Justin and I are foot soldiers, gatekeepers and gods. We know our wee boy's every nook, cranny, suspicious odour, tummy rumble, giggle and squeak. Thanks to sheer time and effort, we are the only ones that can pull the rabbit out of the hat when the liquid sunshine hits the fan.
But babies are considered objects in the public trust, and the public just can’t resist speaking up. Case in point: consider the following from about the six-week mark of Evan’s life and my new motherhood.
Advice-Giver: How’s it going? Are you getting any sleep?
Me: It’s not too bad. He’s up a lot but he goes back to sleep alright.
Advice Giver: That’s because he’s hungry, you see. His stomach is really, really small so he’ll need to eat a lot. You’ll have to feed him.
Me: Uh, thanks. I wondered about that.
Our family and friends are beside us in the parenting and grandparenting trenches. Their thoughts and speculations are given in the spirit of collaboration. It’s all food for thought, and they're just keen to see us happy. We like that. Besides, we need to talk about this stuff with people who, like us, are truly concerned about the state of our son's bum.
The problem is when self-proclaimed baby experts pipe up - particularly those who don't know us. It starts with an observation (“Shouldn’t he be doing that by now?” or, “He shouldn’t be doing that anymore, should he?”) and ends with a diagnosis: “It’s because you…”
Yes, we are unsure of what we’re doing. Yes, we are defensive. But when it comes to our little monk, our bibidy-boo, our stinky-pie, there are only two experts in the whole, wide world. Me and his daddy.