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Friday, November 27, 2009

Is she a good baby?

This probably tops my list of questions not to ask a mother. Why?

*What the asker really wants to know is, does she cry a lot, does she sleep through the night, is she colicky. So why not just phrase it that way?

*Mostly because it implies the inverse is true if you say no. No, she's a bad baby. Have you ever heard a mother say that? And yet we expect to hear that if a baby is fussy, doesn't sleep through the night, won't go to other people, etc, etc.

*This is right up there with the whole "He's an easy baby" thing. So if you don't have an easy baby, you have what? A hard baby? A difficult baby? Do you really want to label your kid from infancy in that direction?

This all came to light for me when I was working with my Roots of Empathy class on Wednesday. Our topic was crying, and they asked if Niamh cries a lot. Well, I said she doesn't cry as much as she used to because we've mostly figured out what she wants when she fusses/cries. But she still cries. A lot more than Edmund ever did. So the instructor asked the class "Does that make her a bad baby?" Well, when you put it that way, it's very obvious. No, of course she isn't bad. She just has a need that I haven't figured out how to meet. She has different needs than her brother. She has a different perspective on the world.

So why I am asked this inane question every time I'm out in public with her? Why are we so eager to know the temperament (because that is what it comes down to) of every stranger's baby? To seek advice for one's self? To offer advice? To smile smugly and feel better about the baby who never cries and goes to bed easily and takes a pacifier?

I guess this bugs me because at first I really didn't know what to say about Niamh. She is SO different from Edmund. I'm learning now that this is a good thing and it means she has different strengths, which is good because she was born for a different purpose. It has been harder for me this time because my firstborn took a pacifier whenever it was offered, went to bed without a fuss, slept regularly at earlier hours at night (although he got up a lot more frequently to eat than she does), and if he cried for more than thirty seconds put together, I was climbing the walls FREAKING OUT because that was so outside of his personality and I needed to figure out what was wrong with him NOW.

And now I have Niamh. Niamh the strong. Niamh the determined. Niamh who is trying to stand up on her own. Niamh who can sit unsupported at the ripe age of almost four months. Niamh who rolled over at three weeks. Niamh who wants to be where the people are, who will smile at anyone who smiles at her, who giggles just watching her brother play nearby. Niamh who has taught me I don't know everything about newborns and infants. Niamh who has taught me to pray throughout my day instead of just when I think about it sometimes. Niamh the dancer--she danced in the womb and I know once she's vertical on her own there will be a rhythm to be tapped out. Niamh who is mostly very willing to nap when her brother does and give me a chance to sleep/blog (no promises). Niamh who doesn't think a pacifier is any replacement for Mommy. Niamh, my bright promise who will very likely change the course of history. I can promise you that there will never be another girl like her in all the earth. I don't think the world could take two forces of nature on this scale. It's already being taxed enough having both of us in the same room 90% of the time. :)

What do you think about the labels we give to babies? Have you ever thought about it?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pictures! Oh yeah, that's what I said!

For those of you who only follow me in blogville, we had the baby! She arrived three and a half months ago. Wow, time goes faster the second time. Also, there is less free time, although I seem to be up more hours of the day now that I have two to contend with. :) Edmund is great with Niamh--almost always remembering to be gentle and not to poke her eyes and we're working on sharing the cars now. I'm trying to teach him that she's a person too, and that soon she'll be his best playmate so let's learn now to share and include her in our games.

She is a surprise a minute! Niamh started rolling over at three weeks old--and is now so proficient at it that I often find her in a different spot if I'm out of the room for more than half a minute. She is determined to go somewhere.....wherever the people are. She doesn't like being alone.

We just moved her into the nursery and the crib this week. The first night was rough, but last night was a lot better, and tonight I put her to bed at 7:30--a new record! We'll see if she gets up again before I hit the hay, but you know, it's a good start. Tonight we were all playing together on the floor--she was rolling around on a play mat and grabbing hanging things and then trying to crawl away and rolling back and forth and giggling as she watched Edmund drive his cars nearby. Tonight's been a good night. I'd love them all to be like this.

In other news, Edmund is potty-training and doing a great job of it. Maybe because his great incentive is a cookie for every successful trip to the potty. I've started giving him half cookies, which is good because somedays he's gone four or five times (whoo-hoo!). We had one day in which we used no diapers whatsoever; well, had a diaper on him for naptime but he woke up dry and we kept going until bedtime. I am so proud of my little hobbit.

Okay, on to the pictures. I know that's what you came for. :D

Edmund holding Niamh for the second time (the first time I was home alone and it only lasted about ten seconds).

It starts early--who needs the presents when you can play with the wrapping? She spent probably twenty minutes crinkling the tissue paper.

Niamh on the blanket Auntie Amy made for her.

Niamh in a watermelon outfit--so cute!

Smiling at Daddy in a cute heart hoodie.