Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Not That Easy Being...

How many of us have ever heard an adult say the following (or something similar) to a baby in response to said baby either whining, crying, protesting, etc.:

"Oh, I know... life is so hard to be a baby!"

Heck, I know that I have said it myself. Will starts whining and for a while my response was "I know! Life is so hard! People hug you and hold you and change you and take you everyplace! I know!"

Then one day it hit me - life probably IS hard when you're a baby.

Let's think about this briefly. Pretend you're a baby. You've just spent the last nine months in the best, most comfortable hot tub ever. Then you are forcefully evicted from your home - either by being violently shoved or dramatically pulled out of your mother - and immediately exposed to a much colder, less comfortable environment than you were just in. You now need to figure out how to eat when previously you just magically got your nutrition, and you need to depend on someone else to make sure you are constantly warm and cozy. Nevermind the fact that in order to get rid of any waste you take in, you have to deposit it into this pseudo-cotton pad that you hope someone notices is full at any given moment.

And that's just what you encounter in your first 30 minutes of life...

As you continue on, you soon come across many other things that impede your progress in this big, bright new world. Let's start with the fact that it's big and bright; your eyes are not yet ready to take in everything that's out there so you spend most of your time squinting, with your eyes shut, or glazed over. The people who are your primary caregivers do not yet understand what you mean when you say "WAAAAH!" versus "waaaah...", and you have not yet deciphered what their incredibly complex language is either. You have zero body strength and control so you can't: move, sit, stand, turn your head, grab at things... you name it, you can't do it yet.

Talk about frustrating.

You grow and as months go by you learn new skills that get you closer and closer to where you want to be. However, as you realize that there is more - because you're watching these people who call themselves "Mommy" and "Daddy" doing all SORTS of cool things you can't do - you get increasingly frustrated. You don't have the trunk strength to sit up like they do, you don't have the upper body strength or the lower body co-ordination to crawl and get your toys, and because your digestive system can't handle it yet - never mind the fact that you have no teeth - you can't eat the awesome looking things that everyone else gets to eat.

Seriously, guys. I can't reach my elephant. Can you... ok... nevermind.

No worries though. You shall express your jealousy by grabbing everything humanly possible and covering it in slobber. If that's not enough, when that "Daddy" fellow decides it's a good time to play that "airplane" game, you'll let a huge drop of drool release from your lips and land somewhere on his face. Preferably up his nose or right in that gaping, laughing mouth.

That'll teach him to lift you in the air.

Anyways... you finally are able to start speaking and no one knows what you're talking about. How do these morons NOT know that "Bah-bah-a-bay-a-wah" means "Please hand me that block that makes the cool jingle noise"? Or that "A-gay-wah-wah-boooo" means "I'm about to take a huge crap, don't act surprised"? Never mind that when they FINALLY start to give you some of that yummy-looking food they're eating, they start you off with some bland cereal and PEAS. Seriously??? Why not Indian food and cheesecake like you got in utero?

Let's not even get into the fact that they put your cape on backwards when they feed you this "food".

I think you get my point. When you really think about it, being a baby is probably more difficult than we give it credit for. This dawned on me when Will was about 3 months old; I don't remember what it was that prompted me to realize this, but since that moment I have stopped saying "I know, buddy. It's so HARD to be a baby"... at least without acknowledging that you know what - it probably is.

Sure, at some point in time the same baby who we patronizingly tell that it's so "HARD" to be a baby will probably say the same thing to their own kids. We don't realize it as adults, I think, because the idea of people waiting on our every need while we lounge around playing with toys is incredibly appealing when placed against the backdrop of our 8-5 jobs and 1-hour commutes.

But I challenge you to take a moment and think of all the things you can do that you take for granted - like having the ability to lean over and grab something without smacking your face on the floor or eating food without needing to think about chewing. These are things that babies are in process of learning so that they one day can join the ranks of the autonomous. After you've thought of these things, take a moment the next time you look at a baby - especially yours - and appreciate where they're at.

I can almost guarantee that you will look at them in wonder when they finally figure out how to lean over to pick something up from a sitting position - and manage to sit back up again.

1 comment:

Melanie Yoat said...

Well written, as usual!
Being a baby IS hard, as I've learned for my two extremely determined boys! There's probably good reason we don't remember the baby years. Considering how helpless they are when they're born, I doubt any reasonable adult would switch spots!