Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Love


Just the word makes me happy.

When they aren't mine that is.

I've been a parent now for nearly 25 years. During my tenure as a breeder, I've been many things to many different people, worn many different hats and been called many different things. I've been called the "cool" mom at times. I've been called the "good listener" mom. I'd also be willing to bet that I've been called a Not Nice Name mom on occasion as well. What I have not been called - ever - is Laid Back Mom.

Easygoing Mom.

Relaxed Mom.

Not now with daughters aged 23, 18 and 11 and certainly not when there were tiny.

A quick glance into my past will give you a clue as to why.

One evening when Rebecca was just a month or two old I had a sudden, insistent suspicion that she was deaf. Why? Well, because as she lay sleeping at my parent's house, I determined that she hadn't reacted as I thought she should to a noise. What's a concerned mother to do? I took her loudest rattle and shook it hard to see if she could hear it.

I'm serious. I shook the hell out of that thing.

Poor little thing looked like she was having a seizure she was so startled. Needless to say, I settled back, secure in the knowledge that she could indeed hear. Of course the rest of us couldn't hear over her ear piercing shrieks, but that's apparently the price you pay for peace of mind.

My middle? My youngest? I hesitate to tell you how anxious and concerned I've been over inconsequential things. From calling Poison Control because a baby might have, maybe, just possibly put an infinitesimal amount of a Gerbera Daisy petal somewhere near her lips to worrying that my 11 month old with chicken pox was always going to have a face that only a mother could love, it's safe to say that I've not always been comfortable as my daughters have grown up.

When the baby isn't mine however, I'm able to relax and truly enjoy him or her. Laugh indulgently at their antics, even when they include gerbera daisies. React without drama to circumstances that require quick and prompt attention. Calmly remove whatever foreign substance has found it's way despite vigilance into a mouth, nose or ear. Bask in the knowledge that I am Laid Back Mom - or at least Laid Back Woman Who Is Relaxed Around Any Child Other Than Her Own.

My friend brought her grandson over on Monday. 14 months old, just about the age that my middle and her youngest child was when we met, and I fell in love all over again with babies. He was utterly adorable. Chubby arms and legs, a grin that split his face (and reminded me so strongly of his father who was 6 when I met my friend), slobbery kisses and garbled words, all impossible to resist. My youngest thought so too.

Well, when she relaxed that is. She spent most of the visit hoovering and worrying. Gasping aloud in shock twice over what a baby can get into. Gesturing incredulously when neither his grandmother or myself acted with what she considered appropriate concern. Noting repeatedly that the baby was "making her nervous". All the while nearly melting when he turned his face toward her, hugged her or even whacked her with a block. When he and his grandmother left after nearly 2 hours though, she collapsed in exhaustion. A mere rag doll drained after her ordeal.

Guess the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.

Poor thing.


Storybook Woods said...

The hard thing about babies, is by the time you relax and enjoy them, they are not babies anymore. Clarice

Anonymous said...

Just wait until you are a grandmother....
Love Mom

countrymouse said...

I keep wondering about the business of babyproofing this house. I suppose it can be done . . . but, but, I just don't quite remember how. I'm pretty sure it will all come rushing back the moment the grandbaby is mobile : )

Angie said...

Poor Becca. Reminds me of the scene in Terms of Endearment when young mother Shirley MacLaine looks upon her sleeping baby in her crib and isn't quite sure if she's breathing or not. She gives the infant a hearty pinch and the baby screams and starts crying. MacLaine smiles. "That's better!" she says.
You're going to be a great grandmother someday. As for your youngest? Sounds like she's wound pretty tight in this department!

So glad to see all these posts!