Record-breaking parenting
Record-breaking parenting
Scott Dunlop
Call it curiosity (often, morbid), but it’s almost impossible to resist a headline which starts with the immortal words “World record-breaking...”

I grew up with the Guinness Book of World Records®. I had a 1969 edition, which still included some of the records now considered too dangerous to publish, in case people injure themselves in attempts to break them.

As a child, I’d faithfully attempt to break the record for blowing the biggest bubble gum bubble in the universe, or try and see how many Lego blocks I could fit in my mouth (I know, it’s a miracle I survived, right?).

Occasionally I’ll see a great news story, along the lines of "World’s Biggest Baby!", or “Mother Gives Birth to Octuplets” (which makes me picture lots of baby octopi), and get a thrill as I enjoy sharing some juicy tale.

The thing is, all parents, as part of caring for children, experience extremes which make you feel as though you should be earning certificates just for surviving. Like these:

- Most Consecutive Nights without Sleep (or nights with broken sleep)
. The award for this would be a trophy depicting a set of keys thrust absent-mindedly into the freezer.

- Answering the Most Unanswerable Questions about Dinosaurs
. Bet you didn’t consider the question “why did dinosaurs turn into birds?” as a standard parenting milestone while trying to conceive. You may wear your Archaeopteryx rosette with pride.

- Longest Pregnancy In Recorded History! Nine months? That’s a lie, for a start. The minute you start the countdown to hatch day, the time seems to drag. Multiply that by factors of morning sickness and swollen ankles: Every pregnancy is the longest, ever. You get to have a golden scroll of victory, decorated with sentences like "your baby is now the size of a lentil".

- T
he Fear of Delayed Milestones Award. When every other baby in town has sprouted teeth, started walking, and is telling knock-knock jokes, your kid is sitting, toothless and unable to speak. "Will he ever be normal?" you fret. Just after you book the expensive specialist’s appointment, your baby will miraculously start to do whatever he’s been avoiding. You may have a bronzed adult-sized dummy.

What’s great about the imaginary award system, is that you get to take credit for what are often unseen moments of trial or success.

You could probably think of some of your own: Loudest tantrum in history, most explosive nappy incident in public place without wet wipes...

Why not share one of your own record-breaking parenting experiences? The best letter gets a R250 voucher! Email your story to


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