Sunday, 22 September 2013

Good Babies?

So I've been a bit lax about keeping this updated, but then again the last six weeks or so have pretty much been me working out how to juggle an insatiably hungry baby with keeping the house in a not-too-shambolic state while remembering to eat and bathe in between it all.

I've also found a mother-and-baby group to attend which isn't nearly as terrifying as initially predicted. Astoundingly, there's at least one other woman there who I can chat to about stuff beyond the realm of infant-related matters and the walk to the venue is a rather pleasant mile and a half. Still, it's not without the occasional aggravation, the one that stuck with me the most being the notion of a “Good Baby.”

My first day there one of the organizers wandered in, gave us all a big cheesy smile and asked if our babies were “good.” I responded with “they're all good” and then checked myself as I felt the inevitable stares begin to fix on me, silently demanding to know what the fuck I was on about. Alright, yes, I'm luckier than most in that my son lets me get lots of sleep, eats well, screams only when there's something badly wrong. Still, the concept of labelling an infant as “Not Good” because they scream a lot or don't sleep well irritates me.

If a baby screams it's because there's something wrong. It might be something small, or it might be something large. To someone that small and helpless and utterly dependent on its parent(s) this is the only way they can communicate. Yes, it is immensely frustrating when you think you've tried every trick in the book to no avail and you haven't slept in far too long. That, however, does not make the baby in question bad. It just means the poor little mite is suffering from something that you've not yet identified, and that is gut-wrenching and heart rending.

The handful of times AJ was in distress resulted in me having to walk away and leave him with the Impending Husband for a bit because I was crying at being unable to soothe away his misery. In one instance it turned out to be nappy rash causing him to pull an all nighter of doing what we've taken to calling his seagull impersonation. I felt awful for not picking up on it sooner, but the main thing was that I did eventually realise that the red patch on his backside was the source of his misery. I smeared on some miracle-cure in the form of Sudocrem and within minutes he was silent and fast asleep, probably even more worn out than I was from his ordeal.

So we can add that particular question to my ever-growing list of things other people say that aggravate me no end. I'm probably reading too much into it, but still. It annoys me. It just strikes me as another one of those mindless things people ask to have something to ask rather than having any actual interest. It's much the same with “is he a good sleeper?” and a multitude of other mundane baby-related questions that are about as insightful as conversations pertaining to the weather of late. A good portion of the time the person inquiring about this tends to go rather glassy-eyed when you actually start to talk in depth about the sleeping or eating patterns of your offspring.

I should be used to mundane dialogue like this. It's not just babies that elicit it. Still. I've always been content remaining silent in company. There's enough mindless chatter as it is without tacitly insinuating that bad babies exist. They don't. They're just unhappy and distressed.

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