Before having a child, I would secretly judge other parents.
I can't believe that kid is watching TV at dinner! No way would my kid watch TV in the car or at a restaurant.
Why do we have to be quiet...I am going to make sure my baby can sleep with noise!
Wow, it would be great to stay home all day- then I could have dinner made and the house cleaned and run all of the errands I need to!
I had always assumed that my baby would be easy-going and mold right into our lifestyle. A flexible baby, if you will.
Then we had Andrew, who seriously lights up our lives with a single smile. I could just stare at him for hours. However, I now get where these parent are coming from. Andrew is the sweetest (and most adorable) baby, but also quite sensitive. From birth, he had definite likes and dislikes and was not shy about voicing his opinions. Not, in other words, a flexible baby (if such a thing actually even exists).
This was first apparent when he showed a strong dislike for his car seat. I had heard the car was a mode of lulling babies to sleep. Not the case with my little guy. No sooner would you strap him into the seat, would the screaming begin. I was told he would just cry and then fall asleep. Nope. He even cried the ENTIRE way home from Sultan. Not wanting to be housebound, I researched "infants hating car seats." We tried music, feeding him a bottle, hanging toys, a Baby TV app (I know, I know...I said I would never let my kid watch TV in the car)and turning up the AC. Nothing worked. I may have even had a weak moment and purchased a brand-new convertible car seat on Amazon after reading some babies don't like the infant seats.
Well, Andrew now tolerates the car and you want to know the secret? He disliked the infant pads that came in the Chicco car seat. The pads that were suppose to make the ride more comfy for babies was making mine miserable. And, he was not shy about letting us know how he felt. I took out both the bottom and head pads and now the crying is rare. He now will even fall asleep in the car on occasion, especially if freeway driving is involved.
Speaking of sleeping, Andrew was also never a fan of simply falling to sleep on his own. Most newborns (so I am told) simply fall asleep all the time- in people's arms, while in their swings, in their car seats as their parents enjoyed a nice dinner. Even as a tiny baby, Andrew had to be rocked or walked to sleep by an actual human- not a swing. He disliked the cradle hold and would often cry if held by a stranger (or sometimes even a friend or relative). Soon, we had to learn tricks to get him to fall asleep during the day for naps. The Ergo carrier seems to work as well and as a result, I have walked 6 miles today. No joke. The good news is that Adam and I are probably getting stronger. The bad news is that it will soon be too cold and rainy to venture outside that often. I did buy an oversize gold umbrella just in case.
Once Andrew is down for nap, the next trick is to keep him asleep. I did say that my baby would be able to sleep with lots of noise and this is somewhat true. Andrew has slept at parties, with the TV on and while walking near loud cars. However, he does not enjoy sudden noises. And by not enjoy, I mean he hates them. This includes: the garbage disposal, Teddy's dog door, Teddy barking, the door opening and the doorbell. He is incredibly sensitive to loud noise even when awake, but if is asleep...it is almost impossible if one of these noises wakes him. One way I have solved this is to put my phone next to him with the "white noise" app on as he naps in his swing or car seat.
Like I mentioned, I often see babies sleeping at restaurants. The other day, I went on a walk with Andrew and we (okay me) decided that frozen yogurt was in order. There were two other babies around Andrews age. One was sleeping in his car seat and the other was sleeping in his mother's arms as she selected toppings. What was my man doing? Sitting on my lap, sticking his fingers in my frozen yogurt and chucking my gummy bears on the ground. I am pretty sure he enjoyed a bit of "Cake Batter" well before the pediatrician recommended he start on dairy.
This last anecdote was when I realized how much I love my inflexible baby. As he smeared bits of fro-yo on his face, people walked by and smiled at him. He smiled back, shrieking and waving his hands. They all remarked what a handsome boy he was and what a big personality he had. I thanked them and let him continue his fun. Hey, at least he enjoys eating out at restaurants as much as we do- it is in fact, one of his favorite things. He lets us know this by wanting to stand on the table and laugh and well- stick his hands in our food. I figure there is only a small window where this is cute and might as well take advantage now.
We continued on our walk soon after and I thought again about the whole "flexible baby" idea. Why would we have a kid if we wanted to do everything exactly the same as before?Andrew may not exactly fit in to the lifestyle we once had, I love how he has welcomed us into his. We have a new lifestyle now and I truly could not be happier.