry, it made us feel better about ourselves and it taught us a lot of valuable life lessons. (Like, if you ever get stung by a jellyfish you should pee on yourself. I’ve got that one safely filed away in case the situation ever presents itself!)
Now, looking back on it as a parent myself, I can see it actually taught us a few timeless truths about parenting along the way, too. Here are 10 of the best things Friends taught us all about babies:
1. You must NEVER wake a sleeping baby!
This is a rookie mistake sometimes made by newbie parents. Rachel fall victim to this in The One Where Emma Cries. Phoebe warns her, “You must NEVER wake a sleeping baby“, but Rachel doesn’t listen. Emma wakes, she cries. And cries. And cries. And cries. The girls try everything to stop Emma crying. Nothing works.
“We already tried feeding her, changing her, burping her… oh try this one! GO BACK IN TIME AND LISTEN TO PHOEBE!”
Needless to say, if you make the same mistake that Rachel did you will only make it once because the minute you do you will regret it.
DON’T DO IT!!!
2. Parenting = Teamwork
As parents of babies, when things get tough remember to work as a team. This is especially true for the early days of parenthood.
Instead work as a team and support each other through the tough, sleep-deprived, unbearable crying, and repulsively smelly times. You’ll get there! And it will be so much easier to get through it if you stick together.
(And if you suspect someone isn’t pulling their weight, demote them to ‘end zone’ duty until they start to pull rank!)
3. Babies Create Mess
If you take care of a baby all day, it doesn’t matter if your home looks like a bomb’s gone off by the end of it. Just like Phoebe when she was left babysitting the triplets all by herself, you survived! So did the tiny human(s)! Result!
4. New Parent Paranoia
In your first few months as a parent you will probably find yourself worrying over EVERY LITTLE THING. It’s important to try and retain some sense of rationality, even when your brain is sending you into PANIC MODE.
So that means no calling people at 3 in the morning over the littlest of things. And no imagining the most ridiculous scenarios in times of stress, like Rachel did when her and Ross accidentally locked themselves out of their apartment leaving Emma sleeping inside…
Rachel: What if she jumps out of the bassinet?
Ross: Can’t hoId her own head up, but yeah, jumps.
Rachel: Oh, my God! I Ieft the water running!
Ross: You did not leave the water running. Please pull yourself together, okay?
Rachel: Did I Ieave the stove on?
Ross: You haven’t cooked since 1996.
Rachel: Is the window open? If the window’s open a bird couId fly in and…
Ross: My God, you know what? I think you’re right. Listen. A pigeon… No, wait, no… an eagle flew in, landed on the stove and caught fire!
The baby, seeing this, jumps across the apartment to the mighty bird’s aid. The eagle, however, misconstrues this as an act of aggression and grabs the baby in its talons.
Meanwhile, the faucet fills the apartment with water. Baby and bird, still ablaze, are locked in a death grip swirIing around the whirlpool that fills the apartment!
Rachel: Boy, are you gonna be sorry if that’s true.
5. Gender Confusion
Strangers may mistake your girl baby for a boy baby or your boy baby for a girl baby. If this kind of mix up causes your blood to boil and you fear you might do something regrettable make like Rachel and stick a gender-indicative bow on the baby’s head to avoid any issues.
Joey: Why does she have a pink bow taped to her head?
Rachel: Well, because if one more person says “what a cute little boy” I’m gonna whip them with a car antenna!
(And if anyone dares to ask, “Why did you put a pink bow on a boy?” they are clearly asking for it and you are within your rights to wallop them with said antenna.)
It is advisable to get your poor unsuspecting friends and family to agree to babysit before you give them the lowdown on your baby’s latest ‘challenging’ traits, just like Rachel did with Monica and Chandler in The One With the Blind Dates:
Rachel: Oh, you guys are gonna have so much fun! She’s at such a cute age. Oh, a couple things. Now that she’s eating solid food, she poops around the clock. And watch out for your hair, ’cause she likes to grab it. And oh, she’s also in this phase where if you leave the room, she screams bloody murder… Thanks, you guys. Have fun!
Chandler (reading the obituaries): Suddenly I wish I was reading my own name.
7. How to Make Your Baby Laugh
From the very first time you hear your baby laugh it becomes addictive finding ways to make them chuckle. It’s just the cutest sound ever!
However, they are little buggers and not necessarily the easiest crowd to get a laugh from. You may find yourself resorting to unusual tactics to lure out those gorgeous giggles. As Ross and Rachel found, Incy Wincy Spider just won’t cut it. Instead Baby Emma loved being serenaded with 90s rap song Baby Got Back, and nothing else would do.
(Of course – who doesn’t love a song all about a guy who likes to have sex with women with giant asses?!)
8. Baby’s 1st Birthday
Let’s face facts. Just like Rachel, you too will ultimately have to accept that nobody else give’s a tiny rat’s ass about your little one’s Big First Birthday party. Getting all the people you want to come is about as big a feat as getting all the other Eurovision countries to give the UK more than nil point. (Highly unlikely.)
To you, it’s the thing you’ve been mentally planning since your beautiful little baby was just days old. You’ve searched themes, cake designs, decorations, games, props, photo opportunities and everything else you can possibly think of to the very ends of Pinterest. You have a perfect vision of the big day in your mind. Then you start inviting people and your heart sinks when you realise that nobody else is even half as excited as you are. To them, it is just a child’s birthday party. If you’re especially unlucky your child’s birthday will fall in the months of August (peak holiday/wedding season) or December (wiped out entirely for festive plans). Eventually things become so messy you either face complete defeat and the prospect of looking back regretting that you never gave your child a first birthday party at all, or you decide to change the date of the party in order to have more than 2 guests.
Rachel: Wait, you can’t go away this weekend! It’s Emma’s birthday! We’re having a party.
Monica: Well, can’t you just have the party when we get back?
Rachel: No, that day won’t be her real birthday!
Chandler: Gee if only she were one and had no idea what the hell a birthday was!
You will still have a wonderful party. You need never tell your little cherub that it wasn’t on the actual day. And hopefully when your guests get there even the reluctant ones will enjoy it more than they expect. You’re providing food and alcohol, after all… what’s not to like?!
(And hopefully unlike Rachel and Ross you won’t end up with a photo of your child’s face adorning a cake shaped like a penis!)
9. Babies Poop a LOT.
“It goes 10 times a day? What are we feeding this baby, Indian food?!”
No, Rach. Babies are just pooing machines.
10. You will love your little baby more than ANYTHING
Like Ross says to Rachel early on in her pregnancy:
“In about seven months you’re gonna have something that you’re gonna love more than any guy you’ve ever gone out with. Just wait. Wait until the first time your baby grabs your finger. You have no idea.”
He was so right! For all the aches and pains, for the pregnancy that felt like it lasted 13 years, for the weeks (*ahem* MONTHS) of so little sleep you feel like you’re actually being tortured, for the projectile public poo incidents, for the days of colic (*shudder*) and the bouts of teething, for the social events you wistfully miss out on, for the waistline you wonder if you will ever get back, for the extortionate childcare costs that leave your bank account looking the unhealthiest it ever has… all you need is one look at your amazing little mini-me to override all the difficulties. It’s better than you could have ever imagined. Life will never be the same again. There will always be so much love.