I have spoken in the past of parental paranoia and I have recently discovered a new manifestation of it. Henry has been going through a rough patch of sleeping. Personally, I never knew I could do my job on so little rest. We have put this period down to teething (I have spoken in the past of my thoughts with regards to these stone circles of misery). Henry is not a lad that appears to teethe well and we feel for him.
The paranoia has come as a result of our desire to make things better for him. We have considered a number of factors beyond the teething that might be to blame for the poor nights and attempted to change or affect as many of them as possible. For example, he will frequently wake or cry in the middle of the night, then let rip with some powerful gaseous excretions. So we have considered:
- a wheat allergy
- eating too late
- eating too early
- eating too much
- yoghurt is to blame
- yoghurt makes things better
- drinking bath water
- not moving around enough after dinner
- being fed too quickly
But this is the difficulty with babies. They cannot communicate with you, and even experienced trained paediatricians make little more than well-informed guesses that appear to be frequently based on parental intuition. I know there is far more to it than that (I am certainly not denigrating them in any way - I hold the medical profession in a very high regard) but to speak plainly, at Henry's age they just do not know. So many of that list could be standard growing pains. But we are now putting it down to teething.
What we have learnt is that there are simply some things that you cannot change, avoid or do for your baby. We cannot get these teeth out any quicker than he is prepared to grow them. We cannot stop him feeling the side effects (although we are considering buying shares in Calpol with the amount that we attempt to ameliorate it for him with this wonder-fluid). We cannot predict what the next side effect may be. We can only do what we can with the available information and make him as comfortable as possible, or distract when needed. It is a distressing time for him, and is equally distressing for us because we cannot stop it. But what we are now trying hard to do is accept the reality rather than chasing phantoms because it is out of our control and we want it to be something we can control.