“I could be happy,
The rest of my life with,
My cinnamon girl.”

–Neil Young

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)?

47 thoughts on “My Cinnamon Girl

  1. Cute kids all the way around! Ahh, you were due for a mellow one. To save my sanity, I stopped after the first “asshole” baby.

    Watch it, though, the teen years, when she’s much bigger and much stronger, may be when she screams for a straight year or two 😉

  2. Ya know, its because she’s an Amelia that she’s so good. I whole heatedly believe that kids live up to their names. So I will never have another Matthew- ok most of the time I feel that way. But My Emmy is a doll (well now that she’s 3.5 she is most of the time for me), ok she’s shy and wont talk to strangers but for her teachers she’s a doll.

    Cute kids, and don’t you just love this Chicago weather…….

  3. i can’t remember which of my children were easy and which were difficult. i mean, i can tell you now, but i can’t remember much from when they were infants. i was that tired.

  4. My second child was such a terror (constantly attached to my boob by her mouth to the point that I had heat rash all over my inner arms and breasts and she had it on her face) that if she had been my first child, she would have been an only child.
    Amelia gets cuter and cuter every day!

  5. yay you were certainly due….. I was one with easy baby first, but easy baby didnt not equate easy toddler….from 15-24 months or so….not so much fun…

    my second baby, a bit harder, but mostly because of gerd, and if THAT doesnt affect your temperament, I don’t know what would!

    YAY Amelia!

  6. I paid my dues with the difficult conception, so I got an easy baby, for which I take no credit for. Sure, we had some sleep issues and constant nursing. Maybe I was so happy to finally have her, that I just overlooked anything difficult. I didn’t tempt fate by having another though. I’m glad you got an angel, and hopefully nice baby does not equal monster toddler.

  7. I must tell you, I have had an infant who would rather talk to the ceiling fan than be held, and one who was terrified of being put down. I understand! (And now that they are 3 and 4, well, they are just wenches!)

    I am so happy you got an “easy” baby who looks like you! You deserve it. And how cute are your kids?! It’s just crazy! (And no matter what, I would NEVER let one of my children eat the chocolate. You must REALLY need a nap!)

  8. Aw Becky, they’re all perfect, (in their own way), right? Just as they should be. And damn, I see holiday photo cards in your future:) and I better be on the mailing list.

  9. Your kids are all so cute! I’m glad that Amelia looks like you, too!

    I think you have definitely paid your dues to the “asshole baby” club and have thankfully earned a reprieve from difficult. Yay for Amelia being so sweet!

  10. I had easy babies…. That mean I get asshole teenagers. Trust me, I would trade the situation is a heartbeat. As kids, you can control their ass-holy-ness. As teenagers, they are going to be able to cuss much better than me.
    Shit. Easy babies or easy teenagers. No brainer.

  11. Will is such an easy baby. Obviously that’s because of how fucking wonderful of a father I am. Totally.

    But unlike other naive first-time parents, I already realize that Will being an easy baby was just shit luck. And I also realize there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’ll get another mellow baby if we decide to have another one. Which makes me very, very nervous to try again.

    Your family is gorgeous by the way and I’m glad you finally got an easygoing infant.

  12. Oh Aunt B…They’re all adorable, but that Amelia..is gorgeous! And it was about time you got an easy, mellow baby…How are you feeling? Beside the euphoria of not having an asshole baby? How is everything else? Keep us updated!

  13. What beautiful, wonderful kids they are! My first was a very easygoing baby, who is now a very sweet, sensitive 5-year-old. My second was a colicky “intense” baby, who is now a very intense 3-year-old. Perhaps not full-on “asshole baby” but there were definite moments when I (seriously) thought that if someone came to the door and offered to take him, I would have said “thank God” and handed him over. #3 is our little girl, and so far, she’s sweet and easy, but we’ll see as she develops more personality. And yes, regardless of the way they started their lives, there is no one in the world I love like I love those three. They are truly spectacular.

    I can’t imagine how nervous you were after Ben’s infancy, looking forward to another baby. And it sounds like Alex had his own set of challenges. But I’m glad sweet Amelia is living up to her beautiful name and continues to bring you and her brothers so much joy.

  14. I too(head and eyes down) had the “easy” first baby. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about and said so…. flash forward 5 years, get knocked up with (hold your breath) twin boys. I have eaten my words over and over and over again over these almost 2 years that Matthew and Michael have been here, but the first 3 months were all the punishment I deserved. (I got 20 minutes of sleep at a time and I am not over stating that). I am amazed they, I mean I am alive…..


  15. Wait, babies come in “easy-going” variety? Ok, let’s add that to my “and I got screwed” list. Maybe the third one is the charm though, which will be added to my “reasons to roll those crappy dice again” list.

    I’m glad you got an easy one. And hey, if she turns into a holy terror at any age, you can blame it on the brain surgery? I’ve used that one a few times when people are glaring at my screaming baby. “Hey, he had BRAIN SURGERY, alright?” When really, he just is bored. Ahh, silver linings.

  16. Oh I’m SO glad she’s an easy baby for you! Not as glad as YOU are, but glad nonetheless. She has beautiful eyes, they’re so big and round. The boys are looking handsome, too. Good work, love!

