I've done all the things you're supposed to do - stripped him down to his diaper, make sure he's getting plenty of fluids, and watch him; when he awoke about an hour ago, it had spiked to 102.7, so I gave him some children's acetaminophen. That's when the first nagging alarm bells went off in my head: "Acetaminophen use has been linked to childhood asthma! Alert! Alert! You're Doing It Wrong!!!!!"
You're Doing It Wrong. A childhood taunt I hear in my head nearly every day of motherhood. What I feed him. How I dress him. When he sleeps. Whom we see (or touch). The activities in which we participate - on and on and on.
My friend and I were discussing this today - no matter what we're doing with the babies, there's this "grass is greener" feeling that we should be doing something else; that the book we're reading, or the song we're singing, or the food we're feeding isn't the right one - so-and-so did thus-and-such with their kid and it sounded so much better. You're Doing It Wrong.
In reality, however, I know I'm doing just fine. Munchkin is generally happy and sociable; except for tonight, he's normally healthy. But what if I'm not? The reason he's not crawling? Could be that I put him too close to his toys, or play with him too much. He shrieks when left with strangers? I "spoiled" him with love and attention. He's not talking yet? Definitely from the times I fell silent instead of talking to him 24/7. Or maybe from the times I broke my own rule and used my cell phone while he was awake. I was totally Doing It Wrong.
We parents need to give ourselves a break - particularly the primary caregivers. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but the glut of information (and opinion) available becomes the true Parent Trap. As a post I read today pointed out, there are so many tips and tricks and "musts" and "nevers" that refute each other, it all may be doing more harm than good. Another friend mused, if we were in a remote location with no web access, would I care if my son wasn't stringing consonant-vowel combos together? Probably not.
Instead, let's celebrate the love and attention we give our kids - every precious minute we're allowed to be with them. Follow our instincts - sing the songs and read the books and play the games that come to us in the moment, then move on. And reassure ourselves that if the kid is mostly happy, generally healthy, and still kickin', we must be doing something right.