JThe more time I spend as a parent, the more I realize that it’s a lot like being a detective, and not just because I look uptight, wear a trench coat, and get drunk comical maxims such as: “You can get hungover from things other than alcohol. I got one from a baby.
Having a baby who can’t tell you what’s going on means having to solve a mystery every day. Say the baby is whining. First, you go through the usual checklist. Is the baby hungry? Is her diaper full? Is he sleepy? Is it windy? Once you figure out what it is, you go back to the start, because it’s probably something else now.
There are deeper mysteries, of course, than that. When I realized that my baby was waking up because her hands were getting cold, it was through a process of elimination that lasted several weeks. But that hasn’t stopped well-meaning readers from trying to crack the code. I think as humans we have a problem-solving instinct, and more experienced parents can well remember the hours they spent trying to figure out why their baby was doing this or that. . Sometimes my mother, my husband and I will all find ourselves speculating together in the living room in an exhausted high. Could it be teeth? The change of seasons? All that adult brain dedicated to a tiny little baby.
Your baby is probably hungry, a correspondent told me – and I’m not saying ill will towards him, because he’s a doctor and a parent, and more experienced than me. In this case he was wrong, although his recommendation to put butter in the mash to keep the baby satiated longer was helpful for an entirely different reason, in that broccoli tastes better with butter. We know this as adults, but we expect our babies to accept naked vegetables right off the bat.
I guess what I mean is that even if the reader’s suggestion isn’t the answer at the moment, it might well be the answer further down the line, or even the key to a whole different mystery. So I’m grateful to all the amateur sleuths for doing some of my work for me.
It’s when you put all the internet into it that it becomes problematic, as I learned during one of my late night Google sessions when the baby went through a waking phase 45 minutes after being put to bed at bedtime , what I learned is called a “false start”. The reasons listed were: too many naps, too few naps, overtiredness, underwires, waking windows, hunger, allergies or separation anxiety.
Not one of the reasons listed was the wind. So even though every time I picked up the baby he made the kind of almighty burp you usually hear from a grown man doing his best Barney Gumble impression, I didn’t trust my instincts. The same thing happened when all the websites said that teething does not disturb sleep. I believed them, wondered why the baby wasn’t calming down, ignored the throbbing pain every time I fed him, then, oh surprise: a fang appeared, waving a large flag on which it reads “idiot”.
There is just too much information out there. Too many people with agendas and opinions. Why would a thread of Mumsnet users know the reason for your baby’s rash? Of course, I love the Internet. The internet means you can quickly get out of your local arthouse cinema, where your kid loudly farted through Kazuo Ishiguro’s exquisite screenplay, so Google, “What the hell is that that in my baby’s diaper?” and get the answer: “Don’t worry, they just ate bananas!” in a fraction of a second. In the old days, you would have had to go to a telephone booth to call your mother, and she probably would have been drinking a snowball at a cocktail party and eating some tasty jelly, so you would have had to go to the library and watch it. Or maybe you would have shrugged your shoulders and thought, “Hey. Everything will probably be fine.
But the Internet also kills the parental instinct. Millennials are so used to being able to instantly receive the answer to any tiny anecdote that when we can’t solve a mystery like why our baby is crying, it drives us crazy. I’ve found that one solution is to channel our boomer predecessors into not worrying so much and hoping for the best. A friend seems to have done this – it helps I think that she has two, and all the wisdom that goes with it. “I just accept that some days he cries all day and some days he’ll be happy, just like some days I wake up in a bad mood,” she says.
So why waste energy? Barring illness, a fussy baby is normal, and rarely a big mystery that needs to be solved. Nowt lasts forever, as my mother says. Either way, it’s probably windy.
Nothing works this week. The poor baby has caught another virus and, although he slept very well before, he wakes up every hour. I barely work. I accept all proposals for advice, techniques, spa weekends etc. at the usual address.
What is not
I’m so sleep deprived that I got on the wrong branch of the Northern Line and also averted my gaze from the baby’s backpack, which was stolen and contained a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan from a parent and – horror of horrors – the baby’s “red book” (his health record, which for some inexplicable reason is on paper despite being from 2022). The importance of the red book is such that I m ‘m waiting any moment for the authorities to knock on the door, declaring me an unfit mother and asking for the return of the baby.
#love #internet #baby #diagnostics #channel #boom