  17. That was such a great thing to read. I’m glad you are finally having some honest-to-goodness happiness with your family! Not that you don’t always love and appreciate them, but with all you’ve been through, I imagine it’s been tough to look on the bright side.

  18. Isn’t funny how different they can be. My first was a bit of a challenge, and now my twins are so different. Maybe it is because I’m not so intense the second time around, but I really think they are more mellow. Especially my girl. I think after 2 boys, I find a special connection with her, much like you describe. She’s my good baby — sleeps through the night, right on with solid food, goes to sleep on her own. Even though I kinda wanted boys first, I’m so enamored with having a girl. Although I fear the teenage years.
    Keep holding on to her sweetness.

  19. Thank you for posting this! My son is 8 months old and for the first 6 months of his life he screamed uncontrollably! Bringing him around family was always especially uncomfortable as I watched the horror in my brother/sister-in-law faces. I could read their thoughts…”I’m so glad our kid doesn’t act like that”
    And I resented the hell out of all of them…with their “perfectly well-behaved babies”! I felt as if they all blamed me for his temperament. It’s also nice to know that the behavior doesn’t necessarily carry over to childhood!

    You have beautiful kids! Thanks for sharing:)

  20. My son has turned out to be a much easier baby than my daughter ever was. In her defense, she had two over-interested parents who would allow her to sleep on them all the time instead of in a crib, not to mention acid reflux. However, my son is leaps and bounds beyond her in the easy going department.

    For perspective, she’s the hyper-active prototype girl in the front row of every classroom scene of every John Hughes movie. He’s the stoner in the back who laughs at inappropriate times and throws up on himself.

  21. They are all so beautiful.
    My first baby had the colic, and as a result he is an only child.
    I really couldn’t stand to be in the same room with him, for the first six months, but as soon as the colic was gone he was a dream!
    I am praying for little Amelia and you.

  22. I know that I could not be LESS smug about a first “easy” baby. 🙂 In fact, it has the living shit scared out of me because I KNOW that I’m due the asshole that I so richly deserve!

    Loads of good thoughts for you and Amelia!

  23. People always told me that the first one is good to trick you into having the second one…if the first one was good for me, I don’t even want to think about how bad the second one would be!

    You were due a good one.

  24. My sister had an easy first baby, really easy. When she was pregnant with her second we were all like, “Even if he’s not hard, he won’t be easier than Simon, so he’ll be hard for you.” And then….he was easier than Simon, which didn’t even seem possible.

    She wants to have more kids. One of those buggers had better have colic or something, because that shit ain’t fair.

  25. “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.”
    AMEN!! I think I am done after my first “challenging” aka asshole kid. I give you a hell of a lot of credit to keep going after #1 and the a tough #2, too.

    : )

  26. Awww. Baby Bear hasn’t been the easiest child either (so far). Hubby says he doesn’t know if he wants another baby. I will convince him otherwise….in a few years.

  27. My first was the ‘asshole baby’ you so perfectly described. Didn’t sleep, screamed all day, all of it.
    The universe must have felt I deserved a break the 2nd time around, that is, after we got home from the emergency gut surgery and 2 week vacay in the NICU. Farty is pretty laid back, except for some separation anxiety going on right now.
    Hoping all goes well, I’m praying for you!

  28. My firts son fell in love with my mother in law:( Still to this day will go to her first:( Hated that, had to compete with her. Then the second child did the same, rotten stinking smelly boys;) Then my Leigha well she honestly will throw herself from her grandmothers arms to get to me, screaming at the top of her lungs to get to me. So it all balanced out I guess. I admit I was super jealous at the time whent he boys used to run right past me to her…but then she did spoil the absolute crap out of them behind my back so that must have been the reason they loved her more.

    Your daughter is super cute tho. I wish they stayed that way for a little bit longer. I miss that stage.

  29. Amelia is just squeezable, and this post made me smile. A lot.

    Also, I’m with you on the people with “easy” babies and “easy” kids. Bean is turning out to be neither, and it scares the living hell out of me.

  30. ahh yes….the asshole baby
    baby # 1 for me was angel he’s 18 now..
    baby #2 was the asshole baby…the asshole toddler…and now the asshole teenager—he’s 14 now.
    I used to tell people that if I had baby #2 1st that would have been it.

    Now baby #3 only 4 months onld…is a girl this time…and a easy baby…slept through the night at 6 weeks..and is generally happy.
    Love it!!! You deserve it

    Aunt Becky….she’s beautiful…sugar and spice and all things nice…that’s what little girls are made of.

  31. Luckee! I say you’ve earned her.

    I am glad the asshole baby does not become an asshole child! (but don’t ever tell JAG I called her an asshole, she actually can be cute even when screeching her head off)

  32. Your children are beautiful.

    I was one of those jerks who had an easy baby and thought it was because of some sort of superior attitude or superior parenting. Then toddlerhood humbled me utterly. Twice. So has early childhood.

    Pride goeth and all that.

  33. Tale of the Twsited Claw? Best reference EVER! Long live “Are you afraid of the dark!

    -the midnight society

    ps – your kids are too freaking cute! I lurk here some. Adore your sick sense of humor!

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