The second time around
A favorite minister of mine once said there was a person who caused him and his wife a lot of stress. She would call in the middle of the night, was demanding and ruthless; screamed at them in public, and was impatient and self-centered.
Turns out-he was talking about their daughter, just a few months old at the time.
We got to enjoy our baby grandson for an entire week recently as his parents were away. I fancied it as a chance to get to know him better and relish the memories we had from our own baby days, which were nearing three decades ago, even if it doesn’t seem that way.
What that stay actually did was remind me why God gives babies to the young.
It didn’t take long to remember the degree to which 10-month-old babies are 20 pounds of pure destruction and perpetual motion. Our house hadn’t looked that unsightly since the Reagan administration. Everything is fair game to a curious, well-meaning baby-including hair and eyes. And I was reminded of how hard those little hands can pinch and annihilate things. Babies and toddlers have nothing on the U. S. military with their capability to search and destroy. We should send them to world summits to settle things with a pinch-off.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t so hard getting up from the floor when we had little ones. I did that a lot since we spent much our days there-coloring, rolling around, building blanket forts, chasing each other and hooking up tractors and wagons to “farm” the living room carpet.
Today, I’ve noticed that our grandson and I get up from the floor in much the same manner. Soon I’ll need hand rails on the sofa.
Feeding time at the farm is always a little sloppy, but a kid stand-off with the beef and vegetable combo led me to have to clean up the baby, the high chair, the floor and me.
Oh, the time spent just on feeding and cleaning. I’d forgotten how busy young mothers are.
Parenting tools look so different today-including the tool used to suction out baby noses when they have a cold. One end goes into the baby’s nose and some connecting tubing goes into the caretaker’s mouth-and the caretaker sucks the contents out.
It was like watching something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie when I first saw our daughter do that to our little grandson. What exactly was she sucking out of there?
I did it, but afterwards I had to rest to regain my strength and color.
He learned how to play with a toy that had a noisy slider that he could push back and forth. After a couple of days he began to laugh when I slid it back and forth. When I did that very quickly, his belly laughs told me I could have been Jimmy Fallon in his eyes.
As babies do, when he awoke from his naps he would cry to let us know he was awake. I thought about how much energy it would take to have to fuss or cry every day for something.
Finishing jobs while babies nap, mountains of dishes and laundry, and calls for baby needs that keep us up in the night can be exhausting-especially with hungry, impatient mini humans who don’t want to lie still long enough for a diaper change at 4 a.m.
But when you hold that sleeping baby in your arms-remembering when your own children were that little-and knowing that the only care in the world babies have ever had is being loved all seems right with my soul. Isn’t being loved what we all want in this life, really?
A credit card commercial once touted, “Love is expensive.” The same thing holds true in the cost of exhaustion, body aches and sacrifices that parents make to raise their children.
And in this second time around at parenting, we remembered that when the baby is awake and facing only a piddly crisis, he/she often only needs a little familiar, soothing comfort.
In our case, we learned that sometimes a man just needs his binkie.
Karen Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.karenschwaller.com
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