deus ex machina parenting

For those of you not up with your Latin or who don’t read a lot of science fiction*, the phrase deus ex machina means literally god from the machine, and is used to refer to a situation where a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object**.

Reading wifey’s post on Parenting Manuals isn’t the natural jumping off point to Sci-Fi but nevertheless it did get me thinking. Sometimes I think we subconsciously want the deus ex machina solution for whatever parenting issue we’ve got at the moment. Teething baby? The teething granules, gel and Calpol that worked with child one and two aren’t making a dent on child number three but there must be some solution out there. Winter vomiting doing the rounds again? There must be a way to avoid it, it’s just you’ve not spotted it yet.

But of course what works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else, or the next time it happens. And this can be bloody irritating.

When life gives you lemons, sometimes
the best thing to do is sling them in a G&T

Sometimes it’s clinging to the hope of some hitherto unknown solution that lets you get through the night but life simply isn’t that simple unfortunately. Sometimes that baby is going to cry when every way of calming him fails, even the supposedly foolproof one that you only use in emergencies in case it’s efficacy wears off.

Life you see, isn’t a plot device and everything can’t also be dealt with to a satisfactory conclusion.

*Star Trek is particularly bad at this
**When you’ve read over 3,000 pages of Peter F Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy, believe me you’ll know this in spades.