"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Sunday, June 7, 2009

a "good" baby.

brennan, 8 weeks old
i have this picture framed on my wall.
it's a reminder of how far we've come.
i actually smile when i see it.
it is one of my favorite pictures.
it defines my child for the first 8 weeks of his life.
and a few months after that too.
it's all hazy.
i was too tired to remember the details!
too exhausted from shoulders that ached from holding a child 12 hours a day.
for which i now hold to be sacred time we had as mother and son.
i hated when people would ask me,
"oh, is he a good baby?"
how does a mother answer that question?
i say "yes," and i feel like i'm lying.
i say "no," and i feel like i've betrayed my child.
of course he was a good baby.
maybe not "good" by the standard terms of:
sleeps more
eats more,
but "good" by the term of "he's my son and i love him lots" ;-)
i don't ask people that question any more.
i used to, until i realized how traumatic it can be for a mother who is struggling to figure out how their newborn works.
i always thought i would know my baby right away.
he'd been in me from the beginning, so i surely must know him.
but i still had to get to known him.
and figure out where the heck the missing instruction book was placed.
i know God must have sent one with the stork.
where did i put it...
so if you've asked that question, it's ok, just don't ask it anymore.
ask, "how are you doing?"
"oh my, babies can be exhausting."
it's kind of like the question,
"when is #2 coming guys?"
don't ask that.
"when's it time for kids?!"
don't ask newlyweds, couples that have been married for a few years, 10 years, whichever.
don't ask those questions.
they seem harmless.
they really are just for small talk.
but take my advice,
find something else to talk about;-)
b/c you never know.
like the weather.
that's always a good one.
i love the weather in utah in june.
it's hot one day and stormy the next.
there's nothing like a day of 85* followed by a thunderstorm to cool us off.
it's just lovely.
or loverly.
like the rain in spain.
how it stays mainly on the plains.
i think i just found my next sunday activity...
and please don't be offened.
or embarrassed.
just more wise.
more wise.


Sue said...

So true, Em. I wonder how often we make someone uncomfortable or cause them pain without even knowing it.

But I'd rather talk about food than the weather (as can be easily seen upon meeting me...)


Brooke said...

so true...it does take lots of time for us to figure these babies out. but now i can say that i am an expert at something! i know exactly how this kid works (until some new development comes along!) and it makes me feel good about being a mom. Only I, ok and his dad, know how to truely care for our little guy. We matter and no one can completely take our place! It's so hard in the beginning and I just want to warn/comfort my pregnant friends and say, "you don't realize this yet, but it is going to be crazy and hard, but you'll get through it!" Best experience I've ever conquered...and still conquering :)

Emmy said...

Yes I am just glad I had my son first. Looking back he was a VERY difficult baby... but since he was my first I just didn't always think of him like that.
I have a sister-in-law who didn't think she would ever be able to have kids; and so it killed her every time someone would say, so when are you going to have kids, why don't you have one yet? Anything along those lines. So I know I have definitely learned not to ask.
And now I am physically able could have another, my pregnancies are fine (other than having to have c-sections), but I don't know if I am emotionally ready; so I don't want anyone asking me that either.
One of the best lessons life has taught me is that you never know what is going on in someone's life, so just keep your mouth shut :)

Jess said...

So true- those seemingly harmless questions are the salt in the already festering wound of childlessness.
And really- what is a "good" baby- they're all good when you want one so badly.

Michael & Leslie McCabe said...

Em. I really appreciate you saying, "please don't ask newlyweds when are you having kids?" Oh my goodness I seriously get that question on a daily basis and it totally bugs me. I have only been married for a little over a year and since we are over the year mark people seem to try to put some pressure on us. I think to myself, "what if I can't have kids...that person has no idea what is going on with my body nor do they need to know. If I want to talk about it, I will let ya know." Haha. Thanks for bringing up the much needed to talk about issue. Hope all is well.

Levi and Katie Hansen said...

Oh my goodness Em, I am so grateful that you wrote this entry! People used to ask Levi and me that all the time; and to be honest, it never really stung that much....
But, I do have a sister-in-law who has had a couple of miscarrages and is still not able to be a Mom. I feel so much for her when she tells us the comments that people in her ward have made to her; such as, "What sins are you committing that you cannot have a child" REALLY?? REALLY??? I think that some people have forgotten that others have feelings; thank you so much for the reminder in your post!!

Cari said...

It feels good knowing you arent alone when it comes to a stubborn kid, or one that cant sleep. I too am sick of hearing "my baby is perfect" because yes, they are because you love them sooo much, but at the same time, really... are there mothers who ever think their child is doing 110% on every milestone? I have learned also to never compare children and their development, because darn it every kid is different, and we all tend to turn out ok.... minus the crazy ones. But you know what I mean! :) Cant wait to get together... youre awesome.

Natalie said...

My new favorite of yours! I love truth, and this post is chock full of it! Weather, food, even politics...yep, it may be hard to believe but politics is better than baby talk for discussions with people you don't know well. To this day, I LOATHE the question: "How many kids do you have?"

I say 3 kids, and I'm a liar. I say 4, and then I have to explain that my oldest is in heaven....and let's face it, some people just are not worth the explanation! And, if they are worth it, they just end up feeling uncomfortable. So I say, stick with things like weather, food and politics.