Typical conversation with anyone who meets baby:
“Oh isn’t she lovely. Doesn’t she have your eyes!”
“Yeah, she does look a lot like me.”
“And is she a good baby?”
———— awkward silence while I try to decide what to say…..
I hate that question. ‘Is she a good baby?’ I know what is meant by it. When people ask that, what they mean is does she sleep 12 hours a night, does she never cry, is she placid and smiley and happy all the time… And I want to shout “no! of course she doesn’t sleep all night, and of course she cries, and of course she gets grumpy and grisly and cross. SHE’S A BABY!” And to be quite honest, I’d be worried if she never did cry. It’s her only way of communicating with me, and so the way I see it is that a very vocal baby simply has a lot to say about the world. Whether it’s that she’s cross because I’m making her wait while I get dressed, or that she’s got painful wind, or that she’s too hor, or too cold, or she’s tired, or hungry or simply wants a cuddle- which by the way is perfectly fine since she’s my baby… I’m more than ok with my ‘bad’ baby.
Because that’s what she must be right? If a good baby is one that never cries and sleeps all night, then my baby must be a bad one.
I think it’s too easy to expect a baby to behave like an adult. I know I’m guilty of it myself when I wonder why she won’t sleep longer than an hour, or why she isn’t content to sit on the floor and play while I do the housework. But I remind myself that she’s only been in this world for a few short weeks or months and she has so much that she has to cope with. It’s ok for her to scream when I walk out of the room because for all she knows I might have just left forever and never come back. It’s ok for her to scream when she’s in teething pain because she doesn’t know that it’ll be worth it in the end when she has teeth to eat with. It’s ok for her to cry when she’s bored of something because she’s only got a short attention span.
And so when people ask me if I have a good baby, all I really want to say is that yes, I have a baby who’s exceptionally good at being a baby. She cries brilliantly. She can throw up wonderfully and her nappies are gloriously smelly.