Saturday, September 17, 2016
Loving Our Babies
I just love this squishy little guy. I admit, I had a hard time during my pregnancy with the idea that I was having another child. I love my children and I knew I would love this baby too, but I really didn't want any more kids because I was already feeling quite overwhelmed with the six I had plus my sixth is a major handful and there are many, many days that I wish I could put her in a strait jacket.
But this chunk of chubbiness has absolutely stolen my heart (for the seventh time). He is just such a sweet baby. He's happy almost all the time and so fascinated by the world around him. He loves his Spider-man and several other toys to the point that when we show him the toy, he gets excited and laughs and waves his hands around. I absolutely love listening to the older kids making him laugh--it has to be one of my most favorite sounds in the world.
With this baby, I have done a lot of thinking. It seems these days that hardly a day goes by without some news story popping up on my social media feed about some parent or step-parent or boyfriend of a mom abusing some baby or toddler. These stories break my heart and make me feel both sad and angry at the same time.
There are times when my little one won't stop crying and fussing. He's sick or tired or hungry or bored or all of the above. He wants my undivided attention, which is often hard to give him with all the chaos in our house. There are times that his cries are maddening to listen to, but then when I pick him up to see what he might need, he instantly calms. His chubby little hands grip my arm or my neck or my face and he pulls me close and gives me a slobbery tongue kiss (yes, that's what I call it because he sticks his tongue out, but I'm pretty certain he's trying to kiss us).
He relies on us for EVERYTHING. These little ones come to us not even able to hold up their own heads or control their own bodies. Unlike other animals in the animal kingdom, human babies are completely reliant on their parents to take care of them. They have to be held, fed, and changed. They have to have social interaction to learn social cues and develop an understanding of human emotions and behavior. Other animals can find their own food, walk on their own, and aren't as reliant on the parent for as long when they are babies. But human babies take a year or more to learn to walk, months to hold up their heads, roll around, scoot and crawl. Even grasping small items takes months and feeding themselves can take more than a year, sometimes two.
Why do you suppose that these little humans come to us with such neediness? I have always believed (ever since I took a child development class in college) that human babies come to us this way to force us to love them and care for them and learn to serve them. If they came to us already doing all those things, we could easily let them fend for themselves, but because they rely on us for everything, we are forced to take care of them.
Every time I start to feel annoyed or anxious because I don't know why my baby is fussing, I try to remember that he just needs me. There will be a time he won't need me as much but right now, I can hold him in my rocking chair during the night if he has an upset tummy and let him sleep on my shoulder. I can snuggle with him instead of washing the dishes because he needs me right then. He needs a diaper change, a bottle, or just to be held and played with, so it's my job as his parent to provide that for him. When I chose to have a child, I chose to be his caretaker and provider and make sure that he has what he needs from me. Heavenly Father intended it to be this way. It's all part of His plan.
And who can resist? Look at those chubby cheeks and fat little hands!