That Baby

When Connor was but a wee babe I had a chat with our previous daycare provider, Amy. She was watching a little boy in the neighborhood a couple of times a week who would cry his little heart out whenever Amy put him down. We had a little Tsk Tsk at her expense; that baby must get toted around by Mom all day long. Why else would he be so needy?

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I look back at that early moment of parental condescension with shame, particularly now that my kid may be like the one Amy and I were discussing. While Connor would take two to three 2-hour naps a day, we’re lucky if Ike takes one 1-hour nap all day long. Connor didn’t take to his mobile until he was over 1-year old, but Ike can hang out in his crib as long as we keep winding that sucker up (why do baby things have timers? I want my baby to keep being soothed by his mobile or white noise machine, not freak out every 15 minutes when it stops). And though baby Connor was usually content to sit by himself in his rocker chair or swing, Baby Cute – as Connor calls him – prefers the warmth of another body, the perspective from an adult’s arms, and/or the motion of someone else’s ocean. In other words, Ike is that baby, the one who doesn’t like to be put down. 
Let me justify this rant by saying that I love holding the Ike-ster. He’s my baby – I’m genetically programmed to want to love and love on him and in that sense I’m a slave to my biology. That being said, a task as simple as changing Connor’s diaper becomes drenched in stress when Ike is crowing and Connor thinks that having a bare ass is the perfect time to examine his toe jam, play with himself, or flop around on the changing pad like a fish out of water. Have I conditioned the Roo-ster to only be happy when in someone’s arms? Is it my fault that what I once thought was his witching hour (around 6 p.m. when the only thing that will calm him is to be held) is really his witching day, every day? Is he really as bad as I’m making him out to be (no, I can be a bit prone to exaggeration). Or is Ike just a slave to his biology, too? Is he just a kid who likes to be held whether I made him so or not? Will I just knock it off with the questions?
I feel completely responsible for everything Ike. I heap this heavy dose of guilt on myself not just because I’m his mom, but because I only have a handful of hours every day with which to mother him. I believe that nature and nurture combine to make the diverse population that we exist in, but for some reason, when it comes to my own kids, I make myself believe that there is only nurture. And any faults in their nurturing should be blamed solely on me…Well, that sounds much harsher written out than it did in my head…Ike is a good kid, and I’m going to take this time to tell myself that I’m a good mom, as we all are. We only need to give ourselves the credence to believe it.
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One thought on “That Baby

  1. You are an excellent mom JoJo! Every child has different needs. Sure, some of their needs are probably aided by how we nurture our children, but a lot is just nature. Both my girls were “that kid.” I was all too aware of it with my first and was convinced the second wasn’t going to be. I “knew” I was the reason the first one would only sleep while being held. With the second, I wasn’t going to hold her until she slept. We’d immediately put her in her crib and she would sleep fine because she wouldn’t know any better. Ha ha, that was a joke. I tried, but it never worked with my second either. She wanted to be held ALL the time. She would cry and never sleep if someone wasn’t doing so. They now have both outgrown their constant need to be held and I feel haven’t been to maladjusted because of choices I made on how to raise them. We all do our best. Keep on being the amazing mother that I know you are.

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