The Power of Google

You can Google pretty much any weird question you may have and get a long list of websites or blogs that someone across the world has posted with the answer. It amazes me. Today I noticed Chloe was doing something weird with her head and the first thing I thought of was Stevie Wonder. Yes, Stevie Wonder. (You all know what I’m talking about) So I seriously googled “baby head shaking Stevie Wonder” and it linked me to this response to a blog:

“Have you thought about exorcism? It’s probably teeth (since my 7-month-old is shaking her head like she’s Stevie Wonder) but you can never be too careful.”

I never thought teething would cause Stevie Wonder head shaking, but I guess it makes sense! I went on to read the blog this person was responding to and the story is hilarious. (Posted below) I haven’t had a chance to explore the site – Babble – but it looks like a pretty interesting site. I’ll have to post an update about what I think when I have a chance to read some more articles.

Has Josie Got Religion?
This is what we’re wondering now, because she’s fallen into these weird habits that we can’t explain and that kind of freak us out and that make us wonder – in those brief moments of first-time parenting hyper-neurosis – if something isn’t maybe really wrong with our daughter, like she’s seen a vision of her personal savior (the not very nice kind) and is now possessed. So this is one of those deals where I’m asking for the veteran parents out there to talk us off the ledge. Okay, the first thing: she shakes her head back and forth really forcefully. It’s more like a whipping action. This happens when we try to give her the bottle and sometimes even when Erin’s breastfeeding, and when Jos is asleep but restless. A couple of times, when we’ve set her to sleep in our bed, this has resulted in her head-butting us. (Erin is calm and understanding about this; my first impulse is to head-butt her right back.) The second thing she does is pull her hair. She reaches back and yanks at her own hair! Hard. This is mostly when I’m giving her a bottle. And then the third thing she does – this one is the most disturbing – is she bores her little fingers inside her ears and jabs at her inner ear flesh, which, because of the length of her fingernails (a direct result of our continued and abject fear when it comes to cutting her fingernails) means blood. Yes, our daughter, our sweet little daughter, gouges the inside of her ears to the point that she bleeds. The first time we discovered dried blood in her ears we nearly keeled over. How in —- name…? And even as I write this I’m getting a little freaked out. Josie tends to perform these actions at night, during her witching hour, before we set her down to sleep. So I’ve speculated that maybe they represent a kind of last hurrah, like a long-distance runner launching into her kick at the end of a race. It seems a bit worse now that we’re in California, away from home, so maybe she’s feeling a bit more anxious? And there’s always the possibility that she’s reacting to the ongoing pain of teething, though this feels sudden and frantic in nature. The truth is we have no idea why Jose has fallen into this pattern of, well, the technical term would be “self-abuse,” I guess. In our darkest moments, we wonder if she’s not showing signs of some horrible psychic condition. But that’s got to be parental paranoia, right? (Right?) Because she’s really quite a happy little shtunk most of the time, full of smiles, bits of laughter, and gaining weight these days like a Sumo. So our question is: have you fellow parents experienced these behaviors? If so, do you have any idea what they’re about? Is there anything we can do to get her to stop whipping her head and pulling her hair and (especially) gouging her ears? Like some form of benign exorcism? She did all of these things during my midnight bottle feeding last night and it was so upsetting. I kept trying to pull her hands away from her hair and ears, but every time I did she began shaking her head and the bottle slipped from her mouth and she stared at me like I was a big, fat idiot intent on starving her. So I just had to sit there and reinsert the bottle and watch her do these things until, after a few minutes, she calmed down. But as you can tell, now I’m feeling ready to gouge my ears. Help.

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