Saturday, January 22, 2005

What's a dropped baby, by the way?

I suppose that saying that my wife and I are bringing up our daughter just as we’d want to is not as pure and simple as it might seem.

Just the other day I came home to find my mother-in-law and her mother hunched over my daughter. The way they were looking her over suggested to me something of the way that Baba Yaga must have looked at Hanzel and Gretel. “She’s been crying a lot,” my mother-in-law informed me. Funny, I had thought she was a particularly quiet child; I wondered what more was coming. “She’s a dropped child,” added my wife’s grandmother. “Sorry, a what?” I knew for a fact that no-one had dropped her, not unless they just had. “One of the bits of her backbone is not in place and it is causing her pain,” the grandmother’s explanation did not move me to trust in the judgement, “I’m just going to do a couple of things to fix it.”

So, here was a woman with, in so far as I knew, absolutely no chiropractic experience who was proposing to perform some semi-chiropractic procedure upon my recently born daughter. Her theory sounded preposterous, based upon what little I knew of children and backbones, while her proposal sounded plain dangerous. And, to make it all worse, she made it clear that she had no intention of actually asking me if he can do this. If anything, she was informing me of what she was going to do and only because I had just happened to walk in at this time. I thought that, under the circumstances, my response was very restrained. All I said was that I absolutely did not agree to my daughter having anything like such a procedure performed upon her. Still, it must have cut my grandmother-in-law to the quick as she was out of the house within minutes, my mother-in-law in tow.

Since then, I have found out a little bit more about this ‘dropped baby’ syndrome. It is an old wives’ tale which has managed to survive along with other ‘medical’ theories such as that black cats cause bad luck. Numerous babies have been very badly hurt by their well-meaning but know-nothing relatives stretching and twisting them at an age when such treatment is exceptionally dangerous. So, even if my grandmother-in-law doesn’t speak to me for a while, I do not mind. My daughter seems to be getting along fine despite not having received ‘the treatment’.


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