Sunday, March 23, 2014

On Infants

I have a confession:

I don't know what to do with babies.
Does that make me a horrific bearer of ovaries? Am I disqualified?

They're adorable and I think they're great, but I have no idea what to do with them.
So I sit here while the people around me talk to babies, entertain babies, hold babies, change baby diapers, all that jazz, and I feel as awkward as a teenybopper at a middle school dance.

No, really, I kinda sit in the corner and watch, waiting for someone to, I dunno, toss me the child.  I DESPERATELY wish I were good at it. I wish I were that woman who begs to hold babies, who can't keep her hands off them.  Who breaks into song just at the sight of them. Who squeals over the tiny shoes and the gurgling smiles.
I wish I were all that because babies deserve that.  They are sweet and precious gifts, and I ADORE them. Really, I do. None of this is that I dislike them. I just don't know what to do.
I get all nervous and I have this sudden nagging fear that I am a clumsy bother, that it's best that I sit back and let the experts do their thing.
Chris's nephew, Reilly, was here for a visit with Chris's mom and sister
Yeah, I don't typically think about how to handle babies until I have one right in front of me.
He's a completely chill and adorable child . . . I just had no idea what to do . . .

Mostly, I just watch.
You see, everyone ELSE is playing and caring for the kiddo. He's peeking and booing with three different people at once, and I sit there thinking, "There is absolutely NOTHING I can contribute to this. Nothing I offer can improve on the fun he's already having."
The child begins to cry, and, as everyone else consoles him with toys and food, I sit quietly because I feel like one more pleading voice adds to the noise. Does that make me a terrible person? I'm not trying to just let the child cry. I just don't know how anything I do could possibly make it better. Four people calling your name instead of three? Would that really fix it? I want him to feel better, I don't want him to be unhappy in the least bit. I just don't know what on earth I can give that could add to the good things everyone else is giving.

I remember being really shy at first with my baby sister, Davie, who was nine months old when we brought her home.  I don't remember the transition between being shy and being her sister. I remember feeding her, changing her diapers, and playing with her like it was nothing at all.  She was mine. My mom gave me directions, and I followed them to a tea. I don't remember it being hard.  By the time Ellie came along, I was good to go.

They were mine. Maybe they weren't my children, but they were my sisters. I knew what to do. They needed me--my siblings and my parents. If Mom was momentarily unavailable, big sister Sarah was there to fix it. I had a place and a purpose.

Other people's babies? No clue.  I need like step-by-step instruction. I try my best, but I feel ..... I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

Toddlers I can handle. Adore, even.
Heck, I can even do teenagers.
But a wide-eyed, speechless, breastfeeding infants?
I have flashbacks to when I was fourteen and trying to talk to boys.
Oh, peeps, it's totally the same thing.
You go up to this adorable little stranger with baggy pants and try to start a conversation and all they do is gawk at you like you're insane.

The hubs on the other hand . . . .

The man needs a baby.
I mean, for real, folks. It's freakn beyond adorable.


  1. Michelle @ Jarrah JungleMarch 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    You are so not alone so dont worry I dont have a clue when it comes to babies either!

  2. Phew! SO glad to know I'm not the only one who feels awkward around miniature humans! ;] Thanks!

  3. I'm SO much more comfortable with "my own" babies than stranger babies. I won't randomly volunteer to hold brand new babies, and I'm not the first to volunteer to work in nursery--I'd rather work with school age kids, but I'm okay with related babies. I was pretty proud of myself when staying with the in-laws and taking care of my nephew--they were impressed at my anti-cry entertainment techniques. I guess having babysitting all of those little siblings of mine pays off a bit... I think Angel's the more awkward one of us, he seems to treat infants like miniature patients...

  4. I guess I was just never around "related" babies outside my siblings. I've just never been close enough to my extended family or see them often enough to really interact with the infants. Reilly is my first in-law infant, and, really, he was so constantly entertained by his mom, grandmother, and Chris that I felt so out of place and useless. If you tell me, "Sarah, care for this child!" I do all right. But you put me in a situation where people are making over babies? I have no idea what to do with myself . . .
    Oh my goodness, "miniature patients"--that's great! :]

  5. Chris looks like a natural! And seriously, that baby is so cute!

    But, seriously. You are my soul sister. This is me times a million. I cannot do other people's kids. So awkward! I remember one time when a coworker gave me her baby and he instantly started crying because I wasn't holding him the right way and of course I was like, "Omg, it's crying. Take it." You know, that awkward thing. And then another coworker (who was a mom herself) took the baby and he stopped crying and the real mom of this baby said, "He just knows that you're a mom." And I was kind of offended and heartbroken by not only the mom but the baby but also me because I was like, "BUT I'M A GIRL. IT IS INHERENT IN ME TO KNOW HOW TO HOLD AND LOVE A BABY." But apparently it's not. And then my nephew was born and I remember my mother-in-law giving him to me to feed because, "You need some practice." This was literally days from when Maddox was born and I was terrified because I didn't know how to properly feed a baby and also, SHE KNEW THAT I DIDN'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT I WAS DOING. Frick.

    But you know what, it's completely different when it is your own babe. You get this rhythm down and other people will be like, "Oh no. Your baby wants this." But you're the mom. And you know. We had a lady one time, Maddox was maybe two months, and he did a face and Evan said, "Oh, what's that face?" And the lady said, "Oh, he's peeing. You'll eventually learn what all the faces mean." I wanted to hit her. She a) wasn't a mom; b) wasn't Maddox's mom; c) was so random and wrong and just please don't discount the actual parents of the baby.


    I could go on.

    Don't even think for a minute that you are awkward around babies and this would translate to you as a mom or that you are less of a woman because of it. I can tell you, it's completely different when you have your own child. And also, it's kind of good that you aren't one of those random, crazy people who goes touching other people's babies and so the mom (me) has to lysol the shiz out of Maddox because God knows where your hands have been.


    This was a novel. Good grash.

  6. Oh, I ADORE your "novel" comments. Seriously, never stop ;]
    Yes, Reilly is a cutie! He's such a quiet, laid back baby, too. The weird thing is that I am constantly struck how much he is an EXACT copy of his dad . . . well, maybe not exact because Reilly has blue eyes and his dad, Ryan, has brown. I just don't think it would be tactful to even bring that up since Ryan and Julie are getting a divorce and they've all kinda decided that Ryan is the villain (he did walk out, so I suppose he is, but relationships are SO MUCH more complicated that good guys and bad guys but yeah . . . ).
    ANYWAYS . . . yes, Chris is a TOTAL natural. If I didn't already want to have his babies one day, I would DEFINITELY want to now just to see him as a daddy. He's so adorable. I just can't even . . . seriously . . . ahjkhfahudkahfajk . . .

    It's SO nice to know that I'm not alone in this! Seriously, such a comfort!
    "He just knows you're a mom"??? REALLY??? Sometimes women are really just so insensitive. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation caused by newborns, but REALLY?? Ouch.
    I'm hoping that everything comes naturally when we do one day have kids. I get along well with children, I really do, I guess I'm just worried about doing it "right," even though there's really not a "right" way to parent. Some ways better than others, but no absolute "right."
    I think part of my awkwardness with Reilly came because his mom and grandmother were ALWAYS hovering. Not in a bad way, just in a way where I would have to push my way in and be like "HAND ME THE BABY!!!" and I wasn't sure how to do that. Plus, in the moments when I could have, Chris swooped in because he loves babies and wants to spend time with his nephew, and I can't snatch that from him, can I? I dunno. Familial politics are weird, and I totally overthink them ;]


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