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Thursday 28 July 2022


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.