FYI – there’s collective hypochondria in Russia (in particular among doctors) which is also seen in paediatrics. People are often treated for all kinds of illnesses for which you don’t really need treatment and they would often use semi-scientific treatment just to have the patients feel that they’ve been seen and taken seriously.
There were of course some comments in Theo’s medical journal after his 1-month visit to the doctor. They said he was cross-eyed (like the majority of babies), he had a preference for which side to put his head when laying down (don’t we all have that?) and on top of all this he was a bit tense (like most newborns). Pretty normal “complaints” for a 1-month old baby, in other words. But of course things can’t just develop in their own pace, so Theo was prescribed medical massage, swimming and a referral to the ophthalmologist.
Massage and swimming are not very dangerous and Theo don’t have a lot of activities during the days, so I thought why not follow the Hypochondrial doctor’s advice and try this out. So every day at noon a lady comes to our home to massage, exercise and bath Theo. I was told that these activities will help Theo start crawling and walk earlier, which is of preference if you’re a Russian parent. So just to be clear – there’s noting wrong with Theo, it’s just that parents will let their babies do this in order to compete with each other around their kids development. It’s not uncommon that many Russian newborns will get this treatment so that the competition can be on equal terms.
The lady usually starts the treatment by stretching the legs, arms and neck, while Theo looks at her with a sceptic face
The white bandage is not for boxing, but for making the baby feel safe and secure, as he thinks that he’s holding on to something. The thumbs are also folded outside the palm which is apparently stimulating brain development
After being massaged on the belly, legs and arms it’s time for some exercise that will strengthen the neck while you’ll get a spiny ball rolled over your back
Then it’s time for some balance exercise on a big spiny ball. Lots of spiny balls. The bandage on the hands comes in handy here as it sometimes can be quite frightening hanging upside-down
And the best for the end – to swim in warm water until you fall asleep
The lady holds the head between her hands and lets the body do different patterns in the water. This will help strengthening the neck at the same time as the whole body will become less “tense”
This treatment proceeds for ten days and will then be repeated again when the baby is 3 and 5 months. Now I only need to find some parents to compete with – who’s in?