Friday, 1 November 2013

Good Baby, Bad Baby.

Is she a good baby?

If you have kids you've probably been asked this at least once.  I was always tempted to reply with 'No, she's diabolical, she sets fire to the cats, trashed a hotel room, stole and maxed out our credit card and smokes crack whilst torturing her cult mid brainwashing them into a suicide pact'

What exactly is a 'good' baby? Do people actually understand the definition of good before they ask this preposterous question?

A baby is neither good nor bad,   A baby simply is.  They're a blank canvas awaiting the impressions of life from the influences of the world and people around them.

What people actually mean when they ask this is:

* Does your baby cry a lot?
* Do they keep you awake?

Newsflash.  They're babies.  I'd be worried if they didn't frequently wake me and/or cry seeing as it's not biologically appropriate for babies to 'sleep through' (which by the way, technically speaking sleeping through only actually means sleeping without waking for six consecutive hours.  Yes, six.) and that crying is one of their only available methods of communication and is thus a vital survival tool.

Therefore, through being biologically appropriate for their age, according to society, a baby would be 'bad' which results in babies having to endure the weight of unrealistic and unnatural expectations placed upon them in order to adhere to the strictures of being good when they're not even aware of the concepts of good and bad let alone the misinterpreted versions that adults tout around.

Here's a thought, babies are not supposed to slot into our lives and lifestyle, we're supposed to adjust and fit  around them.  They're not supposed to be convenient.

Which leads us onto that other absurd line 'he's totally manipulating you'.  Manipulation is a complex unscrupulous ability to cleverly edit and control something or someone.  A baby is instinctive, vulnerable and yes quite demanding (what with them being, you know, a baby) but they are not manipulative.  A baby can barley manipulate a rattle let alone people.  It's another negative label attached to a baby to draw attention away from the parents sense of babies not fulfilling their expectations.  Yes, in case you haven't twigged yet it's actually more about the parents than the actual  baby who is essentially just being, well, a baby.

Babies thrive in an emotionally responsive relationship.  Yet gods forbid you actually pick your baby up when it cries or feed it when it's hungry as opposed to when the clock says they should be hungry.  Oh noes.... you're absolutely irrevocably spoiling it. Bollocks.  Bollocks I tell you.  You can't spoil a baby.  End of.  Especially not through being actively committed to responding to it's physical and emotional needs.  Just because your baby isn't hungry or wet or tired, doesn't mean it doesn't need you.  If your baby cries every time you put it down, it's not because you pick it up too much and it's spoiled, it's because your baby needs you and the reassurance of being close to you.  The world is big strange and scary.  You are their god.   You are their universe. Sometimes babies just need and want you.  Not because they're bad or manipulative or spoiled but because they're babies and you are their parent.

Listen to your baby, not to the misguided clap trap spouted by others.

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