With each new baby, the newborn phase has gotten less and less terrifying. With Baby No. 1, everything was new. We had no idea what we were doing as we desperately tried to learn how to be parents. The fear over whether or not we would be able to actually keep another human being alive diminished with each baby that we brought home. I’ll go ahead and attribute this to our outstanding parenting skills. Because that’s obviously what it is. We’re the best. Or it’s more that we just learned that newborns aren’t actually that terrifying and are now able to relax. And it’s nice.
People ask how we’re doing; how is the baby? And I tell them that the baby is the easy part. She eats, sleeps, poops, cries sometimes … and that’s about it. If she’s crying, she normally has a reason which is, thankfully, generally easy to fix. Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been occasion where she’s been crying and I haven’t had a clue as to what was wrong. She was fed, she was burped, and her diaper was dry. And yet she was fussing.
Back with Baby No. 1, this fussing would have sent my husband and me into a tailspin. WHY is she crying? WHAT is wrong? We didn’t know the answers to these questions, so we did the only thing we could think of: PANIC. As you may have guessed, us panicking did not cause the baby to calm down.
But you know what? Sometimes there isn’t a reason. Sometimes babies just cry. And it’s OK.
So the baby? She’s the easy part. It’s the other three that are currently giving us a run for our money. They are ages 6, 4 and 2. None of them is overly self-sufficient yet. And, as a result, each of them needs something at every moment of every day. And, odds are good that at least two of them are unhappy with something going on in their lives at any given moment. They’re not upset because they’re hungry or need to burp. They’re crying uncontrollably because their granola bar is broken. Or because someone told them that the blue cup they’re drinking their milk out of isn’t blue. Or because their sister told them that she has two tongues and that, somehow, causes them to weep into their dinner plate.
Suddenly, I’ll take a fussy baby over a wailing toddler/preschooler/kindergartner, who has been wronged in some way and is responding by shrieking like a wounded pterodactyl that’s been lit on fire after someone told it that it could not eat candy for breakfast.
We are very thankful that the baby is easy going at this point in her life. Just tonight, after her brother was found painting his entire face with green glitter Disney Princess lip gloss under his bed, the baby and I were sitting on the couch—she was lying on my bent legs, so that I could see her face. She was showing me her latest talent—smiling and making happy gurgley sounds—while her brother did his penance in timeout (for which he, undoubtedly learned no lesson whatsoever) by declaring over and over again, “Mom, I feel like I don’t like you very much right now” and reminding me how mean I am. As I sat there, staring at my 6-week old baby who is just happy to be held so that she can look at my face (which, if you listen to her older brother and sister, can be described as a “poopy-face”), I tried desperately to soak her up. Because I’m going to blink, and she’s going to be 4-years-old and she, too, will be a stinker.
But for now she’s my baby, and she is, by far, the easiest part of parenting.