A good baby

She screamed and cried and groaned. Her tears are so big and her cries are so pleading. It must be hard to be a baby, unable to really relay your fears, unsure of how to control your body, completely dependent on others to take care of every want and need. The doctor told us our daughter is a little bit colicy, although I don’t think we really needed her to tell us. We are pretty well aware of her preponderance for fussing. My in-laws keep bringing up my husband’s infamous cousin who, “cried for a year straight”, if you’re reading this you know who you are :). I understand the connection but it doesn’t make me feel any better, ‘You mean this could last how many more months?’ Is what I feel like saying.

I think what I hate most of all is when people ask me if she’s a good baby. I know that they are meaning to ask whether or not she cries a lot and I don’t know what to say. Of course she’s a good baby! No baby is bad. So she cries, that doesn’t change the fact that she is the most adorable, loveley, sweet person I have ever met in my life. I know it isn’t meant to say that she is bad, it’s more a question to ask how I’m doing and I’m grateful to the people that care. I just don’t know what to say. Truth be told I think she is starting to move on past the crying stage. She seems to cry less and less each night, but it’s still hard.

Tonight she only fussed for an hour. I lay down next to her and stroked her arm as she cried. Then she looked into my eyes and was quiet, she smiled, and reached out to grab my face. It was by no means a gentle caress. She reached out and grabbed hard, getting a little hair in the process, but it was one of those moments when you know for certain that if this little person could talk she would be saying, “I love you too mom”. And suddenly it’s all so worth it. The crying, the fussing, even the occasional screaming is all worth the eternal reward of being connected to this person that you love and that loves you. She fell asleep soon after, and I watched her doze. I love you my darling. You can always cry on my shoulder.

If I don’t know your name, you do NOT have permission to kiss my baby’s toes

I was holding my baby in the church hallway chatting with a friend when an elderly woman approached us. I saw her coming but couldn’t quite figure out what she was doing until it was too late and her face was level with my stomach. The old lady was giving my baby’s toes big slobbery kisses! How do I know they were slobbery? Well, while this woman (whom I had never met before) was kissing the baby’s feet she accidentally missed and kissed my elbow…and it was wet.

My initial reaction was to hold my baby tight so that the old woman couldn’t reach any other part of her. I put my hand over her head and gave a weak smile as the old woman transferred to my friend’s baby who, unfortunately, wasn’t as well protected. The woman kissed her baby on the face, and then returned to snack on my little one’s toes some more. We tried to laugh it off, “Oh… hi… aren’t babies cute? Uh…I’m Amber, have we met?” But as the old lady left for relief society I couldn’t hide my discomfort as I commented, “Well, that was a new experience”.

Unfortunately though, it’s becoming an old one. What is it with old women wanting to touch my baby? I know she’s cute, trust me I do, as far as I’m concerned she’s the cutest baby in the world, but these women act like she is theirs, like they have the right to just grab her and start holding her or kissing her. When I was visiting my great Aunt at the Assisted Living Center I seriously had several old ladies trailing me and asking to hold the baby – at least they asked instead of trying to just take her. Luckily the baby was asleep and I was able to use that as an excuse, but I’m afraid I can’t use it every time.

Maybe I’m over reacting, after all it takes a village to raise a child, but my husband is a nurse and he has told me statistics on how many elderly people are incontinent or don’t wash their hands. I don’t know. Anyone want to weigh in on this one? What did you do when people started touching your baby? Am I over-reacting or not reacting enough? How can I politely refuse when a stranger asks to hold my child? It’s funny, I was uncomfortable but didn’t really react when people touched my pregnant belly, but when they touch my daughter I turn into mama bear! Watch out… Amber may be… a grizzly!

Zap!

I have long wavy hair. Because of the red in it, and it’s tendency to frizz, my husband likes to call me his lion. Well, I did it in french braids over night so it would have that wild wavy look to it. It waved, and it was wild, but it also frizzed up a ton. My husband actually asked me to roar for him.

Being a new mom I didn’t have time to change it, so I just went with it. I was the frizzy lioness all day. I didn’t think much of it, until my baby started to get caught in it. She’s not quite to the grabbing stage, but if you bat at something this frizzy your fingers will get stuck. It wasn’t too big of a deal. She’s tiny and I have a hard head – she really can’t pull hard enough for it to hurt, but apparently it can hurt her.

Sequence of events went as follows: Amber shuffles over to talk to husband, baby in arms, baby reaches up and bats at mom’s hair, “Zap!”, and the most blood curdling little scream I’ve ever heard come out of my babies mouth!

My hair shocked my baby, and she did not like it! I think she was more scared than anything, but her cute little reaction made us all laugh! How could I laugh at that? My poor baby! I felt for her, but it was so funny! Ah, the joys of discovery, I just hope she’s not developmentally delayed by the experience. “Zap!” that’ll teach her to reach up and grab things.

Giving

I was up in the middle of the night trying to calm a crying baby. I was changing a diaper that wasn’t dirty after trying to feed and burp a baby that was neither hungry nor gassy. With new mom hormones running through my body I felt overwhelmed.My sweet little girl was upset and I couldn’t fix it. Her cry was desperate and I desperately wanted to help her.

I began to sing to her as I rocked. I cycled through a few primary songs from my youth, until I got to “Give said the Little Stream”. I barely got through the first verse before I was in tears. “Give,” said the little stream, Give, oh! give, give, oh! give.” I didn’t know what else I could give, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Still, I tried to finish the song. I was calming down when I reached the third verse.  “Give, then, as Jesus gives, Give, oh! give, give, oh! give. Give, then, as Jesus gives; There is something all can give. Do as the streams and blossoms do: For God and others live.” I listened to the words over my baby’s cries and my perspective changed. I was reminded of the atonement and how much Jesus gave for me, the excruciating pain he felt so that I can be saved is more than I will ever have the opportunity to give.

Knowing that Christ and my Heavenly Father understood my pain I was able to put my baby back to bed and lie down myself. Eventually she stopped crying. Later on I thought about the song some more and another well-known hymn came to mind, “Because I have been given much I too must give” has been cycling through my mind as I contemplate my many blessings. Motherhood brings new trials with it, but it  brings many more blessings. I just hope I can give back a sliver of what I’ve been blessed with myself.