Sunday, December 25, 2011

Google: Xanax for the paranoid parent

I am endlessly grateful I'm having babies in the Internet era. There is no way anyone can prepare you for all the weird stuff babies do and I can't imagine what things were like when you had to gather your own information about what qualifies as normal and what is a signal to rush to the doctor's office. Google is particularly effective at quelling my more paranoid impulses. Entering a string of search terms and seeing them pop up in Google's auto-complete suggestions provides a wave of instant relief. Even if whatever I'm searching turns out to be something worth bringing up with the doctor, at least it's really common. And most of the time if that many people are searching for it, it's not only really common, but perfectly normal. For example, when Walt spits up a lot of milk all at once, he usually manages to puke some out his nose. I asked my mother if that was normal and she said she didn't remember if I or my brother had done that, which made me a little worried. I can't imagine forgetting that my baby blows milk out his nose when he burps a little too violently. (On the other hand, I kind of hope that isn't my number one memory from his babyhood.) So I searched for it and got so many links to professional association websites and to forums with parents discussing exactly the same thing, I immediately felt better. Now it can go on my list of things to mention at his 2 month well baby appointment rather than generating an immediate call to the advice nurse. There is a lot to be said for just knowing that you're perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

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