Did I Ask You?—An Overabundance of Advice
Excerpted from Crib Notes by Kelly Perotti
By the time your baby hits the half year mark, you will undoubtedly have received more tips than you could possibly use, heard more stories than you could ever process. Parenting is possibly a subject on which you get more unsolicited advice than any other. Most of it is anecdotal, some of it is pushy, a small fraction of it is helpful.
It seems when you’re the most exasperated someone tells you how their baby has slept at least eight hours through the night since the day they came home from the hospital. Before you breakdown in tears wondering if you’re doing something wrong or if your baby was just born without the sleeping gene, remember that situations get idealized as they become memories.
It’s part of what makes women want to have more children—forgetting the pain of labor, remembering the baby sleeping through the night within the first three weeks when it was really months before anyone in the house logged more than four straight hours of shut eye. Whether all these newfound storytellers are lying or just remember the “facts” a little differently than they actually happened, just know that a baby not sleeping is completely normal.
If their newborn did happen to sleep through the night immediately, or if their toddler skipped right over the terrible twos, you can take (vengeful) comfort in the fact that it will catch up with them. I know I’d rather deal with an infant who won’t sleep than a teenager who will sleep with anyone who looks her way, or handle a rambunctious toddler rather than rebellious preteen.
There are new challenges at every turn. With each exciting developmental milestone comes a negative aspect. Try to focus on the positive—it’s great that your son can finally talk—not on the negative that comes along with it—he can now yell, “no” in response to your every request. Parents of older children will empathize, not judge—although they may laugh and gloat, happy that they’re past that phase.
Regardless of the stage that you’re in the midst of, comparing your child to other kids never does much good. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you detect a real problem or delay, but stressing over the fact that your friend’s daughter is crawling and your son (who is two months older!) is content to sit and eat his feet is useless. Babies sleep when they want to, toddlers walk when they’re ready, kids speak when the time is right.
Kelly Perotti, of Warminster, PA is the author of Crib Notes.