The Mystery of Babies

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Mother with her baby - Shutterstock

I was oblivious about so many things having to do with babies before I had my first child. I had never been around babies much in my life because my brothers and I were so close in age and all the cousins were born about the same time as well. I mostly babysat for kids that were out of diapers when I was a teen so things pertaining to babies were pretty foreign to me.

All I can say is that having babies is a big adventure, sometimes a happy adventure and for me quite a bit of the time, a scary adventure. You never really know what sort of things to expect, especially if it is your first child, even if you have been around other babies. For instance my first child had colic and from what I understand that is just a name that means the baby has gas. But if the baby can not get the gas to come out it can really be painful. The mystery of this particular gas is that, at least in my daughter’s case, is that it only seemed to happen at night when we were all exhausted. And being a first time parent does not help because you have no idea what the problem is. After you have changed them, fed them, rocked them, sang to them, and done everything you know how to do they are still crying. And they appear to be in pain but generally do not have fevers and are not throwing up.

The thing that always amazed me is that the doctor seemed to know right away. How do they know the baby has gas? And when you take them to the doctor the baby is not showing any of the signs they have in the middle of the night. I suppose after years of being a baby doctor and having the story repeated to them over and over again it just makes sense. Did you know they have gas medicines just for baby? And there are countless home remedies that family member after family member had to share for baby’s gas as well. All I know was that none of the medicines or home remedies actually helped but by God’s great grace it did not last very long. Just when you think you have taken all you can take and that last straw is going to break it is finally over.

I have heard people actually say that their babies slept through the night from the very beginning. I look at them in shock and I think cranky thoughts in their direction. Like, “Sure they did, you probably slept through it and did not even know they were awake, you beast!” Maybe they are telling the truth but since neither one of my children even ever showed an interest in sleeping through the night until they were much older, and even now one of them refuses to have a good nights sleep, I have a hard time accepting it. And then my mind goes the other direction and I think that maybe I was just a lousy mom. I did rock my babies to sleep instead of just lying them down in the crib and I do know that they preferred sleeping on my chest over the bed. This was most likely my downfall and the fact that I could not stand to hear them cry.

I breast fed both of my children and apparently even though it was good for them they did not really appreciate me. My daughter was the first to be breast fed and she seemed to always be hungry. After four months of breast feeding I had to prepare to go back to work, not my preference but it was something I had to do. The doctor told me to start weaning her off the breast milk during the hours I was going to be at work. He said she may not take the bottle easily but to be persistent. I will have you know that the first time I gave her a bottle she chugged it down like she had never eaten before. The next time I offered her my breast she turned her head, made a choking and spitting sound. She absolutely refused to take my breast. And I cried. Which made my grandmother actually laugh out loud, to which she profusely apologized, but as time went on I realized how humorous it was. That four month old baby girl had definite opinions about what she wanted and held her ground. We found that to be true for the rest of her life as well. I am just very thankful that she is strong willed in the right direction!

My second child, a boy, was more than happy to get the bottle as well at four months but he was not quite as critical as my daughter, he accepted food no matter where it came from. And both of my children were very attached to their bottles. They were both two fisted drinkers, a bottle in each hand, and all night long. I know, I know, that is not a good thing. But my daughter broke herself off the bottle at nine months and my son was a little over a year when we told him his bottles had gone bye-bye.

My poor little nine month old girl got the flu and then the whole family fell like dominos, the last standing was great-grandma, and when she fell we knew we were in trouble. We lay side by side, my daughter and I. She was an amazing nine month old child in that when she needed to throw up she would sit up and look at me with eyes wide and wait for me to put the waste basket in front of her. It was outstanding behavior for a baby in my mind, and especially so after I experienced it with my son years later, he waited for nothing and no one.

As my girl got to feeling better she wanted her milk back, she had been drinking a type of baby Gatorade. The problem was that she had decided she only liked one nipple. Not one type of nipple, just one nipple. And the first time we gave her the bottle after she started feeling better the nipple had finally seen enough action and burst a hole. I tried giving her other nipples and she would put it in her mouth for just a second and then politely throw it across the room! I did my best to show her by changing out the new one to the holey one and then she would get soaked with milk. After a few tries she finally got it and took her milk from a Sippy cup. That was that.

My son on the other had was not so attached to just one nipple, nor was he extremely attached to the milk that was supposed to be in the bottle. He just pretty much used the bottle as a pacifier. He would run around with an empty bottle in his mouth and it would bounce up and down as he walked. He refused a pacifier in case you are wondering why not just a pacifier. We did not really understand it but it made him happy. When he began running around outside with the bottle bouncing up and down empty we decided he might need to give it up. His dad took all the bottles and when he and I went to look for a bottle they were not in their customary place so we searched for them. I told him that they were gone and he sort of shrugged and accepted the Sippy cup.

I am thankful both of my children were so adaptable with giving up their bottles because they were not that way with everything. My daughter was the colic queen and my son was a potty trainer’s nightmare. And it went on for years. I even took him to a specialist for advice and the most he could give me was, “I have never seen a child make it to high school and not be potty trained.” Gee, thanks doc. But you know I believe my son was pushing to be the first to break that record. Praise God he was not.

I was extremely happy when my children learned to communicate, even though I missed them being baby babies. I found it overwhelming at times not knowing what they were crying for and I know my doctor was thrilled as well when they began to talk. My kid’s doctor was a peach and I am so grateful that he put up with me. There is little that is more important than having a doctor that you trust that is understanding and kind as well. If a pediatrician is not prepared for new mothers then he/she should not be in that field!

Like I said, having babies is an adventure, one of the best and worst you will ever have. There is nothing in this world I would trade for the joy my children have brought to me. And there are very few things you will go through in life that will provide you with more patience, wisdom, and fortitude either. Babies are like nothing else you will ever experience and very few relationships in life even come close to the love you have for your children.