Walking around the neighbourhood, stalking hedges for a little inspiration, we came across 3 neighbours. Usual conversation ensues….’Hey, how are you?’, ‘good thank you’. ‘How was your weekend’ ‘Good thank you’.
All the convos involve the easy word of good. If I launched into a depressing spiel of no sleep, sore knee/back/tum/brain blah blah blah…you get the idea..they would think I’m a Debbie downer.
Or ‘life’s great, life’s perfect, can’t complain’ I’d come across as a pompous tool. So the word good is good enough.
But here is where it perhaps grates my rusty gears; The use of good when describing a babies/childs behavior or actions.
Cases in point.
Petrol station man sees a photo of Lily in my wallet. ‘Is that you?’ He asks. WTF. Why would I carry a photo of myself as a baby around. Some may say why would I carry a photo of my own baby around too. Another time.
‘Haha your too kind (and silly), no no that’s my daughter.’
‘Oh cool. Is she a good baby?’
Me thinking ……Oh what, a good baby? I don’t know? What does a good baby do? Me saying out loud, somewhat confused ‘Yes she is good’…
Cafe lady. ‘Oh what a beautiful boy you have’ *girl*cough*dick*cough. ‘Is he good baby?’
Me thinks….what, this question again? What do I say? What if she isn’t a good baby? Is she ticking the boxes of what a good baby does? What if everything I’m doing is terrible and she turns out bad? Because the opposite word to good is bad right? Shit. ANXIETY SETS IN.
Me says ‘SHE (emphasis) is perfectttttttttt’
Checkout lady. (and this poor lady is about to face crazed 2 hours sleep deprived- breakfast of dry weetbix encrusted on lips-stannnnnk breathe-grey type prison clothed mother) ‘aww is she a good baby?’
Me says….’she’s bad. Bad ass, waddles around selling crack, stays out till all hours getting drizzzzunk af, tosses her toys, which consists of knives, numb chucks, needles and Knuckledusters are her fav. No respect for authority, oh lady, she is badddddd.’ awkwardness ensued as this convo began as I pulled INTO the checkout with a trolley full….oops. Soz not soz.
I know these people are well natured and just having a convo with you, which is a nice change from singing incy wincy spider 100x a day. I guess my point is it’s bloody exhausting doing this mum bizo without having to justify why your baby isn’t doing X y and z and feeling like you have to explain that she doesn’t fit the preconceived ridiculous idea of being a ‘good’ baby. Coz all babies are different people! And whoever came up with the idea of good baby is a douche. Below is what I feel people think a good baby should do/be like…. And my reply.
Very good friend. ‘She a good baby?’ And I asked, cause she wouldn’t mind, ‘what do you mean by good? If you mean intelligent, beautiful, affectionate, demanding, inquisitive, snuggly, caring, strong willed etc etc etc, then YES, she is a good baby.’
‘Oh sweet. So does she sleep?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Does she sleep through the night?’ ‘No.’ ‘Does she feed well’? (This was at the stage when BF was like razor blades slicing the old nips and having Lemon juice squeezed on them) ‘she does but it hurts’
‘Does she cry?’ ‘Yes. She’s a baby’ ‘A lot?’ ‘Yes, to which I instantly comfort her…’ ‘Loudly?’ ‘Plunket lady in her 30 years had never heard a baby cry so loudly.’ ‘Ohhh. That’s no good at all.’
Deep breathe. Happy place. Go to it. Breathe. Crying begins. ‘I feel like a failure. My gorgeous baby isn’t a good baby! By definition she should be doing all those things that aren’t happening, right?? I AM a failure, right?’ Breathe.
‘A gigantic big FECK No no, she will do what ever she wants and I love her absolutely unconfuckingditionally for it. She is badddddddasssedd, she is FIERCE.’
That poor friend probably thought gee, sorry I freaking asked.
When we praise and encourage and celebrate the things Lily does, we try not to say good girl because what does that mean? When I’m being tired/lazy I say great blah blah blah or when I’m tired/lazy but rather impressed I’ll say amazing blah blah blah. But usually it’s a reinforcement of the task, ‘I like the way you did/said/showed/…’ blah blah etc. And many times it is ‘good girl’ and I think hmmm I’ll let it slide. Even tho your totes a wild child and I love it.
So maybe instead ask, how is Lily going? How has Lily been?(and thank you for asking too! Taking interest in the lives of friends with babies is kind, even if your so hungover you want to rip your dry tongue and hanging eyeballs out after getting home at 5am out partying. I’m slightly jealous) My honest reply will probably be ‘great, Lily is great.’