Sunday, May 18, 2014

One year later...

At this time last year, I was anxiously awaiting Andrew's arrival. (Don't worry, this post is NOT a story of my labor and delivery).  I had no idea that life was about to change forever. Prior to having a child myself, I couldn't fathom giving up things I loved for a baby. As I stated in an earlier post, I thought it might be nice to have a flexible baby. You know, one that we could take wine tasting and out to nice dinners and such.

What I didn't realize was that you don't choose your baby- your baby chooses you and comes with a personality all their own.

Lately, I have been thinking about how people categorize babies as "good" or "bad/difficult" based on how little they interrupt their parent's lives. A baby is "good" if he or she naps easily, sits quietly at meals, doesn't fuss, etc. "Bad babies" are ones who cry, don't sleep well and don't want to be contained.

Why are these babies "bad/difficult?" It is simply that different babies have different dispositions, just as we adults do.

When I was not a parent, I used to hard-core judge parents and their kids in public and categorize them into the "good" and "bad" camp. The baby sleeping quietly on an airplane? Good. The little boy running up and down the aisles at the grocery store? Bad. The toddler sitting nicely in his highchair at a restaurant? Good. The baby who wouldn't sit in her stroller at Greenlake? Bad.

You get the picture. I figured the "bad" babies were that way due to the fault of the parents. My baby would certainly follow directions because I would know how to parent.

Then along came Andrew. He was fussy, and I mean really fussy as a newborn. He would only sleep if I walked with him for miles everyday. I always see pictures of other people's babies on Facebook with a caption reading " __________ just fell asleep while playing with her toys! How cute!"

Andrew has NEVER just fallen asleep while playing, even as a newborn. He was angry a lot, and I know now that he was mad because he wanted to move.

As he got older, he became a happy, charming little gentleman. He (luckily) was able to sit and crawl at a young age, which gave him the freedom he craved.

He started walking around ten months and gets loads of attention every where we go, because it does look funny that someone so small is out and running about. However, when he is confined against his will  (such as in a high chair, stroller or grocery car) he becomes a "bad" baby.

The other day, he threw a full on tantrum at the store because he wanted to hold the loaf of bread as we went around the store. Rather than trying to prove a point, I let him hold the damn bread. I had shopping to do, so leaving would actually punish me rather than him. I knew other parents were looking at me, judging me and my "difficult" child or questioning my parenting skills.

On most days, he will move continuously for 2-3 hours, refuses to let us read him books (we have actually memorized the books and "read" them in the car), refuses to stay in his bouncer for longer than five minutes,  and takes a two minute bath because he won't sit in the bath tub. We have realized that going out to eat is no longer fun unless there is a play area.

Today, we celebrated his birthday with some family at a local ice cream shop. There was another boy also celebrating his first bday. This little boy was sitting quietly on his dad's lap for the entire hour they were there! My little guy? He was running around the shop holding balloons and yelling. And also maybe taking the other little boy's ice cream spoon.

However, I don't think he is a "bad" baby at all. High energy? Yes. Opinioned and strong-willed? Undoubtedly. But, "bad or difficult?" No.

See, what I didn't realized until almost a year ago today is the unconditional love that I would feel for this special little boy. Sure he won't sit down and let me read to him anymore, but I love watching him chase Teddy around the house. And tonight, when we was shrieking and running in the sprinkler, I couldn't stop smiling. If he was a "good" baby, would my life be easier? Most likely, but it certainly wouldn't be as fulfilling or fun as it is now!

Happy Birthday, Andrew Walter. You are my rambunctious little guy and I love you very much. Don't every change, because that strong personality is what makes you incredibly unique (and adorable) and I wouldn't have it any other way!