I’m no parenting expert. Believe me. If I were an expert then it wouldn’t have taken me four years and two kids to learn, as I did last week from a friend, that the high chair in our kitchen reclines.
But I’m kind of an expert on my own baby, Peony, who is now 10 months old. Or at least I know more about her than most everyone else.
I appreciate helpful, solicited suggestions from anyone who might be able to make my children happier and healthier than they already are. What I don’t appreciate (and Baby’s First Year’s Lauren Jimeson doesn’t either, by the way) are moronic, unsolicited tidbits of advice that necessarily mean the people dispensing it assume I’m (A) an idiot, and (B) seriously an idiot.
Here are the 10 lamest pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received:
Don’t let her manipulate you 1 of 10I'm so glad you said that. I took one look in her beady, little eyes when she was born and knew I was in for a lifetime of Machievellian maneuvers.
Now that I have some confirmation from you that she is, in fact, trying to con me left and right into getting more milk and comfort — the greedy, needy little bugger that she is — you can rest easy knowing she'll get neither. I'll show her who's boss!
Try holding her this way 2 of 10Oh, you mean this way? Amazing. I never thought to cradle my 10-month-old daughter to my chest. Thank goodness you came along to point that out to me. Would you mind sticking around? I'm not sure how we made it this far without you or how we'll go on after you're gone.
P.S. You are leaving, aren't you?
When she cries like that you need to feed her 3 of 10Oh, you mean I have to feed her? Is that what that crying means? Are you sure she's not tired or uncomfortable because she wants her diaper changed? No? You're convinced it's that she's hungry? And that's based on . . . the food you didn't see me feeding her five minutes before you walked in the door? Your advice must also be based on her hunger cues that you've intuited from meeting her exactly once? twice? before today.
OK then. Well, thanks! (For nothing.)
Get her on a schedule 4 of 10Great idea. I'll get right on that. Just as soon as she's done telling me why she's crying.
You need to keep a close eye on her in the bathtub 5 of 10Oh, come on. She's 10 months old already. If she doesn't know how to swim now, it's her own fault.
"Watch her in the tub." Pshaw.
Don’t let her fall off the changing table 6 of 10But it seems like it'd be so much fun to watch my tiny baby fall off a table four feet in the air and smack onto the ground where she could snap her neck or break her leg.
Put a heating pad in her crib to help her learn to fall asleep on her own 7 of 10I'm just not cut out for this parenting stuff, clearly. Otherwise it would have occurred to me before you just said it to put an electrical cord in my baby's crib while simultaneously exposing her to something that could potentially aid in overheating, and therefore killing her since her body can't regulate temperature when she's so little.
Give her some Benadryl to knock her out 8 of 10It's like you've read my mind. When I was pregnant I daydreamed about the ways I could make my unborn baby comatose once she was born so that she wouldn't bother anyone else on an airplane. Because that's why we have babies, right? To look at them when they're quiet and sleeping and pray they'll never wake and, heaven forbid, annoy the entitled person with the smelly deli sandwich seated next to us while flying?
By the way, were you going to mention to me that some babies on Benadryl actually don't sleep at all but instead stay awake and get Ã¼ber-hyper instead? Oh, did you not know that?
Moving on, was there any other medical advice you wanted to dispense from inside your shared, windowless office cubicle?
Enjoy every moment 9 of 10Not every moment, right? Oh, you really do mean every moment? I'll tell you what, I'll enjoy that sweet moment after she's been fed and bathed and is smelling all baby-like when she's snuggled up in her fresh pajamas and is all sleepy.
And then I'll let you come over to enjoy changing her crib sheets at 3 a.m. after her diaper blows out, and after that's done, you can also enjoy trying to get the dried pumpkin banana spit-up/puke out of the Oriental rug in the living room that was there from a few days ago but I just couldn't get to because I was too busy not enjoying her standard 5 p.m. it's-too-early-for-bed-but-clearly-she-needs-to-sleep-now meltdown.
Oh, so you didn't really mean every moment?
Sleep when she sleeps 10 of 10Finally! Someone has granted me permission to sleep through a phone call with my mother-in-law and sleep while paying the bills and sleep while picking up the stuff on the floor that would otherwise cause someone to fall and break a wrist, and sleep in the car (who cares if I'm driving?).
Because I'll get the stuff done that I need to do when the baby is awake.
Because she probably won't need me then, right?
Photo credits: iStock
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