I am considering setting up a Facebook page for Baby A. A fan page, for her fans. Well, for her grandmothers.
Before you judge me, let me assure you that I’m completely aware of how ridiculous I sound. I’d once vowed that no baby of mine would take over my Facebook page. That my status updates wouldn’t discuss feeding schedules, nappy changes or barely contained glee at nonsensical baby babble. That I would not “regale” my friends with baby news and baby pictures day in and day out.
Yeah, right. I am now eating my words.
With the birth of Baby A, I’ve discovered Instagram (my most used hashtags are #love, #baby, #babygirl, #lovemybaby and #babyboss). I’ve re-embraced the confusion that is Twitter (a sample: “So our little monkey’s favourite food so far? Broccoli, bananas and sweet potato. WHO IS THIS ALIEN I GAVE BIRTH TO?” and “Because of a certain look on her face, I have the nagging feeling Baby A is always plotting her escape”). I’ve doggedly filled my friends’ Facebook news feeds with enough baby pictures to rival an Anne Geddes book. Baby A is a member of at least four different parenting sites that “track baby’s development” – Baby Centre is my favourite. I just love that the sites allow me to upload a photo of her and enter her details, so when I visit for my daily update, there she is on the screen, grinning at me. I just can’t get enough.
So, based on the advice of a colleague, a father-to-be, actually, who believes he will not be as baby-obsessed as I have become (I can’t wait to watch him eat his words, too), setting up a separate Facebook page for our dictator where I can collate all those photos of her that I love posting online for her extended family might not be such a bad idea. It might even allow me to take control of that little piece of the worldwide web that used to be about me. Plus it would be a more or less safe place to post pictures of my naked baby in the bath, blowing bubbles, right? I would be containing her digital footprint, no? She won’t attack me when she’s 16 and hate me for launching her all over the internet, don’t you think?
Then there’s the whole issue with Instagram, which I’ve confessed before has become an addictive little obsession. Mr T and I get a heady rush when complete strangers “like” a picture of our girl on that online photo-sharing and social networking service. We keep checking, obsessively, every second: “How many more likes did we get? Who’re they from? STRANGERS? Yes! You see? We’ve been proven right, our baby really IS cute; strangers who don’t even know us are liking her picture.”
Either that, or we take great photos.
And Instagram, like Twitter, is based on hashtags, which allow users to find pictures of #elephants or #Paris or #funnytoes or #pizza, depending on their interests. I believe I am Queen of the Hashtags. I’ve recently discovered that if I use more of the location-specific hashtags (#UAE, #AbuDhabi, #ReemIsland) then the “likes” a photo receives exponentially increases, compared with the random hashtags that I can’t resist composing (#bestmorningbabyever, #gummysmile, #sleepyelf, #momisobsessed, #poopingbabyface, #mamasucksatcuttinghair, #endlesseyelashes, #pissedoffbabyA).
My only redeeming factor is that I’m readily confessing that this neurotic fixation I have with documenting Baby A’s every smile on social media has become ridiculous.
Will I stop anytime soon? Most likely not. She’s just #toocute #loveherlots #mamaisobsessed.
Hala Khalaf is deputy Arts&Life editor at The National
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