Friday, 25 March 2011

The Grandad Twinkle

Snuffly loves cuddles.  He's quite happy, most of the time, to be cuddled by anyone who is gentle and loving, and everyone is when faced with teh cuteness he brings.  Maybe one day soon he'll start to get that clinginess that sometimes sets in after six months, but Wriggly didn't get it, so maybe not.

I've got quite adept at picking when someone would love to have a cuddle, and offering.  I have no qualms about Snuffly being held by others, even complete strangers, although I know not every parent feels this way and I respect that it's not for everyone.  Often once I've passed him to one person I find he gets shared around a little, as people steal him off each other.  It's nice to share him around like that, for me as well as him, and the cuddlers too.

However I've noticed that men rarely ask.  In fact I can only think of one who has in all this time.  Often they're looking wistfully, with what I call the Grandad Twinkle, and so I'll offer, with no pressure, and hardly anyone says no. 

It makes me a bit sad though that so many men are afraid to show they love babies.  I think they fear judgements that they are perverts, because why would any man want to cuddle a baby that isn't their own?  Probably for the same reasons some women do - because they are lovely joyful things that snuggle into you and make you smile. 

I'll keep looking out for the Grandad Twinkle, and keep offering cuddles, as long as Snuffly's ok with it and small enough to be the right size for those snuggly hugs.  I hope that we build a future where men can cuddle too.

20 comments:

Sandra said...

Lovely post Julie.

Tamara said...

Do you think it might be more of a masculinity issue? As in, manly men don't hold babies. Or even fear, as they don't know how to hold one. My partner had had no experience of babies until we had our own, and was nervous about how to hold them. Now he has no qualms about having cuddles with other peoples babies.

And what a lovely photo.

Julie said...

Thanks for the feedback - it's not a shot of mine, I dearly wish I had some similar pics of Wriggly and Snuffly with their Grandad but I don't, just found it on the interweb.

There definitely is some don't know how stuff going on. Best way to counter that is to offer them some practice imho! I encountered a grandfather recently who had not held a young baby since he had his own, as he hadn't held his grandkids when they were less than six months old. He was nervous but got over it :-)

Anonymous said...

"It makes me a bit sad though that so many men are afraid to show they love babies. I think they fear judgements that they are perverts, because why would any man want to cuddle a baby that isn't their own?"

Ya think? 4 decades of spouting the "all men are rapists/paedophiles" line seems to have paid off. Careful what you wish for, feminists.

Demelza said...

I didnt think my Dad was a "baby person" hes so awesome with my kids and he would often let O sleep on his chest in the rocking chair, its amazing, my partner is the same he just loves being around kids....

@Anon... seriously you believe that?

Julie said...

So Anon @11.49am (please adopt a handle as it states above our comment box, last warning) you think that all feminists think that all men are rapists? Srsly? You can't see the internal contradiction in your own stereotyping?

Anonymous said...

Why is it called the "grandad twinkle"? Is it mostly seen among older men?

Julie said...

Anon @12.27pm, I call it the Grandad Twinkle as a reference to my dad (my sons' grandad) who loved kids but sadly passed away when my first child was only 3 and a half months old. He used to get this awesome twinkle in his eye, it's one of my abiding memories of him and his affection for children.

Julie said...

Also, Handles please!

Same Anon said...

The problem may not be that feminists claim all men are rapists. But it may be that most discussion of what it means to be masculine happens in feminist spaces. This isn't ill will on the part of feminists but it does mean that best these discussions are likely not to be accessed by men and at worst they may be highly uninformed.

M said...

Kia ora Julie,

What a beautiful post, brought a wee tear to my eye. I was just wondering if you had heard of/read Penny Brownlee's book "Dance with me in the Heart"?
It's only about 70 pages long, but I highly recommend it. It covers all the latest ideas in relation to infant development. It's short, sweet and informative.
It's been awesome to read your posts again, keep up the great work!

stargazer said...

same anon, actually that last point you made has already been made here, in relation to a post by pablo at kiwipolitico about all the ads on tv using some rather bizarre stereotypes ("mantrol", the yoghurt thing, the beer ad treating men as neanderthals etc). pablo made the point that men should be having more discussions about the depictions of masculinity in advertising, and i basically linked to that and said how sad it was that so few people had commented on that post, and agreed that there should be more of that.

as to why that isn't happening much outside of feminist spaces - why do you think that is? i hope you're not implying that it is the fault of feminists. also, we have plenty of men commenting here, so i don't know that access is a problem, nor do i think we are uninformed. but that doesn't mean we can't learn more and appreciate male voices on these issues, as long as they aren't coming a perspective like "all feminists think men are rapists".

and unless you are the same "same anon" that was commenting on another thread, could you please chosse a consistent handle that is unique to you. thank you.

Placebogirl said...

Thank you, Julie, for sharing your wee one with the blokes in the room. Strike another one for "patriarchy hurts men too", I guess--my (male) partner is much more comfortable with babies than I am and they (understandably) like him more than they like me--but which one of us do you think gets offered a cuddle more often?

Different Anon said...

No Stargazer I'm not blaming feminists. In fact I'm glad feminists are having these discussions. It certainly doesn't hurt for feminists to have these discussions, it just isn't enough in and of itself. In the same way that discussions among men can never empower women beyond a certain point.

And yes Pablo is right, although I have to say his attempt to launch a discussion degenerated quite quickly because he doesn't seem able to detect in himself the kind of behavior he has a problem with.

Anna S said...

I'm married to a baby whisperer. He makes a beeline for any baby at any social gathering, and will hold them for as long as he can. He just really loves babies. I don't have the same urge to cuddle other people's babies, although now my kids are getting older, cuddling babies is getting appealing again.

Asher said...

Thanks for letting me cuddle him the other weekend Julie (not sure if I'm the one you were referring to in the original post, or if I'm #2 and you just forgot) :)

Happily, as a guy who loves babies/kids I've never had a problem with being allowed to steal them by their parents, but I have definitely had some odd looks/comments from other people at times...

Julie said...

@M, thanks for the kind words and the reading suggestion, shall see if I can get if from the library :-)

@Anna S, I'm not very into baby cuddling either, although I love to snuggle my own. May feel differently later in life, we shall see.

@Asher, you are The One. Was just awesome to see you and Snuffly so into each other too :) I think he is slightly resentful that I don't have a beard. Glad to hear parents of stealable babies haven't been a trouble to you. Boo hiss at others who have!

ideologicallyimpure said...

Babies are sometimes FASCINATED by beards, especially those who don't have dads/close men in the family with beards. My partner is fascinating to small babies for that reason but doesn't tend to hold them since he's never had any practice and is worried his gigantic hands don't have the required dexterity if the little ones suddenly squirm (or do that awesome "Bored now, DIVING AWAY!" thing babies do).

Giarne said...

My grandad is a baby whisperer - he was asked by a mum in a supermarket why her baby kept staring at him and he told her its because he makes eye contact with them, he doesn't ignore them. He was luckily the same with his grandchildren, its something that's been with him all his life.

Its a lovely posting Julie!

Scuba Nurse said...

This made me think of my parent's friend who was living with them when I was born.
I had the privilege of two men doting on me when I was a wee one and I treasure my photos with him and our evening piggyback rides around the house when he came home exhausted from the hospital.
The most quiet, reserved man in "real life" he was always open with me.