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Claire Zulkey Headshot

Baby Acting Crazy? It's Probably a Case of JBBB

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When you become a parent, you spend a lot of time filling your head with strange acronyms and code. VBAC, for instance, means delivering a baby vaginally after you've already had a C-section. The 6 S's is some B.S. that's allegedly guaranteed to make your kid sleep like an angel. DH (when used on message boards) means "dear husband" (I assume sarcastically). And a good one that's made the rounds recently is the CTFD method of parenting (as in, Calm the F Down, and that applies to parents, not kids).

I've been using one with my friends that I invented that is in a somewhat similar vein. I used it yesterday and someone said they wished it was Googleable, so here it is: JBBB. It stands for Just Babies Being Babies. Why does my son sleep for 20 minutes one nap and three hours the next? JBBB. Why does he love grapes one week and then scream and throw them on the floor the next week? JBBB. Why does he say the word "thank you" so cutely 3,000 times in a row and then stop when I take out my camera? JBBB. Why does he act like I'm trying to slowly torture him when I'm just trying to get him three blocks home in the car? JBBB. JBBMFGDB, man.

Some parenting books are useful, but the danger of too much information is giving parents the impression that there's very much that's in their control. Especially with sleeping! I think it's incredibly mean to give new, sleep-deprived parents the impression that "If you didn't do this your kid would sleep through the night," or "If you start doing this other thing, your kid will sleep through the night." This gives parents with "uncooperative" children the impression that they're doing something wrong, and, maybe even worse, gives parents who were lucky enough to have easygoing kids the impression that they had something to do with it.

It's probably just a matter of convenience, but it truly helps me to remember that babies and young children are, basically, tiny insane people who make absolutely no sense. This is where JBBB comes into play. It's both an explanation and a comfort. Your kid's a snot-nosed, screaming, destructive, uncooperative, unrestful piece of crap despite your best efforts to engage, encourage, comfort, nurture and guide him? Whatever, dude. Have a beer. JBBB. Say it out loud. J.B.B.B. What can you do? Not much. J to the B to the B to the final B. It will set you free.

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