said that, no matter what,
you can't go in and comfort the baby.
If you go in and comfort the baby
it learns that its cries get rewarded.
If you leave the baby it will cry for a while
before realising no one is coming.
Then – the Parenting Manual said –
the baby will stop crying in the knowledge
its wails are worthless.
Well it didn’t quite unfold like that.
The baby overturned every object
it could get its little hands on.
The chest of drawers ended up on the floor
along with its contents. In paroxysms
of inchoate rage, the tiny walking baby
destroyed everything it could.
The mother, meanwhile, sits sobbing
on the other side of the door.
The father won’t let her go in.
“The Manual”, says the father sternly.
“The Manual says we mustn’t.”
And I guess everything did turn out OK.
The furniture got repaired,
the room tidied and redecorated.
And the baby (36 now)
knows that no one is coming.