When people asked me if my babies were ‘easy‘, or if they were ‘good‘, my first reaction was to wince and then remind myself to smile and say ‘yes‘. I know they were only asking out of habit or lack of something better to say. I still give the same reaction when I hear someone saying, ‘Oh, we’re so lucky, we have suuuuuch a good baby‘. Wince. Smile.
Can a baby be ‘easy‘? Can a baby be ‘fussy’? Babies are just babies! They have no good or bad intentions. They don’t manipulate. They’re not conniving. They are also not aiming to please. They are not trying to make their mommies and daddies proud… They just are…
Is an ‘easy‘ baby one who doesn’t need attention? Does an ‘easy‘ baby follow a feeding schedule and only get hungry when it’s convenient for the parents or carers to stop and feed? Is a ‘good‘ baby one that doesn’t need to be held all the time and is happy to smile and giggle all the time? Does an ‘easy‘ baby sleep through the night from 6 weeks and never cry? Does a ‘good‘ baby happily settle by himself? Is an ‘easy’ baby one that is always content in the car and never fusses during baths, changes, tummy time, and loud, unfamiliar places? Oh… well… if you compare my babies to those standards… then I was lying to all those people. My babies were not ‘easy‘.
But, I answered ‘yes‘ to the ‘good baby question’ so many times because, to me, my babies were easy!
I held my babies in baby carriers, slings and wraps whenever I needed to. I fed on demand (and I’m still tandem feeding and my girls are 3 1/2 years old and 16 months). I took them to the toilet when they had to go, day and night (it’s called elimination communication)… do you know how many. times. a. newborn. pees. and. poos. a. day?!?! I kept them in my room at night and they slept in my bed (gasp). They’re still in there to this day. I held them in my arms without distractions, when they would do nothing else other than cry. When I couldn’t handle them anymore, I passed them over to my husband, who would carry out the same duties (ok, except that he unfortunately doesn’t have boobs). Sounds like a lot of work, when I put it that way… but it didn’t feel like it to me at the time. My life wasn’t ‘ruined‘. My life wasn’t being ‘controlled‘. I was just doing what came naturally to me.
I’m not some freakish super mom for doing what I did with my babies. I’m also not saying you have to do all of those things I mentioned in order to be a good mother. Everyone has their own unique situation to consider. I think almost every mother, no matter what the situations is, fusses over her child to make sure that they’re happy. I’m not special. I’m not a martyr for doing anything I did.
Why did I do all those things for my babies? I don’t know… I just did them!
Was it easy? I don’t know? What’s hard? I never asked myself those questions of whether it was easy or hard. I just did them. When I got too tired to do what I wanted to do, I stopped, or asked for help. I’m certainly not saying that it’s bad to say you’ve had an ‘easy‘ baby either! Some babies are certainly more cruisy than others! So, it’s natural for us to think of babies as ‘easy‘ or not!
So, were my babies ‘easy‘? It depends who you ask. Anyway, who cares if a baby acts ‘easy‘. What happens when that ‘easy‘ baby grows into a clingy toddler? A whiney three year old? Then what? ‘Oh, they were such a good baby, and then, I don’t know what happened!’ Toddlers, preschoolers and kids of all ages… do they make a conscious effort to be naughty or difficult? Aren’t they still just kids? Can we just let children be children and not take their actions as something we think is ‘good‘ or ‘bad‘. How about a bit of unconditional love? Do we take offense to their moods? Do we tell them to just stop acting ‘naughty‘, or do we search for the underlying meaning for their behavior?
Sometimes we just see the fruit of the action and think that a child is just being ‘difficult‘…. but there could be so much more to the story! Imagine how hard it would be if we couldn’t always verbalize our emotions (you can’t even rely on children who can talk to verbalize their feelings until they are much older).
I still wince and smile when people say, ‘Oh, what good girls you have‘. Oh yes, thank you! I know, they’re delightful (at the moment). But, what does that actually mean? I’m not sure how anyone could say a baby or young child is ‘easy‘ or not. All kids come in their own flavors. They all have their own style. It’s up to parents and carers to accept a child as they are and not to label a kid as ‘good‘ or ‘bad‘, ‘easy‘ or ‘fussy‘.
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(if you find any typos, please let me know, late night blogging is bound to cause some error 😉