Baby Number Two has a thing for America’s Most Wanted. From the minute the rousing opening music strikes, it’s non-stop fidget action in utero. Even the commercial breaks don’t seem to dampen my unborn child’s appetite for capturing criminals. If he or she could get to a phone, it would. Not to give any information of course but just to tell John Walsh how much the show’s being enjoyed from the comfort of my womb.
There's a string of other crime shows on Number Two’s list of television highlights. Come time for Cops, Dateline, 20/20 and co there are wriggles and wiggles a plenty. Maybe it’s the flashing lights, the sirens or the squeal of epic car chases tickling an itchy bit somewhere but the way this baby squirms about you’d think he or she was one of the film crew.
It’s a lovely reassuring second trimester landmark when you feel baby movements coming regularly. Better still, when you see your belly moving of its own accord as growing limbs shrug around inside you. But as the babies get bigger and space starts getting tight, I’m told the experience can become less pleasurable. Those little kicks in the ribs can have some mums-to-be crying out in pain.
From memory, Eliza treated me well from the inside – even into the tight-squeeze third trimester. I felt all the usual movements but it was very gentle and peaceful, like she was being swept along on the amniotic fluids in a gondola made from marshmallow. Already though, Number Two seems different.
So does an energetic foetus make for an active baby? Does all that wriggling, wiggling, kicking calamity inside your belly produce a child with ants in their pants?
It got me thinking about what babies respond to while womb-side. Leafing through baby prep books, you’re told what not to eat, drink and do but little about how external noises affect your baby. I’ve read that some expectant parents barrage their unborn babies with classical music or the like in attempts to produce clever kiddies. What that means for my babies, subjected to both country and dance music time is yet to tell....
And what about the stuff we’re watching on the telly? Here’s hoping they’re not damaged by that. During my pregnancy with Eliza I alternated between depressing British soap operas and Lost DVD’s to drool over Sawyer and wonder if the polar bears would jump out again. If any of that rubs off on her, she’ll grow up being a Cockney-accented, tea drinker swearing Sawyer’s her real father while nursing a deep-rooted fear of polar bears.
I read somewhere that reading stories to your bump guides the baby into a love of books. This I did try while pregnant with Eliza but I only got a few pages in before laughing at myself. It just wasn’t me. Funnily enough, Eliza does love books and it surely can’t be down to those two pages of Wind in the Willows she was read in utero. Or can it?
Interestingly, Eliza’s character outside the womb is much like it was from within. For the most part she is gentle and has always been a cautious baby and toddler. For example, come crawl and walk time, it was like she saw the potential pitfalls of being mobile. Even when she began cruising around the furniture, she did so with the calculated precision of a walker-wielding senior citizen. As she painstakingly negotiated the dangers lurking around our coffee-table, she’d disapprovingly regard her pals flinging themselves from chair to floor as if they were pint-sized Kamikaze pilots. You could almost hear her tutting.
That doesn’t mean Eliza doesn’t like to rock out – she does. It’s just that, despite my best efforts with the country music and in keeping with her love of all things elderly, she prefers to groove to old-time crooners like Frank Sinatra. She may be too cautious to tackle a jungle gym but I fully expect she’ll have a Vienesse waltz down by the time she’s three.
But what about Number Two and its apparent penchant for helping capture America’s dastardly crooks and upholding the long arm of the law? From the thunderous activity from within, it’s as if my 22 week old baby-to-be is attempting to lasso bandits with the umbilical cord.
Maybe I’m busy nurturing a police officer, soldier or car chase stunt person. And is John Walsh’s job still safe? For the time being anyway...
It’s fascinating stuff and I’d love to hear your experiences from inside the womb. What do your babies-to-be react to? Have you tried reading to them/ playing music etc? And did your energetic pregnant bellies make for active kids?