Your baby is happy and smiles easily. His daycare teachers use words like “easygoing” and “laid back” to describe him. He drools only when teething and rarely spits up. By 4 months, he sleeps 7-8 hours straight through the night. At get-togethers with family and friends, he is passed around from person to person and never fusses from separation anxiety. On the rare occasions he does become upset, he calms quickly with a bottle, a cuddle, or a quick trip into the fresh air.
He is your firstborn. There are a few trying moments as you adjust to your new role as a parent, but overall, you have lucked out. He’s a pretty easy baby.
Beware. He is a trick baby.
He is dangerous.
If you have a trick baby, your parental confidence will soar. You’ll peruse all those articles you bookmarked about sleep-training and smile proudly to yourself because you didn’t even need them. You figured it all out on your own. You’re a natural! You’ll (almost) feel bad when your scraggly-haired friend whose eyes are glazed over from lack of sleep asks how your little one is sleeping. Or if he screams inconsolably unless you hold him every hour, day or night. Or if your child spits up so often he has to wear toddler-size bibs as part of his daily outfits. But your baby doesn’t do any of these things. He is, after all, a trick baby.
Your trick baby will make you think wild things like being a parent is easy. You’ll gaze lovingly at your trick baby as he sleeps in his crib and gently rub his back with no fear of waking him before crawling into your own bed for 7 hours of blissful sleep. Your DNA must be evolutionary gold! It’s not luck that you have the easiest baby in your zip code, it is genetic destiny! Or so your trick baby will make you believe.
Your trick baby will make you think crazy things, like this is just what babies are like. You’ll try to commiserate with your mom-friends, but fail miserably.
“He’s teething, so he had trouble getting to sleep last night. It took him almost 15 minutes to finally fall asleep for the night.”
You’ll know what you’re saying is awkward. You’ll know what you’re saying is lame, but you can’t help yourself. It’s all you know, of course. You have a trick baby.
Worst of all, your teeny tiny little darling of absolute perfection will trick you in the biggest way imaginable. He will trick you into thinking you should have another baby. Right away. It just makes sense! Look at how wonderfully easy trick baby is!
Don’t let your trick baby fool you.
Remember, your trick baby is dangerous.
If you’re fortunate enough to have the fetal gods smile down on you and send the perfect creature that is the trick baby as your firstborn, then enjoy every glorious second of his sweet disposition. But don’t kid yourself. Trick baby is an anomaly, and your future babies are not going to be anything like trick baby.
Your trick baby paves the way for what will inevitably be a colicky, sleep-resistant, clingy, anxious, liquid-spewing spawn. Also known as a normal baby.
If you let trick baby get the best of you, you might find yourself in the unexpected position of caring for two small children born within 18 months of each other, one of whom no one will hold because of her incessant screaming and projectile spit-up. This is in trick baby’s best interest, because while you are desperately trying to care for a newborn, trick baby will have just mastered the use of his two legs. And he intends to use them.
Trick baby knows that if he can get the best of your good sense and rationality early on, it will benefit him greatly. By the time his mobility, sense of adventure, and curiosity about all things dangerous and/or life-threatening peaks, you will either be too large to waddle after him or too tired to bother.
Don’t bother blaming trick baby for this egregious lapse in judgement, either, because no one will understand, especially not your bedraggled friend whose child is still not sleeping through the night. And because your trick baby sleeps through the night, you can’t even blame lack of sleep for your poor judgment. But once your normal baby comes along, you’ll be too tired to place blame on anything. You’ll be an exhausted mess with your new baby gripping onto you with the strength of industrial magnets while drenching the back of your stained shirt with drool and spit-up. Meanwhile, trick baby will be attempting to climb Mount Everest without oxygen.
That is the curse of the trick baby. Consider yourself warned.
© 2015 Shawna Gove, as first published on Scary Mommy