From baby poop colour to the dreaded rashes, late-night pharmacy opening times and stretch mark removers, here are some of the crazy things new parents find themselves searching online.
When it comes to advice, help and guidance, there are limited options; you can seek the advice of an older, wiser friend/sister/mother, you can read parenting books, you can ad-lib (this comes with its own challenges) or you can simply type something into a search engine to find the answer.
Sounds straightforward? Well, I'm here to tell you that it’s completely not.
The guidance others will offer you is never a one-size-fits-all strategy. So while tapping the colicky back of baby was the right solution for their tiny tot, yours might actually prefer being jiggled up and down the living room for four hours straight, or in my child’s case, being walked up and down the stairs over and over and over and over again. (On the upside, it did wonders for my bum).
"Google Imaging poo on the internet becomes quite a major part of your day".
Parenting books are often preachy and perfect. They can’t capture every nuance when it comes to what benefits your baby. While they can advise on milestones and suggested methods, they can sometimes make you feel a little overwhelmed. I found one or two particularly useful but overall, I mostly used them to raise the cot when my daughter had a cold.
Related: The only parenting book you'll need in your life
Making it up as you go along (or parenting, as it’s known) is a brave new world. It involves a good deal of trial and error (in parenting language this translates into tears and headaches) When you get it right, it is the best feeling in the world but the misses can also knock your confidence.
I was sure I was on top of things with my kids until I got a call from the school to say my son wasn’t wearing any underwear and could I please drop some down IMMEDIATELY. This was the same day that my mother-in-law pointed out that his sister, my baby, was wearing gloves on her feet as socks...again.
"Let's just say that if anyone ever searched my Google history, I’d never leave the house again".
And then, dear friends, there is Google. Part dangerous, part dicey, equally helpful. The advice is questionable (especially if you rely on the forums) but there is no end of bizarre musings on things you couldn't possibly ask the handsome local pharmacist.
The scattergun approach worked best for me; Google a particular topic, get about 10 different versions of advice and settle on my own action somewhere in the middle. Let's just say that if anyone ever searched my Google history, I’d never leave the house again.
"Frantically scrolling and clicking, terrifying ourselves and finally settling on the answer we thought about in the first place, is part of the madness of motherhood and the therapy we need."
Asking Alexa doesn't offer the same balm to our queries. For one, hearing youself ask your highly personal question out loud can be jolting.
And while Alexa is great at reeling off in the information, our tired minds need to jump from one hysterical article to another, frantically scrolling and clicking, terrifying ourselves and finally settling on the answer we thought in the first place.
It is part of the therapy and madness that is motherhood.
50 shades of poop
And don't fool yourself into thinking that Motherhood cares about your 500 hard-fought Leaving Cert points. Or that you've managed a team of 30 at work. Or that you speak three and a half languages. Pas de tout.
Here is a brief synopsis of things you can expect to trawl online to find answers for at 4am while your significant other is snoring deeply and annoyingly beside you.
- My three-month-old poop is bright green. Should I be worried?
This will be followed closely by other similar questions, but each time, substitute the colour. Listen, your baby’s poop has come out almost all the colours in the rainbow by the time they hit their first birthday. It doesn’t make it any less gross but at this stage, Google Imaging poo on the internet becomes quite a major part of your life.
- Red rash on baby. Go.
These might actually be the most googled words in the world.
We’ve been warned of the dangers certain rashes can have on a child, especially a baby. It is no wonder new parents freak out when they see any kind of rash. A baby’s skin tends to flare up a lot – nappy rash, heat rash, ringworm, impetigo, hives, chickenpox and of course, the dreaded meningitis.
Last year, I noticed that my four-year-old son had pinprick red dots on his chest while I was changing him for bed. Wordlessly, I went straight for the glass – the test where you push a glass to their chest and if the spots remain, it might be a sign of meningitis.
The spots didn't disappear so I ran straight to my pal Google and became increasingly horrified. This was it, the moment I’d been preparing for my whole adult life. I dragged him and his siblings straight to A & E because I wasn’t taking any chances. It transpired that he had burst blood vessels on his chest from going on our swing set on his tummy.
- Should my baby be walking by now?
Ah, the milestones.
Telling parents that they walk at one and talk at two is pretty vague. The books will tell you that every child is different, but the window for these milestones is dramatically wide. I never had to look this up because all my children broke into sprints bang on 10 months old. And because I had my children 14 months apart (yes, on purpose) I’d find myself sprinting after my oldest 'baby' while the other was still attached to me feeding.
Good times. Pass the gin.
- How old is too old to have a bottle/soother?
Relax. It’s their comfort. When you do decide they are ready to understand about letting go, make a big fuss about giving it to the Fairies or Santa. We left our soothers on the tree one Christmas and Santa left little gifts in their stead. You'll find a lot of judgement online about this topic so be warned.
- How to get rid of worms?
Along with lice, homework, the where-did-I-come-from question, and making sandwiches every single day for 10 months of the year, the worms issue is pretty grim. Make life a little easier by keeping a treatment bottle in the medicine cabinet along with a lice killer. You don’t want to discover some nasties at 8 pm and not be able to take action until the next day.
- What are some of the signs of autism?
Worrying about your child comes with the territory. Any anomaly in their behaviour can make you question the reasons behind it. Autism affects about 1% of Irish households. Some of the symptoms include repetitive behaviour, lack of eye contact, not reaching milestones in the same way as their peers and a lack of sociability with other children. It is easy to project some of our fears onto our children and this tends to be one that we, as parents, seem to focus on.
- When is a child a tween?
A tweenager is between 8 and 12 years old – the phase before they become a teen. It is usually marked by sassy behaviour, your child ‘knowing it all’, criticising you, being a little more irritable, cheeky, independent.
Some kids hit this phases earlier than others. It can be a shock to the system when your bubbly little girl begins rolling her eyes and answering 'as if'' to every question you ask. You thought you had at least another 3 or 4 years of hero status left before they started picking you apart!
- What’s the best way to hide vegetables in food?
Kids are forensic examiners of food. Blending, mixing, infusing, hiding veggies into your child’s meal almost requires a degree in the culinary arts.
Every parent ends up Googling something about this at some stage. My favourites are drizzling a dot of honey on carrots and asking your little food detective if they want to eat plain carrots or honey carrots?
Making green beans into fairy light sabres is another neat trick or calling broccoli 'fairy trees'. Other than that, find a great recipe that includes loads of veggies and blend it to bits and add it to everything.
- How to relieve my child’s cold?
Are you even a parent if you haven’t sucked snot out of your child’s nose by mouth? I’ve discovered a few things that help including Olbas oil in the room, tilting their bed slightly, or putting Vick’s on their feet.
Can a boy pull his penis off? How do I stop my three-year-old biting? How to I keep a nappy on my daughter during naptime? Does coconut oil remove stretch marks? When do you get your period after having a baby? My kid licked the wheel of the pram, should I be worried?
Home remedies to help mastitis? Why does my daughter want to pee standing up? How to style hair when a four-year-old has cut tufts of it to the quick? Late-night pharmacies in my area? Should I bring my child to the doctor if he swallowed a flower? Should I bring my child to the doctor if she ate a worm? Is it the weekend yet?
Image via Unsplash.com
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