People at work have started asking me (since I went back last week) if E is a “good” baby.
Me: “Actually, he’s already working on getting his second tattoo, and we’re not sure if his teeth are going to come in at all thanks to all that meth he’s cooking up and using.”
I hate and despise the term “good baby.” I know what those people mean: does he sleep; does he cry a lot; does he ever allow Mommy or Daddy to put him down? But that has nothing to do with being “good.” He’s a baby! How can he be BAD?
The reason I hate the term? Because by that meaning, the J-man wasn’t a “good” baby. He didn’t sleep pretty much ever, and he cried if you put him down (thanks undetected silent reflux!). But we still thought he was a WONDERFUL baby. Because he’s ours.
We got some serious assvice on things to do to make the J-man into a “good baby” – just let him cry, eventually he’ll go to sleep! Let him go hungry, eventually he’ll eat. Why would you do physical therapy? Force him to let go of your hand and he’ll walk!
We, uh, didn’t follow any of that assvice. And we still thought the J-man was a wonderful baby, and we think he’s a wonderful boy now.
I know, sometimes it gets to the point where you want to throw something, when you’re out of bed for the 5th time that night, and then the baby barfs on you… but I can’t imagine calling my baby anything but good. Or better. Or best. Or even BESTEST BABY EVER.
And E and J are quite different babies, even though the mini-naps we called Snaps seem to come and go for E (meaning sometimes he sleeps longer), while they were a constant for the J-man. But neither is/was being “bad” for not napping, or for napping. It’s what babies do. We didn’t think the J-man was “bad” for not eating. We didn’t think he was “bad” for not walking on schedule. We got him some help with those things.
I worry that there are people out there who DO think their baby is bad, defective in some way, because they don’t meet the milestones that are only general guidelines anyway. We didn’t think the J-man was defective… we thought he needed help. Those are two VERY different mindsets.
“Bad” people get punished in our society, sometimes by the very people who should love them the most. Babies who don’t meet the “good baby” criteria are judged, and so are their parents… and given a label that shouldn’t ever be applied to babies, and that can lead to that child NOT getting the help they need and deserve.
Every baby, no matter what characteristics that baby has, is a good baby.