I hadn’t ever really thought much about the phrase “Is he a good baby?”until I had my own. Even then I hadn’t thought much about it. It’s a phrase I would, and have, used. Okay so it’s a little generic. But I never really thought that it was “wrong”
To be honest I still don’t.
Though reading various internet forums that shall remain nameless, this innocuous phrase gets people’s backs up.
I kind of get it. I mean asking if you have a good baby who sleeps for you can be kind of galling if you don’t have a baby that sleeps well. As if they are somehow implying that you have a BAD baby.
But I can assure you in most cases this isn’t the case and more often than not people ask because they are genuinely interested in the response. Either that or they have no other way to open conversation and it’s an easy one.
People aren’t thinking that your baby is a “bad” baby if he isn’t sleeping the way he should in the books. You know, on routine by 4 weeks old. They will probably just answer you with sympathy which is like balm to the soul when you are sleep deprived and running on empty. Some angels may even bring you cake and take the “bad” baby who only sleeps when being cuddled away for a cuddle so you get a bit of a break. They just want to be involved and to be honest there isn’t an easier mundane line than “is he a good baby”
A prime example of this was my lovely Aunty Pam on Skype last week. She e-met Baby Boy and one of the questions she asked me was….
“Is he a good baby?”
I must have looked a little taken aback, I wasn’t I just had all the internet forums outrages swimming round in my head. But before I got the chance to respond with one of the witty lines put out there by said internet forums she swiftly followed with…
“I mean, does he feed well for you and bring his wind up and sleep a bit?”
To which I answered, “Yes sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t depends on his mood”
And the conversation went from there, I won’t bore you with my description of Baby Boys eating, wind and sleeping habits (but frequent, farty and not enough if you’re interested), without a second thought from either of us about the whole “good” baby thing.
Which is the way it should be! I for one am glad that people are asking about my baby in any context. I feel that it shows they are interested in me and my boy. Whilst also having some sympathy for what we are going through.
Because, ok, while having a tough time eating and sleeping might not make Baby Boy a bad baby it does make life a bit harder and a bit more exhausting. I personally revel in a little bit of sympathy. It makes me feel less alone in what we are going through.
And if the way you empathize with me is to ask
is he a good baby?
Then please do feel free to ask. And I will probably respond with, he’s not bad but he’s not a sleeper.