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It Takes a (Virtual) Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. But what if you happen to live half way across the world from your village? Being an Australian married to a New Zealander, living in New York with our three-month-old daughter, this is something I’ve recently had to confront.

Thankfully, in the place of wise elders, we have Google and the infinite wisdom of Internet Strangers.

They’re there at 2 am when you image-search ‘baby poop, colour’.

They’ll give you a comprehensive response right after bath time when you ask, “Why do my newborn’s nipples feel like little stones?”

And they’re more than ready when you have follow-ups like, “Why do they call it Witch’s Milk?”

Sure, they can’t hold your baby for you while you try to make dinner, or while mum takes an overdue shower, but they can answer all the questions you feel really weird asking, but need to know the answer to. And they don’t judge.

We have all typed some pretty random things into Google, and being someone who works in advertising I have had my fair share. In fact, just today I asked the all-important question: “What happened to that kid from Jerry McGuire?”

Thankfully, in the place of wise elders, we have Google and the infinite wisdom of Internet strangers.

But as a new parent, I’m playing a whole new ball game and I have many questions and queries.

“How do you reach your mobile phone when you’re holding your baby who has just fallen asleep?” is one question I wanted to ask Google today. As it turns out, I couldn’t reach my phone.

“How the hell have so many people raised kids before me?” is another question I would like to know the answer to; because when I have to do it solo, even for the smallest amount of time, I’m surprised at how little else I can do.

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But as I begin to type a question into the search bar (“Why does my baby…”) and the suggestions pop up to finish my sentence (“… hate sleeping in her crib”), I realize I’m not alone; others have been there too – sometimes in an even worse place (hang in there, whoever asked: “Why does my baby hate me?”).

As time goes by, I feel myself evolving from village idiot into useful citizen – one armed with a Nosefrida and the know-how to use it. With my newfound knowledge, I’ll pay it forward. (Hey, what ever happened to the kid from the movie Pay It Forward?)

While my real tribe might be thousands of miles away, it’s nice to know I can get by with a little help from my random Internet friends.

(Oh, as it turns out Jonathan Lipnicki (the Jerry McGuire kid) got pretty ripped and does some mixed martial arts, along with a bit of acting from time to time. And Haley Joel Osment has been acting regularly since he saw dead people. Good for them.)




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