Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bush Babies and Birthdays


It’s Claire’s birthday today! Today, she turns three-months old. I know it sounds like a milestone that only a mom would find significant. You’re thinking why should I read on? But, wait! There’s reason for Claire’s three-month birthday to be honored across the land. Three months marks the end of the fussy period.

I’ve mentioned before that baby experts don’t find consensus on much. They do agree that fussiness starts at around four weeks, peaks around eight and wanes by 12. The experts also proffer that the non-stop grind of crying impacts parents more than babies. Evidently, babies are like machines, designed to cry with maximum efficiency for the first few months. One theory is that, back in the caveman day, it was a necessity for a baby who’s been abandoned in the bush to cry loud enough to be rescued by a passerby.

It sounds good, but I’d imagine that the baby would have been abandoned because of the loud crying in the first place. Also, it doesn’t explain why the crying continues after the passerby has rescued the baby. And then wouldn’t that continually crying baby lead to a second trip to the bush and so on and so on? That leaves us with the bush baby on his third set of parents, crying non-stop. The experts have many explanations for the endlessness of fussiness too -- from gas, to an immature nervous system, to inability to put themselves to sleep, to parents just not quite having the hang of what to do with a fussy baby. They don’t quite know why. Next, parent number five of the bush baby wants to know how to fix the fussiness. The most consistent piece of advice leads us back to the original idea. It lasts for 12 weeks; wait for it to be over.

So Claire's birthday is today, not 20,000 B.C, and her one and only parents have waited it out! Of course, Claire still cries. But now it’s measured in minutes, rather than hours. And it’s for four or five discrete reasons that I can usually remedy. So “Happy Birthday, Claire”! Your parents have reason to celebrate. Just not too loud.

Photo Source: Brazzouk, Wikipedia Commons

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