“I could be happy,
The rest of my life with,
My cinnamon girl.”
I was always disgusted with new parents that had (quote, unquote) an Easy Baby. There was something, especially in those who had Easy FIRST Babies just so smugly superior about the way they would announce it to me. Like they had personally contributed to their newborn’s temperament by just being that awesome. Which implies, of course, that those of us with more challenging (read: jerky) infants was nothing more than a combination of crappy genetics and lousy parenting.
Hell, if Ben had been less of an ass, I’d have probably bought into that happy-crappy-horseshit myself. New parents are prone to imagining that all of their kids better qualities are nothing more than fantastic parenting.
Maybe it’s just the bitterness talking here, but there’s a part of me that almost feels sorry for the people who have Easy Babies the first time around. If #2 is more like one of MY children, well, then, they’re in for one hell of a shock when they’re pacing the halls for the 45th hour that night and popping Valium to ward off The Crazies.
I had suitably low expectations for my daughter’s temperament. Well, I had no real expectations whatsoever, save for not expecting a damn cephalocele on her wee head (Fun Fact! She’s only one of my kids with a normal sized noggin! And yet she’s the one going for surgery!). But no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, after all, so we make do.
My lack of expectations revolved around two separate and distinct individuals: Thing One and Thing Two (aka: Ben and Alex). Ben, you see, was the worst sort of first baby a mother could have. Thanks to the autism and subsequent sensory issues, he couldn’t be touched. Or he could, but he would scream bloody murder. His first year of life, in fact, he screamed. We didn’t learn why until much later, so I’d convinced myself it was because I was a bad mother. One year of solid screaming will do that to a person.
When I got pregnant with his brother 5 years later, I wanted and wished and confessed to Daver that I wanted only one thing out of this child. I didn’t care if he was smart, attractive or sweet. All I wanted was a child who liked me best. If that isn’t a sad, sad thing to say, I don’t know what is.
And well, like that old story about Monkey Paw that warns people to be careful what they wish for, I got my wish. In spades.
Alex loved me so very much for that first year that I literally couldn’t be apart from him for more than a couple of minutes. He didn’t sleep, well, ever. All he wanted to do is to be nursed by yours truly. For 20 or more hours a day. If only I were exaggerating. He wouldn’t tolerate his heartbroken father cuddling him, he wouldn’t handle even his doting brother holding him. He wanted his momma and he wanted her NOW.
Got my wish, all right. And learned never to wish something like that WITHOUT a disclaimer.
So it shocks and delights me to inform you that Amelia is one of the sweetest children I know, and certainly the nicest baby I’ve had spring from my nether regions. I know, I know, I know. I shouldn’t even tell The Internet this, lest I have to turn around and retract this statement tomorrow (likelihood is at an all time high), but I just don’t care.
They (who “they” are eludes me) say that if you don’t like the weather here in Chicago, well, wait five minutes. They are wrong. Chicago has two kinds of weather: fucking hot and fucking cold. For maybe 2 weeks out of the year it’s somewhere in the middle, but that’s really about it. I like to say that if you don’t like your baby/toddler/child right now, wait five minutes. Sadly, the opposite is true as well.
But for now, for RIGHT NOW, even with the gassiness and the baby acne, my daughter is the perfect baby. And unlike someone who might take it for granted by not knowing that children do come in an Asshole Variety too, I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.
(And as a bonus, she looks JUST like me as a baby. After two boys who look as though I may or may not have had anything to do with their creation–more not than anything–this brings me no end of joy. Which means she’ll grow to look like a female version of her father. Hopefully with less facial hair)
I do feel compelled to add that Asshole Baby does not = Asshole Child. Both Ben and Alex, despite their rocky beginnings as my children (perhaps they were voicing their displeasure at the Universe for saddling them with me as their mother) are two of the most delightful creatures I’ve met. I couldn’t love them any more if I tried.
Who else would I let eat all of my precious chocolate?
And who couldn’t be a better big brother if I paid him (I don’t actually pay him. He’s just THAT good)?