Sunday, April 18, 2010

All Eyes On My Baby (what they will never tell you, but always hope you find out)

As a first time mom I believed everyone held their breath for my baby boy.

I saw everyone's eyes on him. 

Imagined his voice in their heads, chiming like a bell, drowning out the noise.

Thought hearts melted at the touch of that pale, dewy skin.

Now there are two.  And while I do not claim status as a mothering pro (or anything close), I can tell you that they, in fact, do not care.

Not that they don't love your child.  They do.

They just don't care like you think they do (and by they I mean everyone that is not you, with the exception of other parents or parent-like figures, and oftentimes, but not always, grandparents).

These are the things they absolutely do not care about.

(And I must preface these points with the simple statement that I am, in fact, guilty of every single one.  And that I will probably continue in my child-centered delusions as long as those chestnut brown and sky blue eyes blur my once rational and possibly even intelligent worldview.)

So here it goes...
  • They do not care if your baby says "dada" or "yaya" or "baba."  You can spend an hour taunting her in that high-pitched, dog-trainer voice and even if she says it (which she won't)... they don't care.  They are not fooled into thinking she knows what she is saying and mindless babble does not make her the next brain child.
  • They do not care if your child can roll over, and they are even less impressed if you give him that extra push on his rear to complete a trick that a puppy could accomplish at birth (basically). 
  • They do not care if your baby cries.  They realize your child is not an evil dictator exerting power over you, her miser parents (on this point they are wrong, but they don't know that).  So please refrain from exclaiming that your baby is tired/hungry/poopy the moment she squeaks out a milli-cry (though in the instance of a full-blown screamfest please stick one breast/bottle/soothing device in said infant's greedy little mouth.  If in the presence of breastfeeding mothers do so immediately or be prepared to avert your eyes and feign the non-existence of embarrasing leakage issues).
  • They do not care if it is time for your child's nap.  If they are taking the time to come visit (especially if they do so in a respectful, non-intrusive way) they want to actually see your baby.  I am all about schedules, but just like rules they are made to be broken.  Let them see him.  Because despite the previous points...
There are things they love about your baby.
  • They love your baby's laugh.  How it bubbles up from her toes and flows from her mouth in grunts and snorts and screams.  How her little body shakes and her eyes go spastically wide with uncontrollable joy.
  • They love your baby's smell.  You know, that pungent mix of baby powder, stale milk breath, and multiple rounds of vomit (which for some of us more lazy moms does not prompt multiple changes of clothes).
  • They love the heavy, damp weight of a baby in their arms.  They love watching him drift off to sleep or grab at their face or just follow the arc of a conversation.  Do not snatch up your child for fear of burdening others.  It is hard to believe (especially when you spend most of the day trying to set your child down), but people love to hold your baby.  So let them.
  • They love that your baby is there.  Don't be dishearted if no one is dangling toys, cooing at, or playing with your baby.  They are happy for this fresh little life beside them, and while they will not notice every chirp and wave and hiccup like you do, they notice she is there.  And they love it.


  1. Awwww, such a sweet post!! I love when we're out somewhere with all the kids and across the way, I'll spot an elderly couple watching the kids and smiling.

  2. Lovely post and so true - although now I am a Mom if we are out and a new Mom is dealing with a fussy crying baby and is embarrassed about it (as happened at lunch yesterday) I do feel so sorry for her. Whereas pre-kids I would just be wishing she would leave, VERY SOON!

  3. Oh, that was really true and sweet. Being a schedule person myself, I always tell new moms not to wake the baby on my behalf.

  4. Great post, and so true!!! We had some friends not too long come over with their little toddler...who had big, fat green boogers coming out her nose. They kept saying how cute she was and all I saw was the crusty dragons. Na-hasty! There was no fellow-mother-love for the little gal...until later, when she snuggled up to me with her head on my shoulder. (I Lysoled after they left. Do you think that offended?). Thanks for the great post, for keeping it real! Karen

  5. I'm with Helene. This was a great post. It really put into perspective some of the things I have observed, but never been able to articulate.

    As a mom expecting her third baby in August, I'll definitely be looking at things a bit differently!

  6. I totally love babies around me. But yes, you're right. The little things matter little to me. I do understand new moms though, and have no problem listening to some of the gushing that they simply have to do over their babies. It's kind of part of the whole deal, isn't it?

  7. Amazing how much a perspective can shift between having one baby and two. Although I learned fairly quickly babies will never perform when you need them to. And as someone who has kids but no babies in the house, I do SO miss that baby smell. And if given the opportunity to hold someone else's baby, I will sniff them up...I swear that's not as weird as it sounds...well maybe a little.

  8. Kim, such a great post and so very true. A great thing for all of us to be reminded of!


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