At my previous job, where I was carefree and had no children, I worked with a woman who, to my eyes, took a lot of time off for her sick kids. Just when one was done being sick it was the other one. "Boy, Susie's kids are really sick a lot, huh?" I smirked to no one in particular (because I didn't have many friends at this job). In case my lines are too close together to read between, what I'm saying is that I figured she was just using her kids as an excuse not to come to work when she didn't feel like it. Oh and I should also mention that she was a single mom and I was a total a-hole.
Well, now I'm no longer carefree nor childfree, and I could not wait to get October 2013 behind me as I think our son was completely well for about five days last month. First it was the fever-with-a-rash virus. He got better, and I idiotically agreed to a playdate with my cousin's kid (who she warned me was drippy-nosed) because I figured "He was just sick," and that he couldn't get sick again so quickly. Just like with my assumptions about my co-worker, I was a total a-hole, thus allowing my son to get sick again.
So that was a good lesson, followed by another lesson I needed to learn: that it's impossible to keep up with a baby's runny nose. Again, when I was carefree and had no children, I looked with disdain upon the booger-nosed children. Gross. Why can't parents take a SECOND and just wipe their kids' noses so that people like me don't have to look at their snot? Boogers, to me, have always been the most disgusting thing, more so than poop or blood and maybe even vomit. But no, it is impossible to keep up with a baby's runny nose. He doesn't give a crap and won't help you out by wiping it himself; quite the contrary. Any attempts to keep my baby's face clean are met with noisy complaint and attempts at escape. The only solution is to stick a pacifier in his mouth which more or less will hide his crust-ache with a backup solution going a little something like this: just try not to look if you hate it so much.
After the baby got over his cold, he vomited on us (literally). And then after that came the diarrhea. Then there was a fun twist: a demon had arisen from either his vomit or his diarrhea and it haunted the nightmares of anyone who had come into contact with the baby. This virus completely disabled my dad, my mom and me and even sent my husband to the ER. Was the baby sick or well while we went through this? I don't even remember, honestly. I think we put baby in the proverbial corner during this time.
Now we are recovering and the baby has a little cough and I am OVER IT. Just get yourself together, dude, jeez.
So that's where I was for much of last month. Learning many lessons. Cleaning up bodily fluids. Spending a lot of money on Gatorade and Pedialyte. And sending mental apologies to that mom whom I once doubted, because being at work is infinitely better than all this gross nonsense.
A study published in the journal Infant Behavior & Development revealed that the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" has little to do with reality. When 253 college students were asked to rank photos of the same individuals as infants and young adults (without being told who was who), there was no relationship between how cute the students found the babies and how attractive they found the grown-ups.
No, really, it's true. It doesn't matter how many times you've heard the shout "Mine!" -- research shows babies can sense fairness at 15 months. During one study at the University of Washington, 47 babies observed videos of an experimenter distributing milk and crackers to two people. When one recipient received more food than the other, the babies paid more attention. That means they had expected a fair distribution. The researchers also found that babies who did notice unfairness were more likely to share their own toys.
OK, so they're not exactly psychic. But a recent study from the University of Missouri found that babies just 10 months old are starting to follow the thought processes of others. Yuyan Luo, an associate professor of developmental psychology who conducted the study, tells The Huffington Post, "Babies, like adults, when they see something for the first time -- when something is surprising -- they look for a long time. It shows [they recognize] something is inconsistent." It's called the "violation of expectation," she explained. When babies are surprised by something or notice something unexpected has happened, they tend to gaze at that thing longer. In Luo's research, babies watched actors consistently choose object A (such as a block or a cylinder) over object B. When an actor then switched to object B, the babies stared for about five to six seconds longer, meaning they recognized the change in preference.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Treat all people the same. We're all equals. These are sentiments parents strive to teach their kids from a very young age. And they should. Starting, like, immediately. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found that babies at three months begin showing a preference for the faces of people of their own race. But not all hope for equality is lost. The same study showed that babies who are exposed to people of all different races are less likely to develop bias at such an early age.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that five-month-old babies can identify an upbeat song as being different from a series of sad, slow songs. In other words, they are happy. They know it. They will clap their hands. Or stare longer, as the case may be. The experimenters showed babies an emotionless face while music played. When they played a new sad song, the babies looked away. When the music pepped up, the babies stared for three to four seconds longer.
Babies have a sense of morality at six months old, say Yale researchers. During the Yale study, babies watched a puppet show in which a wooden shape with eyes tried to climb a hill over and over again. Sometimes a second puppet helped him up the hill, and other times a third puppet pushed him down. After watching the act several times, the babies were presented with both puppets. They showed a clear preference for the good characters over the bad ones by reaching to play with the good puppet.
Dr. Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia, who studies how babies perceive language, found that if a mother spoke two languages while pregnant, her infant could recognize the difference between the two. And they don't even have to be spoken out loud. Werker's research found that infants four to six months old can visually discriminate two languages when watching muted videos of someone speaking both.