There she goes again. One of my friends has just posted the twentieth photo this week of her grandchildren on Facebook. And now another friend has just put up a pic of undoubtedly the cutest baby ever. To her, anyway.
Some days, my Facebook news feed seems one long line of baby photos and cute kids doing cute things. Like patting the cat. Or smiling at the camera. Or wiping Nutella or Vegemite all over their face. Except they all look pretty much the same to me, at least until they graduate from the terrible twos.
Sometimes they're videoed saying something that is supposed to be terribly funny, but actually isn't. At least, not to us not-grandparents-yet people.
I've never been the clucky type. Babies – other than my own of course – do nothing but poop and bellow and keep you awake so that you're so desperate for sleep you can hardly keep your face out of your dinner once the little terror has finally dropped off.
So grand-babies are similar, right? The bonus being, of course, that you can always hand them back, go home and have a decent night's kip without fear of being woken up for the midnight –or 2am, 3am or 4am – feed.
Very soon, my daughter is due to deliver a baby boy – our very first grandchild. People say "you must be so excited", and look at me expectantly as if I'm the one about to give birth. But I've been there and I know that "exciting" is not the word I'd use to describe childbirth or trying to come to terms with the scary and constantly shifting demands of a newborn. Watching my daughter go through this terrifying time is not something I'm really looking forward to.
But I smile and say, "of course I'm excited" and wonder whether I'm the only one who fears grand-parenthood.
Needless to say, there won't be endless baby photos from me on Facebook or emails. Well, maybe just the one. Or two. But really, what's the point of posting photos of Winston Churchill in repose and claiming he's simply the most beautiful baby in the world. Meh. Not me.
Besides, we've had those privacy discussions. Some people – probably very sensibly – refuse to put photos of their children or grandchildren on social media, even when they're still babies. Who knows where they'll end up? they say. It's true that nothing is ever deleted from social media – it remains somewhere apparently traceable in Facebook/Instagram/Google clouds forever. Even if our pages are closed to family and just a few close friends, Facebook et al will continue to own them until their servers explode and the clouds evaporate. Just what Facebook et al would want with the millions of baby pics that proud grandmas post every day is beyond me. There are more than enough on my news feed alone. It surely behoves me to keep numbers low.
In the weeks ahead, my job as Grandma, I've been told, is cooking and cleaning and taking my daughter's crazy puppy for walks. Which suits me fine. I can do all that, no worries. I can even clean up the puppy and baby poop and keep the pooch out of the nappy bin. What I'm not so sure I can do is comfort and cuddle and feed and nurture. It's been a long time, and babies are such fragile wee things.
My daughter and her helpmate can do all that while I'm busy keeping the household running - so busy, in fact, there'll be no time for cutesie videos or photos of his nibs, let alone having the opportunity to open up Facebook. You wait and see.
Felicity Price is an ex-journalist who now writes bestselling chook lit – funny, fast-paced romance-suspense for the over 50s. Read more on felicityprice.com.