I have noticed a disturbing trend in baby care reference manuals.  It weighs heavily on my heart and my potential capacity to feel guilty for something I should know as a parent but may possibly misinterpret at some future point.  (Did you follow that?)  I am talking about baby symptoms.  Baby symptoms are about as homogenous as flu symptoms.  For example if you were to, perchance, look up a number of hideous and deadly diseases you will find under the list of symptoms that many of them use the term “flu-like” as a defining factor; i.e. if you feel like you have the flu you better get your ass to the doctor quick because it actually might be meningitis.  When you feel like crap in the middle of the night and are pinging webmd or some other medical webshite to self-diagnose… reading that you might be dying isn’t helpful.

So also with baby symptoms.  Most of the symptoms for just about anything that can be happening with your baby seem to include: fussiness, fatigue, diarrhea.  Teething?  See symptoms.  Food allergy?  See symptoms.  Development milestone?  See symptoms (maybe without the diarrhea; though diarrhea seems to come up a lot). 

Again, this is just not helpful.  (Side Note:  Interestingly, these same symptoms are sometimes listed for the flu – only they change the “fussiness” to “irritability” so as not to offend us cranky, sickly, medicinal-buying adults.) 

So earlier this week when my poor son was fussy and tired and had diarrhea six times over the course of two days AND projectile vomited all over me (got me in the face, I might add), I assumed that he was allergic to barley.  This was the second time I had fed him a meat and barley baby mix and he had diarrhea both times (my pediatrician said I had to give him any foods he might be allergic to three times to make sure that was really what he was projectile vomiting about. Lucky me).  The other possibility that occurred to me was that maybe he fighting off a bit of a flu bug (you know, because of the flu-like symptoms).  But then a day later, I also noticed that another tooth had broken through.  He managed to go through teething without an ounce of additional drool being produced.  I, therefore, had no idea he was teething.  Except, of course, for the above mentioned symptoms: fussiness, fatigue, diarrhea.  Shit.

This leaves me with three potential causes for the symptoms (possibly more if I bothered to read what else could cause fussiness, fatigue, and diarrhea) and, more importantly, with no idea how to make him feel better the next time around.  Of course, I don’t even know how to make myself feel better when I’m tired, cranky, and have diarrhea, but that’s beside the point.  These are supposed to be baby care GUIDES! 

It’s amazing to me that while you’re pregnant (feeling cranky, tired, and bloated) people will tell you the worst horror stories about labor and the life-threatening things that can go wrong.  Then, in the same breath, they’ll tell you what a joy it is to have children.  No one ever tells you the other truth… 

No matter what you read or how you prepare, you’ll never feel more proud and more like an inept fuckup in your entire life! Welcome to parenthood.               – the weirdgirl