Sunday

Life with the Baby: Sometimes we don’t get her

The baby is a joy. She smiles, plays, laughs and amuses us greatly. Every parent should be so blessed. Every day with her is like Christmas and every night is like New Year ’s Eve.

NOT!!!

Don’t get me wrong, we love her beyond words or comprehension. However, it took us some time to get to know her. Forget what you’ve heard. Babies arrive knowing things. Early on, they teach you much more than you teach them.

They have distinct needs, wants and unique personalities, but they can’t talk. It’s like having a little alien in your house with whom you can’t communicate clearly. It’s all trial and error. Here’s a glimpse into our house.

The baby becomes unhappy and you do your best to appease her. You try all of the tricks you learned in those prenatal classes. You feed her, change her, and sing lullabies. Initially, the lullabies are soft and soothing low tones. Eventually, as she continues to cry, they become frantic loud shrieks. You believe that she would calm down if she could just hear “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at just the right pitch. You realize that you look and sound crazy. You also think that if you were the baby you would probably be afraid if you had an unkempt, glassy eyed woman in your face singing off pitch and you would probably cry too. But because you’re sleep deprived and a bit manic, you don’t stop. The crying gets louder and louder and just when you are about to lose all hope, it stops. And all of a sudden in your arms you have a peacefully sleeping angel. The baby probably just exhausted herself, but because you believe that your efforts were effective you tuck singing off pitch into your baby soothing toolkit.

Now that I am six months into this parenting thing, I have begun to think that babies cry out of frustration. They know what they want and they think that you should too because they have “told you”. First, they look at you imploring you to meet their needs. Then, they ask you nicely to do it. The request sounds something like this, “goo, goo, ga, ga”. Stupid you doesn’t understand. And when you fail to do what they want they scream and cry, loudly. Unfortunately, patience is not something they were born with. All of this miscommunication frustrates the babies and the mommies and daddies.

Truthfully, our baby proved to be straightforward. She didn’t have colic. She didn’t have significant diaper rash or major colds. She hasn’t caught the flu. Indeed, other than her spitting up issue that we haven’t had any real concerns. She mostly cries when she is tired, hungry or has a dirty diaper. Still, this “good baby” wore us out!

She has required a great deal of stimulation. Entertaining her is like auditioning for a variety show. We dance for her, sing for her, and do anything to try to make her laugh. The classes told us how to tend to her basic needs, but they didn’t teach us anything about how to make her happy. Our parents weren’t much help with that either. We had to learn that ourselves.

Our house looks like a day care center. Toys are everywhere. If one doesn’t work we pull out another. They jingle, have music and some even light up. She has things she can shake, bite, and jump in. If they make it, she probably has it. Sometimes they work great. Some days I think that Baby Einstein = Baby “Prozac”. And other times, it’s just mommy and daddy acting like fools and blowing on her stomach to try to make her smile. Based on her recent laughter, I think that we are coming close to understanding what she wants and gaining some insight into her language. She's taught us a lot already, but we still have so much to learn!
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