What the hell is a good baby? More to the point, is there such a thing as a bad baby? I’m not sure why, perhaps it is just one of those say-it-cos-it’s-the-said-thing things… but people are constantly asking me if my baby is a good baby. I’m not talking about friends or family either, I’m talking about strangers… people in the post office, people in the supermarket – random people calling out from street corners as I drive past (exaggeration is totally allowed at whatever-o’clock-in-the-morning). The first time someone asked I think my child was 22 seconds old (or 2 days, but who’s counting?).
Apparently “Good Babies” sleep through the night (in their own cot of course), they feed perfectly (breast is best of course), they don’t cry,they follow routines flawlessly, they don’t get wind or sore tummies or drive their new-mothers crazy… anyone who says they have one of these “Good babies” is, let’s face it, probably lying. I always tell everyone my baby is perfect, because to me, she is. She is five weeks old and she has not once “slept through,” she certainly doesn’t sleep in her cot, she gets sore tummies and cries, she spews on me, the bed and anything she can at the most inopportune moments – she wakes up at 4am in the morning just to make barnyard like noises in my ear. She drives me crazy-round-the-bend-totally-head-over-heels-in-love with her. But she’s my baby and she’s absolutely 100% perfect for me.
I’ve been very, very lucky with Bo – we were blessed with easy breastfeeding, good sleeping, no colic and a pretty relaxed, happy go lucky attitude which has served us very well. I know many mothers who haven’t been so lucky… some didn’t take to the breast, some barely sleep at all. Are there babies in comparison to “bad babies”? Or, let’s face it, are their mothers to be labelled ‘Bad’ too? This is perhaps the most RIDICULOUS thing I have ever heard. One mother I know put it perfectly when she said, ‘my son is not good, he is absolute awe inspiring perfection.’
Babies aren’t good or bad – that’s the magic of the newborn – they don’t know what good or bad is yet, they don’t have the ability to be either. They are perfectly blank canvasses who rely on you to show them the way. Now, if you think you’re baby is “bad” – that’s not the babies fault – you’re the one painting on that canvass after all.
I think we here in the western world need to THINK more before we SPEAK.
So to perfectly imperfect babies everywhere… who are destined to steal our sleep along with our hearts… I’m going to go and cuddle into my co-sleeping cocoon right now with my lovely little soul and paint a little more perfection on that beautiful canvas of hers.