As part of the Mo' Babies Online Baby Shower for Kristen and Rebecca, and in honor of so many other bloggers and friends having babies and one of my best friends who recently had her first (hey, limboland la la!), I'm writing this post about how wonderful babies are! Because they are! If they weren't, why would I be trying so hard to have another? I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it eleventyfour thousand times more, they are worth it.
I'm sure I've written before, and I've gone on and on IRL, about how my baby girl was not an easy baby. But what I remember most fondly about those early months are actually directly related to ways in which the Pumpkin was difficult. And even at the time, I realized it. Those two ways were: 1. she would not be put down for the first three months of her life (except swaddled in a moving swing, and then only at night); and 2. she was very fussy. Now let me tell you why those two things were really wonderful.
Because my girl would not be put down even for naps, Londo and I had to hold her all the time. Let me rephrase that. Londo and I got to hold her all the time! I think back to those early days, weeks, months and what I remember most fondly is holding that little lump of a baby. I held her in my arms or my slings, on my lap or laying cuddled next to her, I walked with her, rocked her, held her gently. I had three different kinds of slings, and Londo had one sling and a baby carrier. I have never in my life been as physically close to another being as constantly as I was then. And that was truly a beautiful thing.
For naps, I would tuck this little being into a sling and walk around, bouncing and singing, until she fell asleep with her cheek pressed against my chest, her hand curled around the neckline of my shirt, her body tucked into me. There was no transferring her into anything else at this point. To keep her napping, I held her. This meant that I sat down somewhere comfy, picked up a book or turned on the TV or played on the computer, and settled in while she slept against my heartbeat, each precious breath making her ribs rise and fall.
How could I not fall in love with this child? That little lump of warmth and softness wanting nothing more than to be held and fed and comforted. How could I not feel an intensly close bond with this snuggly baby? The bond started at birth, really before even, and just got stronger with every passing minute of holding her in my arms, against my body. Yes, it was hard to hold her all the time, and I needed breaks from her and I dreamed of the day when I could put her down without her freaking out. But I also knew I was lucky to have a baby that I could hold, that wanted--even needed--to be held by me, and I was lucky to have the help and support and understanding and time to just hold her.
The other aspect of my difficult baby which was also a wonderful thing was her fussiness. I realized early on that she was fussy, but that I didn't want to label her as a "fussy" baby and only a fussy baby. I also realized that it was more than her being fussy. My little baby was simply very in touch with her emotions. This became really clear once she started to interact with her environment, especially when she started smiling and laughing. When my child is upset, she is FUSSY! But when my child is happy, she laughs loud and clear.
The Pumpkin is active, sensitive and emotional, and she expresses her joy and frustration with equal abandon. I really believe this is a wonderful trait to have. So she wasn't an easy going, laid back baby. She was a baby who knew what she felt, and she let everyone know. And I realize that I'd rather have a child who lets me know how she feels than one who internalizes it or doesn't know how to get what she needs.
What I find the most fascinating about this ability of the Pumpkin's to express herself is that understanding this about her made me realize I was seeing some of her personality traits since her birth! The active, sensitive, emotional and expressiveness of my little girl was not simply baby fussiness that melted away like the baby fat on her chubby thighs did. That early fussiness was a building block of her future personality that I have been able to witness from soon after she came into the world to her current toddlerness, and I will continue to see her personality develop throughout her life. How cool is that?
So I had to hold my baby and had to deal with a fussy baby. I was so lucky. This raising children is hard. But it's easy to be Mrs. Brightside about those little sweet babies when I think about how wonderful even the toughest aspects were. When I think about how it was all worth it. And I, for one, am looking forward to doing it again.
Good luck to all the new mamas and the about to be mamas and about to be again mamas! I hope you all are able to cherish every part of the newborn phase, because it's over so fast. At least we have our fond memories and the amazing children they become!