Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby Etiquette

So I have a bone to pick with society. When did it become unacceptable for babies to cry? When did it become acceptable for everyone and anyone to make comments on my parenting? This rant has been building for the twelve weeks that Kyle has been here. Although we all say things and make mistakes--if I know you and love you, I am not talking about you....promise.

Last night, Evan and I were at our church building talking to other people in our ward. Evan was holding Kyle and he was wrapped in a blanket. Kyle was obviously very content, and on his way to sleep. A woman (that we have never met) asked how old he was and said she wanted to see him. She came close and then started to stroke his head....what, the? As most of you know, I am not fond of strangers or small talk. If you've seen me with people interested in Kyle, you know that I allow Evan or someone else to answer the questions, unless I'm alone. After she had stroked his head, she said, "I just wanted to see if he was cold, because it's cold in here."

It's not your baby, lady! If he was cold--he would cry. She then proceeded to tell us she has a two-year-old (which, obviously, makes her a better parent and more knowledgeable than me--right?) and I should enjoy them while they are little. Why do people talk bad about their children? I love two-year-olds, it is my favorite age. They are fun, adventurous, cuddly, cranky, and they throw fits. I do not mind crying or fit throwing. You can miss having newborns, but why say bad things about your own children--real unconditional love.

Which brings me to my next point, babies cry. It is okay. It helps their lungs and development, and they need to have at least one good cry a day. If Kyle is crying, I do not need you to tell me you think he needs his diaper changed, has a burp, a tummy ache, wants to be swaddled or needs to eat. Don't tell me about how you parented your children (decades ago) better. I do a mental checklist and know if his physical needs are taken care of. Here are some reasons he might cry when you hold him: smell. are ugly to look at. Maybe...his nose itches and he can't reach it. Maybe...he wants down. Maybe...he has a bad taste in his mouth, or a craving. Maybe...he has a headache. Maybe...with his baby intuition, he knows you have a bad personality. It could be anything (although some of these are exaggerations--unfortunately).

If you don't want to hold him while he cries---hand him back. I have spent almost all my time with him in the last twelve weeks, not you. And for the record, in case you missed it and it is not clear by who is lactating, I am his mother. (Although, Evan is not lactating, he is his father).

Some mothers (and fathers) do not like to hear their child cry. That is fine. It isn't Evan and I, and never has been. We chose to sleep train him at 7 weeks, like the doctor suggested. He has slept 6-8 hours a night since he was 8 weeks because of it. I've always allowed him to cry himself to sleep in his crib. I still do. I put him down at naps and allow the same thing. It doesn't bother me. Now, please understand, I am not letting him scream for hours, but two minutes or so--I'm okay with it. If you aren't, do it differently. I love to cuddle him and rock him (although we do not have a rocking chair). Kyle doesn't like to be put down during the day--so I hold him all day (in a sling, if I need my hands) unless I am taking a shower.

If the child is growing and developing, you are a good parent. I'll do what is right for me and you do what is right for you. Just don't tell me what to do, especially if you don't know me. And for the record, don't touch my kid if you don't know me. Rude. As a society, we need to teach etiquette, especially for how to deal with other people's children.

I love taking Kyle and going to work with Evan at the Alzheimer facility. The residents love Kyle. No one cares when Kyle cries. Most just ooh and aah over him and exclaim how precious and cute he is. They'll tell me about their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I'll see them poke their neighbors across the room and point to Kyle and say, "see the baby." It makes them happy. No one tells me how to parent. They just appreciate him as he is and me as I am with him.


Charity said...

You know, it annoys ME when I overhear people telling other people how to parent or commenting about their parenting, and I don't even have a child yet! Like this one time at a football game... this cute couple had brought their sweet baby and he was having a grand old time, but the girls behind us could not shut up about how a football game was not the appropriate place for a baby. I was so mad! I think the parents have the right to decide what their baby is or is not ready for. Geez. So, anyway, I totally understand where you are coming from.

Tatton and Kirsten said...

oh girl, all I can add to this is a hearty 'amen'!!!

Derek and Annie said...

Wow, if I let Sofie cry herself to sleep it'd be three hours, what's this two minutes you speak of? :) Sounds like you love being a mom, isn't it so wonderful?

Heidi said...

Amen sista! Amen!